About St. Louis

St. Louis is known as Mound City, The Gateway to the West, and the Lou. Downtown not only contains the Arch and Busch Stadium, but also some very architecturally important buildings. Beyond the central core, St. Louis is a city of neighborhoods, influenced in the early days by French, German, and Italian ancestry, and more recently by immigrants from places such as Bosnia, Mexico, and Vietnam.

Some neighborhood highlights include:

  • Soulard is close to downtown and home to the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in the United States as well as the first farmers market West of the Mississippi.
  • Central West End is a walkable neighborhood with restaurants, bars, and shops. It is next to Forest Park and has lots of character.
  • Forest Park is home to excellent and free cultural attractions; this park was home to the 1904 World's Fair and is larger than New York's Central Park.
  • Grand South Grand is a stretch along Grand Avenue, south of Tower Grove Park, featuring many international stores and restaurants.
  • Tower Grove Park is a Victorian-style park in South St. Louis, home to several annual events including PrideFest and Festival of Nations.
  • Lafayette Square is a pleasant neighborhood with a large park, Victorian homes, restaurants, bars, and a microbrewery.
  • Cherokee Street is a diverse stretch of street, ranging from historic mansions, to Antique Row, to the home of St. Louis' Cinco De Mayo celebration.
  • Grand Center is immediately north of Saint Louis University. This arts district is home to such renowned entities as the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Fox Theatre, Black Repertory CompanySheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries, Contemporary Art Museum St. LouisPulitzer Foundation for the ArtsJazz at the Bistro.
  • Lacledes' Landing is about 10 blocks from the hotel. The old and new come together on the Landing, a collection of historic 19th century riverfront warehouses that have been converted into nightclubs and restaurants. This is also adjacent to the Arch grounds and features the Lumire Casino.
  • The Hill is home to many Italian eateries and groceries, which are scattered throughout this residential neighborhood.
  • The Grove is an up-and-coming community filled with fun and eccentric dining, shopping, art galleries, and GBLT-friendly nightlife.
  • The Loop is at the Western edge of the city, home to the St. Louis Walk of Fame, the Pageant performance venue, many unique shops, and a wide variety of restaurants.

Want to learn more about St. Louis before making the trip to the Midwest?
Check out these great sites that highlight some of the best history and information about The Gateway to the West: 


To help conference attendees discover new perspectives on St. Louis, several tours will be offered for the conference:

  • City and University Tours: A variety of tours will be offered before and during the conference that will feature both cultural attractions (such as the Arch and Forest Park) and local institutions of higher education. Some of these tours will be "blended" to enable a university visit while taking in the local sights. Advance registration will be required.
  • Architectural Walking Tours: Surrounding the hotel, downtown St. Louis offers numerous architecturally beautiful and historically significant buildings. Highlighting such facilities as the Old Courthouse (where the Dred Scott case took place), the world's first skyscraper, and Union Station, these tours will enable you to get some fresh air and move about as you look up.
  • Self-Guided City Tours: Want to go on your own schedule? Grab a map and a colleague and admire the buildings around you to create your own architectural walking tour. Or hop on the Metrolink or Metrobus and explore one of the interesting and diverse neighborhoods noted above.

Enjoy St. Louis without spending a dime!

One nice feature of this Midwestern city is that many local attractions are free, including some of the city's top sites listed below:    

*located in Forest Park

St. Louis area ACUI member institutions

Updated Jan. 25, 2013