While in downtown St. Louis, you'll want to save some time to experience the city. The following list includes many of the top places to explore that are convenient to the convention center.
1. Don't miss the iconic symbol of St. Louis, the Gateway Arch . Completed in 1965, the Arch was designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen to commemorate Thomas Jefferson and others who made westward expansion of the United States possible. At 630 feet, the Gateway Arch is the nation's tallest monument and weighs an astonishing 17,246 tons. Although playing professional photographer at the base is a must, it's only half of the Arch experience. You can also tour the Museum of Westward Expansion and take a ride to the top, both accessible from the hall below ground.
2. Experience the pride of St. Louis and a U.S. national pastime at a Cardinals baseball game. The Cardinals will be playing the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium during the conference. Even if you don't have time for a game, you can pick up some Cardinals gear at the Official Cardinals Team Store located on the northwest corner of the ballpark. Fun fact: the St. Louis Cardinals have won the World Series 11 times, second only to the New York Yankees.
3. If you can't make it to a Cardinals game, make sure to experience Three Sixty lounge for stunning views of Busch Stadium, downtown St. Louis, and the Gateway Arch. The rooftop bar and restaurant sits atop the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark and was voted one of the top ten best rooftop bars in the world by Frommer's .
4. St. Louis is a city of baseball and beer and the latter is on display at the Anheuser Busch brewery . The world-famous brewery has been a part of St. Louis for more than 150 years, and this history is retold through their free daily brewery tours.
5. Plan some time to take a walking tour around Downtown St. Louis. Start on the Gateway Arch grounds at the Old Cathedral, completed in 1834 as the first cathedral built west of the Mississippi. From there head to the Old Courthouse just in front of the Gateway Arch and take time to explore the museum inside, which covers St. Louis history and the important Dred Scott trial which took place here. Next, head west down Market Street and pass through the exquisitely landscaped City Garden, home to an outdoor sculpture garden and various water features. Head further west down Market Street and pass by St. Louis' grand City Hall (modeled after the Hotel de Ville in Paris) for a few photos, and then off to St. Louis Union Station (don't miss the whispering wall and the interior architecture). Other notable landmarks include the Old Post Office (a rare example of the Second Empire architecture design) and the Wainwright Building, considered one of the world's first "skyscrapers."
Ryan 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.