No trip to St. Louis would be complete without attending a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game. The Cardinals are the heart and soul of the region, and more than 3 million fans flock to Busch Stadium each year to see them. In fact, St. Louis is sometimes referred to as Baseball City.
St. Louis is also home to the second oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, which has won six Grammys to date. The National Blues Museum is dedicated to preserving and honoring the history of blues, blues music, and blues culture in Missouri. A must-see attraction, the museum has artifacts, exhibits, and a mission to immortalize blue culture for future artists, fans, and historians.
The city is the economic and financial center of the state, and it also offers a number of other attractions, including the world-famous Gateway Arch. The iconic, 630-foot Arch is one of only a handful of monuments in the United States and the tallest man-made monument in the world. In 2015, the Arch celebrated its 50th anniversary.
Armed with wagon trains, trappers, miners, and traders, St. Louis saw early prosperity as a gateway to the West. After the Louisiana purchase in 1803, St. Louis became part of the United States.
When the construction of a railway began in the early 1850s, the city had almost 80,000 inhabitants. During this time, many new churches were built, a public school system was established, the city introduced a new water system, and many other improvements, such as roads and bridges, were completed. After the Civil War, St. Louis grew more slowly and had 575,000 inhabitants at the turn of the century.
With the arrival of steamships in 1817, St. Louis became an important river port that began to grow rapidly and became an important industrial center. In the 1850s, river traffic grew so much that it became the second-largest port in the country in terms of commercial trade, surpassed only by New York. The railroad came in 1850, and by the 1870s, it had replaced the steamboat as the most dominant means of transport.
Growth stagnated somewhat during the Great Depression of the 1930s but rebounded after World War II. Now, St. Louis is the second-largest city in Illinois, the seventh-largest in the Great Lakes area, and the 22nd largest in the country.