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           Missouri Travel Guide

Merle Exit Explores St Louis Art and Entertainment

 Arriving in St. Louis, MO, I checked into Hotel Ignacio, then took a tour of the area known as The Hill and continuing the art and culture with what dominates the St. Louis skyline; the magnificent Gateway Arch, the iconic symbol of the city. Sculptured of stainless steel and concrete, it stretches 630 feet high and wide along a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Last time that I was here I took in the Journey To The Top in an enclosed tram.

St. Louis' Citygarden, a 2-year-old attraction is a blend of lush plantings and sculptures with water, stone, architecture and landscape design, located in the Downtown area. Open to the public all year there are no fences, gates or admission fee. This is one of those places to hang out on a nice day as well as just simply walking through and taking in the art.

Just a few blocks away is art that's so totally different from Citygarden, City Museum, made entirely from recycled pieces. The museum building started as a shoe manufacturing factory and warehouse. The owner took items that would have become landfill and filled the floors of quirky and innovative artistic fun.

You can certainly spot the museum by a bus that appears to be looking as if it is just about to fall off the roof as well as a real Ferris wheel a few steps away. This place is just perfect for kids to explore and get in and out of areas, go down slides and check out the in-house circus troupe.

It's time for dinner at Triumph Grill, a restaurant that abuts the hotel and adjacent to the Moto Museum where vintage European motorcycles from 1900 to the present are displayed. I sampled Stuffed Portabella Mushrooms: Creamy spinach and artichoke dip stuffed mushroom caps, lightly breaded and topped with reduced balsamic and parmesan; Chipotle Molasses Chicken Wings: Maple marinated jumbo wings fried crispy and tossed in chipotle molasses sauce; and Monza Shrimp And Crab Risotto: Blue crabmeat and jumbo shrimp simmered in a rich seafood stock with basil and vine-ripened tomatoes.

Off to the Fabulous Fox Theatre to see a musical, The Addams Family. This 1929 movie palace located in the Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District is one of the first theatres built for "talkies" by movie mogul William Fox. It's quite a showy place with a style described as Siamese-Byzantine and a 90-foot lobby and Buddhist monastery halls. It's worth a separate tour, which I did later in the week. I got to hear some songs being played on the organ as well as having brunch to discuss an upcoming event involving The Titanic.

In April the Fox Theatre is having A Taste of History, Last Dinner On The Atlantic, to celebrate the Titanic Centennial Weekend. The historic first class menu recreates the famously sumptuous eleven course meal with accompanying wines that were actually served to first class passengers on the fateful night. When guests arrive at the theatre they will be given a boarding pass and an envelope containing the name and historical biography of an actual First Class Passenger.

As for the production, it went off quite well...touring stars but good talent and funny show.

I believe we are in downtown St. Louis at Lindell Blvd. and Newstead Avenue in front an ornate cathedral. My notes say, "The life of Saint Louis IX, crusader King of France and the city's namesake and patron saint, is vividly portrayed in the vestibule of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Built in 1907, this incredible structure combines Byzantine and Romanesque architecture styles with the largest collection of mosaics in the world. More than 41 million pieces of tesserae in 8,000 fill more than 83,000 square feet. The west chapels are the work of Tiffany and Company and the main altar and another chapel features the work of Gorham." I went inside to view the impressive and intricate artwork.

At home I live across the street from Forest Park, where they have a golf course, tennis courts, ball fields, a bandstand, horseback riding and various trails. Here in St. Louis, there is also a Forest Park. This one has similar amenities as well as various attractions such as the Saint Louis Art Museum.

The museum has two floors of art that include Oceanic art, pre-Columbian art, ancient Chinese bronzes and European and American art of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with particular strength in 20th-century German art. One thing that I noticed was that there was a space adding a new exhibit. Not only did they ask that you be patient and wait for it, but they provided a few couches to sleep on until the date arrived. Free admission, too.

Use this link to follow Merle's tours of The Hill In St Louis.

By Merle Exit

Getting There:

To discover St. Louis attractions, events, and plan your trip visit the St. Louis Convention and Visitors bureau at

Use this link to go to the Missouri Travel Guide.

About The Author

Use this link to learn more about Merle Exit.