What's so special about the state of Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri - The Gateway to the West

Cosmopolitan, adventurous, exciting, friendly, multi-faceted - the famous "Spirit of St. Louis" once drew numerous people to the city in the US state of Missouri on the west bank of the Mississippi. But the “gateway to the west”, which was predicted to have a bright future at the beginning of the 20th century, is rusting. The population has been falling steadily since the 1950s, many properties have been abandoned and Saint Louis is now one of the most dangerous cities in the world. 25.5% of the population were below the poverty line in 2015.

Table of Contents
Location and Climate of St. Louis | Economy, population and infrastructure in St. Louis | Hotels, Apartments and Vacation Rentals | St. Louis and Crime | St. Louis for tourists | Tickets for attractions and activities | Things to do in and around St. Louis | A trip into the history of St. Louis | St. Louis and the Music | St. Louis in a nutshell


But even if the paint is a little off, the city, which is also called "The Gateway City", "Mound City", "The Lou" or "Nellyville", nonetheless has a lot to see for visitors and especially for children Offer.

Location and climate of St. Louis

St. Louis extends over an area of ​​around 170 km2, which is divided into around 160 km2 of land and 11 km2 of water. The entire city is built on terraces and cliffs that rise 30 to 60 meters above the western bank of the Mississippi River. It's a fertile area here on the economic lifeline of the Midwest, with low hills and wide, flat valleys. There are also many sinkholes and caves there.

The summers in St. Louis are hot and humid, the winters cold, with an average annual temperature of 13.9 degrees. In the transition zone between humid, continental and humid, subtropical climates, an average of 1040 mm of precipitation falls annually. Heavy thunderstorms occur frequently, especially in spring. The city is one of the metropolitan areas in the United States that is most frequently hit by tornadoes. In addition, there are always severe floods.

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Economy, population and infrastructure in St. Louis

In St. Louis, manufacturing makes up the largest proportion, followed by health and social and service sectors. However, the largest number of employees is in the health sector. Located on the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, St. Louis plays a major role in the transportation of bulk goods such as grain, coal, salt, certain chemicals, and petroleum products. Well-known local companies include Monsanto, Nestlè Purina Heimtierprodukte and the traditional Anheuser-Busch brewery.

The population has been falling steadily since the time after the Second World War, as more and more people move from the uninviting inner city to the more attractive suburbs. This is particularly evident in the area around St. Louis Lace Park and the formerly glamorous St. Louis Avenue. Horse-drawn trams used to run here, today the neglected ruins bear witness to the former splendor of the quarter, which at that time was predominantly inhabited by German immigrants. Many abandoned house lots have been converted into small green spaces, making St. Louis the "City of 1000 Parks" today.

There are two airports in the city, Lamberg-Saint Louis International Airport and the smaller regional MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. In addition, trains run several times a day to Chicago and Kansas City, once a day to Dallas and San Antonio in Texas and three times a week to Los Angeles. The city is connected to other major cities in the country via the I-44, I-55, I-64 and I-70 highways. There is also a light rail system in St. Louis. The "Route 66", whose original bridge over the Mississippi lies directly in St. Louis, has more historical significance.

Hotels, apartments and holiday homes

Hotels, apartments and vacation rentals in St. Louis can be found on the booking portal www.booking.com.


St. Louis and Crime

Unfortunately, St. Louis also gained inglorious fame when it topped the list of the most dangerous cities in the United States in 2006. In 2014 and 2015, it again topped the list of cities with the most homicides in the United States, ranking 15th in the world.

St. Louis for tourists

Even if the city seems uninviting at first glance, it still has a lot to offer tourists. We present some of the attractions here.

Museums and churches

City Museum

The City Museum, which has existed since 1997, has a colorful mix of topics and exhibits. Unlike in many other museums, many exhibits can also be touched here. Affiliated is the World Aquarium with alligators, sharks, sea turtles and otters. Official website: www.citymuseum.org.

St. Louis Art Museum

The St. Louis Art Museum is one of the most important art museums in the USA and houses over 30,000 exhibits, including a collection of German paintings from the 20th century and art from Oceania. In front of the building is the Apotheosis, probably the most famous statue in St. Louis. Official website: www.slam.org.

St. Louis Science Center

The Science Museum is one of the most visited museums in America and offers a Discovery Room especially for the little ones. Official website: www.slsc.org.

The Magic House, St. Louis Children's Museum

The Magic House of St. Louis is considered to be one of the best children's museums in the country and is intended to offer children practical learning experiences through experiments, among other things. Official website: www.magichouse.org.

Holocaust Museum (and Learning Center)

Many Holocaust survivors came to St. Louis because many Germans had already settled there in the 19th century. This makes the Holocaust Museum a very special walk through one of the darkest chapters of Jewish history with personal pictures, videos and objects and the stories of the people who found refuge in St. Louis. Official website: hmlc.org.

Missouri History Museum

This is where the history of the state of Missouri comes alive. For example, visitors can see authentic exhibits from the Lewis and Clark Expedition or Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic on the Spirit of St. Louis. Official website: mohistory.org.

Museum of Contemporary Religious Art

The MOCRA is the first interreligious museum of contemporary art and combines religious and spiritual topics. Official website: www.slu.edu/mocra.

