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Book a flight to St Louis with Qatar Airways and you’ll be one of the growing number of people sharing in America’s best-kept secret. Hear the name and you’ll probably conjure up images of baseball and blues. While these are certainly integral parts of St Louis life, it has a rich history that stretches back to the times of the original settlers.
Today, St Louis is a bustling city, with its own unique character and still served by the mighty Mississippi. Flights to St Louis can be caught from most international airports, introducing you to a city that is still fiercely proud of its roots, yet moving with the times.
No trip to St Louis would be complete without visiting the iconic Gateway Arch. While you might have seen it in photographs, the Arch is even more impressive in the flesh and stands as a symbol to America’s westward expansion; the ‘gateway to the West’.
Most of us have heard of New York’s Central Park, but few of us are aware that St Louis plays home to a park that’s 528 acres bigger! Forest Park offers peace, tranquillity and stunning scenery. However, if nature just isn’t exciting enough for little ones, it also houses a number of attractions, including St Louis Zoo, a spectacular ice-rink and even a planetarium. Whether you pack a picnic or eat at one of the restaurants, it’s easy to spend a full day here. If you’re looking for another park to visit, the Missouri Botanical Garden, also known as “Shaw’s Garden,” is a popular spot for local and tourists alike.
If you want your trip to St Louis to combine entertainment and education, then look no further than the City Museum. You’ll find it in the Central West End district, a short walk from Forest Park. What sets this museum apart from others is the sheer imagination involved. Yes, your children will soak up some history, but it’ll be through interactive play rather than looking at static exhibits. Set in an old shoe factory, it’s an eclectic mix of reclaimed and recycled goods and historical artefacts. You’ll find old chimneys, salvaged bridges – and even two abandoned airplanes!
If you’re going to travel to St Louis, you might as well do as the locals do – which certainly means a trip to the baseball game. Busch Stadium, on Clark Street, is home to the St Louis Cardinals and, if you can get a ticket to a game, you’ll very quickly understand why this game is the city’s favourite sport. Located across the street from the ballpark is the Cardinals Hall of Fame, where you can learn about the storied history of the baseball team.
If you’re not a fan of crowds and cheering, you could always churn up the 'Big Muddy' in a replica steamboat. These are best caught on the banks of the Mississippi, up by the Gateway Arch. There are various types of cruises available, from those with old-time pianos rattling out tunes to smaller boats that you can charter yourself.
St Louis is famous for its music and has launched a number of big stars, including Chuck Berry and Tina Turner. There are countless music venues to be found, where you can hear everything from traditional bluegrass to blues and rock. Venues to look out for include BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups (which tells you exactly what you’re getting), Blueberry Hill, where Chuck Berry still performs, and The Pageant, which is where you’ll see up-and-coming bands.
Food in St Louis is an integral part of the culture and you’ll see people sharing meals in the various cafés and restaurants from dawn until dusk. If you don’t know your way around the food, then your trip to St Louis will open your eyes to a unique cuisine that’s evolved with all the different nations who made it their home. For a taste of traditional-style cooking, sample Squirrelfish: fish that’s scored, deep-fried and served up to look like a squirrels’ tail. Add some carmine sweet and sour sauce and you’re transported back to the time of the first settlers.
For a taste of Creole cuisine, seek out a dish known as Creole Midnight snack. If you’re expecting a bowl of cereal, you’re in for a shock! What you’ll get is toasted brioche, topped with a jumbo prawn, smothered in remoulade sauce, and capped off with a poached egg.
However, if you fancy some fine dining as part of your trip to St Louis then look out for some of the city's better restaurants on Chesterfield Airport Road. Local ingredients pay tribute to St Louis, but the cooking techniques are a fabulous fusion of French, American, Irish and Vietnamese cuisines.
St Louis has changed a lot in its relatively short lifetime and the days of the hardware store and the greengrocer’s are long past. Modern St Louis boasts more shopping malls than actual street shops, making the whole shopping experience big, bold and exciting. They’re more than just shopping centres; you can eat there and even hunt out some entertainment.
The Mills on St Louis Mills Boulevard is the biggest of all the malls, offering brand-name shops, outlet stores and good restaurants. There’s even an ice-hockey centre for those who’d rather not be dragging around the stores.
International flights to St Louis will land at Lambert-St Louis International Airport, where you’ll find plenty of taxis and car hire facilities.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to St Louis please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: United States Dollar (USD)
Voltage: 120 V 60 Hz
Plugs: Type A / B
International dialing code: +1