It was Cruzn with cousins recently in the city known as the Gateway to the West – St. Louis, Missouri. It sits on the western bank of the Mississippi River and has plenty of historic sites, good restaurants, and friendly people.
The most iconic symbol for the community is the Gateway Arch. You can see it from quite a distance, and it’s always fun to catch that first glimpse as you enter town. At the base they show a movie of the construction process and its completion in 1965.
The arch was designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen. The exterior is covered with stainless steel and soars 630 feet in height. Take a four-minute tram ride inside the arch and arrive at the top for a grand view of downtown St. Louis.
An industry long associated with St. Louis is Anheuser-Busch. A tour of their brewing facility is free and very interesting. They make lots of beer. They also have a building for some of the Clydesdale horses who live better than the average person. We had lunch at The Biergarten before our tour and enjoyed the food. (And you can choose from the many AB beers to go with your sandwich.)
One of my favorite stops during our visit was the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The building is massive and impressive on the outside, but the interior is truly spectacular. Beautiful mosaics decorate the sanctuary from top to bottom. The installation of the mosaics began in 1912 and was completed in 1988.
The cathedral was dedicated in 1914 and elevated to a basilica in 1997 by Pope John Paul II.
Another lovely place to visit is the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Founded in 1859 by Englishman Henry Shaw, it is one of the oldest botanic gardens in the U.S. They have 79 acres of land that includes a Japanese garden, a geodesic dome Climatron, and glass sculptures by artist Dale Chihuly.
Visitors can also tour Henry Shaw’s 1849 country home, Tower Grove House that is located on the west side of the Botanical Garden.
Nearby is his mausoleum. Look inside and you’ll see a marble sculpture of Shaw reclining on his tomb. While he was still living, he had a photo taken in that pose so the sculptor could do an accurate likeness.
One of the more popular spots for photos in the gardens, particularly families with young kids, is the flock of sheep. They were sculpted by Francois-Xavior Lalanne.
These are just a few of the sights that can be enjoyed in St. Louis. It’s a relaxed and fun city!