The Greatest Place to Stand on the Mississippi River - St. Louis Gateway Arch

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Recent History and Attractions

I remember St. Louis for many reasons and one of the most memorable is the view available upon driving into the city from the east. The panorama of the Mississippi River and the Arch are unforgettable; and since the Jefferson extension park has risen around the Arch district, the view is more astounding. Flying in from the east is also a great view, because from a certain angle of descent and circling during landing, the Arch looks as though it is rotating.

The St. Louis McDonald's Restaurants served the McChicken® Sandwich long before units in Ohio were able to produce it - and it was bigger than it is today. The all white-meat chicken patty was the size of a Quarter Pounder® when it was first marketed, whereas, today it is a smaller snack on the $1.00 menu.

The Arch and the Mississippi (flipstar45 on YouTube)

Symbol of Adventure, Expansion, and New Things

The first McDonald's on a Riverboat was stationed in the Mississippi River near the Gateway Arch, the second being built to the east, in Cincinnati, on the Ohio River. Both were fun to visit and attracted new visitors to those river cities. The riverboat McD's are gone, but the memories remain.

In recent years, the Food Network's Alton Brown filmed Feasting on Asphalt, his chronicle of good dining establishments from New Orleans to Minnesota along the famous river on which a young Mark Twain piloted riverboats.

The entertaining Brown and his crew motorcycled up along the Mississippi RIver over the course of several weeks in the leter 2000s, and St. Louis was one of their stops. It is a must on any Mississippi trip.

Tours up and down the Mississippi on showboats are still offered in the 2010s, going all the way New Orleans and back. They make a good set of inland cruises, visiting the waterfronts of several cities. .

Forest Park

Several buildings from the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair still stand in a park in St. Louis and are museums. This is Forest Park, which attracts many visitors to its museums, galleries, and zoo. One historic building holds a planetarium and museum in which I saw a hologram for the first time. Friends and I also listened to a lecture about Betty and Barney Hill and their 1961 UFO abduction (I always wondered if Betty and Barney Rubble from The Flintstones were named for them). Such presentations are a mainstay of the Forest Park museums.

James S. McDonnell Planetarium

The James S. McDonnell Planetarium was built in en:1963 and remoded in the mid-1980s.
The James S. McDonnell Planetarium was built in en:1963 and remoded in the mid-1980s.

Additional Forest Park Attractions

Forest Park Venue 
Activities 
Forest Park Zoo 
Free Admission and many activities. Still has the 1904 Flight Cage. 
Missouri History Museum 
Flights of Charles Lindbergh, the 1904 World's Fair, the Louisiana Purchase. 
St. Louis Art Museum 
Natrive American to Ancient Chinese to Modern Arts. 
Municipal Theater Association 
Entertainment and arts promotion. 
The Jewel Box 
Greenhouse and horticultural events. Built by the WPA in 1936 under FD Roosevelt.
Dwight Davis Tennis Center 
Tennis training, play, and competition. 
The Boathouse 
A restaurant and boat rental. Paddle Boat rentals for the park's lakes. 
The Jones Visitor and Education Center 
Former trolley station. Events, cafe, bike rentals.  
Skating Rink 
Ice skating in winter and beach volleyball in summer. Cafe. 
World's Fair Pavilion
Huge shelter house and catering. (See photo)
Courses at Forest Park
A group of well known golf courses; the Highlands Golf and Tennis Center is where the famous Jimmy Connors started.
Cabanne House
Originally a fur traders house, it has been rebuilt three times and is an event venue.
Other 
Lakes, hiking trails, forested areas. 

St Louis Zoo

World's Fair Pavilion

A markerForest Park, St. Louis MO -
Forest Park, 5595 Grand Dr, St Louis, MO 63112, USA
[get directions]

Great Mississippi Landmarks

The St. Louis Arch is also called the Gateway to the West as a centerpiece for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial near the Mississippi Waterfront in the downtown district. As the centerpiece, the Arch was chosen by readers' votes in 2009 as the 49th Greatest Place to Stand in the USA out of 100 great places for photography and conversation named on StoodThere.com. That website also presents a Greatest 100 on the planet, in the UK, and in Europe.

Past the memorial park, the downtown ares is full of shops, businesses, hotels, and other venues. I remember historic cathedrals that we toured downtown, with life sized statues of angels near the platforms and beautiful stain glassed windows and panels. .

We found a K-Mart located on top of a street level parking lot downtown, where you drove a ramp up to the store and another parking lot -- It is probably no longer in existence. The Holiday Inns and Travel Lodges were top notch hotels, as was the St. Lousian in Downtown St. Louis. We sat in the cafe of that hotel, talked, and watched the buses run every 5 minutes one night as we met other travelers and enjoyed the friendliness of the waitresses.

The public transit system provided frequent transportation and numerous routes. A large shopping mall just west of town is much larger than ost of our Midwestern malls. A little further to the west along US Route are famous caverns that have been featured in television game show stunts.

I advise spedning a least a week in the St. Louis area, visiting the Arch, the Jefferson park, Forest Park, the local caverns, and some of the other sights listed below.

Meramec Caves

Caves and People

On the old Art Linkletter Show, Art liked to match couples up and often used the UNIVAC computer to do so. Once, a couple met on the show without the help of the computer. Art paid for their wedding if they would agree to go to Meramec Caverns, dress as cave people and suddenly chase each other through the crowds of visitors. They agreed and had a great time on this "honeymoon." Unfortunately, they later divorced.

Missouri Botanical Garden

Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata), Sensory Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden
Chocolate Flower (Berlandiera lyrata), Sensory Garden, Missouri Botanical Garden | Source

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Comments 9 comments

jenubouka 4 years ago

I appreciate all the detailed info here. I tend to forget how sites here in the states are simply breath taking. What a great history lesson as well. Thank you


jblais1122@aol profile image

jblais1122@aol 4 years ago from Kansas City, Missouri, USA

I enjoyed your hub, nice to see a different perspective of places I know.


randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I have been to the St. Louis Arch before but did not know much about the area or the history of it when I visited. Thanks for this useful hub!


Teddletonmr profile image

Teddletonmr 4 years ago from Midwest USA

I enjoy a good baseball game and an overly priced warm beer at the ball park. Thanks for reminding us all about St. louis and it's many cool things to see and do.


chrisanto profile image

chrisanto 4 years ago from Philippines

I enjoy reading this hub, it makes me feel closer to this beautiful places. Thanks a lot you really excel in writing hubs.


Donna Huebsch profile image

Donna Huebsch 4 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

Very nice hub! I really like the way you incorporated a lot of different elements - informative text, gorgeous photos, videos, a table, and map...excellent!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 4 years ago from London, UK

I have never seen it in reality but I love the Mississippi river and St Louis. I don't know why but it fascinates me, especially the river. And those paddle-steamers they are beautiful. Thank you for your woinderful hub and photos.


oceansnsunsets profile image

oceansnsunsets 4 years ago from The Midwest, USA

Hi Patty, you mention many of my favorite places here, and some I have still yet to see. I love Missouri, and Saint Louis. If I hadn't moved to the Midwest I may never have discovered so much of it firsthand.

Thanks for sharing this information about a very wonderful place with so much to offer. Voted up, beautiful, awesome and interesting. Loved this!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Routes 40, 66 and _70 are fantastic routes for travel and sightseeing,s topping at towns along the way. I'm ready to go back.

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