With a population of more than 300,000 people, St Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri. The city is situated on the bank of the Mississippi River, near the Illinois state line and about halfway between Kansas City and Indianapolis. Because of its location and access to multiple waterways and land routes to the Midwest, St Louis has long been known as the “Gateway City” and has been a major port city since its early beginnings. Founded by fur traders in 1764, the city is named after notable French monarch King Louis IX. With its history as a staging area for westward expansion, as a primary industry and transportation hub, and as one of the country’s musical and baseball capitals, St Louis is a significant part of America’s DNA. The city is known for its impressive Gateway Arch which, at 630 feet, is the tallest monument in America.
With hot and humid weather, April to September is the peak traveling time, while the winter period of December to February is associated with cold weather with a low of around 23 degrees, and an average of 16 inches of snow a year. Both temperature extremes of 0 degrees Fahrenheit and 100 degrees Fahrenheit can be experienced two to three times a year. Thunderstorms, sometimes severe, can be expected in early spring.
Performing arts are a feature of St Louis life, with jazz, blues, and ragtime giving the city its musical personality. The second oldest symphony orchestra in America, the St Louis Symphony, was founded here in 1880. Owing to its French roots and history of Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and Germany, St Louis has a strong Roman Catholic identity, boasting the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis as one of its landmarks. Also stemming from its French roots, the city hosts the second largest Madi Gras parade in the country, behind New Orleans. Some of the best Italian food in America can be found in the area known as the Hill and is home to specialties such as toasted ravioli and St Louis-style pizza, known for its thin crust, sauce, and a generous helping of Provel cheese. And to cap it off, try out some gooey butter cake, a dessert invented in the 1930s.
For lovers of nature, the Mark Twain National Forest is less than a hundred miles away. For those who prefer to explore cultural attractions, you can make your way to Forest Park, on the edge of the city. You can find the St Louis Art Museum, St Louis Science Center, and the Missouri History Museum. The St Louis Zoo, recognized for its leadership in animal management, research, conservation, and education, can also be found here. Visitors on a budget will be pleased to know that St Louis has more free tourist attractions than any city other than Washington DC.
St Louis is known for sport, having won titles in all four major leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL). The city is also home to the famous St Louis Cardinals, one of the nation’s oldest and most successful professional baseball clubs, and the St Louis Blues of hockey fame. It is also home to the world-famous St Louis Chess Club. In 1904 St Louis became the third city in the world to host the modern Olympics.
For those coming to St Louis for longer than a visit, the average household income is $41,000, 74% of the national average. However, the average home value is around $132,000, though 57% of the population opts to rent a property. Income tax averages 6.4%, which is higher than the national average. Ten Fortune 500 companies are based in the Gateway City. The cost of living in St Louis is well above the national average. The city boasts three national research universities, among several other 4-year universities and colleges, and one of the top 10 medical schools in the country, the Washington University School of Medicine. Almost 20% of the population holds a bachelor’s degree, which is in line with the national average.
All in all, St Louis has plenty to offer whether you’re stopping by for a vacation or you plan on staying a lot longer. It boasts a varied mix of cultural, historical, natural, and tourist attractions to keep any eager visitor delightfully entertained.