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Issue: 1242 Date: 6/12/2014
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St. Louis travel guide

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        Mention St. Louis to folks who don't live there and they may voice some vague references to baseball and beer: "St. Louis has been to the World Series a lot, right?" "Isn't that where the Budweiser Clydesdales live?" Or maybe they picture the iconic Gateway Arch, standing like a sentinel downtown on the banks of the Mississippi River, symbolizing the country's westward expansion.

        All of these things are sources of serious civic pride, but St. Louis offers the traveler attractions well beyond the popular icons. Honoring roots that run back to its founding in 1764, St. Louis is has celebrated its 250th birthday. With such a long history, the city overflows with monuments, museums and historical places of interest.

        Downtown reborn

        Today, the city is investing in its cultural treasures as never before. A prime example of this is the 200,000-square-foot addition to the St. Louis Art Museum. The East Building, which was completed in summer 2013, houses the museum's collections of modern and contemporary art. The Gateway Arch is also undergoing a revitalization of its grounds thanks to the CityArchRiver 2015 project, so more locals and visitors can take advantage of the monument's impressive riverfront location.

        Downtown, the city is finally starting to regain its former luster. Spearheading this turnaround is the completion of Ballpark Village, a sprawling multi-million dollar dining and entertainment district just across from Busch Stadium (home field of the Cardinals), where fans can grab a beer and a bite and shop 'til they drop before or after a game. The Peabody Opera House (formerly the Kiel Opera House) is a prime entertainment venue, staging performances that run the gamut from the Tony Award-winning play The Book of Mormon to the rock group Hall & Oates.

        Beer city

        At one time in St. Louis, when you said Budweiser, you said it all. These days, beer is still a big deal here, but now it's the little guys who are garnering the bulk of the attention. St. Louis has become a craft-beer mecca, with award-winning small brewers like St. Louis Brewery (makers of Schlafly), Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, 4 Hands Brewing Company, Perennial Artisan Ales, Civil Life and a host of others leading the way.

        In fact, St. Louis' culinary scene as a whole has blossomed into a haven for foodies. The farm-to-table movement and the area's abundance of natural ingredients have resulted in a profusion of top-notch eateries and more than a few James Beard Award nominations for area chefs and restaurants.

        Beyond the obvious

        And while visitors could be happily entertained without ever leaving the urban area, St. Louis is just a short drive from the towns of Hermann and Augusta, Mo., to the west, both centers of Missouri wine production, as well as scenic attractions like Pere Marquet State Park, just across the river in Illinois. Fancy a spin on a thrill ride or two? Follow I-44 west to Eureka, Mo., to spend a day at Six Flags St. Louis.

        So yes, St. Louis is a great baseball town. It's home to the headquarters of one of the biggest brewing concerns in the world, and the Arch still presides proudly over the riverfront. For the savvy traveler, however, a look beyond the obvious will reveal the diverse sides of this fascinating city.

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