St. Louis Travel Planning, Fun Facts, Highlights

 Travel Planning

All Conference Events are held at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, 1820 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63103, USA. For the best conference experience, stay in the official conference hotel! The hotel, located within the Union Station National Historic Landmark, harkens back to the days when St. Louis truly was the gateway to the West with fresco paintings, gold leaf detailing and 65 foot tall ceilings in the Grand Hall. Reserve your room online or by phone at (314) 621-5262 today! Interested in finding a conference roommate to save on hotel room costs? Complete the roommate request form

Hotel proximity to St. Louis attractions
The St. Louis Union Station Hotel is located close to major attractions. From the first glimpse of the iconic Gateway Arch to the offbeat gems that thrive in its 79 unique neighborhoods, St. Louis has fully emerged from its shell. It has unveiled itself as a global culinary hotspot. With 170 parks, dozens of golf courses, hundreds of miles of greenway trails, plus an overwhelmiong number of performing arts venues, museums and breweries there are plenty of memorable moments to be made all over the city.

Air Transportation
The St. Louis Lambert International Airport is about a 25-30 minute driveto the hotel. If you drive, valet parking is highly recommended and available at the Main Grand Hall entrance on East-bound Market Street. If you chose to Self Park please do so behind Maggies O'Briens next to the hotel on 20th street. Conference attendees receive a 30% discount off the valet parking fee of $40 and the Union Station self parking fee of $27. Taxis cost about $45. There is a light rail service, MetroLink, from the airport to the Union Station which is a half a block from the hotel. The cost is $4.50. For additional information and directions, visit the hotel website.

Transportation within the city
Consult the St. Louis Metro Transportation website.

September in St. Louis is mild and pleasant. Average daily high temperatures are around 75°F (23°C), nighttime temperatures rarely falling below 64°F (17°C).

 Fun Facts about St. Louis

Did You Know That...

  • It’s named for King Louis IX. The city was founded in 1764 as a French fur-trading village by Pierre Laclede who honored the patron saint of then-French king Louis XV by naming what would become a 2.8 million person metropolitan area after him.
  • The first steamboat arrived in the town in 1817. By the 1850s, 5000 steamboats would travel through the city each year.
  • St. Louis has more free major tourist attractions than any other city in the country outside Washington, D.C. Visitors pay nothing to visit the art museum, the history museum, the science center and the zoo.
  • One of the most popular tourist attractions in St. Louis is the Gateway Arch. On a clear day, visitors can see almost 30 miles in each direction from the top.
  • Artist Bob Cassilly created the City Museum in 1997. Housed in the former International Shoe Company building, the museum is a giant playground/jungle gym made from salvaged architectural and industrial objects.
  • Besides being where the St. Louis Zoo got its start, the 1904 World’s Fair, held in the city's Forrest Park neighborhood, was the first time the world saw electric plugs, the X-ray machine, and the ice cream cone.
  • The same year, St. Louis was the first U.S. city, and only the third in the world, to host the modern Olympics.
  • Brewing company Anheuser Busch has called St. Louis home since 1852. Its signature Clydesdales are housed at Grants Farm, a local tourist attraction.


Unique Attractions

  • In the center of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial Park is the Gateway Arch, a symbol of the city's role as the "Gateway to the West." This parabolic arch of stainless steel, designed by Eero Saarinen, is 625 feet high, and was opened in 1965.
  • The beautiful Missouri Botanical Garden is also known as the Shaw Garden, after the businessman and botanist Henry Shaw (1800-89) who laid it out in 1859. The gardens themselves comprise a lovely rose garden, the rather unusual Climatron, built in 1960 for tropical plants, a Japanese Garden, an "aqua-tunnel" under a water-lily pool, and a herbarium.
  • Forest Park sits on the site of the 1904 World Fair, and some of the structures here still date from that time period. The Jefferson Memorial sits on the north side of the park and houses the Missouri History Museum, which includes historical exhibits about the state, St. Louis, and Charles Lindbergh. In the center of the park, the City Art Museum has collections of art from prehistoric through contemporary works.
  • The City Museum, housed in a former shoe factory, is a delightfully entertaining facility that both children and adults will appreciate. Exhibits include a giant aquarium, architectural museum, art activities, participatory circus, and oddities, among many others.
  • Southwest of the Gateway Arch is the Old Cathedral, the Catholic Basilica of St. Louis of France. Built from 1831 to 1834 on the site of the first church of St. Louis (1770), it survived the 1849 fire unscathed. On the west side of the cathedral is the Old Cathedral Museum, covering the history of the city.

Fantastic Eats

  • Louie. Long time St. Louis restaurateur Matt McGuire’s newest spot is already the stuff of legends. Everything from the impeccable service to the nearly flawless execution of the Italian menu will leave you with a huge smile (that might also be the wine). When dining here, expect a casual evening that will stick with you long after you leave and inevitably come back.
  • Vicia. Vicia’s beautiful simplicity is reflected in both its design and its vegetable-forward cuisine. Pop in for a casual lunch or splurge for a dinner you won’t soon forget. Pro tip: make sure to go with the chef’s tasting menu—ordering a la carte will just leave you envious of your neighbor’s meal.
  • Mac’s Local Eats. A burger lover’s dreams come true inside a dive bar in St. Louis’ Dogtown neighborhood. Enter Tamm Avenue Grill and make your way to the walk-up window for smashed burgers made with locally sourced ingredients, including dry aged beef, of the highest quality. In addition to the pork and beef options, Mac’s also serves one of the finest veggie burgers in town, plus a smattering of Cajun specialities (like boudin balls) and weekly specials.
  • Sardella. James Beard winner Gerard Craft arguably put the St. Louis dining scene on the national map and his newest restaurant, Sardella, may be his best one yet. Casual yet upscale, the well-designed modern Italian restaurant serves small plates filled with inventive seasonal dishes made with high quality-ingredients—making this the perfect location choice for a date night or a celebratory meal.
  • Blues City Deli. Don’t let the line out front deter you: Every bite of the sandwich waiting for you inside is totally worth the wait. A true deli, you’ll order and wait until your number is called. The toughest aspect of your visit is deciding what to order: Boasting a solid menu featuring po-boys, muffulettas, New York deli style sandwiches, Italian favorites and even vegetarian options, you’ll just have to keep coming back to sample it all.

Fantastic Shopping

  • Parsimonia.  Parsimonia is “vintage for the modern world,” and sells sweet dresses, sets, suits and accessories in up to a size XXL.
  • Rocket Century.  Calling all mid-century modern furniture lovers, this quirky store is for you. Rocket Century ships within the United States and features all kinds of fun, vintage furniture, seating, lamps and more. And at good prices, too.
  • Looking Glass Designs of Lafayette Square. Looking Glass Designs features one-of-a-kind gifts created in house or by local artists. They have original gifts, clothing and jewelry that you won't find in the typical store.
  • Music Record Shop. St. Louis has no shortage of funky, rare and obscure record shops. Hailed for its wide selection of vinyl and CDs, you can find music from a whole range of genres here, and at a great price.
  • East + West. At this tiny storefront, you’ll find East + West’s carefully chosen and fairly extensive varieties of domestic and imported brands of casual men's wear, free of trends. The store’s own label of button-down shirts is a popular buy. If you’re in need of styling assistance, the sales also will help you find just the right piece to complete your look or highlight a particular element.

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