Destination Guides

St Louis

General   Weather   Airports   Attractions   Kids Attractions   Events   Restaurants   Shopping   Nightlife  

Introduction Region

Gateway Arch, St Louis ©Daniel Schwen

Fur trader Pierre Laclede settled St Louis as a French trading post in 1764 at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. This location proved to be an ideal meeting point and it subsequently became a major port for boats on the Mississippi, and the main departure point for explorers on the West-bound wagon trails. As the 'Gateway to the West', St Louis became a manufacturing centre for everything a pioneer would need on his journey, such as saddles and guns, and it was here that Lewis and Clark stocked up with provisions for their famous expedition.

Today St Louis is the biggest city in Missouri and one of the largest inland ports in the country. It is a modern, commercial, industrial and cultural centre. Although a cosmopolitan river metropolis, reminders of St Louis' frontier history are in evidence throughout the city, most visibly in the shining steel Gateway Arch that is the famous landmark of St Louis, dedicated to the pioneers of the Western frontier.

It is a city with numerous personalities: a mix of authentic America with a vaguely European air. Music from the nation's past floats from the famous jazz and blues clubs over the waters of the Mississippi, paddle steamers dock along the riverfront where warehouses that once housed industrial cargoes now contain antique shops and restaurants as part of the revitalised Laclede's Landing Historic District.

Climate Info

St Louis sits somewhere between a humid subtropical and a humid continental climate, with four distinct seasons and the possibility of stormy weather at any time of year. July and August, the peak summer months, are the hottest and most humid months of the year, and January and February are the coldest and likely to be snowy. Winter temperatures average between 23°F (-5°C) and 45°F (7°C), while the average summer temperatures range between 66°F (19°C) and 89°F (32°C). Rainfall is fairly evenly distributed throughout the year, with some rain likely in every month.

Convert to Imperial

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min temp (c)-6-428131921201693-3
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Getting Around

The pride of St Louis is the city's clean, efficient light rail system, called the MetroLink, which is regarded as one of the best mass transit systems in the United States. Using the MetroLink visitors can see most of St Louis' attractions without a car. The system's zone covers the airport and East St Louis, stretching through downtown, with trains stopping at multiple stations in Missouri and Illinois before the line ends at Shiloh-Scott. A basic MetroLink fare is $2. The MetroBus network, which covers not only the city but also most of the county, also serves St Louis; buses run to schedule from about 4am until after midnight. A basic bus fare is $2. There are taxi ranks near most major hotels and attractions in the city, or cabs can be ordered from various companies. Those who opt for self-driving will find the city easy to navigate as the downtown streets are laid out on a grid pattern and the city is served by a good network of highways. There is abundant parking in high-rise garages.

St Louis Lambert International Airport (STL)

LocationThe airport is situated 10 miles (16km) northwest of St Louis.
Time DifferenceGMT -6 (GMT -5 from mid-March to the first Sunday in November).
Transfer terminals

Free shuttles as well as the Metrolink run a regular service between the two terminals.

Getting to city

The Metrolink light rail system departs from both terminals to the city centre several times a day. Shared van services provide transport to city centre hotels, and airport taxis are also available from both terminals.

Car Rental

Car rental companies include Alamo, Avis, Budget, Thrifty, Hertz and National.

Airpor Taxis

Taxis are available outside Exit Door 14 of Terminal 1, and outside Exit Door 12 of Terminal 2.

Airport Facilities

Airport facilities include ATMs, currency exchange services, an inter-faith chapel, restaurants, snack bars, shops, postal services and an information desk. Disabled facilities are good.

Car Parking

Parking right outside the two terminals costs $5 for two hours, up to a daily maximum of $23. There is cheaper parking farther from the terminals, which is serviced by a free shuttle, and costs between $7 and $23 a day.

Gateway Arch

Within the riverside park known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, the Gateway Arch is a soaring landmark above the city's skyline - the thin stainless steel arc reaches to twice the height of the Statue of Liberty, at 630 feet (192m) tall. It symbolises the role of St Louis a
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Gateway Arch ©Fetchcomms

Forest Park

The beautifully landscaped Forest Park is larger than New York's Central Park and its leafy grounds are filled with attractions. The acclaimed St Louis Art Museum has a magnificent international collection of art, covering works from the prehistoric to the contemporary, and houses one of
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Forest Park ©Matt Kitces

Laumeier Sculpture Park

The mission statement of Laumeier Sculpture Park - an open-air museum containing more than 70 outdoor sculptures dotted along a 1.4 mile (about 2.3km) walking trail - is to enrich lives and inspire creativity by expanding the context of contemporary sculpture and allowing people to see i
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Laumeier Sculpture Park ©Joel Krauska

St Louis City Museum

One of the most popular attractions for kids in St Louis, the St Louis City Museum isn't a stuffy hall with dusty dioramas; it's part playground, part funhouse, and all fun! The museum boasts attractions like a ten-storey slide, a rooftop Ferris wheel, treehouses, enchanted caves, a 200-
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St Louis City Museum ©Raymond M. Reskusich

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