12 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in St Louis

St Louis, the largest city in Missouri, lies just below the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, which here forms the boundary between Missouri and Illinois. The City has long been known as the “Gateway to the West” because it was from here that the Europeans set out to conquer the Wild West. It is home to the St Louis University, the oldest university west of the Mississippi, which was founded in 1818. The city’s connection with Scott Joplin, the “father” of ragtime, ensures its fame as a music city.

1 Gateway Arch

Gateway Arch
In the center of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park is the Gateway Arch, a symbol of the city’s role as the “Gateway to the West”. This parabolic arch of stainless steel, 625 ft high, was erected in 1959-65 to the design of Eero Saarinen, based on an unexecuted project by Adalberto Libera for the entrance to the Esposizione Universale di Roma of 1942. Eight elevators run up to the observation platform on the highest point of the arch. Under the arch are the Visitor Center and the Museum of Westward Expansion.

2 Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park
The tourist center of St Louis is the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park, laid out on a site previously occupied by an old part of the town. It bears the name of President Thomas Jefferson, during whose Presidency the Louisiana Purchase opened up the west to settlement. It’s most famous feature is Gateway Arch, but it also includes the Old Courthouse and the Museum of Westward Expansion.

3 Old Courthouse

Old Courthouse
On the right-hand side of Market Street is a massive domed building, the Old Courthouse, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. It was built in the mid 1800s and has been the scene of several important trials, including the suit by Dred Scott for freedom from slavery and Suffragist Virginia Louisa Minor for the right to vote. The courthouse now showcases historical exhibits.

4 Missouri Botanical Garden

Missouri Botanical Garden

The beautiful Missouri Botanical Garden is also known as the Shaw Garden, after the businessman and botanist Henry Shaw (1800-89) who laid it out in 1859. In the southeast part of the gardens are the richly appointed Tower Grove House, Henry Shaw’s “garden house”. The gardens themselves comprise a lovely rose garden, the rather unusual Climatron, built in 1960 for tropical plants, a Japanese Garden, an “aqua-tunnel” under a water-lily pool, and a herbarium.

The Doris I. Schnuck Children’s Garden is designed with youngsters in mind, with an aim towards educating and inspiring children in the field of horticulture. Within the garden are several attractions, including cave, a prairie village, and a treehouse. Special exhibits include the “Cave Experience” which is a man-made cave and a wetlands area that includes a steamboat.

Address: 4344 Shaw Boulevard

5 Magic House, St Louis Children’s Museum

Magic House, St Louis Children's Museum
Magic House, St Louis Children’s Museum Jinx!
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Located in a three story Victorian home, the Magic House museum provides hands-on exhibits about science, communications and computers. Exhibits are divided into themed areas and encourage engagement from children. Each area is designed to enhance curiosity and experimentation.

Address: 516 South Kirkwood Road, St Louis, MO 63122-5926, United States

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