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Old 03-29-2009, 04:25 PM
2 posts, read 3,315 times
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Hello everyone,

I am a student who will have two weekend days in your city and am looking for some general advice about what to see and where to go. First, I will not have a car. Is there a good bus system, or do you recommend renting a bike? What sites are most worth visiting (besides the arch of course, that's just a given)? Are there old forts, nice parks or hiking without needing a car to reach, or interesting historical sites or museums? Is it worth going up to Hannibal to see the Mark Twain memorabilia, and if so, is there any good way to travel there? Also, what parts of the city should I avoid (I'll be on my own)? Again, keep in mind that I am just a student with limited income.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 03-29-2009, 04:44 PM
Location: Leaving fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada
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I love the art museum. It's free. Saint Louis Art Museum: Home (http://www.slam.org/index.aspx?id=1 - broken link)
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Old 03-29-2009, 08:24 PM
Location: St Louis
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I would try the Anheuser Busch brewery, zoo, art museum which are all free. You may also want to look into the city museum downtown which is really a blast.
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Old 03-29-2009, 09:56 PM
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The above posts mention places of which any are located in Forest Park, an over 1300 acre urban park which houses tons of things and sites, most of which are free. You can spend all day there doing different things. I'd definitely make it one of your days.
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:32 AM
Location: in a pond with the other human scum
2,361 posts, read 2,535,745 times
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No one's addressed your travel restrictions, so I will. Like most US cities, St. LOuis doesn't have a really good public transport system-- it's buses (which are complicated and can involve multiple transfers) and MetroLink, the train. Go here for an overall description of your public transit options.

The good news is that both Forest Park and the Arch are right on the train line. The bad news is that teh Budweiser Brewery (which is very much worth seeing even if you're not that into beer) is a ways off the line, at S. 12th St. and Lynch St. Depending on your time, you may want to consider a taxi there-- it won't cost a lot. Make sure you get a phone number to call for a return taxi-- I don't know if there would be a taxi stand at the brewery, I wouldn't bet on it. Also, the train runs less often on weekends. Look at the schedule on the link. Look into getting a multi-ride pass of some sort if you think MetroLink will fit your needs.

People in St. Louis sometimes forget about the Arch (http://www.gatewayarch.com/Arch/index.aspx - broken link), but in addition to it being a spectacular monument in itself, there's a wonderful museum right at the base. Seriously consider buying a ticket in advance from that website to go up in the Arch-- the lift/train thingy that carries you to the top only makes so many runs and holds so many people. Forest Park is a very pretty park-- it was the location of the 1903 World's Fair and many of the buildings in the park were built for the fair. The art museum is fine if that's your thing and the price is certainly right. The exit before Forest Park is for Central West End, a very nice area that's a mix of shops, restaurants, coffee houses, and residences-- it kind of reminds me of how I remember Greenwich Village in NYC.

You didn't say when you were coming, but if it's during baseball season (April-September, October if they're lucky), the most popular thing to do in town is go to a Cardinals baseball game. Here's the team website, which will get you started on schedules and buying tickets at retail. I really don't know about the informal ticket market outside the stadium-- maybe it's good, maybe not. You always have a concern with buying counterfeit tickets that won't be honored.

Other than the Arch, there's just not a lot to do downtown-- even places to eat often close down weekends, because there aren't many people actually living there.

Which, sadly, leads me to another of your questions-- where to avoid due to safety. Um, first thing-- DO NOT take metroLink across the river into Illinois. The first few stops are all in East St. Louis, which has a justified reputation as being scary at best, dangerous at worst. During the week it might be better, might not-- I don't know. I make it a point not to go there. Ever. More generally, just don't set off on foot, wandering, almost anywhere outside of the sterile suburbs. I mean it. (I know I will get disagreement, but so be it) While the Central West End is lovely and will probably be leafy and green and lively when you come, a few blocks away are places where you damned well better not be wandering around after dark-- that could go for the CWE itself as well. I've known people who've been mugged on the street in the CWE at dark. Car breakins are common and there's a reason why all the residences there have barred windows and security systems. Also, Forest Park is not a place you want to be wandering around in after dark. Don't believe me? Check out this website to get a visual representation of crimes and arrests. St. Louis routinely is among the worst US cities for crime, all sorts of crime. And from the parent website of this board, here's more (# 5 for most crime per resident-- E. St. Louis is # 1).

Sadly, the best parts of StL, other than the Arch, are probably accessible only by car. There's a number of wonderful little eating places, but the first that comes to mind (Crown Candy Kitchen), a delightful little diner/ice cream parlor/candy store, is pretty much in the middle of one of the aforementioned scary areas (just north of downtown), and the second, Ted Drewes (http://www.teddrewes.com/Drewes.asp - broken link), perhaps the most famous frozen custard place in the world and an experience in itself, is several miles away from downtown and off MetroLink-- actually, I'm pretty sure that both locations are a ways away from MetroLink, but someone else can chime in and correct me if I'm wrong. To me, travel means finding things to eat and drink that I can't find at home, and StL is no exception. Find a bar or tavern that does good hamburgers or pizza and has good beer on tap, hang out with the locals, ask open-ended questions, hear their stories. I recommend that for travel anywhere in the world.

Last, Hannibal-- sorry, I can't recommend it. I don't even know if you could get up there, whether there's even bus service there from StL. I found it to be one big tourist trap that tries to capitalize on Twain's boyhood there.
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Old 03-30-2009, 08:11 PM
Location: St Louis
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There is actually a lot to do downtown these days. There has been numerous bars, dining options, and shops that have come online in the past few years and you can walk to all of them. You will be save in the CWE since the heart (Maryland & Euclid) is still about 8 blocks from any sketchy areas.
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Old 04-02-2009, 08:10 AM
Location: St. Louis
71 posts, read 297,656 times
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And to add to what Brickmama said..now that the weather's warmer most places downtown (Washington Ave) have their sidewalk tables out and you can sit outside and people watch and just relax. Also, places on Wash. are open on the weekends,most bars and restaurants will just open a little later in the day.

If you can at all afford it, go to a Card's game..even if you don't love baseball, the atmosphere is alot of fun. You can always find tickets on Stubhub.com (which are guaranteed so you don't have to worry about fakes etc..). You could probably get a ticket for around $35..and even cheaper if you don't mind sitting in the nosebleed.

Hope you enjoy your visit!
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Old 04-08-2009, 06:47 AM
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Thanks for all the great advice; I really appreciate it.
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