St. Louis is an exciting city full of history and culture. We drove through it on our road trip last year, but this year, we were determined to make a visit. So, the 4th of July weekend saw us headed to the city to explore their Independence Day offerings. The first night we got there, we had no set plans, so we decided to wander through the streets of downtown St. Louis. The incredible French Colonial/early American architecture of the older buildings mesh well with the modern art additions in locations like Citygarden to create a captivating vista for visiting travelers.
Citygarden is a relatively new installation in downtown St. Louis. This is a genius idea, and one I have not seen implemented in any other downtown area around the country. Children can literally swim in the middle of downtown St. Louis. Right there along the side of busy downtown streets, children can enjoy a wet reprieve from hot temperatures, while their parents enjoy the collection of modern art and sculptures located throughout the park.
The park is open to the public every day of the year from sunrise to 10pm. It is in a great location downtown, and we felt completely safe there at all times.
Downtown St. Louis is full of early American architecture that took its influences from around the world. The Civil Courts Building is a perfect example of this. Built in 1930, this striking skyscraper, looks as though it has a mini Parthenon sitting atop it. In fact, the pyramid shaped roof was modeled after the Mausoleum of Maussollos, one of the seven wonders of the world. The details inlaid into the building's structure are just incredible.
We ended our tour of downtown St. Louis at the Gateway Arch. Towering 630 feet into the St. Louis skyline, this magnificent wonder of architecture is the tallest man made monument in the country. It is shrouded in stainless steel and was built as a monument to signify the westward expansion of the United States. Completed in 1965, it has been open to the public taking tours to the top since then.
The boys and I took the last tour of the night to the top, and loved it. If you don't do well with tight spaces or elevators, then I would not suggest taking the ride up. The wait to actually go up is a bit long and rather hot, but the ride itself in your "pod" only takes 4 minutes on the way up and 3 on the way down. At the top, there is an observation area with small windows for viewing the city below. Tours run 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, with tickets costing $10 for adults and $5 for children.
When visiting St. Louis, don't forget to leave plenty of time to wander the streets of the downtown area. Dip your feet in a pool at Citygarden, admire the architecture, take a carriage ride down cobblestone streets or just soak in the culture of this bustling city. No matter what you choose to do, strolling the streets of downtown St. Louis is and inexpensive way to explore the city with your family for a day of fun.