The Gateway Arch.
Whenever you ask a newcomer what they want to see in the city of St. Louis, that’s generally their answer. This mammoth monument to westward expansion was built in the 1960s. Since then it has become a proud symbol of our city, appearing on a majority of postcards and anything else associated with the region.
Nevertheless, the Arch is not the only thing St. Louis has to offer. My goal was to seek out some of the other unsung attractions that anyone’s visiting cousin from Cleveland might not know about. One such locale is the Delmar Loop.
This stretch of Delmar Boulevard on the border of St. Louis and University City is a vibrant example of the city life. This mixed-use district is locally renowned for its business options. Storefronts edge up to the street, and a mix of both well-known local businesses and quirky hole-in-the-wall shops live side by side. The Loop is patronized by many locals from contrasting walks of life; it’s a people-watcher’s dream come true. A walk down the street goes by many St. Louis favorites: Blueberry Hill, Vintage Vinyl, Fitz’s, and so much more crowd this section of Delmar. When work is complete on the new fixed-track Loop Trolley, weary pedestrians can simply hop onto a streetcar to get from one end of the district to the other.
Just past the hectic streetcar construction lies Forest Park. This urban forest cannot be fully enjoyed in just one day. Home of the Louisiana Exposition in 1904, the park is abounding in history and atmosphere. The St. Louis Art Museum, a remnant of the aforementioned fair, immerses its visitors in beautiful pieces of artwork, new and old. Afterward, take a touristy picture at Art Hill, visit the Missouri History Museum, catch a live show at The Muny, or trick your kids into having fun with education at the Science Center. And no visit to Forest Park is complete without a visit to the St. Louis Zoo. Despite the high quality of the attractions, admission into the museums and the Zoo is free. With its excellent views and beautiful landscaping, Forest Park is required for any visit to St. Louis.
But beyond the mighty woodlands of park, towering mightily over the motorists on the freeway, sits a rather notorious landmark: the giant Amoco sign at Clayton and Skinker. This enormous advertisement for the defunct oil company, from its perch above a gas station, sticks in the mind of anyone who happens to see it. Records show that this sign does indeed hold the dubious title of being the “world’s largest Amoco advertisement”_.
The Amoco sign may not be the most famous St. Louis landmark, nor are the Loop and Forest Park. The Arch may be a proud symbol of our heritage, but it’s often these lesser known attractions that keep tourists and locals alike coming back. So even if you don’t feel like going to the riverfront, St Louis still has a lot to offer.