DO NOT CROSS THE RIVER -- DO NOT GO TO EAST ST. LOUIS, ILLINOIS. It's perhaps the most crime-ridden, downtrodden, and dangerous area in the entire USA. Be very careful when driving in St. Louis that you do not accidentally cross the river. If you do, especially at night, stay on the freeway until you can safely tun around. Just a warning.
Like any city, it has it's share of crime. Try to be polite or ignore the pan handlers. They are usually harmless but may frighten those who aren't used to them. Lock vehicle doors and roll up windows when you are in bad sections of town (East St. Louis and North St. Louis).
It is not a good idea to wander about after dark by yourself and especially don't leave the downtown area (where the hotels are) because IT CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS! The photo was taken from the arch and shows part of the area that would be dangerous IN THE DARK!
Again, I note so many people of weight that -just how do they carry on in life? A few below are examples of how touring can wear a person out with a load to carry.
The casinos are becoming the largest tourist traps in the country. We love them, and thankfully are not compelled to go there. We can enjoy them on our infrequent splurges into decadence.
Be prepared for an old-fashioned dose of cheeziness when you get close to the arch. It's infectious.