Things to do in St Louis during the Summer

FOR THE PREHISTORIC

Cahokia Mounds and Route 66

Many people don’t realize it, but there are two varieties of prehistoric interests that can be explored while visiting St. Louis, Mo. The first is obvious.

Cahokia Mounds. For a suggested donation of $4 for adults and $2 for children, travelers can see the largest prehistoric city north of Mexico. Imagine something in the good old Midwest dating from AD 700 -1400. Dioramas, exhibits and artifacts from Mississippi culture are all on display just across the river in Collinsville, Illinois which happens to be part of the old highway system known as Route 66.

The other type of prehistoric inquiry is the one for those returning to the city after a long time away or too young to remember the early history of the US Freeway System. While prehistoric is used here tongue-in-cheek, for younger generations used to the super highways of post-modern America, Route 66, is that part of Americana which was the subject of early TV shows, movies and a popular song where the refrain wasGet Your Kicks on Route 66.

One Route 66 website puts it this way. It can be maddening to follow old Route 66 across St. Louis, but its many great spotsTed Drew’s Frozen Custard Stand, in particular make it well worth the effort. From the southwest, the old road followed Watson Road and Chippewa Street, which led into Gravois Avenue for the main ride across town. From downtown, the main route crossed the Mississippi River into Collinsville, Illinois (which is covered below), while another City 66 route headed north along Florissant Avenue and Riverview Drive, crossing the Mississippi on the historic Chain of Rocks Bridge (314/741-1211), which has been renovated for use as a mile-long bike and hiking trail, decorated with an array of old gas pumps and neon signs, just south of the modern I-270 freeway.

THE CASH STRAPPED CAN HAVE A TWO-FER

Making the decision to take the Route 66 excursion as a drive through this metropolitan area will allow the traveler to also find many well-known places of interest that are still stationed along that Route or replaced with other sights of tourist interest too. In effect, tracing the old Route 66 will give you the extra benefit of passing by (and perhaps choosing to stop) at highlights beginning at the Chain of Rocks Bridge (I – 270).

From the bridge and driving down Riverview Boulevard, can allow the traveler to actually by-pass St. Louis proper as the Route actually did on it’s way from L.A. to Chicago. From the Chain of Rocks, heading toward St. Louis, is actually heading to the South West and California when driving around St. Louis. Other routes can take the driver through more of the Metropolitan area to drop on and off the original route.

Using the I-270 to track Route 66 gives choices to stop and see the surrounding County areas of Bellefountaine Neighbors, Ferguson, Florissant, Hazelwood, Bridgeton, Maryland HeightsSt.Ann, Creve Couer, LadueFrontenac, Huntleigh, Kirkwood, and Sunset Hills. Each area has much to offer the sightseer that comprises the St. Louis metropolitan area. Each has it’s own character.

OTHER ROUTES FOR ST. LOUIS DRIVERS

Starting the base of the McKinley Bridge (closed to vehicle traffic), side trips can include routes to the Gateway Arch, historic Union Train Station now converted to a lovely mall, and Busch Stadium (see it before it is replaced by a newer and more modern stadium).

The paths of Lewis and Clark, Busch Farms original home to the Anheiser-Busch Clydesdale Horses, and Forest Park. Forest Park includes wonderful outdoor theater and the Art Museum.

ENTERTAINMENT

St. Louis, home of the Blues, was also a launching point for the careers of Ike and Tina Turner at George Edick’s Club Imperial in Jennings and their rock counterpart, Chuck Berry. Dancing on the Admiral (entertainment vessel on the Mississippi near the Arch) and local musicians continue to play music that reflect the strong influence on the dance scene. So, by contacting the West County Swing Dance Club any traveler can join the enthusiastic dancers and meet them at local music spots to find a dance partner.

St. Louis isn’t just another metropolitan area. It is a city with a strong history that includes the wild west, settlors, Indian trading, and French history. It does not require a family to be booked into a fancy hotel, though there are plenty of them, or the expense of a travel agent to find the points of interest that are so familiar to locals. Just ask one.