Known as the Gateway to the West, St. Louis (STL) is a charming city located on the Missouri-Illinois border, which happens to be the historic Mississippi River. I was excited to explore a new part of the country upon my completion of grad school in Southeast Asia last in May. It would be a unique chance to spend time with my family after having reunited following a 16-month separation. Webster University’s annual commencement was responsible for this journey to the Midwest and having heard great things about STL, I wanted to experience as much as I could while there starting with my alma mater’s main campus.
Since I had pursued my entire master’s program overseas I had not had the opportunity to see the beautiful, resourceful main campus situated in suburbia. The university planned an alumni reception for those who studied at Webster’s extended campuses both domestically and globally. Unfortunately, I missed the event but managed to meet a few of the staff who provided pertinent info for the grand ceremony the next day. Honestly, as I drove through the city in the rental car my family secured, it didn’t feel or seem much different from my hometown back in Delaware.
Then the next day subsequent to the commencement exercises, we went sightseeing on the clement weather day. Thrilled to venture downtown we took the clean, speedy, affordable metro to the last stop that preceded the Mississippi River where Illinois sat on the other side. Here was the famous Gateway Arch that stands tall and is open for visitors to explore. Upon gaining admission we queued in our aim to ascend to the top for the magnificent indoor view of the town from various angles.
What was most interesting about this experience was the method for how we ascended and descended the arch. An unorthodox, tiny elevator that seated five people lifted us up and then down the huge structure, which took many years and manpower to build. A walk down to the riverside beckoned us as we snapped a shot of the arch from a distance. Nearby was a ship that played Louisiana-style music and where we saw crowds of people embarking and disembarking. It was a taste of vintage STL that I embraced for my short time there.
Only a four-hour drive to Chicago and a 1-2 hour drive to Kansas City, Missouri, St. Louis is certainly worth seeing on a longer trip. Sweetie Pies is a famous soul food restaurant that I heard about but didn’t get to check out due to the fact that the lines are excessively long. So a trip there is definitely in order on my next visit to STL. It was a brief but sweet [family] trip, one to remember. Until next time…