Exploring Historic St. Louis with Kids
My children have generally learned to deal with what I call a “fun trip.” My husband and I are both teachers, and we love to combine vacations or getaways with a little learning involved. I think it’s important for children to see the histories of different cities, states, countries, and the world. St. Louis is a great town with plenty of things to do for the entire family and so many ways to get a little education in!
Where to stay in St. Louis
St. Louis doesn’t have a shortage of Hilton brand hotels. We most recently stayed in Hilton St. Louis Downtown at the Arch. It is a beautiful property converted from a historic bank building located within walking distance to all of the major attractions downtown. There is a beautiful lobby area that is a comfortable place to gather.
What to do in St. Louis
While the original purpose of the trip was to attend a work-related conference, I try to never let a travel opportunity pass us by! I flew into the city and didn’t want to rent a car if at all possible. We were able to get by using our feet and Uber on two occasions.
The Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch is operated by the National Park Service. There are multiple opportunities to enjoy many facets of the Arch including a movie about its construction, a general store, and of course the ride to the top of the Arch. Though currently being renovated, the interior of the Arch is scheduled to reopen at the end of April 2016. You can still take the tram to the top of the Arch, though. Be sure to check the website for updates.
Basilica of St. Louis, King
At the base of the Arch is the Basilica of St. Louis, King, also called the Old Cathedral. We had the opportunity to visit the basilica during a noon service. Visitors are always welcome. While tours are not allowed during the services, taking time to enjoy the peace and serenity of the church is a welcome respite in the center of a bustling downtown. This basilica is one of the most beautiful examples of American sacred architecture I’ve had the pleasure to visit. This is a must-see stop for the architecture, art, and that amazing organ! A member of the church offered to give a history of the church and its renovations to visitors after the service.
Just a short walk away is the Old Courthouse, where the first two trials of the famous Dred Scott slavery case were heard. While updates have taken place and the courthouse is still being renovated, standing in the room where history happened is awe-inspiring. Other courtrooms have been carefully restored to period standards and specifications.
Horse Drawn Carriage Ride
Be sure to enjoy the city in a horse drawn carriage. We had a night tour in a lovely carriage that featured the old brick streets on the river front. It’s easy to hail a carriage just outside the hotel door. The concierge was happy to help us!
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