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Saint Louis


St. Louis might have been just a jumping off point for Lewis and Clark, but this city is a first-rate destination with dozens of world class attractions. Just say, "Meet me in St. Louis!" when you're ready for a fun vacation. Known as the "Gateway to the West," the St. Louis Arch commemorates the Lewis and Clark expedition that began here and opened up the country to settlers. Guests can even ride to the top for a view of the city. History buffs can see the courthouse where Dred Scott's famous case was heard, as well as the home of Scott Joplin, the "King of Ragtime." A trip to the St. Louis City Museum is sure to delight the kids, who can explore caves built in a shoe factory's tunnel system or climb monkey bars made out of aircraft fuselages and a fire engine. Families will enjoy seeing more than 22,000 animals at the free St. Louis Zoo. Of course, a trip to St. Louis wouldn't be complete without some barbeque, and it's easy to find. Local experts name Pappy's Smokehouse as a best bet, but everyone has a favorite. Wash it down at the Anheuser-Busch brewery, where guests at least 21 years old can sample a brew, and everyone can enjoy the famous Clydesdale horses. Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is served by airlines like AirTran, Delta, and Southwest, so flights to St. Louis should be easy to find.

When To Go

With accommodating weather and affordable prices, St. Louis is a prime vacation spot for most of the year. Summer is the most popular time for families and when kids are on school break. December sees a drop in visitation as the weather gets colder and travelers spend their holiday money elsewhere. With rising temperatures and Mardi Gras festivities, tourism picks up again in the spring. The fall, popular with couples coming for colorful foliage, sees fewer leisure travelers overall, but experiences a surge in people attending conventions.

high season: May to August
low season: December
shoulder season: January to April, September to November

Weather Information

St. Louis experiences four seasons. Summers are fairly warm, with hot air coming from the Gulf of Mexico. However, temperatures exceeding 100 degrees rarely happen more than five days per year. Winters can be chilly, with low temperatures falling below 32 degrees and a slight chance of snow. Spring and fall see mild conditions, with temperatures averaging in the mid to high 60s in April and October.

Crowd Information

St. Louis can get pretty crowded during the summer, especially for baseball season from April through October, when the St. Louis Cardinals draw more than three million attendees each year. Labor Day weekend is also popular, with two major events drawing visitors: the Big Muddy Blues Festival and the Japanese Festival at the Missouri Botanical Garden. The city also celebrates several other major festivals, including Mardi Gras in February or March (depending on the year), the St. Louis Jazz & Heritage Festival in June, and the St. Louis Art Fair in September.

Closure Information

Hotels, shops, and restaurants remain open throughout the year.

When to Save

Although hotel rates remain fairly standard throughout the year, hotel prices may rise during major conventions or Cardinal home games. Discounts and packages are available through the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission. Visitors can also save by going to one of the many free attractions or institutions located throughout the city, including the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum, and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour.

When to Book

St. Louis is a reasonably priced destination year-round. Visitors with flexible travel plans can take advantage of low last-minute airfares. However, those with a set schedule should book flights at least three weeks in advance to obtain lower prices and ensure availability, especially for travel during the summer high season. Last-minute lodging is available throughout the year, but book at least two months in advance to reserve a downtown room during major conventions, Mardi Gras, or Cardinals' home games.

Information provided by the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission