Arts & Culture
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, housed in Powell Symphony Hall, is recognized as an ensemble of the highest caliber. Dance St. Louis, located in the Premier Arts and Entertainment district, brings national and international professional dance companies, from American Ballet Theater to STOMP. The Fabulous Fox Theater (magnificently restored with its original jeweled house curtain and original chandelier) is located in Grand Center, and has seen performers such as Nat “King” Cole, Bob Hope and the Big Bands of Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller. Today, it hosts popular musicians and Broadway musicals.
For Broadway and opera lovers, The Muny Opera in Forest Park is a 12,000-seat outdoor amphitheater set in beautiful surroundings, featuring summertime Broadway musicals at the country’s oldest and largest musical theater. In addition, The Opera Theater of St. Louis, one of the country’s premiere opera companies, has been offering innovative performances for over 27 years. All productions are sung in English by some of the country’s most exciting young singers.
The Repertory Theater of St. Louis has developed a reputation for producing live theater of uncompromising quality. The St. Louis Black Repertory Company, housed in the renovated Grandel Theater, produces six productions each season by both established and emerging playwrights.
Thousands of visitors also attend many of the region’s great museums. The Missouri History Museum, on the site of the main entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair, was built in memory of Thomas Jefferson. It houses a variety of exhibits and educational resources that focus on the history of the St. Louis region, the state of Missouri and the American West. The Old Courthouse was the scene of many rallies, speeches and several important trials, including the suit by Dred Scott for freedom from slavery and Suffragist Virginia Louisa Minor for the right to vote. The restored courthouse (originally built in 1839) has a beautifully decorated dome, fascinating dioramas and an informational film gallery.
The Palace of Fine Arts Building houses The St. Louis Art Museum. The Beaux Arts-style building is one of only two permanent structures remaining from the 1904 World’s Fair. Located in scenic Forest Park, the museum’s collection features over 30,000 works, including a 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy, recreated Period Rooms, Pre-Columbian figures, suits of armor, Renaissance masterpieces and Impressionist paintings.
The St. Louis Science Center serves as a bridge between scientist and layperson, encouraging an understanding of ecology and the environment, humanity, technology and how each interrelates. Located in Forest Park, the Science Center offers many exhibits and attractions. Some of the most popular attractions include a Planetarium Theater, an Aviation Gallery, an Info Machines Gallery, a Structures Galley (where visitors can rebuild the Gateway Arch) and a 700-foot, glass-enclosed bridge over Interstate 64 with inset glass floor panels and guns to clock oncoming traffic.
The newly expanded Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum has more than 100 exhibits. The Magic House features a summer camp for six- to 11-year olds in week long sessions beginning early July and continuing through mid-August.