Gay Vacations in St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis Highlights

  • Take public transport from the airport. Taxis can be more than $20 from the airport to downtown, but the efficient MetroLink railway costs just $2.
  • Roll down the river. Don't go to the top of the Gateway Arch and be done with it. Just below the monument, hop on a 19th-century replica paddle-wheeler (there's a couple named Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, of course) for a one-hour sightseeing trip.


St. Louis is solid, working-class, unpretentious, and nostalgic—in a word, Midwestern. But the town's love of beer and baseball doesn't necessarily mean that it isn't friendly toward gay travelers. Local gays and lesbians live openly in the city, and they have been the force behind the renovation of several neighborhoods, notably the mansion-filled Central West End.

The downtown hugs the mighty Mississippi River, and the city's nightlife is concentrated around the cobblestone streets in Laclede's Landing and in Soulard, a gay-friendly row-house district on the south edge of downtown with plenty of blues and jazz clubs. Other cool areas to explore include The Loop, named after an old streetcar turnaround and home to funky shops, art galleries, and ethnic restaurants; and The Hill, an Italian district with great eateries. A must-see is the restored Union Station, once the nation's busiest passenger-rail terminal, and now one of St. Louis' biggest attractions, with more than 80 specialty shops, restaurants, and even a small lake with paddleboats. Also worth a visit is the vast Forest Park (500 acres larger than New York's Central Park), site of the 1904 World's Fair and now home to first-rate art, science, and history museums. And of course, don't forget to take a tram to the top of the Gateway Arch, America's tallest monument at 630 feet. Also be sure to check out its Museum of Westward Expansion, which traces the journey of Lewis and Clark.

There's no dearth of LGBT events in St. Louis. The popular Gateway Gay Rodeo rides into town in early May, and there's an enormous pride festival in late June—as well as numerous gay sports and family events throughout the year. The outdoor Big Muddy Blues Festival is held in Laclede's Landing along the Mississippi River every Labor Day weekend.

Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 23 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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