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

The city's Catholic Church is built in the bzyantic style and houses the world's largest collection of mosaic art. Official website: cathedralstl.org.

Old Cathedral

The Old Cathedral was the first church in St. Louis and the first to be officially referred to as the Basilica of St. Louis. The 165 year old monument is home to the tomb of the first Bishop of St. Louis and many religious artifacts. Official website: www.oldcathedralstl.org.

Historical monuments

Cahokia Mounds

The largest city in pre-Columbian North America, Cahokia, was a center of the Mississippi culture, which was built or founded around 700 AD, about 10 kilometers north of today's downtown area on the then course of the Mississippi. The city is famous for its earth pyramids, called "mounds", the largest of which is longer on a side than the pyramids of Giza. The site of the former metropolis, which was abandoned by its residents around 1400, has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1982 and can be visited today. Many ancient finds await the visitor in the museum there, the remains of "Woodhenge", the wooden counterpart to Stonehenge, and of course the "mounds". Official website: cahokiamounds.org.

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial

This monument points to the starting point of the Lewis and Clark expedition and commemorates other events in history such as the Louisiana Purchase. The central structure of the memorial is the Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the country and the tallest arch in the world. This "gateway to the west" was equipped with a cabin transport system and offers a breathtaking view of the city and the Mississippi from its observation deck.

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

The White Haven Historic Site is located approximately 10 miles southwest of downtown St. Louis. It commemorates the life, military career and presidency of Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States. Five historic buildings have been preserved on the former slave-run plantation, including: the parental home of Ulysses S. Grant's wife. Official website: www.nps.gov/ulsg/.

Eads Bridge

Opened in 1874, the bridge, which connects the cities of St. Louis and East St. Louis and thus the states of Missouri and Illinois, is a popular historical landmark of the city.

For nature lovers

Missouri Botanical Garden

The green lung of St. Louis is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the United States. Many cultural events take place there over the course of the year. The attached butterfly garden in the suburb of Chesterfield is also worth seeing. Official website: www.missouribotanicalgarden.org.

St. Louis Zoo

The zoo in Forest Park is home to more than 19,000 animals from over 650 species on 36 hectares. A train drives over the zoo grounds. Official website: www.stlzoo.org.

Tickets for attractions and activities

Tickets for sights and activities in St. Louis can be found at www.getyourguide.de.

Things to do in and around St. Louis

At the foot of Eads Bridge, Laclede’s Landing is a popular destination for those who want to see what St. Louis looked like in its heyday in the 19th century. Today there are many bars, restaurants, souvenir shops and theaters, most of the facades are still the original facades from that time.

Another historic district is Old North St. Louis with its community gardens and the "Crown Candy Kitchen", which has existed since 1913, with its many historical furnishings. The Anheuser Busch St. Louis Brewery and Tour Center with its beautiful beer garden is located in the historic district of Soulard.

Sports fans will not only get their money's worth with a visit to Busch Stadium at the famous St. Louis Cardinals, but also in Forest Park. There are among others. a tennis center, a golf course, a boathouse with rentals and an ice rink. If you want, you can also take a wonderful walk there or attend one of the many events.

But a ride in a hot air balloon or by steamboat or a visit to the Six Flags St. Louis amusement park are also worthwhile.

A trip into the history of St. Louis

When the first Europeans reached what is now St. Louis in the 17th century, they found the former metropolis of Cahokia deserted. Saint Louis itself was founded as a trading post in 1763 by the French trader Pierre Laclède Liguest and his stepson August Chouteau. The city was actually founded on February 15, 1764. After it had been under Spanish control for some time during the Seven Years' War in North America, it was finally returned to France in the Napoleonic War. The United States bought the city in 1803 as part of the Louisiana Purchase.

St. Louis was the starting point of many expeditions to the west, of which the Lewis and Clark Expedition is arguably the best known. Many settlers started a new and perhaps better future here at the “gateway to the west”. At the time, St. Louis was the fourth largest city in the United States and was predicted to have a bright future. Many Germans came to St. Louis, especially in the 19th century. In 1860 about 60,000 of the 170,000 people living there were Germans.

St. Louis and the music

Saint Louis and music are two things that are inextricably linked. After all, the metropolis is not only home to the world-famous Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, which was founded in St. Louis in 1880, but is also home to jazz legend Miles Davis and rock'n roll pioneer Chuck Berry. And of course there is the blues and with the National Blues Museum the only one of its kind devoted exclusively to the blues. Since the 1990s at the latest, St. Louis has also played a role in "country" music and has become a world center for rap and hip hop thanks to rapper Nelly and others.

Live music can be enjoyed year round in St. Louis. Worthwhile addresses are, for example, the “BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups”, “The Beale on Broadway” and the “Broadway Oyster Bar”.

St. Louis in a nutshell

  • The city is located in the state of Missouri on the border with Illinois
  • The urban area extends on the west bank of the Mississippi
  • The best overview and view is from the Gateway Arch
  • The "Old Courthouse" and the "Missouri History Museum" offer the best overview of the city's history
  • At Budweiser you can taste great brands of beer and learn a lot about the city's brewing tradition
  • Forest Park, Saint Louis Zoo and the Botanical Garden offer lots of green in the middle of the city
  • The St. Louis Art Museum shows many German paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries