While you're visiting St. Louis, here are some things you can do before or after the conference!
- Gateway Arch - there is a wonderful visitor's center underneath the arch where you can learn about the construction of the Arch, Lewis and Clark, and more. If you're not too claustrophobic, take the tram up the Arch leg to the observation room at the top and see some great views of the city. You can also access the riverfront from the Arch grounds. Short walk from the hotel.
- Old Court House - directly across from the front door of the hotel, the old Court House houses a number of exhibits and information about its history (the Dred Scott decision), the underground railroad, etc.
- City Garden - a new free sculpture park and fountains just a few blocks from the hotel
- Union Station - once the largest rail terminal in the world, now rehabbed with stores and hotels. Interesting architecture.
- City Museum - a few blocks north of the hotel is the City Museum, which was created by a St. Louis artist. It's an old factory rehabbed into a museum and has a crazy tunnel system kids love (and parents fear) a St. Louis architecture exhibit, and many other weird, beautiful, and interesting things. Truly unique and a favorite for kids.
- Busch Stadium - the new Busch Stadium is next to the hotel and home of the St. Louis Cardinals
- Laclede's Landing - an area of restaurants, bars, and shops on the riverfront
- Lumiere Place Casino - close to Laclede's Landing
Forest Park is just west of downtown and is famous for hosting the 1904 World's Fair. It still contains a few buildings from that time plus many other city attractions. Most of the things in Forest Park are free to the public and supported by taxes from city and county.
- St. Louis Zoo - one of the best zoos in the country and the first zoo to pioneer open-air enclosures. Contains one of the largest flight cages in the world dating back to the 1904 world's fair. Free.
- St. Louis Art Museum - a wonderful art museum with excellent collections of classic and modern art, sculpture, photography, and more. Free.
- Missouri History Museum - both permanent and rotating exhibitions about St. Louis, Lewis & Clark, Charles Lindbergh, and more. Free.
- St. Louis Science Center - St. Louis science center and planetarium connect with a bridge over I-64. The Planetarium features exhibits about aviation and space while the science center holds exhibits about dinosaurs, the senses, Omnimax, etc. Free general admission.
- Jewel Box - beautiful and historic city greenhouse, created by the WPA and recently renovated. $1.
Other St. Louis city neighborhoods and destinations
- Missouri Botanical Garden - one of the finest public gardens in the world, a great place to wander and relax. Kids can also enjoy their enormous outside kids area.
- Soulard - historic neighborhood south of the city, featuring cobbled streets and rowhouses from the mid-to-late 1800's. Home to the second largest Mardi Gras in the US and many fine restaurants and bars. Also home to the historic Soulard Market,
- Anheuser-Busch Brewery - the Anheuser-Bush brewery is located in Soulard and provides tours.
- Lemp Mansion - one of the most haunted houses in the country, also a fine place to eat or (if you're brave) spend the night.
- Lafayette Square - home to historic Victorian homes dating to the 1800's. Many nice restaurants and shops.
- Central West End - a fun walking area in the central west area of downtown just east of Forest Park, featuring many restaurants and shops. Also the home of the breathtaking Cathedral Basilica.
- The Hill - one of the top "Little Italy" neighborhoods in the country and the source of many fine Italian restaurants
- The Loop - linking the St. Louis county and St. Louis City, the Loop area in University City was the home of Strange Loop 2009 and 2010 and many fine restaurants and entertainment venues.
- Cahokia Mounds - across the river in Illinois, this historic site was one of the largest cities in the world (in 1250AD, it was larger than London).
- Magic House - located in the suburb of Kirkwood, the Magic House is a seemingly ever-expanding Victorian house that features fun and educational exhibits for kids. Easily big enough to spend a day.
- Museum of Transportation - wonderful classic cars, and a whole lot of trains make this fun for both kids and adults.
- Laumeier Sculpture Park - a large park full of whimsical and interesting sculpture
- World Bird Sanctuary - nestled inside Lone Elk Park, the World Bird Sanctuary hosts an amazing collection of owls and birds of prey undergoing rehabilitation. Lone Elk is a drive-through park featuring buffalo and elk.
- Six Flags Amusement and Water Park - a fun place for roller coasters and water fun, featuring the classic American Eagle wooden coaster (imho you can keep yer fancy metal coasters to yourself).