Life & Tourism
There are hundreds of things to see and do in and around the South County area. Millions of visitors come here every year to attend local professional sporting events, participate in tours and visit national monuments.
The Gateway Arch, one of the most recognized monuments in the world, stands on the banks of the Mississippi River just east of downtown St. Louis in Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park. The 630-foot-high stainless steel structure was built in 1966 to commemorate the westward expansion of the United States. The Underground Visitor’s Center in the Museum of Westward Expansion lies at the Arch’s foundation, and a passenger tram carries visitors to the observation room at the top.
Baseball fans flock to the new Busch Stadium and enjoy watching the 2011 World Series Champions, the St. Louis Cardinals. The Class A River City Rascals also have a loyal following of baseball enthusiasts. On the gridiron, the St. Louis Rams battle for NFL dominance in front of nearly 70,000 fans at the Edward Jones Dome. The Savvis Center is home to the National Hockey League’s St. Louis Blues. For race fans, Gateway International Raceway features a 1.25-mile oval track as well as a NHRA drag strip.
Tours of the Anheuser-Busch headquarters take visitors through part of America’s brewing heritage. Visitors can tour the historic Brew House, the Bevo Packaging Plant and the century-old stables of the Budweiser Clydesdales.
The remains of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico are preserved within the 2,200-acre tract of the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, located a few miles east of South County in Illinois. Here lie the archaeological remnants of the ancient city of Cahokia, which was inhabited about 700 AD to 1400 AD and covered nearly six-square miles.
The Great River Road has been designated part of a 50-mile National Scenic Byway. The official name of the road will be the “Meeting of the Great Rivers Scenic Byway” for the Illinois, Missouri and Mississippi River confluences. Only 20 other roadways in America have received the scenic byway designation.
One of the top sculpture parks in the nation, Laumeier Sculpture Park is a 116-acre venue for contemporary artists’ sculptures. It presents sculptures created from and interacting with the environment and the exhibit extends from the museum onto lawns and woodland trails.
Other area attractions:
Raging Rivers Water Park: The park offers rides, tubes, a gigantic wave pool, water slides, a kid’s play area and food at one of eastern Illinois’ top attractions.
St. Louis Forest Park: The 7th largest municipally operated park in the nation encompasses over 1,300 acres. It has over six miles of biking trails, 20 lakes and ponds, 30 athletic fields and two golf courses. Forest Park is home to the St. Louis Science Center, The Art Museum of St. Louis, the St. Louis Zoo, the Jewel Box Conservatory, The Muny Opera and the Steinberg Skating Rink.
Laclede’s Landing: Features some of the most unique restaurants and sidewalk cafés in St. Louis. Visitors experience the charm of cobblestone streets and century-old brick and cast iron facade buildings as they browse through specialty gift shops. At night, horse drawn carriages and live music add to the atmosphere of one of the premier entertainment areas in St. Louis.
Missouri Botanical Garden: A major cultural institution, a designated historic landmark and a world-renowned scientific research center. Within its 79-acres lie a formal English garden, a traditional Japanese garden, the Margaret Blanke Grigg Chinese Garden, the Flower Trail Garden, greenhouses and extensive landscaping, as well as architecturally and historically significant buildings. The Garden also features the Climatron (the first geodesic- domed greenhouse in North America), water lily reflection ponds and the William T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening.
Missouri Wineries: Immigrants from the Rhine River Valley brought culture to the Missouri River Valley in the 1830s, and created America’s first Wine District. Today, Missouri wineries just west of St. Louis have won national and international wine competitions. Visitors can enjoy tours, fine wines, specialty shops, bakeries, bed and breakfasts, fine restaurants and live entertainment.
Six Flags St. Louis: One of the largest tourist attractions in St. Louis with over one and a half million visitors annually, Six Flags St. Louis has eight theme lands that feature adventure rides, thrilling roller coasters and spectacular shows.
St. Charles National Historic District: The 10-block Nationally Registered Historic District has brick streets, gas lights, lovingly restored buildings and Missouri’s First State Capital. The Frenchtown has antique shops, fine dining, tearooms, wineries and a brewery.
St. Louis Zoo: The St. Louis Zoo in Forest Park showcases 655 animal species, and draws more than three million visitors yearly. The state-of-the-art biopark features Jungle of the Apes, Big Cat Country, Children’s Zoo, and the Living World educational center. General admission to the zoo is free.
St. Louis Union Station: The St. Louis Union Station was once the busiest passenger terminal in the world. It is now a restored National Historic Landmark with an 11.5-acre marketplace that includes assorted shops, restaurants, live entertainment and a hotel.