36 Hours in St. Louis

The city, with its once-quiet, now-vibrant downtown, offers new restaurants, microbreweries and a rich array of cultural venues, including a museum that pays tribute to the blues.

The Eero Saarinen-designed Gateway Arch, the city's famous landmark, remains the same. But a four-year remodeling of Gateway Arch National Park reframes the monument’s connection to the city and to the westward migration it commemorates.

Before travelers could fly there, St. Louis, on the Mississippi River, was a natural point of continental convergence for rails, trails and sails, the gateway to the West in the 19th century. That traffic, and the industry that grew up around it, created a legacy of wealth and power that is reflected in the city’s architecture and memorials to its complex history.

These days, the downtown core, which boomed with industrialization in the early 20th century, and hollowed out with a rush to the suburbs thereafter, is filling up with new residences, hotel projects and cultural venues (including a museum dedicated to the blues).

You can still drink Budweiser in the massive factory where it’s made, but you’ll also find microbreweries that emphasize local ingredients; innovative takes on soul food at restaurants like Gourmet Soul; and flavors introduced by immigrant communities from the Balkans and beyond.


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