St. Louis, MO

Destination Location

  • 38.6270, -90.1994:primary
  • 38.748697, -90.370028:secondary

Overview

St Louis, MO – Meet me in St. Louis

Known as The Gateway to the West, St. Louis was the last major post before founding pioneers journeyed west towards the Pacific. Global travellers arrived in St. Louis for the 1904 World's Fair, which celebrated Thomas Jefferson's dream of a continental United States and to honour the legendary explorers, Lewis and Clark, and their journey to the west. The fair attracted millions of people from countries all over the world, and many showcased their unique cultural offerings, entertained and sold goods from home to fairgoers. The fair was a formative event for this city and its effects remain an evident piece of St. Louis' cultural identity.

St. Louis is indeed a city of neighbourhoods, each adding a distinct cultural flavour and perspective to this city's identity. The city is host to vast and varied green-space, museums and historical exhibits, theatre and live performance venues and world class restaurants. Forest Park is 500 acres larger than New York's Central Park and some of St. Louis' renowned cultural attractions are located here. The 1300 acre space is also host to an old World Fair remnant: an enormous walk-through birdcage that served as the Smithsonian Flight Cage exhibit. It can now be found as part of the St. Louis zoo's bird garden and visitors can walk through the domed structure.

The famed Anheuser-Busch brewery, most known for its signature brew Budweiser, is a name many visitors are familiar with. For those more interested in sampling beverages from a local brewery, the St. Louis Brewery's Schlafly microbrews are likely to satisfy. Delmar Loop is St. Louis' home of hipsters, and is great for people watching, while the University City Loop is one of the best places in St. Louis to fulfill your trendy shopping needs. Fans of Italian food should head over to a neighbourhood known as "the Hill." The Hill has more Italian restaurants than any other area in the city. Cunetto's House of Pasta, Favazzas, Zia's Restaurant, and Rigazzi's Restaurant stand out amongst the host of available top-shelf Italian food.

Not only at the top of visitors lists for libations and nosh, St. Louis also boasts impressive national sports teams. This city is home to the MLB's 2011 World Series champions the St. Louis Cardinals, as well as NFL's St. Louis Rams and NHL's St. Louis Blues. Sports-fans are sure to get their fill at any time of the year.

St. Louis' iconic Gateway Arch is located in the heart of the city and attracts more than four million visitors each year. Standing over 600 feet tall, this is the nation's tallest man-made monument, and includes the Journey to the Top and the Museum of Westward Expansion and shopping. Any trip to St. Louis isn't complete without standing at the Gateway Arch base and snapping a few scrapbook worthy photos. While in the area, visitors can also take a ride down the Mississippi River on replica 19th-century paddle boats conveniently located on the riverfront by the Gateway Arch.

Much like its icons Lewis and Clark, this great city is best visited with a spirit of exploration. For more information about what to see and do, visit explorestlouis.com.

WestJet is pleased to offer service to this destination through our code-share agreement with our great airline partners.

Destination basics

The Mississippi River makes this area humid, though temperatures are generally moderate. July and August are hottest and most humid, and January and February are cool, with occasional snow. Usual temperatures range from -6°C in the winter to 32°C in the summer (21°F to 90°F). St. Louis experiences thunderstorms 48 days a year on average. These storms can often be severe and especially so in the spring. Make sure to pack your rain boots and umbrellas if you're travelling this time of year. Occasionally late autumn weather is warmer than usual, this weather is known as an Indian summer; some years see roses in bloom as late in the season as early December.

St. Louis, which began experiencing an influx of immigrants from Europe in the mid-1800s, offers a variety of fine ethnic fare, including some of the best traditional Italian cuisine on this side of the Atlantic. While St. Louis may not be as widely known for its restaurants as some other American cities, it contains a wealth of good eating options—from elegant to casual—for the hungry traveler to discover.

Downtown
Downtown St. Louis offers an exciting and eclectic mix of dining choices. For a breathtaking view of downtown St. Louis you can't beat Harry's Restaurant & Bar, a favorite stop for business professionals.

The Loop (University City)
Brandt's Market & Cafe is known for its gourmet food and fine selection of wine and beer. Cicero's specializes in traditional Italian cuisine, and also has a popular bar and game area.  The menu at Vietnam Star is long and impressive, and contains many dishes from the country, many of which are also vegetarian. Shu Feng fuses Chinese and Korean to form inventive creations that appeal to many diners.

