ST. LOUIS is historically rich. Loaded, in fact. Founded in 1764, it’s one of the oldest major metros west of the Mississippi, and it predates many to the east, including Chicago and Indy. The Museum at the Gateway Arch (gatewayarch.com) escorts you from 1764 to 1965 via six interactive galleries that incorporate Native perspectives and bust the myths of the American West. Formerly the Museum of Westward Expansion, it’s located beneath the iconic monument, so it’s a must-see.
Water is the reason there’s a city here, and this proud river town celebrates and investigates all things aquatic at the new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station (stlouisaquarium.com). The Travel the Changing Rivers exhibit guides you through the unique geography of Missouri’s freshwater rivers and their denizens. Things get salty in the 250,000-gallon Shark Canyon and the darker habitats of jellyfish and sea dragons.
Set on a century-old industrial campus that hearkens back to St. Louis’s days as a prominent railroad and manufacturing hub, City Foundry STL (cityfoundrystl.com) just opened as a vibrant gathering place of shops and art installations. The food hall houses 17 locally run eateries, serving everything from waffles to pan-Indian street fare to the local finger-food delicacy that is toasted ravioli (t-ravs, as St. Louisans call them).
But if you’re talking about the industry that built this town, you’re talking about beer. St. Louis has quietly grown one of the best craft beer scenes in the country (try world-renowned Side Project and Narrow Gauge). But to truly experience STL, pay homage to the OG at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery (budweisertours.com).