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Places to See: St. Louis

Carol Sottili

Think vacation, and St. Louis isn't the first city, or the 20th, to come to mind. But, having just returned from a short trip there to visit my daughter in college, I can attest to its attractiveness as a tourist destination. It's a quick two-hour nonstop flight, and sale fares sometimes go as low as $200 round trip. And it's got lots to offer. Some highlights:

* The Anheuser Busch tour is great fun, even for those who don't imbibe. It's free, takes about an hour and, for beer drinkers, offers two free samples for the slurping at tour's end. The plant is beautiful, with lots of sparkling stainless steel, historic buildings, handsome Clydesdale horses and well-tended gardens. And the process of making beer is far more interesting than I would have imagined.

The Jewel Box, located in St. Louis' Forest Park, is among the park's most-celebrated features. (James A. Finley/AP)

* Forest Park, dedicated in 1876, is 1,371 acres, which is 500 more than New York's Central Park. It's a lovely oasis covered with extensive recreational paths for running and walking. Wetlands, prairies and forests attract all types of birds. Within its borders are a fine zoo, the Missouri History Museum, Muny outdoor theater (in season), St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Science Center, a golf course and a couple of decent restaurants. Just outside its perimeters are neighborhoods of incredible historic mansions and Washington University in St. Louis, which offers a beautiful campus for strolling.

* City Museum is a bizarro place featuring such attractions as the "Museum of Mirth, Mystery and Mayhem," "Enchanted Caves," and an aquarium. But the highlight is MonstroCity, a crazy climb-through sculpture that you gotta see.

* Don't forget the city's better-known attractions, including the Gateway Arch , which I don't recommend for claustrophobics, and the riverboat casinos. Details: St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission.

As for where to stay, I gravitate toward the Forest Park/Clayton area because I like spending mornings hiking the park, plus my daughter is nearby. The Hampton Inn, for example, is a new facility with decent rates and a good location near the park. Good restaurants are everywhere: We had a great meal at a place called Niche in the historic Benton Park neighborhood. And check out a neighborhood called the Loop, which offers good eats and shopping.

Anyone else have a favorite place in St. Louis, or a destination they love that's overlooked by tourists?

By Carol Sottili |  October 28, 2008; 11:54 AM ET  | Category:  Carol Sottili
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Grant's Farm is where the Busch family lives and they turned it into a fun family activity. There's a petting zoo, free beer, and the Clydesdales.

Also the Botanical Gardens, sports teams etc. If you like Italian food there's a great neighborhood called "the Hill" which has a ton of authentic restaurants. There's a ton to do in St. Louis!

Posted by: celoplyr1 | October 28, 2008 4:05 PM

Check out Tony's a fabulous restaurant downtown. Also Duff's Restaurant in Central West End near the east end of Forect Park. Great food.. Froma former longtime St. Louisan.

Posted by: zigeunerin123 | October 29, 2008 12:03 PM

The Missouri Botanical Garden is hands down my favorite place in St. Louis.

Posted by: dewey5 | October 29, 2008 4:21 PM

Is Ted Drewes on Chippewa still open? There is nothing better than their "ice cream" "concreats". My favorite place is Tower Grove Park (adjacent to the Botanical Gardens), partly for is proximity to where I lived, but it has a lovely fountain and is great for a quick run. Lived there as a student 26 years ago.

Posted by: maryguarra | October 29, 2008 9:45 PM

St. Louis has this fantastic Italian neighborhood known as "The Hill". I would highly recommend checking it out if you love Italian food. It's known for that. Several famous baseball greats including Yogi Berra were born on The Hill. Go to for more information.

Posted by: olunclewiggly | October 31, 2008 5:03 PM

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