Residents of St Louis might have moved to the suburbs, but the downtown still packs a punch.
The city of St Louis in Missouri was once the gateway from where America expanded to the west, rising to prominence as a major trading port on the Mississippi River in the early 19th century.
Today, the city is home to the agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto, the utility Ameren and the investment company Edward Jones, and Barnes-Jewish Hospital, the largest private employer in the St Louis region.
St Louis was once the fourth-largest US city, but has since hollowed out. The city’s population, which peaked at 856,000 in 1950, declined to 318,000, according to an estimate from last year. Even on a weekday, the downtown area can wear a deserted look.
That said, it is here where visitors will find the historic Gateway Arch, live performances of jazz, blues and ragtime, and baseball, football and ice hockey games.
One of the leading newspapers of the state, St Louis Post-Dispatch, was bought out by Joseph Pulitzer in 1878.
Famous natives of St Louis include the co-founder of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, the singer Chuck Berry and the author Maya Angelou.
Catch a St Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball game at Busch Stadium; watch National Football League featuring the St Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome or even the St Louis Blues play in the National Hockey League at the Scottrade Center. One can also take a stroll at the Missouri Botanical Garden, spread across 30 hectares.
Where to stay
A weekend stay at the Four Seasons hotel near the confluence of Mississippi and Missouri rivers can start at US$355. Rooms at the Hyatt Regency come in at $164 at the low end.
Lambert-St Louis International Airport plays a major role for Southwest Airlines and flights can be found to all major cities in the US. The city also connects to Chicago by train and bus. The Interstate 70 highway cuts through the city.