Discovering the Neighboring Towns of Gateway Arch National Park and Their Culinary Delights
Gateway Arch National Park, a symbol of St. Louis, Missouri's role in the westward expansion of the United States, is not only an iconic monument but also a beacon that guides visitors to the rich cultural and culinary experiences in surrounding towns and neighborhoods. Those looking to extend their stay will find a plethora of local hotels, restaurants, and must-try dishes that embody the heart of this historical region.
Nearby Towns and Neighborhoods
St. Louis itself, as a bustling metropolitan area, sprawls around the park and is the primary destination for most visitors. Here, you can find a variety of accommodations, from luxury hotels to cozy bed-and-breakfast inns. Around the downtown area, numerous eateries serve up everything from upscale dining to casual pub fare.
Soulard, one of the oldest neighborhoods, is situated just south of downtown St. Louis. Known for its historic market and vibrant nightlife, Soulard also boasts an assortment of guesthouses and boutique hotels. The district is peppered with traditional American eateries, bars, and some of the best BBQ joints the city has to offer.
Clayton is a short drive from the park and offers a mix of small-town charm with upscale amenities. With both modern hotels and charming inns, Clayton provides a quieter alternative to the hustle and bustle of downtown St. Louis. The dining scene here is diverse, with many options ranging from Italian bistros to Asian fusion restaurants.
The Hill is recognized for its deep Italian-American roots. Nestled in the city's heart, this neighborhood provides a unique stay experience with its family-owned inns and guesthouses. When it comes to food, you can't leave without trying authentic Italian cuisines, such as toasted ravioli or a hearty bowl of pasta.
Lafayette Square is another historic neighborhood within close proximity to the park, famed for its Victorian architecture and charming bed-and-breakfast establishments. The area also offers a range of dining experiences from elegant French cafes to artisanal ice cream shops.
Must-Try Local Dishes
Visiting Gateway Arch National Park is also a sensory journey through St. Louis' culinary landscape. Here are some dishes you shouldn't miss out on:
St. Louis-Style Pizza: This pizza is known for its ultra-thin crust, made without yeast, and is topped with Provel cheese – a creamy blend of cheddar, Swiss, and provolone.
Toasted Ravioli: Originally from The Hill, this breaded and deep-fried ravioli is often served with marinara sauce and is a staple appetizer throughout St. Louis restaurants.
Gooey Butter Cake: A sweet, rich cake that is believed to have been created by accident in the 1930s. It has a soft, sticky bottom and is dusted with powdered sugar.
BBQ: St. Louis takes its BBQ seriously, and there are numerous spots where you can enjoy smoky ribs with the city's signature thick and sticky barbecue sauce.
Craft Beer: With a number of microbreweries around town, beer enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of local brews that complement the diverse flavors of St. Louis cuisines.
Helpful Websites for Your Gateway Arch National Park Adventure
Before embarking on your trip, be sure to check out these websites for more information on accommodations, dining, and local attractions:
Explore St. Louis (explorestlouis.com) – The official travel portal for St. Louis, providing a comprehensive guide to hotels, restaurants, events, and things to do in the city.
The Hill St. Louis (hillstl.org) – Dedicated to the Italian neighborhood, this site offers insights into the area's history, dining options, and local businesses.
Lafayette Square (lafayettesquare.org) – Discover the elegance of this historic district, along with its accommodations, eateries, and seasonal events.
OpenTable (opentable.com) – A convenient way to make reservations at St. Louis restaurants, especially during peak travel seasons.
Embarking on a journey to Gateway Arch National Park is not just about exploring the magnificent monument, but also about diving into the surrounding communities that hold stories, flavors, and traditions of their own. From the historic streets of St. Louis to its delightful array of culinary offerings, every visitor can create an unforgettable experience that combines history, hospitality, and gastronomy.