Categories: News, Newsletter, Newsletter Issue 2023:2

Meet Us in St. Louis! Your Guide to St. Louis

By Tim McBride

The iconic 1944 musical MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS portrayed a turn of the century St. Louis, getting ready for the 1904 World’s Fair, but also wrestling with whether the family would move to New York City. Though of course based on a fictional story, the author grew up in St. Louis and wrote this story based on living in a house near the famous Forest Park, where the World’s Fair took place.

For the ASHEcon visitors coming to town in June, here is a short list of possible sites to visit, food places near the hotel, and other tips (put together by this author, a longtime St. Louis resident now).

The Conference Hotel: Union Station

The conference takes place downtown at a beautiful, historic landmark hotel, the former Union Station Hotel, a former train station that dates back to 1894.  Remodeled into a modern facility, with a new wing, the hotel has abundant conference facilities and places to gather with your friends, while also holding conference events.  Do not miss the beautiful Grand Hall, in my opinion one of the most beautiful rooms in the U.S. 

Adjacent and inside the Union Station are many places to gather and eat or drink, including, with décor and prices ranging from laid back to more elegant and pricier:

For recreation, Union Station houses several activities:

  • To remember the 1904 World’s Fair, there is a 200-foot Ferris Wheel (similar to the one displayed at the 1904 Fair; take a ride – it is worth it)
  • A relatively new St. Louis Aquarium
  • And more: mini-Golf, a Carousel, an outdoor pool, and more.

Restaurants and Bars Outside and Near the Hotel

Conference visitors can venture just a few blocks to find other venues for eating or drinking, for example:

For those who want to venture further

  • St. Louis is known for its Italian cuisine, most of it found on “the Hill” (which is really a pretty small hill, but never mind that; it’s a classic old Italian neighborhood).  Many restaurants there and generally quite good.
  • For baseball fans, check out “Ballpark Village” a neat area right next to the Cardinal Stadium, and a short walk less than a mile from the hotel down Market Street.  BallPark Village is like a big sports bar with huge screens showing games, and there are a few other venues nearby. If there is a game going on (which there will be) expect crowds.
  • Heading out west (which can be access on St. Louis’ Metrolink or by Uber), two or three neighborhoods have food of note:
    • The Central West End is a neighborhood (3 miles west of the hotel) near Washington University’s medical school and a stretch a couple miles long contains many nice restaurants and gathering places
    • Clayton is a small city that is the county seat of St. Louis County and within an area about 2 miles square downtown contains numerous restaurants, including one of the rare 4-Diamond Italian restaurants in the country, Tony’s
    • For cuisine that includes good Asian and Middle Eastern and other cuisines, try the South Grand area.


Diligent conference goers won’t have much time to see the sights of St. Louis, but maybe before or after the conference you will, or if you are bringing family.  If you want to see some of St. Louis, here is my short top list:

  • The Gateway Arch, a national park, and a wonderful icon for St. Louis and a great architectural marvel
  • Right across the street is the newest addition to St. Louis’ landscape, City Park, the stadium for the professional soccer team St. Louis SC; walk around this wonderful facility and notice a nice memorial to the neighborhood that existed here long ago.
    • Take a walk down Market Street and you will see several sites, including the old theatre Stifel Theater, Enterprise Center (home to the St. Louis Blues), City Hall, CityGarden, the Old Courthouse (site of the terrible Dred Scott decision), Busch Stadium (home of the baseball Cardinals and their sprawling Ballpark Village, and ending at the iconic Mississippi River with the fabulous Gateway Arch.
  • The fabulous Forest Park, one of the greatest urban parks in the U.S., where the 1904 World’s Fair took place.  Inside the park you will find:
    • The Science Museum
    • Miles of hiking and biking trails, a pond for taking boats out, a public golf course and much more
  • The Botanical Gardens, one of the best in the U.S., with world-class research facilities, and recently remodeled
  • The “weirdly wonderful” City Museum, probably the most unusual museum in the whole country aimed at children but designed by a brilliant artist.

There is much more, but that’s a start!  Looking forward to it all.  MEET ME IN ST. LOUIE, ST. LOUIE….