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Signature City St. Louis

Discover the Gateway City by visiting the Arch, National Blues Museum, Forest Park, Botanical Gardens and Anheuser Busch Museum. Explore ethnic neighborhoods to savor traditional foods.
Rating (5)
Program No. 12804RJ
6 days
Starts at

Signature City St. Louis

Discover the Gateway City by visiting the Arch, National Blues Museum, Forest Park, Botanical Gardens and Anheuser Busch Museum. Explore ethnic neighborhoods to savor traditional foods.
6 days
Starts at
Program No. 12804 RJ
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At a Glance

Journey to the heart of America for a comprehensive exploration of the “Gateway City.” Explore the city’s greatest landmarks; glimpse history at Forest Park, site of the 1904 World’s Fair; ride to the top of the Gate Way Arch, visit the National Blues Museum and take a tour of Anheuser Busch Beer Museum viewing the fabulous and impressive architecture of three National Historic Landmarks and see the famous Clydesdale Horses. Explore the three main ethnic regions of St. Louis and experience the beauty of the world-renowned Missouri Botanical Garden.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Get the inside stories of great city icons, including the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Cathedral, Missouri’s Botanical Gardens and Anheuser Busch Museum.
  • Explore the Irish, Italian and German neighborhoods of St. Louis, learn about the rich heritage and dine on traditional cuisine.
  • Go back in time at Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World's Fair, and visit the Art Museum and History Museum.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Hidden History of Downtown St. Louis
by Ma Company (Tanzania), Thomas P. Kavanaugh
A short, fascinating history of the hidden heritage of St. Louis, including the limestone cave-origins of Anheuser-Busch, the workplace of a young Tennessee Williams and a vibrant blues scene.
The Gateway Arch: A Biography
by Tracy Campbell
A St. Louis icon and a stunning memorial to westward expansion, the Arch triumphantly rises 630 feet over the city and attracts millions of tourist every year. Campbell reveals the history of the monument, dispelling myths and shining new light on the origins and meaning of the Arch.
Moon Handbook St. Louis
by Brooke S. Foster
A no-nonsense practical guide in the Moon series, jam-packed not only with travel necessities (hotels, restaurants, sights), but also with a good overview of history, flora and fauna and geology.
St. Louis Parks
by Marilynne Bradley, Eisley Hamilton
Through color photos and historical context, Harris and Hamilton introduce readers to the best parks in St. Louis, beginning with the establishment of Lafayette Park in 1836 to the popular, expansive Forest Park and everything in between.
St. Louis: The 1904 World's Fair
by Mike Truax, Joe Sonderman
In 1904, millions of people traveled to St. Louis to visit the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, a world’s fair that introduced some of the latest inventions. Visitors saw electric lights, aircraft, automobiles and moving pictures -- many for the first time! Through historic photos, this Images of America collection revisits the wonder and grandeur of the seven months of the St. Louis World’s Fair.
Images of America: Missouri Botanical Garden
by Todd E. Styles
One of St. Louis’ premier attractions, the Missouri Botanical Garden is world-renowned for its science, conservation, education and horticulture display, thanks to the help of some of the most famous botanists of all time. An illustrated overview of the garden’s history and legacy.
Weird Missouri
by James Strait
Part of an award-winning series, Weird Missouri introduces tourists to the off-the-beaten path destinations, including ghostly sites and peculiar roadside attractions, as well as local legends and crazy characters. Heavily illustrated.
Historic Photos of the Gateway Arch
by NiNi Harris
Harris tells the story of the Gateway Arch through this collection of historic photos. The Arch, which stands 630 feet and spans 630 feet, is awe-inspiring in its simplicity, scale and elegance.
Capturing the City: Photographs from the Streets of St. Louis, 1900 to 1930.
by Joseph Heathcott
Uniquely, the St. Louis Street Department spent the first decades of the 20thcentury taking photographs of the city to document municipal challenges and improvements but ultimately generated an invaluable collection that depicted everyday life in the city. Take a tour through these 30 years in this illustrated time capsule.
Remembering the Gateway Arch
by NiNi Harris
A triumphant icon of St. Louis, Missouri, the arch commemorates the city as the Gateway to the West. Harris uses historic images to supplement her narrative about the design and construction of the arch, from the clearing of the site to the insertion of the keystone.
Downtown St. Louis
by Don Korte, NiNi Harris
Follow the evolution of downtown St. Louise from the French colonial days to the advent of millennials and 21st century loft through gorgeous photos that depict all these transformations.
Missouri Off the Beaten Path
by Patti DeLano
A fun series that introduces travelers (and locals!) to sites they’d want to see if they knew about them. The guide covers local dining, hidden attractions, unusual locales and quirky cultural tidbits.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Welcome and Program Orientation
St Louis, MO
Drury Inn St. Louis at Union Station

Activity note: You may check in to hotel anytime after 3 pm. Meet group in Room 134 at 4:15.

