Sponsored by Explore St. Louis
The adventurous spirit that motivated Lewis and Clark on their westward trip when they left St. Louis in 1804 is a natural part of gatherings today in the city. From a new aquarium and an expanded sports stadium infrastructure to a celebrated museum, the sense of discovery is around every corner.
Washington University in St. Louis already crowned the destination as having the second-most free, world-class attractions in the country, trailing only Washington, D.C. Now there is even more for visitors to see.
As the geographic hub of the United States, the destination is in a lot of people’s backyards. At St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), a $1.6 billion runway expansion reduced delays and a new terminal added capacity for Southwest Airlines to run 120 new flights each day. A total of 13 airlines serve 70 nonstop destinations.
Meet and Stay
The city is home to 21 Drury hotels, including Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch, which offers 353 guest rooms and 25,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. The brand has its roots in Missouri and offers free soda and popcorn in the lobby daily. Also nearby, Hyatt Regency St. Louis at The Arch includes 910 guest rooms and 83,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
Marriott St. Louis Grand recently wrapped up a renovation of 77,000 sq. ft. of meeting space and 917 guest rooms in walking distance of the city’s downtown attractions, including America’s Center Convention Complex’s 502,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space. In addition to a grand, 28,000-square-foot ballroom, The Dome at America’s Center has welcomed the largest indoor gathering in the United States—a mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II, monster truck rallies and countless conventions, galas and unique receptions. Two club areas in The Dome are AV-equipped solutions for more intimate gatherings of 100–600 people.
In the spirit of more to love, Ballpark Village, the hospitality development surrounding Busch Stadium, home of the MLB Cardinals, is growing. A new, 216-room hotel is under construction and a two-story, open concept entertainment and dining experience boasts 11 restaurants, including Budweiser Brew House, which celebrates the company that still calls the city home 167 years after Eberhard Anheuser Adolphus Busch founded it.
Landmark Gateway Arch recently underwent a $380 million expansion to commemorate the city’s role in the country’s westward expansion and midcentury building prowess. Now, in addition to the sky-high tram ride to the top for stunning city views of the city, The Museum at the Gateway Arch brings to life the stories of Native Americans, explorers, pioneers and rebels. The interactive exhibits cover 201 years of history and are the perfect backdrop for as many as 1,000 people in a “night at the museum”-style gathering, with exclusive tram service.
Or, book a private charter on Riverboats at the Gateway Arch, with catering and guided tours for as many as 220 people.
By the end of 2019, the new St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station, part of a $187 million entertainment complex connected to St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton, will make a splash in River City. The hotel is a stunning reuse of the historic train station property, with its own spectacularly arched great room used to project light shows, as well as 567 guest rooms and 83,000 sq. ft. of meeting space. Now it will boast a miniature golf course, 200-foot-tall Ferris wheel, a signature carousel, three new restaurants and a conservation center.
The addition of a world-class, interactive aquarium under the historic train shed and outdoor carousel and event area will make the destination even more attractive to groups. Whether it is a dinner by the light of the 250,000-gallon shark tank or entry via a 3D virtual reality train ride, guests will not forget the experience.