Top Landmarks in St Louis

The city of St. Louis is not only known for one of its landmarks but has earned a nickname based on it, the Gateway City. Although St. Louis is known for The Gateway Arch it’s also home to a huge number of popular landmarks which are very popular with tourists and locals alike.

The Gateway Arch

Of course the most popular landmark in St. Louis is its Gateway Arch which is the tallest man-made monument in the United States at 630 feet high. Construction began on the arch in 1963 and was completed in 1965, and is visited each year but about 1 million visitors. If you’re brave enough to take the elevator/tram to the top on a windy day you’ll notice that you not only feel like you’re moving but that you actually are swaying, the arch sways a maximum of 18 inches, nine inches on either side if the wind is raging at 150 mph or more, but the usual sway is about a half an inch, which is pretty hard to feel. In addition to riding to the top of the St. Louis Gateway Arch there are other things to do in the Gateway Arch Riverfront Area. Consider making a day of your adventure and spending time at the Museum of Westward Expansion, the Old Courthouse or taking a sightseeing cruise along the Mississippi River.

St. Louis Art Museum

The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with more than 30,000 works of art. Look for great works from almost every time period and era. Spend extra time exploring the extensive collections of Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes, and European and American art of the 19th and 20th centuries with many key German paintings. In addition there is a library to peruse and several special events throughout the year. The best part of the museum is that it’s free to everyone.

Powell Symphony Hall

Powell Symphony Hall is home to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and one of the most renowned concert halls in the United States. Erected in 1925 the theater originally presented the best live vaudeville and motion pictures, it wasn’t until later that the Hall became home to the Orchestra yet whatever its incarnation it draws a crowd with its incredible performances and lavish accommodations.

Old Courthouse and Arch-Matito105Creative Commons License Photo credit: Matito

Old Courthouse and Arch

Historic Old Courthouse

St. Louis’s Historic Old Courthouse began its construction in 1826 and wasn’t completed until 1862. Having seen its share of famous trials and historical events, the courthouse pays homage to its most noted trail, the Dred Scott, Slavery and The Struggle to Be Free exhibit celebrates the suit by Dred Scott for freedom from slavery. The Old courthouse is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park which is open daily and free to the public. The park also features the Gateway Arch so this is a perfect activity to combine with a visit to the Arch.

Missouri Botanical Gardens

The Missouri Botanical Garden was founded in 1859 and is the national’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation. With79 acres, including the 14 acre Japanese strolling garden, the original home to Henry Shaw is truly a magnificent beauty. Of note to flower lovers, the gardens house the world’s largest collection of rare and endangered orchids. If you’re headed to the Missouri Botanical Gardens in 2009 you’re in luck, it’s their 150th anniversary, or the sesquicentennial, and there will be celebrations throughout the year. The gardens recommend you spend at least three hours visiting the grounds to get the most out of the experience, but feel free to stay longer if you want.

Soulard Farmer’s Market

St Louis used to have many public markets but the Soulard Farmer’s Market is the last remaining one of its kind. Soulard Farmer’s Market was created by Julia Cerre Soulard who donated two half blocks of real estate to the city in 1838. She wanted the property to remain as a public marketplace in perpetuity. There is a date of 1779 ascribed to the market’s founding but there are no historical facts to back this up. In fact the village of St. Louis (as it was at the time) was a walled fortress nearly a mile away so it is very doubtful that the market existed that far out of town at the time. The first building featured some new interior stalls which were more amenable for meat vendors. In the future an upstairs hall would be built and serve many different public functions until it was destroyed in a tornado in 1840. And the entire thing was razed to build a new facility in 1928. Soulard Farmer’s Market faced many ups and downs but has stood the test of time and is the only farmer’s market to have done so in St. Louis.

Anheuser-Busch Complex

One of the most famous companies headquartered in St. Louis is Anheuser-Busch and so it’s no wonder that three of their buildings are national historic landmarks, the Old School House, the Brew House and the Clydesdale Stable. The Old School House was originally constructed in 1868 and was originally known as the Lyon School. In 1907 the city no longer needed the building and sold it to Anheuser-Busch which promptly converted it into their central office until 1982. The Brew House was built in 1891 and 1892 and was the center of the St. Louis Brewery. The Romanesque building with its clock tower was quite impressive and the most modern, efficient brew house of its time, since then it’s been expanded over the years and has an annual capacity of 15.8 million barrels. The Clydesdale Stable was built in 1885 for $35,000 and was once a private stable for Adolphus Busch. As with all their buildings, no expense was spared at the time to make it the most impressive, beautiful stable around. It wasn’t until 1933 that August A. Busch, Jr. decided to use the stable to house the new signature Clydesdale horses.