The Hill
The neighborhood known as "The Hill" is the place where baseball legend Joe Garagiola grew up (right down the street from Yogi Berra), and it is still largely populated by descendants of the Italian immigrants who began settling in St. Louis in 1857. The lawns are well-manicured, the community is close-knit and the food is world class. Cruise through this area in the southwest quadrant of St. Louis and you'll find fine formal dining and mom-and-pop eateries with red-checkered tablecloths. St. Louisans celebrate special occasions with the elegant Northern Italian cuisine at Dominic's. Crowds flock to Gian-Peppe's for arguably the most delicious Marsala sauce in town. LoRusso's Cucina regales diners with seafood pasta specialties, while patrons often wait one or two hours for dinner at Cunetto House of Pasta.

St. Louis experienced a population boom during the late 1800s when German and Italian immigrants settled in large numbers, and thanks to the work of several visionary thinkers, the city became home to the first concrete stadium (Francis Field at Washington University), the first skyscraper (the Wainwright Building) and the first ice cream cone (served at the 1904 World's Fair), among other novel creations. A mix of Old World charm and modern life continues to be a hallmark of this vibrant Midwestern city, in which each neighborhood has its own history and unique character.

Downtown
This area offers most visitors their first impression of the city, greeting them with its signature Gateway Arch, historic Union Station, the Old Courthouse and Busch Stadium, where the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team plays their home games. The once industrial area of Laclede's Landing is now home to some of the city's favorite restaurants and finest hotels, as well as an entertainment district that features live music ranging from pop to jazz.

Soulard
This old, well-established neighborhood is situated south of Downtown. Here you will find a fine selection of jazz and blues clubs as well as the gargantuan outdoor Soulard Farmer's Market, which sells fresh produce, flowers and bakery items. It is the largest continually operating open-air market west of the Mississippi River. Visitors will also find the Anheuser-Busch Brewery and the Bowling Hall of Fame in this area.

South Grand
A large Asian community resides in the South Grand area, offering a tantalizing selection of Asian restaurants on nearly every block. This neighborhood also contains Tower Grove Park and the expansive Missouri Botanical Gardens.

The Hill
Settled by Italian immigrants in the late 1800s, this area still offers some of the best traditional Italian fare this side of the Atlantic. Gian-Peppe's and Dominic's are highly recommended by the locals to those in search of fine Italian dining. Pride runs deep in this old neighborhood with well-tended lawns, where even the fireplugs sport the red, green and white of the Italian flag. The St. Louis Art Museum and the St. Louis Science Center can also be found in this district.

Central West End
The heart of the Central West End is Forest Park, which is larger than Central Park in New York City and is home to several free attractions, including the St. Louis Zoo. Treed neighborhoods here feature stately homes from the early 1900s as well as bookshops, art galleries and coffee houses. Home to a large segment of St. Louis' gay community, this district also contains the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis and its breathtaking array of mosaic art.

Lafayette Square
The largely restored Lafayette Square neighborhood has nearly 400 Victorian-era homes, along with many charming restaurants and bed and breakfasts. The neighborhood circles the 30-acre Lafayette Park, the first public park to be established west of the Mississippi River. Though still in the middle of a major urban center, you'll feel like you're in a small town here.

The Loop (University City)
Called "The Loop" by locals, University City lies north of Washington University and is home to The Tivoli Theater movie palace as well as Blueberry Hill, where Chuck Berry still performs his rock standards on occasion. The area also boasts a diverse selection of affordable ethnic eateries, including Thai, Indian and Vietnamese.

St. Charles
The quaint historic town of St. Charles, which borders St. Louis proper, includes the restored First Missouri State Capitol as well as the Frenchtown Historic District, with its antique and gift shops, tearooms and restaurants. The entire downtown area of St. Charles—all 26 blocks—is on the National Register of Historic Places. Visitors will be charmed by its gaslights, brick streets and colonial ambiance.

St. Louis is a vibrant Midwestern city that is always on the move. The city's people work hard, and they take their leisure time just as seriously. Devoted fans pack the sports arenas, eating hot dogs on warm summer days and sipping hot chocolate on chilly fall nights as they cheer for their favorite pro teams. Theaters and nightclubs provide diverse nighttime entertainment options, while parks, museums and other attractions fill the daytime roster with activities for the whole family.

Sports
Professional sports teams entertain fans on a year-round basis, forming an integral part of the city's fiber. The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team has been a longtime favorite with the home crowd and plays throughout the summer at Busch Stadium. The St. Louis Rams football team, winners of 2000's Super Bowl XXXIV, packs the Trans World Dome downtown, while ice hockey enthusiasts flock to Savvis Center to cheer on the St. Louis Blues, who have called the city home since forming in 1967.