Afternoon: Meet in Room 134 at 4:15 p.m.to register with program staff and get your welcome packet containing your up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and other important information. Program orientation: 4:15 p.m. If you arrive late, please check with your group leader. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the program theme, the up-to-date schedule and any changes, discuss safety guidelines, emergency procedures, roles and responsibilities, and answer any questions you may have. Indicated times are approximate; program activities and schedules may need to change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: We are encouraged to pick up a free beverage (beer, wine, some mixed drinks, or soft drink) from the Drury Plaza Hotel’s happy hour also called “Kick-Back” (5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) which includes complimentary appetizers. We will enjoy a pre-selected, plated dinner from Lombardo’s at 6:00 p.m. in the lower level of the Hotel. Coffee, tea and water are included.

Evening: Readjourn in hotel, room 134 immediately following dinner for a short lecture on the founding of St. Louis and the St. Louis fur trade. The rest of the evening is at leisure to settle in and relax.

Neighborhood Tours/Architecture/Culture/Cathedral Basilica
St Louis, MO
Drury Inn St. Louis at Union Station

Activity note: Considerable standing and walking in neighborhoods and Cathedral Basilica.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel.

Morning: Meet in Room 134 at 8:00 am where guide, Melanie Harvey will outline and describe the day's journey. Once we board the bus, our first stop will be the historic Old Courthouse, site of the Dred Scott Trial. We will experience a bus tour with Melanie of various St. Louis landmarks and ethnic neighborhoods both then and now; Union Station, City Museum, City Garden, Soulard Market and its historic neighborhood, St. Louis Arsenal, Lemp Mansion & Brewery, DeMenil Mansion, a walking tour of Lafayette Square neighborhood with its grand "Painted Ladies" and unique neighborhood park. Experience some of the old neighborhoods as you learn the importance of German, Irish and Italian immigrants and their significance on the development of St. Louis. Study the various architectural influences on the Midwest.

Lunch: Enjoy lunch on the "Hill", and maybe even try your hand at Bocce Ball at Milo's Bocce Garden. After lunch, enjoy an authentic Italian Gelato or an Italian pastry at nearby shops for dessert.

Afternoon: Field study on the St. Louis Hill. This unique neighborhood/area remains primarily an Italian-American neighborhood. It was established in the late 19th century when immigrants were attracted by jobs in nearby plants created to exploit the local clay for brick making. Baseball greats Yogi Berra and broadcaster Joe Garagiola Sr. grew up on the Hill, along with other sports notables. Field trip to the new St. Louis Cathedral Basilica where the largest collection of mosaics in the world is housed in one place. Study the architectural design of Romanesque and Byzantine styles, where east meets west.

Dinner: We are encouraged to pick up a free beverage (beer, wine, some mixed drinks, or soft drink) from the Drury Plaza Hotel’s happy hour also called “Kick-Back” (5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.) which includes complimentary appetizers. We will enjoy a pre-selected, plated dinner from the restaurant at the Hotel.

Evening: Meet me at the fair! Enjoy a presentation on the sights, sounds, and discoveries of the 1904 World's Fair, held in St. Louis.

Gateway Arch/National Blues Museum/MO Botanical Garden
St Louis, MO
Drury Inn St. Louis at Union Station

Activity note: Walking down a paved sidewalk required to reach arch. Step or ramp available to Arch entrance. To reach the top and return, you must be able to manage at least 96 steps, divided into six flights, and may need to stand for 30-–60 minutes. No seating or restrooms are located at the top of the Arch. Participants can choose to walk extensively at the Botanical Garden or sit on one of the many benches and just enjoy the view.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel.

Morning: Meet to board the bus to visit our National Monument, the Gateway Arch, built as a tribute to Thomas Jefferson and all those pioneers for who St. Louis was the Gateway to the West. Once at the Arch, you may choose to travel to the top of this 630 foot high stainless steel structure for amazing views of the Gateway City, the Mighty Mississippi, and neighboring Illinois and/or visit the newly remodeled Museum where you can explore the role of St. Louis as the Gateway to the West.

