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The Gateway Arch and Downtown St. Louis, Missouri
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Steps at the Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri
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Photo opportunities at the Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri
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View of St Louis, Missouri, from the Gateway Arch
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Maplewood along historic Route 66 in St. Louis, Missouri
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Cialito Lindo in St. Louis, Missouri
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Historic streets of St. Charles near St. Louis, Missouri
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I was recently given an assignment that took me to St. Louis, Missouri, and I had no idea I was in for such a treat!

Within a few short hours, it was clear to me that with all of the culture, history, dining, iconic landmarks and plenty of Route 66 attractions, St. Louis is a perfect destination for families, couples or those traveling alone.

Iconic Gateway Arch

I began my tour of this cosmopolitan and vibrant city with a trip to St. Louis’ most famous landmark. After checking in to the Drury Hotel, a local chain, I ambled over to the famed Gateway Arch, which symbolizes US expansion into the west. The monument is even more impressive up close. You can ride an egg-shaped tram up to the top to check out the exhibits as well as see an amazing view of the city and the Mississippi River.

Fun, Eclectic Neighborhoods

St. Louis is made up of lots of small neighborhoods, each with its own unique vibe. The first one I visited was Maplewood, a charming area full of distinctive boutiques, antique shops and plenty of places to grab a bite to eat. The second was in Lafayette Square, with its old houses, cute shops and a fabulous coffee shop where I got my first taste of gooey butter cake. The St. Louis staple was so delicious that I arranged for some to be shipped to my home!

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Delectable Dining Options

There are a lot of great places to eat in St. Louis, and the city offers every type of dish imaginable. One of my favorites was the Broadway Oyster Bar, where I tried the shrimp and grits, and the crawfish, both delicious. Known for having the freshest seafood around, and fabulous live music nightly, plan to get there early to get a good seat! Another fun place for local blues and good eats is BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups. If you're in the mood for fantastic sushi, go to The Drunken Fish. Stop by Square One and try the beet salad with a side of roasted Brussels sprouts plus a pint of their local craft brew for a perfectly balanced lunch!

Roadside Attractions along Route 66

St. Louis is the largest city along the Route 66 corridor between Chicago and Los Angeles, so there are some interesting Route 66 attractions that you should check out. One of my favorites was Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, where the “concretes” are incredible! In Maplewood, you’ll find many plaques that celebrate the Route 66 businesses that thrived here when the original road ran through this area in the 1920s.

Only half an hour away is St. Charles, a charming riverside town that is a real contrast to St. Louis, and another must-visit destination. There is so much of the city that I have yet to experience, and I can’t wait to go back with my family in tow. Next time, I will be sure to make time to take in more of the architecture as well as learn more about the city’s history, which I hear is fascinating. I also plan to try another St. Louis staple, toasted ravioli. One thing is for sure: My first stop in St. Louis upon my return will be at a coffee shop for another slice of gooey butter cake!

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