Racing fans will find two tracks featuring professional events across the Mississippi River in Illinois. The Gateway International Raceway, situated 10 minutes from downtown in Madison, plays host to NASCAR, NHRA and Indy Racing events.

Nature and Parks
Nature lovers and outdoors enthusiasts can head to the child-friendly Grant's Farm, with its 160-acre animal preserve, which is always a family favorite. The world-class St. Louis Zoo offers free admission and features 650 species of animals. For a gentle wildlife encounter, head to the Butterfly House and Education Center, where nothing stands between the spectator and the myriad colorful butterflies in flight.

St. Louis' city parks offer a collective oasis of calm in the midst of all the urban hustle and bustle. The 1,300-acre Forest Park not only provides a home for the zoo and art museum, it also offers boat rentals, tennis courts, a skating rink and a track for biking, jogging and inline skating. Tower Grove Park, a 300-acre retreat, recreates an old English garden, complete with gazebos and castle "ruins."

Theater
St. Louis offers a variety of theater experiences, from open-air performances at the Muny to old-fashioned grandeur and opulence at the restored Fox Theatre. Dinner theaters such as the Bissell Mansion and the Lemp Mansion invite guests to join in the fun as participants in comedy and mystery performances.

Opera, Ballet and Symphony
If musical theater is the ticket you're after, St. Louis also offers plenty of opera, ballet and symphony performances. The nationally recognized Opera Theatre of St. Louis features different shows each season, which are performed in English and accompanied by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. This orchestra also presents its own season of classical, pop and jazz concerts at the historic Powell Symphony Hall. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Ballet touring company has assembled talent from around the globe for its well-staged performances of such productions as The Nutcracker.

Museums and Galleries
St. Louis' museums and galleries offer something for everyone. If you're looking for something offbeat, check out the life-like figures of the Beatles and Henry VIII at Laclede's Landing Wax Museum. The St. Louis Art Museum features 30,000 pieces, including works by Rembrandt and Picasso.

If an afternoon in the museums inspires a yen to take some art home with you, there are plenty of excellent galleries in the city to satisfy you. Kodner Gallery has a fine exhibit of 18th to 20th Century art, including pieces by Picasso and Jasper Johns.

Landmarks
St. Louis is also home to several sites of interest for history buffs. The Old Courthouse (site of the Dred Scott slavery trial), the architecturally impressive Wainwright Building and the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch are three popular attractions that are located downtown. Visit the lavish Samuel Cupples House, a 42-room mansion built in 1889 or, if you find yourself humming a ragtime tune, the St. Louis home of Scott Joplin, who popularized that musical genre in the early 1900s.

Nightlife
A night on the town can offer lively entertainment, whether it entails catching an up-and-coming act at the Funny Bone Comedy Club or spending a quiet evening at AESOP'S Coffee House. Live music goes on nightly in the city. Chuck Berry performs occasionally at Blueberry Hill, while jazz is featured at Brandt's Market & Cafe. Live folk and rock acts are featured at Off Broadway, a favorite spot with locals, who fill the dance floor nightly. Finally, with its cocktail bar and cigar lounge, Velvet is a dance club with a sophisticated twist.

St. Louis

State: Missouri

Country: United States

St. Louis by the Numbers
Population: 315,685 (city); 2,916,400 (metropolitan)
Elevation: 466 feet / 142 meters
Average Annual Precipitation: 41 inches / 104 centimeters
Average Annual Snowfall: 15 inches / 38 centimeters
Average January Temperature: 30°F / -1.1°C
Average July Temperature: 80°F / 26.7°C

Quick Facts

Electricity: 110 volts, 60Hz, standard two pin plugs

Time Zone: GMT-6; Mountain Standard Time (MST)

Country Dialing Code: 1

Area Code: 314

Did You Know?

In 1904, St. Louis was the first American city to host the Olympic Games.

Orientation

St. Louis is located just south of the "Meeting of the Rivers," where the Missouri and Illinois Rivers join the Mississippi River. The city is about 248 miles (399 kilometers) east from Kansas City and 295 miles (475 kilometers) southwest from Chicago, IL.

St. Louis stood as a gateway to the west long before the famed St. Louis Arch was erected, before Six Flags flew over St. Louis and before Anheuser-Busch brewed its first beer. French explorers Marquette and Joliet discovered the mouth of the Missouri River in 1673; St. Louis was founded as a fur trading post nearly 100 years later, in 1764, by Pierre Laclede and René Auguste Choutou, who named the town after France's King Louis IX.

