They call it the Gateway City. Known today for its brick architecture, big business and baseball, historic St. Louis, Missouri sits at the junction of the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. The spirit is one of exploration and adventure, and it permeates this mid-western city.
St. Louis was the starting point in America’s westward expansion, led by explorers Lewis and Clark. It is also home to the businessmen who had the vision and wherewithal to finance the plane Charles Lindbergh flew into the history books on the first solo flight across the Atlantic. It’s obvious that St. Louis is about looking ahead and beyond.
Right downtown in the entertainment district near the Lumière Place Casino, Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis is a great base from which to tour the city. The hotel’s floor-to-ceiling windows were the perfect way for our family to “show me” breathtaking views of the iconic Gateway Arch and fabled Mississippi River, both within walking distance.
• A fun place for the kids to learn about American history first-hand.
• Old-style riverboat cruises on the Mississippi river.
• Blues music and BBQ.
• The St. Louis Cardinals, one of the oldest franchises. Watch the baseball team play one of America’s favorite pastimes live.
• Great parks (100 in all).
*The Riverfront Trail, where you will find the Mary Meacham Freedom Crossing, a national Underground Railroad site.
*The fountains and waterfall at Kiener Plaza.
*The outdoor rooftop pool: Staying cool and looking even cooler in the hotel swimming pool. And when the adults takeover, the spray-ground adjacent.
*The kids’ menu at Four Seasons’ Cielo and the sweet Italian treats at Bomboloni, the doughnut shop in the hotel lobby.
*A kids’ manicure and pedicure: the hotel’s Pamper Your Princess spa treatment.
*A family day at the ballpark.
*The casino downstairs, Lumière Place Casino—while the kids watch a movie from the hotel children’s DVD library with the concierge-arranged babysitter.
*Fun and education at the Museum of Westward Expansion, all about America’s move westward, plus a Lewis and Clark Trail photographic mural.
*Reclining on a lounge chair with a cool drink while the kids splash around in the pool or frolic on the spray-ground.
*Shopping at Lumière Place. Taking the complimentary service to Union Station, where you can shop some more.
*The performing arts scene: blues, jazz, ragtime, the symphony.
The Gateway Arch: 630 feet tall, it’s the iconic symbol of St. Louis—a monument to U.S. President Thomas Jefferson and his vision for uniting the states into one nation. The kids will love the tram ride to the top.
Dine In—The hotel’s Cielo Restaurant & Bar, top-ranked in the city, serves modern Italian in a backdrop of sweeping views. For breakfast, the Belgian Waffle with Cappuccino-Mascarpone Cream and Pralines is a house specialty, and rightfully so. The salad of field greens with roasted shallots and fig Balsamic vinaigrette on the lunch menu was also a revelation. Don’t miss the pastries at Bomboloni, adjacent to the reception desk.
Dine Out—The Burger Bar in Lumière Place is a must if you are a hamburger lover. The Hubert Keller Burger, named for owner-chef Keller, is a buffalo patty amped up with carmelized onions, baby spinach, blue cheese and a red wine-shallot sauce on a ciabatta bun—absolutely delicious. There’s also the Rossini, which has Kobe beef, sautéed foie gras, shaved truffles and a $60 price tag!
1. Forest Park: This 1,300-acre park hosted the 1904 World’s Fair. It’s home to a number of St. Louis’ must-see attractions: The St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science and the St. Louis Zoo. Entrance to most of these world-class attractions is free, though some fees are associated with special exhibitions.
2. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial: a memorial park that pays tribute to U.S. President and founding father Thomas Jefferson and the explorers, including Lewis and Clark, who played pivotal roles in the western expansion of the United States. Also here is the Museum of Westward Expansion, and the nation’s tallest monument, the famed Gateway Arch.
3. Budweiser Brewery Tour: This famous brewery was founded in 1852. The Budweiser Brewery Tour is real fun. Visitors of legal age can sample some of the brews in the Hospitality Room; younger guests can visit the historic stables and get up-close and personal with the famous Budweiser Clydesdales. If you’re lucky enough to be there on the first Saturday of the month, don’t miss your chance for a photo op with the majestic mascots.
4. Busch Stadium: See the St. Louis Cardinals play a baseball game on their home turf. (These are 11-time World Series champs.)
5. LaClede’s Landing: St. Louis’ oldest district, downtown on the banks of the Mississippi River and next to the Arch. Oodles of shops, restaurants and attractions at St. Louis’ only riverfront entertainment destination.
*Babies: The pool, the parks (picnic for the family?), taking in a blues concert al fresco in summertime. A lulling riverboat cruise. Ask the concierge about the hotel’s babysitting service for your date night out.
*Toddlers: The pool, the parks
*Kids 5-10: The pool, the parks, a Cardinals ballgame. Forest Park and its museums. A riverboat cruise. Kids’ spa treatment. Zipping along the Riverfront Trail. The Budweiser brewery tour (this age group will love the majestic equines).
*Tweens & teens: Lounging by the pool. The Budweiser brewery tour. A Cardinals ballgame. St. Louis’s historical sites and museums. A live music concert. A hotel spa treatment splurge. Shopping.
Read more about St. Louis in Four Seasons Magazine.
Read our Concierge Recommendations for St. Louis in Four Seasons Magazine.
Monique Rubin lives in the Netherlands with her husband and two daughters. She writes about her travels, running and expat life at motravels.com
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