The annual NAFSA conference is just days away, and many of you may now be making your final preparations, including which sessions to attend, where to eat, and what to do. If you’ve followed the blog recently, you might have learned that there are many things to see, do, and eat in St. Louis. To make the most of your time in town, take note of these few last-minute tips.


If you are staying at a hotel in downtown St. Louis, you are in luck. From Lambert St. Louis International Airport you can arrive by taxi cab (drivers accept cash or credit card), or MetroLink, St. Louis’ light rail system. Visit MetroLink’s website to determine the nearest station to your hotel. Many hotels also offer free airport shuttles in St. Louis. You should contact your hotel directly to learn if this option is available.


The area around the convention center includes many options to ensure you can have fun or relax after working all day. Get active and take to the lanes at Flamingo Bowl, a unique bar and bowling alley on Washington Avenue, or watch a feature film in the luxurious MX movie theatre. Both are just a few blocks from the convention center.


Check out the restaurant scene on Washington Avenue or the surrounding blocks. The most popular spots near the convention center include Lucas Park Grille, Rosalita’s Cantina, The Dubliner, Mango Peruvian, Mosaic Tapas, Takaya Japanese, and Pi Pizzeria. Other downtown eateries within walking distance from the convention center include: Rooster, Sen Thai, Bridge Wine bar, and newcomers Local Harvest and Alumni. If you need a grocery store for food items or prepared foods, Culinaria is nearest to the convention center. Beyond downtown, check out the Central West End area for walkable blocks of restaurants and bars or the upscale suburban central business district of Clayton.

Only in St. Louis

Here are the top six things to definitely not miss while in St. Louis.

  1. Gateway Arch: Get tickets to the top!
  2. Busch Stadium: Grab a souvenir at the Team Store.
  3. Toasted ravioli and BBQ: St. Louis’ unique version of each meal.
  4. Walking tour: Check out downtown’s unique tourist spots.
  5. Cathedral Basilica St. Louis: See the world’s largest mosaic installation.
  6. Beer tour: Head to Budweiser’s famous brewery for a free tour.

Free Things to Do

Downtown, check out the Museum of Westward Expansion, Old Courthouse and City Garden, all for free. Further afield, but worth the visit is Forest Park, St. Louis’ largest urban park. The park is home to many free cultural institutions including the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Art Museum, and St. Louis Science Center.

Local Campus Tours to St. Louis Institutions

If you want to learn more about the U.S. higher educational system and explore potential partnerships, register for a preconference campus visit. You can tour colleges and universities in the St. Louis area to learn about their facilities, programs, and services. Learn more.


Ryan SaaleRyan Saale is the Local Arrangements Committee (LAT) communications chair for NAFSA’s 2013 Annual Conference & Expo. Ryan is a St. Louis native who spent time living, studying, and working abroad in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, and Spain, and recently completely his master’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis. He began his career in international education in 2009 after working in corporate communications for five years, both in St. Louis and Santiago, Chile. Ryan is assistant director of international affairs at Fontbonne University where he is responsible for all international student recruitment and global outreach initiatives.