With its delightful mix of Southern hospitality and Midwestern sensibility, St. Louis has a down-home vibe unlike any other major American city. Since its early days as a trading post on the banks of the mighty Mississippi, St. Louis has attracted a diverse range of cultures that today are represented by a patchwork of more than 75 distinct neighborhoods. This gives Missouri’s largest metropolis a small-town charm that invites exploration. St. Louis is the kind of city that can be approached from many angles. There are cultural amenities here to satisfy even the most discriminating connoisseur of art, music and fine cuisine, and there are more free activities to enjoy than in any other Midwest city. From historic sights and architectural gems like the Gateway Arch to beer, baseball and the blues, there’s good reason for any traveler to say, “Meet me in St. Louis!”
12. St. Louis Zoo
Stretched over 90 acres of the city’s scenic Forest Park, the St. Louis Zoo is renowned the world over for its dedication to wildlife conservation. The zoo is home to nearly 20,000 animals, many of which are rare and endangered. Great effort goes into ensuring that the habitats are as naturalistic as possible. The zoo is divided into themed zones with both indoor and outdoor exhibits. Historic Hill boasts a bird garden and primate house. Red Rocks is big cat country. With its petting zoo and insectariums, the Discovery Corner is a big hit with children. Best of all, admission to the St. Louis Zoo is free.