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St. Louis in 3 DaysThree days is barely enough time to get to know any major destination. But AAA travel editors suggest these activities to make the most of your time in St. Louis.

Day 1: MorningSpend the morning at Gateway Arch National Park , home to the nation's tallest monument—The Gateway Arch. The memorial also includes The Old Courthouse and the Museum of Westward Expansion. Try to arrive at The Gateway Arch soon after it opens.

Two gripping films related to the memorial and the history of the West are shown throughout the day, and tram rides take visitors to the top of the Arch for a view of the city.

Note: Summer is the busiest season, but hours are also extended in the evening. Purchasing tickets in advance gives you more flexibility in choosing your tram ride time. Also allow at least 30 minutes to get through the security checkpoint at the Arch entrance.

Day 1: AfternoonToasted ravioli—pasta shells stuffed with meat and cheese, fried, topped with grated Parmesan cheese and served with a side of marinara sauce—is a local culinary specialty that you just have to try. Charlie Gitto's Downtown is as good a place as any to dive into a plateful of these tasty morsels.

After lunch visit The Old Courthouse . The stunning copper dome is designed in an Italian Renaissance style and patterned after the one at Rome's St. Peter's Basilica. One of the most important cases that began here involved Dred Scott, an enslaved African American man who sued for his freedom in a case that reached the U.S. Supreme Court. Learn more about St. Louis history from exhibits that chronicle the city's growth since the 1760s.

Afterward stop at the Old Cathedral for a look at the 1830s structure and the Catholic artifacts housed in its museum.

Day 1: EveningJoin St. Louis sports fans for a night with the Cardinals at Ballpark Village , next to Busch Stadium. There's a variety of restaurants to choose from, and you can learn more about the team's storied history at the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum .

Day 2: MorningBegin the day with a trip to the Soulard Farmers Market at 7th and Carroll streets, said to be the oldest farmers market west of the Mississippi River. Browse the vendor stalls and see what catches your eye for breakfast and a souvenir or two. The market is open Wednesday through Saturday, but not every vendor opens each day; go on a Saturday for the fullest experience.

Day 2: Afternoonflickr/blgrssby
Devote the rest of the morning and afternoon to Forest Park , site of the 1904 World's Fair. Pick up a self-guiding audio tour player from the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center at 5595 Grand Dr. There are five principal attractions: the Jewel Box , the Missouri History Museum , the Saint Louis Art Museum , the Saint Louis Science Center and the Saint Louis Zoo . The science center and the zoo are good choices if you have kids. During the summer a shuttle bus runs between the attractions and makes several other stops.

Have lunch at Boathouse Forest Park , with a view of Post-Dispatch Lake, or wolf down squares of St. Louis-style pizza at Imo's Pizza just outside the park.

Day 2: EveningBroadway-style musicals are performed in Forest Park at the Muny, an outdoor amphitheater, from mid-June to mid-August each summer. Roughly 1,450 free seats at the top of the house are reserved for each performance, so if you're willing to wait in line (first-come, first-served) you might be able to get in for an unbeatable price.

After the show, have a late supper in the Central West End (just northeast of Forest Park). Dressel's Public House is adorned with pictures of authors and musicians. It often attracts theatergoers and is one possibility along several blocks of dining options.

If the Muny plan doesn't work out, make reservations and get dressed up for dinner at Tony's , an excellent choice for an upscale dining experience. Get tickets if the St. Louis Symphony is performing at Powell Symphony Hall, or see what's going on at nearby Sheldon Concert Hall. The Fabulous Fox Theatre and the Grandel Theatre are in the neighborhood as well.

Day 3: MorningHave breakfast at Station Grille in the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton , located within the Romanesque-inspired architectural grandiosity of Union Station. Adorned with mosaics, gold leaf and faux marble ornamentation and a Tiffany stained-glass window above the main entrance in the Grand Hall, this former rail passenger terminal is an entertainment and dining destination.

