Unlike Detroit, Cincinnati, and Columbus, St. Louis has managed to fund and build a passenger rail system, even if it only has two lines. The Metrolink light rail system Red Line is the older and more extensive, and east-west route linking the airport in the west to over the Mississippi River into East St Louis, Illinois. The Blue Line is a shorter north-south route servicing St. Louis Metro area, including Clayton in the south. There is also a Purple Line that duplicates some of the route taken by the Red Line. Price is $2, and bus transfers are available for free, lasting 4 hours. Use this system to between downtown and The Loop, Clayton, or Central West End districts. The system is safe although some locals in the affluent areas, like Clayton, have complained that the system transfers unsavory folk from poor neighborhoods in the north, where the first lines were built, into the wealthier shopping districts. The Metrolink website is complete, but rather cumbersome in my opinion.
Parking is free at all city parking meters after 5pm on weekdays and all day both Saturday and Sunday, as well as on public holidays. If you go on a weekend, there's no real reason to pay for parking at a Downtown hotel, as there are always meters. If you're staying close to Busch Stadium or Scottrade Center when there's a game though, then you may have to park a few blocks away.
I used GO Best Express to shuttle me from Lambert Airport to the Hyatt at the Arch Downtown. I only waited about 15 minutes, the cost was $39 for a round trip ticket. The van was clean, the driver was super-friendly and they were on time to pick me up and bring me back to the airport. I would definitely recommend this service. I understand they are continuously expanding their service area so even if you're not going downtown, they should be able to take you where you need to go.
Want to share this website for getting the latest lane closure information. One of our major Interstate highways 40/64 is getting a Major overhaul, long overdue! You should check this site if you are driving here.
St. Louis has "MetroLink", a light rail system combined with the Metrobus will get you around the local tourist destinations.
I have only taken the taxi in the late evenings but during day time it was easy to get around on the Metrolink.
Tickets are purchased on vending machines prior to boarding at the stations. So get a map to know where you are heading next. Make sure you have a ticket because failure to produce one may result in heavey fines.
If you need to get around the St. Louis Metro area and don't want to fight traffic or try to find a parking place, use the Metro Link. We use it quite a bit when we are downtown. You can catch a ride from the Airport, at the Westin downtown, at the ball park, Savvis Center, and many other places.
It's cheap and quick. Check out the website for more details.
Trust me, when there is a big event or a lot of times many at the same time downtown, this is the way to get around.
UPDATE: I AM CERTAIN THS COMPANY FOLDED. WILL LET YOU KNOW IF THEY RETURN. There's a bold new business in Town! Open top, double-decker, red buses zip you to St. Louis attractions, with the "hopon-hop off" feature! I got to try it Wednesday & it was FUN! !
Your ticket is good for 2 consecutive days of sightseeing, unlimited. There are two routes (33 stop, total) to use with guided info dispersed along the routes, so you relax & learn at the same time.
I think it is a very good deal, if you don't want to use a private car. If you don't know your way around here, these buses save you from having to study maps & get all those directions for each place you'd drive to!! The $25 ticket is much less than taxis would be & more convenient than the public transportation system, in many cases.
They have a really good web site, with lots of links too, & a color brochure, which you should find at your hotel. It also stops at several hotels! You can buy your ticket on board. They even take credit cards, the brochure says.
The friendly, knowlegable tour guide we had said you could even bring food & drink to enjoy as you ride! Try doing that on a public bus; forget it!!
If you have kids, I think they'd love it. You stress-out parents( you should know who you are!!) could relax more & really enjoy your vacation! Kids younger than 16 are FREE with the Family Attractions card. You can get one of these at your hotel or the ST. Louis Visitor's Center downtown.
So, COME TO ST. LOUIS!!! We have the best, & most unique,of everything & it won't cost you as much as most of the other American cities you could visit, I promise.
The MetroLink (St. Louis's light rail system) is a great way to get around town. You can take it from St. Louis International Airport to downtown STL, Busch Stadium, America's Center, the Savvis Center, Union Station, Laclede's Landing, and across the river to the Casino Queen among other destinations. It is very affordable, clean, and fun for kids.
The St. Louis metropolitan area is pretty spread out, and you will probably want a car to visit places outside of downtown.
The Metrolink, which is a single-line light rail system does connect the airport to downtown, with some safe and not-so-safe stops inbetween. It will also get you across the Mississippi River to the Casino Queen, and on into East St. Louis if you are really looking for danger.
There is also a bus system, which can probably get you where you want to go if you don't have a car and your destination is not near a Metrolink stop. The bus and Metrolink are owned by the same agency, and you can get transfers between the two.
I traveled downtown for 10 years, but also around the city a lot in my job business. It takes many minutes, going to hours to get around the city. Traffic jams are reknowned on Hwy 40/64 heading west to Chesterfield, but also Hwy 70 toward St. Charles, and even across the river to Illinois is not treat. Some areas have improved with expanded roadworks, but a long way to go. In the old days of 1980's, the drive west for 25 miles took average of one hour from downtown. Crossroads of interstate Hwy 55, Hwy 70 and Hwy 44 all converge in the downtown area, besides the main straight route west on Hwy 40/64.
There are a number of ways to get to Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis. My current favorite is to visit Molly's in Soulard (check my restaurant review on it as well). They have a shuttle that runs about every 15 minutes up until the third inning or so and then it runs again after the eighth. Not only is it free but its very quick (5 minutes) and if you so desire you can procure a Budweiser product from the driver for a tip.
If there's a better way to get to and from games in St. Louis I haven't found it.
The Hwy 64 / 40 construction is now completed. It is now open through the Metropolitan St. Louis area.
This is Hwy 40, it runs just south of Forest Park. Not to be confused with Hwy 44 which is the interstate directly north of the Hill.
This address is the official website for the Hwy 40 construction project.
The old Famous Barr garage at 7th & Pine is usually $5 after 5:00 pm. It's on the northeast side of the intersection. On the northwest side of the intersection is another garage that is also usually $5 after 5:00 pm. That was as of last fall - I haven't been to a game yet this year.
Either of those will provide secure parking that is a short, safe four (4) block walk south to the stadium. There is always a good amount of foot traffic here, so it's very safe. We've never even been hit up for cash by a bum, much less anything worse. You'll walk past the Hooters and Mike Shannon's restaurants, which are good spots for pre or post game food & drink. The stadium will be visible most of the way too.
One more thing to consider while driving through St. Louis right now, Hwy 40 (otherwise known as 64) is closed in both directions from I-170(don't confuse with I-70) to Kingshighway. There are a few bridges across Hwy 40 that are inaccessible from time to time in this area. This construction will last until December 2009.
Kudos to St. Louis - the entire Metro area - for backing and paying for a Light Rail system. It stretches all the way from Lambert Airport - and Shrewsbury in South County) to Clayton, the Wash U campus, the Central West End, through Downtown and across the Mississippi, and then all the way out to Scott Air Base in Illinois.
The trains and stations are (so-far) comfortable and clean, automatic ticket machines actually work, and there is regular and reliable service. I was able to take the Light Rail from my hotel in Downtown out to Washington U (where my college reunion was being held - for only $2.00 each way!