By Joey Amato
St. Louis, commonly referred to as “The Gateway to the West” is home to some of the country’s most recognizable corporations including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Edward Jones Investments Energizer, and of course, the city’s most popular company, Anheuser-Busch. The city is also home to three professional sports teams: The St. Louis Cardinals, Blues and Rams and is one of the LGBT capitals of the mid-west.
Visitors arriving to St. Louis should take note of the MetroLink. The train system has two routes, is easy to navigate and is an inexpensive way to travel throughout the city. MetroLink connects Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to downtown as well as a host of other neighborhoods worth visiting including my personal favorite, Forest Park.
Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the United States. At 1,371 acres, it is approximately 500 acres larger than Central Park in New York City. Forest Park is home to the Art Museum, Science Center, Zoo, Jewel Box Greenhouse and History Museum, as well as a 7.5-mile biking, jogging and skating path. Most of these attractions are free of charge.
The St. Louis Zoo is home to 655 species of animals, many of them rare and endangered. Catch a glimpse of the cheetah, African black elephant, lion and penguin habitats while enjoying a leisurely day with friends and family. Later this year the zoo will open Sea Lion Sound, combining a spacious new sea lion habitat with the zoo’s popular Sea Lion Show.
A brisk walk through Forest Park will lead you to another great attraction, the St. Louis Art Museum. The museum is among the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art throughout history. Most notable are the Chinese, pre-Columbian and 19th & 20th Century Masters galleries. The museum building itself is an architectural masterpiece and a highlight of the park.
St. Louis’ most recognizable icon is without a doubt, The Gateway Arch, the centerpiece of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in downtown St. Louis. The arch was completed in 1965 and at 630 feet, the stainless steel structure is the tallest man-made monument in the country. The view from the top is a site that should not be missed. Don’t forget to bring your camera!