Lunch: Experience a boxed lunch of St. Louis style BBQ from “Sugar Fire” while listening to a performance of Blues/Jazz music.

Afternoon: After lunch we will continue on into the National Blues Museum, the only museum that is exclusively dedicated to the national and international story of Blues music and how it has greatly influenced the American culture here in the United States. Listen with interactive technology and view artifact exhibits to experience its long and tradition-rich history that has continued to speak to listeners throughout the years and all walks of life. A docent will lead us through the museum and then we will have some time to view the exhibits on our own. Our next stop will take us on a field study of Henry Shaw's dream, the Missouri Botanical Garden. Discover why it is one of the top three botanical gardens in the United States. Explore the garden, Climatron, and more at your leisure. Tram rides are available for $4/person (cash only). Trams depart on the hour and pick up at each stop one hour later. Be aware of last tram pick-up time.

Dinner: Enjoy the Irish presence in St. Louis tonight at McGurk's Irish Restaurant and Pub, choose from a selected menu. Coffee, tea & soft drinks are included.

Evening: At leisure.

Anheuser Busch Museum Tour
St Louis, MO
Drury Inn St. Louis at Union Station

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles and getting on and off a bus. Walking and standing for up to 1 hour at the Anheuser Busch Museum Tour.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: This morning we will start the day with a Horses and Heritage tour at Anheuser Busch. We will tour the National Historic Old Lyon School House Museum, which is home to a modern museum of nearly 400 unique historical items from the Anheuser-Busch archives. Next, we will visit the Stables and learn more about the handling and training of the beautiful and famous Clydesdale Horses by one of their professional horse trainers. Great opportunity for a photo next to the Clydesdale and even pet them if you choose to do so. Inside the stable we will see the harnesses that are made specifically for each horse, wagons and a chandelier that was designed for the 1904 World's Fair. Lastly we will receive a complimentary beer sample.

Lunch: Experience a peek inside an old wiring manufacturing warehouse that has been renovated to house “Sqwires” restaurant. Named because it is located in Lafayette Square and is housed in a previous wiring manufacturing building. A plated lunch previously picked from a selected menu will be served including coffee, tea, and water.

Afternoon: Free time for independent exploration. You may want to walk to Union Station to view the beautiful architecture that once housed the largest railroad station in the United States. Or take a walk to the Old Post Office or newly-renovated Public Library. Other suggestions will be available from the group leader.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. The Drury Kick-Back is also available for us to enjoy.

Evening: At leisure.

Campbell House Museum/Forest Park-History & Art Museum
St Louis, MO
Drury Inn St. Louis at Union Station

Activity note: Getting on and off a bus. Steps and standing required at the Campbell House. Moderate walking and some standing at the History Museum and Art Museum.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: We will head out by bus to step back in time at the Campbell House Museum. This museum opened in 1943, transferring directly from family ownership to the museum. This preserved not only the Campbell's house but also their collection of original furniture, fixtures, paintings, objects, and thousands of pages of family documents. Included in these documents is a unique album of 60 photographs of the interior of the house from 1885. It looks much the same today as it did in these photographs.

Lunch: Today we will lunch at a true St. Louis icon and enjoy food native to the St. Louis area. You may even get to enjoy a special St. Louis treat!

Afternoon: After lunch explore Forest Park, site of the 1904 World's Fair, and one of the largest urban parks in the country, surpassing Central Park by 500 acres. We will visit the Missouri History Museum. The original building was built with proceeds from the profits of the 1904 World’s Fair. It was built to commemorate Thomas Jefferson and the Louisiana Purchase. We will learn about St. Louis in 1875. What did slang sound like in 1875? What were St. Louis neighborhoods like? What did people do for fun? These questions and more will be answered by one of the History Museum’s excellent speakers as we explore the sensations and experiences of life in St. Louis more than 140 years ago. From the city’s busy center to its rural outskirts, past sparkling mansions and congested tenements, surprises wait at every turn. We will then be free to tour the Museum on our own. Our next stop will be the St. Louis Art Museum. We will be met by docents who will show you the Museum’s highlights and then give you time to explore on your own. Schedule is flexible -- if you prefer to spend all of your time at one museum, we can accommodate that.

Dinner: We’ll savor a delightful farewell dinner at a local microbrewery and distillery to celebrate our week of fun. We will enjoy a pre-selected plated dinner. Coffee, tea, and water are included.

Evening: At leisure.

Program Conclusion and Departures
St Louis, MO

Activity note: Hotel Check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Check out and prepare for departure. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all you journeys!

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