I found myself going to St. Louis in August this year. Before I traveled to St. Louis the NAACP put out a travel advisory for people of color traveling there. Another article said it is ranked in the top 10 of most dangerous cities in the US. I was concerned about my safety walking alone after reading these news articles. When I was visiting St. Louis I found a gem in this city. It was Forest Park. In Forest Park, I felt safe walking alone by myself. Don’t always let the media scare you from traveling.
Forest Park is one of the largest city parks in the US. Did you know it is even larger than Central Park in New York City? This park is 1,293 acres and it is filled with open space and miles of trails to bike or jog on. You can even rent a bike from City Cycling tours located right in the park. I walked most of it. You can spend 1-3 days in Forest Park. I only had a day and I didn’t get to see everything I wanted to.
(Map from Online Maps.com)
What makes Forest Park pretty amazing is that it’s not just a park but a cultural experience too. The St. Louis Science Center, The Missouri History Museum, The Saint Louis Art Museum and the St. Louis Zoo are part of the park. Guess what? All of these are FREE! You can spend days just visiting the park and museums alone. I only spent a day and didn’t get to see all the museums.
The St. Louis Art Museum
It was a hot August day in St. Louis so I escaped the heat by visiting the Art Museum. I was wowed by original works of Van Gogh, Picasso, and Monet! You get to see them for free! The museum is open every day except Mondays. It’s ranked #8 of things to do on Trip Advisor so I’m not the only one who was impressed with its art collection.
One of my favorite paintings
The St. Louis Zoo
The #1 thing to do on TripAdvisor is to visit the St. Louis Zoo. It is also free and open daily from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. On 90 acres with 17,482 wild animals, it is easy to spend all day at the Zoo. Recently, Voted America’s Top Free Attraction and Best Zoo this is the thing you must do on a visit to St. Louis. I could have spent all day at the zoo watching the animals.
Meet the Kali at Polar Bear Point. This 16 million dollar exhibit opened in 2015. He is 4 1/2 years old and weighs over 1,500 pounds! The St. Louis Zoo participates in the Polar Bear survival plan and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service chose this zoo for to be Kali’s permanent home after he was orphaned in Alaska.
Seeing the Polar Bears in the wild is high on my travel bucket list. Polar Bear Point was one of my favorite exhibits at this zoo. I can’t imagine being in the wild and seeing Polar Bears from a tundra buggy. They seem friendly and playful at the zoo.
Another favorite attraction of mine is the newly remodeled exhibit that re-opened in 2015 is the Penguin and Puffin Coast. You are so close you can almost touch them!
This Penguin came right up to me and stayed by the glass where I was standing. People were commenting that I must be a Penguin whisperer.
The biggest highlight of my travels has been seeing the King Penguins at Volunteer Point in the Falkland Islands. A group of King Penguins came right up to me! Maybe I am a Penguin Whisper!
There are so many animals to see at the Zoo! Don’t miss the Gorillas and Chimpanzees too. I was impressed with this zoo and I spent most of my time here. Get your Animal fix at the St. Louis Zoo. Kids will want to spend a full day here.
World’s Fair Pavillion
A fun fact about the World’s Fair Pavillion, it didn’t even exist in 1904 when the fair happened. It was built-in 1909 from money raised from the Fair. It is a popular place for people to get in shape. I saw 3 groups of exercise fitness classes while I was walking by. The open space of the park is a good escape with its manicured lawns, flowers, and water features. I would love to have a picnic in the park.
If you are in St. Louis during the summer season, get tickets to see a show! It is America’s oldest and largest outdoor musical theatre amphitheater. I missed seeing a show by a week!
The Jewel Box
I missed The Jewel Box, an art deco greenhouse. It was closed when I got there. You can rent this glasshouse for weddings and events. They have seasonal flower shows. Every Christmas season, there is a Poinsettia display. It seems like a way to get into the Holiday season with hundreds of Poinsettia flowers surrounding you. It is $1 dollar for admission although Monday & Tuesdays before Noon is free. It is open Monday-Friday until 4:00 pm. On weekends it closes earlier due to private events.
I had a great time in St. Louis. Forest Park is a gem! There are old historic mansions that surround the Park. They were built for the World’s Fair. There is so much to do and see in the Park. You can visit the museums, ride a bike, play tennis, explore the zoo, work out, rent a boat at the Boathouse, have a picnic, or take the trolley. In the summer the park has events happening too. They even have a hot air balloon festival in September.
After a day at Forest Park, you may be in need of a happy hour cocktail. Nearby the Park is the boutique hotel, The Cheshire. Inside is an old English Pub, that will transport you to England.
You may hear ghost stories, be in awe of the magic card tricks, and meet new friends at Fox & Hounds! They have a good wine list too!
St. Louis, there is much good about your city and so much left to explore. If you are visiting and love wine do the Missouri Wine Trail. I highly recommend. We did it a few years ago with our dogs on a road trip.
Here is my future list for St. Louis-
Drink Champagne on the Rooftop bars on a sunny day
Go to a Cardinals Game
Try Toasted Ravioli
Enjoy a spa treatment at the 4 Seasons
See a show at the Muny
Try Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
Go to the Missouri Botanical Gardens
See a show at the Historical Fox Theater
Stroll the historic Main Street in St. Charles
Take my husband to the Moto Museum
Go inside the Cathedral Basilica
I’ve got to plan a trip back!
If you are thinking of visiting St. Louis, Go! like all the Lyft drivers said, St. Louis gets a bad rap due to population vs. crime. You know where to go and where not to go. Don’t ever be afraid to travel. St. Louis is a fun city and I found the people friendly and helpful.