St. Louis, MO

While it is fresh in my mind, I am going to compose this post about the city of St. Louis, MO (note how I did not use a descriptor).

Oh, where to begin? Wait, I know! Ten minutes after getting off the plane at Lambert Airport my colleague and I walked to the metro station. Yes, you have to walk through a parking garage without walkways to the metro station. Then, we boarded the metro trains, which were clean and did not smell (unlike NYC). The first 2 stops were fine, then the third began the interesting tale of our travels into the city. A whole bunch of individuals boarded the train and this guy broke out his wad of cash containing mostly $20s, but also $100s. He then started betting train goers on a card game. Queue shakedown warnings. I finally got to the metro station that I needed in downtown St. Louis and it was pretty empty, but by then I was fearing for my life. So, I speed-walked 5 blocks to my hotel: Hyatt at the Arch. The hotel was overall pretty nice, and I had a lovely view of the Arch.

I arrived on a Sunday so many of the usual restaurants in the area were not open. Thank the Lord for Starbucks in my hotel, allowing me to have a coffee in the afternoon so I could make it all the way to the convention center. Hyatt is about six blocks away from the convention center, and while the walk wasn’t too terrible, it didn’t feel too safe, especially to walk at night as a single, young female. Once at the convention center, I felt very comfortable for the center was pretty safe and clean.

The conference that I attended was a full week long and probably my biggest complaint about the downtown area was that there really weren’t many places for a quick bite to eat. I found some lovely places however that were not fast food, but you could easily grab and go. I didn’t discover Stefano’s (right across the street from the convention center) until my last day at the conference. It had a variety of Italian fare, from sandwiches to Italian pasta dishes, and gourmet salads. I had an Italian panino that had provolone, banana peppers, lettuces, and three different types of Italian meats over a warm French baguette. It also came with a side salad. All for $7.50. OMG, this had to be the best place out of everywhere I ate in the city.

On to the tourist places of St. Louis. Wait…what tourist places?! Seriously, there is only the Arch, and of course there is a whole bunch of construction being conducted on the arch. I went up to my hotel’s 18th floor to get a full view of the Arch and its grounds and of course it was a bloody mess. The ground everywhere was all dug up and looked ugly. The traditional way down to the arch was blocked so visitors had to take a detour. Across the street from my hotel was the old Courthouse, which was very pretty inside. I spoke to a tour guide and she said that that dome was the “practice run” for the Capitol dome in Washington, DC. Fun Fact! That was probably my favorite part of the visit. Other than that however, there was very little to do. The St. Louis Cardinals stadium was a few blocks from my hotel and they did play while I was in town, but I couldn’t go. I should have! It felt like St. Louis is a huge sports city and not very cultural. The tour guide I mentioned above said that there was a lot to do that was cultural, you just need a car to drive to these places unfortunately.

I guess, after five days of visiting the city, I was not exactly wowed. If you have a car and want to see the Arch, I would say that the city is decent to stop in for like a day. Any longer than that would just be boring. Not sure I would ever go back. Been there, done that. Didn’t leave a complete sour taste in my mouth, it was just bleh. If you have had a different experience than myself, please leave a comment for I am willing to give the city the benefit of the doubt, but out of all the places that the conference has been held, I find this the most boring.

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