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 actual city foundation followed on February 15, 1764. After it was 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.
According to intershippingrates, 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.
Even if the city looks uninviting at first glance, it still has a lot to offer tourists. We present some attractions here.
Museums and churches
In the City Museum, which has existed since 1997, there is a colorful mix of topics and exhibits. Unlike in many other museums, many of the 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 has a Discovery Room especially for younger visitors. 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 designed 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 interfaith 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.
The Old Cathedral was the first church in St. Louis and the first to be officially designated 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.
The largest city in pre-Columbian North America, Cahokia, a center of the Mississippi culture that was built or founded around 700 AD, was 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” has been 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 childhood home of Ulysses S. Grant’s wife. Official Website: www.nps.gov/ulsg/.
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 during 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 runs over the zoo grounds. Official Website: www.stlzoo.org.