Then head to Scott Joplin House State Historic Site , the simple home of the ragtime composer and his wife, Belle. Furnished in turn-of-the-20th-century style, it contains a museum dedicated to the musician's accomplishments.

Tour the magnificently extravagant Samuel Cupples House at St. Louis University . This 42-room Romanesque estate looks like a castle, and it features such interior elements as quarter-sawn oak floors. There are also displays of European and American paintings and art glass.

Day 3: AfternoonYou've never seen mosaics like the ones that adorn the inside of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis . More than 41 million individual pieces of glass, marble and stone were meticulously arranged to create beautiful religious imagery as well as local historical scenes.

Return to the West End and have lunch at Bar Italia Ristorante . Then browse the antique shops, art galleries, bookstores and boutiques along Euclid Avenue, Maryland Plaza and McPherson Street.

Gardeners and nature lovers could spend the entire afternoon at the Missouri Botanical Garden . The Climatron, a conservatory housed in a massive geodesic dome, is definitely dressed to impress with its tropical plants, animal inhabitants, pools and waterfalls. Garden founder Henry Shaw's 1849 Victorian house also is open to the public.

Day 3: EveningEnd the day in The Hill, the Italian neighborhood where former major leaguers Yogi Berra and Joe Garagiola grew up. Restaurants, specialty markets and tricolored fire hydrants sporting green, white and red paint characterize The Hill. A statue outside St. Ambrose Catholic Church, on Wilson Avenue between Marconi Avenue and Hereford Street, depicts Italian immigrants.

The tableside preparations are sure to impress at restaurants like Dominic's . If you're not in the mood for formality, there are plenty of other options for Italian fare; Bartolino's Osteria is well established and offers a menu of classic dishes.

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Saint Louis, MO

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Travel Information

City Population

319,294

Elevation

585 ft.

Sales Tax

The sales tax rate in the city of St. Louis is 8.49 percent. The city's lodging tax is 14.9 percent and there is a rental car tax of 7.82 percent.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(314) 231-1212

Time and Temperature

(314) 321-2222 or (636) 441-8467

Hospitals

Barnes-Jewish Hospital, (314) 747-3000; Missouri Baptist Medical Center (Town and Country, Mo.), (314) 996-5000; St. Alexius Hospital, (314) 865-7000; St. Anthony's Medical Center, (314) 525-1000; Saint Louis University Hospital, (314) 577-8000.

Visitor Information

I-270 and Riverview Dr. St. Louis, MO 63138. Phone:(314)869-7100

Air Travel

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport

Rental Cars

Hertz offers discounts to AAA members; phone (314) 426-7555 or (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

The Amtrak terminal, (800) 872-7245, is at 430 S. 15th St.

Buses

The Greyhound Lines Inc. terminal, (800) 231-2222, is at 430 S. 15th St.

Taxis

Cab companies include St. Louis County Cab & Yellow Cab, (314) 991-5300 or (314) 993-8294; and Laclede, (314) 652-3456 or (314) 403-7000 (to request a taxi via text message). All cabs in St. Louis are on the meter system. Base fare is approximately $2 to $3.50 for the first mile, with a rate of $2 to $2.50 per mile. The base fare goes up $1 for each additional passenger. A fuel surcharge of at least $1 also is added to the fare, and there is a $4 surcharge for airport pick-ups.

Public Transportation

Metro, the public transportation system—which includes MetroBus, the MetroLink light-rail train and the Metro Call-A-Ride para-transit van service—transports passengers throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. The base bus fare is $2; $1 (ages 5-12, ages 65+ and customers with disabilities). Exact cash fare is required. A MetroLink one-ride ticket is $2.50; $1.25 (ages 5-12, ages 65+ and customers with disabilities). A 2-hour system pass (with transfers) is $3; $1.50 (ages 5-12, ages 65+ and customers with disabilities), or $4 from Lambert Airport. Weekly and monthly passes also are available. For route information, current fares and hours of system operation contact MetroTransit Information Mon.-Fri. 7-7; phone (314) 231-2345, or (618) 271-2345 in Illinois.

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