Surprising St. Louis: A Second Top Attraction in the Gateway to the West

We continue our countdown of the top St. Louis attractions with a story of what happens when people think big.

The Saint Louis Art Museum and its collection of more than 34,000 pieces is tucked away in the heart of sprawling Forest Park, just a stone’s throw from other popular attractions like the Saint Louis Zoo. Its iconic main building is the only surviving permanent structure constructed for the 1904 World’s Fair. Remarkably, admission to this sprawling and largely uncrowded gem is free to the public.

The top-notch collection here is massive. It did however leave us scratching our heads.  My friend Kim and I couldn’t figure out how a city of just over 300,000 people ended up with not only a top-tier art museum, but one that is free to the public. So, I started digging to find out.

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Surprising St. Louis: A “B-side” City with Top-Tier Attractions

At the March 2019 D.C. Travel & Adventure Expo, Samantha Brown, host of Places to Love on PBS, discussed how she selects destinations for her show. She mentioned, in particular, that her team often looks for B-side cities (a vinyl records reference that may be lost on some). To her, a B-side city is lesser known than top tourist destinations but still has plenty to great things offer.

After hatching a weekend getaway plan with a friend, I recently found myself on a plane to St. Louis, Missouri, which is arguably the B-side to the midwest’s top destination: Chicago.

Here are the top four attractions that make this a great destination.

Gateway Arch
A weekend away without the kids can apparently lead giddy moms to pose for silly pictures.

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