This itinerary includes a driving overview of Laclede’s Landing, the Old Cathedral, the Old Courthouse, Busch Stadium, City garden, a tram ride at the Gateway Arch, and stops at the Grand Hall at Union Station and the New Cathedral in Midtown. Guests to have lunch on own in the Central West End. If time permits, a driving overview of Forest Park.
Your guide will trace the history of St. Louis beginning with the city’s original settlement, Laclede’s Landing. It is now a nine-block historic district filled with renovated turn-of-the-century buildings housing shops, eateries and offices.
Visit the famous Gateway Arch, the Nation’s tallest monument, which commemorates the gateway to the west for thousands of 19th century pioneers. Take a tram ride to the top of this 630’ stainless steel architectural wonder and get a unique bird’s-eye view of St. Louis. Those not wanting to ride the tram may enjoy Monument to the Dream, the film documenting the construction of the Arch.
Enjoy a view of the Old Cathedral, the oldest cathedral west of the Mississippi. Across the street is the Old Courthouse, the setting for cases involving slavery, the fur trade and equal rights. Of these cases, the Dred Scott Freedom Trial is the most notable. You will pass Busch Stadium, home of the 2011 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Continuing west on Market Street, you will pass several of St. Louis’ civic buildings and plazas, as well as Citygarden, a unique urban oasis blending art, architecture and landscape. A stop at the Grand Hall at St. Louis Union Station, once the busiest rail terminal in the world, has undergone a magnificent renovation and is home to a luxury hotel and restaurants. A most impressive feature of the Grand Hall is the “Allegorical Window,” a hand-made stained-glass window with hand-cut Tiffany glass strategically positioned above the Station’s main entryway. The window features three women representing the main U.S. train stations during the 1890s — New York, St. Louis and San Francisco. When touring, note architect Theodore Link’s use of light as a decorative tool, the breathtaking 65-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling is actually suspended over the hall and the stained glass is original.
At the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, also known as the New Cathedral, you will see one of the largest collections of mosaics in the world – 84,000 square feet in 8,000 shades of tiny pieces of color! The tiny pieces of tessere and glass portray scenes from both the Old and New Testaments, the life of Saint Louis IX, King of France, and many men and women prominent in the history of St. Louis. If time permits explore the historic Central West End neighborhood, the Barnes-Jewish Hospital Complex and the mansions bordering Forest Park, fine examples of the “Golden Age” of St. Louis. Forest Park was the site of the 1904 World’s Fair and is one of the largest city parks in the United States. Today, the Park houses the world-famous Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum at the Jefferson Memorial, the Science Center and the Muny, among other attractions.