I’ve strolled, sailed, or driven, beneath some of the most famous man-made
arches in the world. To name a few… the Arc de
Triumph in Paris, France…Gateway to India in Mumbai,
India…Brandenberg Gate in Berlin, Germany…Arch of Constantine in Rome,
Italy…Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, Spain…Rua Augusta Arch in
Lisbon, Portugal…Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia…and the
playful yellow arches of McDonald Restaurants around the world.
But try as they may, no other arch does it better than the soaring
630-foot Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri. Clad
in stainless steel, this iconic arch is the tallest man-made monument in
the United States, and the world’s tallest arch. Designed by
renowned Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen, the Gateway Arch
commemorates the westward expansion of the United States. This
internationally recognized symbol of St. Louis, on the west bank of the Mississippi
River, was completed on October 28, 1965.
|THE GATEWAY ARCH|
Bienvenue à Saint Louis! It’s check-in time! Cozy up
with me at the Moonrise Hotel, an 8-story boutique hotel that opened
in April 2009. This quirky, yet sophisticated hotel, where the
largest man-made moon on earth revolves atop the Rooftop Terrace Bar,
has added new life to the vibrant Delmar Loop neighborhood.
The rooms at this whimsical hotel, all with moon-themed art, feature
first-class boutique accommodations you would expect in a luxury
hotel. Ten “Walk of Fame” suites are
individually themed and named after stars from the St. Louis Walk of
Fame. The hotel’s lighted staircase abuts
the Eclipse Restaurant, a St. Louis leader in modern American
The Moonrise Hotel combines Mid-western hospitality with urban chic and
comfy sleek boutique. The hotel’s prime location is
near the Blueberry Hill Restaurant & Music Club where
87-year old Chuck Berry is still rockin’ once a month.
|87-YEAR OLD CHUCK BERRY PERFORMING AT BLUEBERRY HILL|
However, let it be known that St. Louis (the “Gateway City” and hometown
of “Mad Men” hunk Jon Hamm) has much more to offer than an
arch. Come “Meet Me in St. Louis”, and I’ll show you a lot more than
Judy Garland would have when she serenaded you to meet her at The Fair.
In 1904, the world traveled to St. Louis for the Louisiana Purchase Exposition,
more commonly known as the World’s Fair. A taste of The World’s
Fair can still be seen in the 1300-acre Forest Park. The
Grand Basin, the centerpiece of the Fair, remains the crowning jewel in
Forest Park. The St. Louis Art Museum, overlooking the Grand
Basin, served as the Fine Arts Palace during the Fair. Sir
David Chipperfield designed the adjacent new wing.
|THE GRAND BASIN IN FOREST PARK|
A massive walk-through birdcage, which served as the Smithsonian
Flight Cage exhibit, can now be found as part of the Zoo’s Bird
Garden. An addition to Forest Park in 1936 is The Jewel
Box, an Art Deco greenhouse that is listed on the National
The Jefferson Memorial Building section of the Missouri History Museum in
Forest Park was built entirely with proceeds from the 1904 St. Louis
World’s Fair. Bixby’s Restaurant, located in the museum, offers
stunning views of Forest Park in a contemporary atmosphere.
The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, designed by Pritzker
Prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando, was opened in
2001. Cocooned behind glass-smooth “Ando” concrete walls,
the Pulitzer was a gift of Emily Rauh Pulitzer, widow of
newspaper scion Joseph Pulitzer Jr. Many graduates of
Cincinnati’s Walnut Hills High School, like myself, might remember Emily
Rauh from WHHS.
|EMILY RAUH PULITZER (left) WITH JANET STEINBERG|
123-ton torqued spiral steel sculpture in the Pulitzer’s courtyard is
aptly named “Joe” after the late Joseph Pulitzer Jr. To
me, it was reminiscent of Serra’s rolled steel “A
Matter of Time” through whose narrow curving passageway I had
recently slithered at The Guggenheim in Bilbao, Spain. “Twain”,
another Serra sculpture, can be seen downtown at Gateway Plaza.
The Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, opened in May 1995, provides a
chronological history of the Holocaust with personal accounts of
Holocaust survivors who immigrated to St. Louis. Museum exhibits guide
visitors through pre-war Jewish life in Europe, the rise of
Nazism and events during the Holocaust, and post-war events including
the Nuremberg Trials and Jewish life after the Holocaust.
The Cathedral Basilica, called ”the outstanding cathedral of the Americas”
by Pope Paul VI, contains mosaics created with over 41,500,000 tiles
in more than 8,000 shades of color.
BASILICA OF ST. LOUIS
On the St. Louis Walk of Fame, more than 140 bronze stars and
informational plaques are embedded in the sidewalk along Delmar
Boulevard in the diverse Loop neighborhood (so named for an old
streetcar turnaround). Each star honors a famous St. Louisan.
If breweries are your thing, you can explore the
world-famous Anheuser-Busch Brewery with a tour of the historic Brew
House, Budweiser Clydesdale stables, lager cellar, packaging
plant, hospitality room, and Anheuser-Busch gift shop. To
drink some of that beer, head to Ballpark Village, a $100 million
multi-level entertainment complex adjacent to Busch
Stadium. The Budweiser Brew House offers 239 beer taps.
All touring and no dining is not a good idea. So for dinner,
head to dinner at Charlie Gitto’s On the Hill, the quintessential
Italian restaurant in St. Louis’s Italian neighborhood. Toasted
ravioli (“T-Ravs”), a signature St. Louis dish, was born in 1947 in
the kitchen of Charlie Gitto’s On the Hill when a careless chef
accidentally dropped traditional ravioli in hot oil instead of water.
St. Louis sweet specialties come in all tastes, shapes, and
sizes. The Fountain on Locust features ice cream martinis;
sea salt caramels are Kakao Chocolate’s famous confection;
and Gooey Butter Cake originated in St. Louis.
However, when your sweet tooth really starts aching, head to Ted Drewes
Frozen Custard, an iconic Route 66 attraction that’s been around
since 1941. The specialty here is concrete…edible, of course.
Concretes are über-thick milkshakes made from vanilla frozen custard and
blended with any number of sweet treats. Instead of driving on
concrete on the renowned “Mother Road” of St. Louis, your taste buds
will be savoring Drewes unique concrete.
|EDIBLE CONCRETE AT TED DREWES|
Surely, you’ll get your kicks on Route 66.
|ROUTE 66 IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI|
JANET STEINBERG is an award-winning Travel Writer and Travel Consultant.