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St. Louis City Trip

The Climatron on the grounds of the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Where to Stay Where to Eat What to See & Do

ST. LOUIS TRIP DAY 2: Forest Park, Missouri History Museum and Saint Louis Science Center

Begin your day with breakfast at one of the Kaldi's Coffeehouses. St. Louis specializes in locally roasted coffees; Kaldi's is undeniably the best of the bunch. And its original eatery on DeMun is located conveniently close to the morning's destination, Forest Park. Poised at the western edge of the city limits, the 1,300-acre park (larger than New York's Central Park ) holds plenty of options. It's the urban experience that binds all income and ethnic groups, no matter their ZIP code. It was the site of the 1904 World's Fair, an event that still receives much attention around town. Here are just some of the park's offerings, all of which are easy to access via the park's trolley buses (running from May to September only). Admission is free, except for certain special attractions or exhibits.

See the wildlife at the Saint Louis Zoo in Missouri

The Saint Louis Zoo is spread out, so you'll get a little exercise while you watch the tigers stretch in the sun or hippos doing water ballet. Take the train for an introduction, and if you have any excuse at all, ride the carousel with its fantastic beasts. For youngsters, the ZOOmagination Station is an excellent hands-on space for learning about animals and their habitats.

The Art Museum is where you'll see Monet's "Water Lilies" and a good European collection, as well as a splendid view from its hilltop. Many of the 21 galleries in the newly opened 200,000-square-foot expansion explore the development of postwar American art.

Then, it's onward to the Missouri History Museum. There's plenty of 1904 World's Fair, frontier and steamboat memorabilia about, as well as the collection of medals and awards that Charles Lindbergh left in his will. No, he wasn't a native, but his plane was, after all, called "The Spirit of St. Louis."

The Planetarium at the Saint Louis Science Center in Missouri

The Saint Louis Science Center is half in Forest Park (the James S. McDonnell P lanetarium) and half out, across Highway 40/Interstate 64. The museum, fascinating on its own, includes an IMAX theater and lots of space exhibits, thanks to its relationship with McDonnell-Douglas (now Boeing), which also runs Segway tours of the park. The tour fee includes an orientation on the stand-up power scooters.

Forest Park is also home to two public golf courses, an immense outdoor theater, an outdoor ice skating rink and the Jewel Box, a floral exhibition hall with fabulous brunches during the holiday season. You'll also encounter boats available for rental and lots of trails suitable for runners, bicyclists and strollers. Light lunches can be had at all the main attractions. Or you can pick up a picnic and eat it in the World's Fair Pavilion.

Another option might be to visit the Missouri Botanical Garden, a marvelous oasis in the middle of the city. Even during the colder months, it's beautiful, and it features many buildings where you can warm up, if need be. Of particular note is the Climatron, one of the of R. Buckminster Fuller's geodesic domes, which holds enough tropical plants and flowers to conjure a mini-Hawaiian vacation. As an added boon, from April to October, kids can clamber and splash around in the Children's Garden.

For lunch, dine at the legendary O'Connell's Pub nearby, a place where the hamburger is an art and the pace is leisurely — just the thing to rest your feet. For dinner tonight, plan on heading to The Hill, St. Louis' old Italian neighborhood of tidy little homes and shops. For old-style Italian, we like Gian-Tony's; for a more modern take, Lorenzo's Trattoria is a must.

Order a cocktail at the Sub Zero Vodka Bar in St. Louis, Missouri

Up for a little nightlife after dinner? If you're dressed to kill, consider Mandarin Lounge, modern and upscale, with dancing and cocktails, or the more casual Sub Zero Vodka Bar. Downtown offers a wealth of choices. The younger, louder set tends to dance and flirt on Laclede's Landing, while Washington Avenue restaurant-lounges, like Lucas Park Grille, draw a more sophisticated clientele for late-night libations and small plates.

Continue to Day 3

* Missouri Botanical Garden and Saint Louis Zoo images courtesy of the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission.


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