However, St. Louis' history actually began long before the 18th century. Historians think Native Americans built earthen dwellings here in 400 BC and may have roamed this area more than 1,000 years before that. While Europe was in the Middle Ages, this rich culture vanished for reasons that still elude historians.

Founded in 1779, Soulard Farmers' Market continues to operate today as the oldest continually running farmers' market west of the Mississippi River. Ulysses S. Grant, who later became the 18th president of the U.S., once peddled goods there.

By 1804, St. Louis was the hub of the American fur trade and had become the starting point for Lewis and Clark's explorations of the Louisiana Territory. Ever a river city, St. Louis saw its first steamboat on the mighty Mississippi River in 1817 and, due to its central location, has since continued to grow as a transportation hub. The city experienced a population boom beginning in 1857 when the railroad arrived, bringing Irish, German and Italian immigrants with it. The Italian Hill, the German-populated South Side and the Jewish-populated community in Mid-County offer just a sampling of the ethnic diversity of St. Louis. (The Hill still serves up some of the best traditional Italian cuisine this side of the Atlantic.)

In 1850, St. Louis witnessed a landmark trial that had repercussions across the nation. In what is now known as the Old Courthouse, a slave named Dred Scott was given his freedom. However, the original ruling was overturned in both the Missouri and United States Supreme Courts in what is known as the Dred Scott Decision. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Missouri sided with the Union; however, the state remained divided between slave owners and abolitionists.

Forest Park, founded in 1876, continues to be visited by millions annually. In addition to the world-class St. Louis Zoo, the park boasts 38 tennis courts, 20 baseball fields, a skating rink, two free golf courses, a cricket field and even a croquet course. The park began its ambitious development phase in 1911 when Dwight Davis (for whom tennis' Davis Cup is named) took over as park commissioner.

More than 100 years ago, the St. Louis Union Station was built and at one time served more than 250 trains a day. Now the huge structure, with its gothic clock tower, houses a popular mall filled with stores and eateries.

St. Louis is home to the world's first skyscraper—the Wainwright Building, built in 1891— and the first concrete stadium in the country, Washington University's Francis Field, constructed for the 1904 Olympic Games. 1904 was also the year St. Louis hosted the World's Fair, immortalized by Judy Garland's rendition of "Meet Me in St. Louis" from the 1944 film of the same name. The fair brought worldwide attention to St. Louis for several months and gave many fairgoers their first tastes of hot dogs and ice cream cones. However, the event cost the city $50 million to stage, and while composer and ragtime popularizer Scott Joplin had people humming a lively tune, construction and development would come to a near standstill in St. Louis for more than a decade. People who had moved to the city for jobs at the fair eventually found themselves out of work as the economy continued to suffer.

The folks of St. Louis did get a boost in pride in 1926 when baseball's St. Louis Cardinals won the first of their nine World Series titles. (You can still watch the Cardinals play at Busch Stadium, for as little as USD7.) A year later, Charles Lindbergh's non-stop transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis gave the city an additional self-esteem lift.

Still, there were hard times during the Great Depression, although St. Louis fared better than many other cities because, then as now, its economy did not rely on any single industry. After World War II, St. Louis became a leader in airplane and automobile production, and Boeing and Chrysler remain two of the city's largest employers.

The famed Route 66, which gained popularity in the 1940s and 50s as it enticed motorists to drive cross-country, runs through "St. Louie." To get a feel for the charm that used to line America's dream drive, check out Ted Drewes Frozen Custard Stand. Lines are long, but the legendary thick, rich ice cream tastes as good today as it did to weary travelers mid-century. The 1950s also brought rock 'n' roll and the explosion of St. Louis native Chuck Berry onto the national scene. Berry still performs at Blueberry Hill every month or so, although shows sell out quickly.

The 630-foot Gateway Arch, perhaps the city's most identifiable icon, was completed in 1965 as a memorial to the great westward expeditions launched from here, including that of Lewis and Clark.

Underneath the city of St. Louis lies a series of connected, meandering caves, thought to be the largest concentration of natural caves in any city on the planet. Now sealed off, these caves once provided a haven and a secret passageway for fugitives, Native Americans and beer brewers. Meramec Caverns, 60 miles form St. Louis, still allows visitors to tour some of the caves and take a peek into Jesse James' infamous escape route and hideaway.

St. Louis itself is much like the caves hidden beneath its pavement: Unassuming at first glance, it still awaits discovery, offering world-class restaurants, top-notch professional sports, a rich musical heritage and a friendly people who still welcome explorers.

Points of interest in St. Louis, MO

See all points of interest St. Louis, MO

Departing from:

^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions.

*Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

Explore our world.

or find your dream vacation with our Vacation finder