The Gateway Arch
When you think of St. Louis, what is the first thing that comes to mind? You got it! The St. Louis Arch! After having lived in St. Louis for four years in undergrad, I finally made it up this well-known, brilliantly designed landmark. I must admit, I was a little frightened at first. A tiny pod carries you all the way to the top for what seems like eternity. However, once you finally make it up there and take your first step, you realize how high you really are. And then, you see it. It is one of the most amazing, surreal views! There are windows at the very top that let you see the entire city of St. Louis and beyond, not to mention an extensive view of Illinois as well. This is definitely something everyone who visits or lives in St. Louis should experience and I have learned to admire the city so much more. It really is an amazing city and I cannot wait to learn even more about it during my time at the Washington University School of Medicine.
– Maria S., M1
Saint Louis Zoo in Forest Park
How much do polar bears weigh? Enough to break the ice! Learn this fun animal fact (and more!) at the Saint Louis Zoo. Located in Forest Park, the zoo is a great, free way to spend a lovely afternoon after morning lectures. Finding a close parking spot may be tricky on the weekends, but it’s absolutely worth the trip. The zoo has lions, tigers and bears (oh my!), as well as peacocks that freely roam the park. Make sure to stop by the popular penguin exhibit, where you can see them diving and swimming up close! If that’s not enough for you, keep an eye out for the penguin parade. When the temperature is 50 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the winter, the penguins will waddle around the zoo for 30 minutes – enough time for you to grab a selfie of you and your new buddy. Forest Park itself is another great outdoorsy destination. Larger than Central Park in New York, Forest Park is filled with trails and a popular place for runners and bikers. Check out Art Hill, a hill near the Art Museum that is perfect for picnics in the summer and sledding in the winter. If Art Hill’s not your thing, lace up your ice skates and visit the Steinberg Ice Rink once it gets cold. There’s always more to explore in Forest Park!
– Margery G., M1
Forest Park is a giant city park located just blocks from campus. It is filled with miles of trails, ponds, trees and golf courses. It also has a free art museum, a free history museum, and free zoo (rated as one of the top three in the country)! On top of all this, it hosts a variety of events throughout the year. LouFest is a music festival that always has a great lineup, the Balloon Race is a blast, and Shakespeare in the Park is a classic. Now you might be asking yourself: The events are cool, but do I really care about a huge park? And the answer should be yes, yes, 100 times yes. Here’s why: After spending hours inside in lecture and studying, it is THE most relaxing thing to take a jog or a walk through the park and enjoy the fresh air. I cannot stress this enough! As someone who did not grow up in a large city, it has been my saving grace to have a place to escape the constant noise and activity. Trust me when I tell you that Forest Park is one of my favorite parts of St. Louis.
– Conor W., M1
Not so much a museum as it is a playground for kids and adults of all ages, you cannot visit St. Louis without spending at least half a day at the City Museum. This former shoelace factory has been filled with repurposed industrial objects begging to be played with, climbed on and jumped off. A giant slide runs through the center of the building and deposits you in the center of a series of caves, which cannot be explored too often. The roof of the building boasts a Ferris wheel, and the outdoor two-story jungle gym has two lofted aircrafts as well as a ball pit. There is so much going on at the City Museum that each visit seems to unveil a new favorite attraction.
– Maeve W., M1
Missouri Botanical Garden
As a St. Louis native, I have been to the Botanical Garden more times than I can count, but each time I’ve discovered something new. It’s beautifully maintained, and always has special exhibits to complement its amazing varieties of fauna. My favorite is the Chinese Lantern Festival, which takes place each summer at the Gardens. For fans of Chihuly sculptures, the blown-glass art is found all over the grounds, adding a pop of color to an already dazzling display. It’s an amazing way to spend a spring day or a summer evening! And there’s no better way to end a day at the Botanical Gardens than with a St. Louis classic: Ted Drewes Ice Cream.
– Tanvi S., M1