St. Louis (Photo:f11photo/Shutterstock)
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating

By Cruise Critic
Cruise Critic Staff

Port of St. Louis

St. Louis sells itself to visitors as the Gateway to the West. From French fur-trading village to starting gate for Lewis and Clark's famous 1804 westward exploration, St. Louis has long served as the border between the east and the west.

About St. Louis


Pro

St. Louis is a modern city in every sense of the word, but it also has a deep and colorful history

Con

There are a lot of attractions here, so don't be disappointed when you can't see everything in one day

Bottom Line

America's "gateway to the west" is a fun and lively city worth dedicating some energy to


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But this city of some 350,000 people is so much more than the starting point for westward expansion. It's a friendly city full of historical significance and modern culture that begs more than a few days from you. Whether you want to visit the Old Courthouse, site of the Dred Scott slavery trial, take a slow-moving tram to the top of the Gateway Arch, attend a Cardinals baseball game or check out an exhibit at the Saint Louis Art Museum, you'll find St. Louis offers too much to see and do in just one day.

And don't forget the city's many neighborhoods, such as Central West End, with its 19th-century grand homes and antique shops, or the 10-block art district of Grand Center, which is chock full of galleries, museums and performance venues. The Loop, the city's most happening neighborhood, is also a must-visit destination. Its St. Louis Walk of Fame features more than 100 stars honoring famous St. Louisans including Josephine Baker, Maya Angelou, Chuck Berry, Miles Davis, William Burroughs, Robert Duvall, T.S. Eliot, Scott Joplin and Tina Turner.

St. Louis also has a storied steamboat history with the first paddle wheeler arriving on the Mississippi in 1817. By the 1850's, the city would regularly see 5,000 steamboats dock a year. Today, both the Queen of the Mississippi and American Queen regularly call on St. Louis throughout the summer months.

Where You're Docked

St. Louis Cruise Port Address:
1000 Lenore K. Sullivan Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63101

Riverboats dock on South Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard in downtown St. Louis. It's located at one end of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, just a few steps away from the Gateway Arch. There are no port facilities and no parking lot. You just walk from the street right onto your boat. Your best option for getting to your boat is by taxi, though both American Cruise Lines and American Queen Steamboat offer shuttles from select downtown hotels. The nearest MetroBus stop is at least a 10-minute walk, and the MetroLink light-rail train is even farther.

Port Facilities

There is no port facility in St. Louis. The ship docks at the bottom of the hill on which the Gateway Arch is situated. The nearest facilities are in the Arch, where you'll find gift shops, vending machines and restrooms. Downtown St. Louis is about a 10-minute walk from the pier.

Good to Know

It can get pretty hot during the height of summer, so make sure you've got a bottle of water with you or schedule some air-conditioned indoor time.

Getting Around

St. Louis has a small international airport with service from several major airlines. To get from the airport into the city, you can take a Go Best Airport Shuttle; grab a taxi; or rent a car from Avis, Budget, Alamo or Enterprise.

St. Louis is not really a walking city; but there is ample public transportation. Considering how spread out the city is, renting a car might not be a bad idea if you're planning to stay more than two or three days.

By Train: MetroLink, the city's light-rail system, connects several popular tourist attractions like the Gateway Arch, Delmar Loop, Busch Stadium and Forest Park.

By Bus: The bus system, MetroBus, is another option connecting all neighborhoods.

By Car: If you are driving, keep your eyes peeled for signs pointing the way to must-see sights like the Gateway Arch, Busch Stadium, Saint Louis Zoo and Missouri History Museum.

Currency & Best Way to Get Money

The U.S. dollar is the only currency accepted in St. Louis. Credit cards are widely accepted at all shops, restaurants and museums. The best way to get money is via ATM's at banks and convenience stores.

Language

English is the primary language spoken in St. Louis, though, as with all U.S. cities, many people also speak Spanish.

Food and Drink

You'll find lots of downhome cooking and southern barbecue in St. Louis, as well as high-end dining establishments.

Ask a local where to go for the best barbecue in town, and you'll be directed to Pappy's Smokehouse, where it's all about the dry-rubbed ribs and pulled pork. This super casual eatery serves up heaping helpings for lunch and dinner. (3106 Olive St.; 314-535-4340; open Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. until the food sells out, typically around 7 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. until food runs out, usually around 4 p.m.)

A St. Louis landmark, Blueberry Hill is a restaurant-cum-music club filled with pop culture memorabilia, including a life-sized statue of Chuck Berry. Berry, a St. Louis native, was the first person inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Located in The Loop, right next to the St. Louis Walk of Fame, Blueberry Hill offers Americana fare with a southern twist, including hamburgers, trout almondine, jerk chicken and more. Check out their online calendar for a schedule of concerts. (6504 Delmar Blvd.; 314-727-4444; open daily for lunch and dinner)

An eatery with its own reality TV show on Oprah's OWN network, Sweetie Pie's serves up traditional southern soul food. Run by Robbie Montgomery, a former backup singer for Ike and Tina Turner, the menu includes items Montgomery learned from her mother growing up in Mississippi, including Salisbury steak, fried pork chops, boneless catfish, short ribs, collard greens and candied yams. (4270 Manchester Ave.; 314-371-0304; open Tuesday to Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

For more upscale fare, head to The Hill (near Forest Park) and LoRusso's Cucina, voted among the top Italian restaurants in the country by Zagat. LoRusso's menu includes risotto, veal saltimbocca, chicken spiedini and cioppino, among other options. (3121 Watson Road; 314-647-6222; open for dinner Tuesday to Sunday, as well as Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.)

Another upscale venue is Top of the Riverfront, a rooftop revolving restaurant located in the Millennium Hotel that offers 360-degree views of St. Louis. The eclectic cuisine is pricey, but keep in mind you're paying as much for the scenery as the food. Menu items include seared scallops, Missouri chicken, pork shank, St. Louis pepper steak, blackened grouper, eggplant Napoleon and cowboy ribeye. (200 South 4th St.; 314-241-9500; open for lunch Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., brunch Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner Wednesday to Saturday from 5 p.m.)

Bet you didn't know that the first ice cream cone was introduced to the world by St. Louis at the 1904 World's Fair. So when you're ready for dessert, head on over to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard on Route 66 for a taste of the thick vanilla custard the shop has been serving since 1930. (6726 Chippewa St.; 314-481-2652; open daily Valentine's Day to December from 11 a.m.)

Shopping

St. Louis is famous for three things: the Gateway Arch, the Cardinals baseball team and Anheuser-Busch. If art is your passion, pick up a stylized replica of the Arch, or if you're a baseball fan, there's an endless supply of Cardinals baseball caps, shirts and other paraphernalia. Take the Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour and grab a specialty beer or a stuffed Clydesdale to bring home.