The Downtown Neighborhood, known as simply "Downtown", is located in the heart of the City of St Louis. The Mississippi River is the eastern border for this neighborhood. Other boundaries include Chouteau Avenue on the south, Tucker Blvd on the west and Cole Street on the north. The Downtown West Neighborhood, located west of Tucker, completes the area known as "Downtown St. Louis".
Four major Interstates enter Missouri and the Downtown Neighborhood that run east and west and cross the Popular Street Bridge and fan out westward through the city like spokes on a wheel. Those Interstates are I-55, I-44, I-64 and I-70. Two other bridges cross the Mississippi River and bring traffic in and out of the Downtown Neighborhood. Those bridges are the Dr. Martin Luther King Bridge and the historic Eads Bridge. Other important roads to the Downtown Neighborhood are Broadway, Tucker, Market, Washington, Chouteau, Olive, 4th, Memorial, many others. The MetroLink light rail system carries passengers through the neighborhood and to the four stations located there.
Being the Central Business District of the St. Louis Metro Area, the Downtown Neighborhood is the location of many businesses. Such businesses as Nestle Purina, Peabody Energy, Stifel Nicolaus and the Laclede Group all have their headquarters in the neighborhood. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is in Downtown too, being the headquarters for the 8th district of the United States. Other businesses in the Downtown Neighborhood include AT&T, Bank of America, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KSDK-Channel 5, Lumiere Place Casino, and many more.
Several conventions a year come to Downtown St. Louis and are held at the America's Center. The convention goers are housed in the many hotels that are located in the neighborhood. Some of those hotels are in restored and renovated historic buildings such as the Renaissance Suites Hotel in the historic Lennox Hotel and the Renaissance Grand Hotel in the Statler Hotel, both on the National Register of Historic Places, the Crown Plaza Hotel in the "Mansion House", the Westin Hotel in the Historic Cupples Station and two Drurys, the Drury Inn Plaza Hotel located in the National Register designated International Fur Exchange Building and the Drury Inn & Suites in the Union Market building. Other hotels include the two Hilton hotels, the Millennium Hotel, the Hampton Inn, the Hyatt Regency, the Omni Majestic Hotel, the Four Seasons Hotel, the HoteLumiere and others.
When talking about St. Louis, most people think immediately of "downtown" St. Louis. Downtown St. Louis is where the city had its beginnings. It was founded in 1763 by the French fur trader, Pierre Laclede. He came from New Orleans to establish a fur trading post near the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. He named the city after King Louis IX of France and laid out the original plat for the city. That original city plat was located where the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial now lies which includes the Gateway Arch, the Old Cathedral and the Old Courthouse. The Old Cathedral is on the original land allotted by Laclede for a church and is all that is left of that original city plat. Laclede's Landing, located just north of the Ead's Bridge, is all that remains of the original street grid laid out by Laclede. The historic buildings in Laclede's Landing, although not from Laclede's time, were once warehouses and offices for the river boat trade and have been extensively renovated and now house attractions such as the Morgan Street Brewery, the Wax Museum of St. Louis, the Royal Dumpe Dinner Theatre, restaurants and entertainment venues. Laclede's Landing is also home to the Lumiere Place Casino along with the Four Seasons Hotel.
Downtown St. Louis offers many things to do and see and is home to many of St. Louis' attractions and historic buildings. The home fields for two of St. Louis' three professional sports teams are located in the Downtown Neighborhood. The Major League Baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals, play at Busch Stadium and the National Hockey League team, the St. Louis Blues, have their home field at the Enterprise Center. The St. Louis Riverboats feature two 19th-century replica steamboats, the Tom Sawyer and the Becky Thatcher, that take daily cruises on the Mighty Mississippi River. The Citygarden is a green oasis in the city and a nice place for a stroll being filled with large art sculptures, water features, like the 102 water jets of the spray plaza, native Missouri landscaping and a cafe. A slow ride around the city in a horse drawn carriage provided by the St. Louis Carriage Company is a great way to appreciate the views St. Louis has to offer.
Many annual events and festivals are held in Downtown. In July, the biggest birthday party given for our nation is held right here in Downtown St. Louis on the grounds of the Gateway Arch. Fair Saint Louis is held over several days during the Fourth of July holiday and features the Veiled Prophet Parade, live entertainment, the Fair Saint Louis Air Show and of course fireworks each evening of the fair. On the weekend before Veteran's Day, the Veteran's Day Parade is held on Saturday and passes in front of the Soldiers Memorial in an awesome display of patriotism. Other parades held in the city are the St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Annie Malone May Day Parade, the Labor Day Parade and the St. Louis Thanksgiving Day Parade. Downtown St. Louis also plays host to the Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday Parade with two other large Mardi Gras parades, the Beggin Barkus Parade and the River City Grand Parade, held in the Soulard Neighborhood. The Mardi Gras celebrations held in St. Louis are one of the biggest in the nation outside of New Orleans! The St. Louis Marathon brings in thousands of runners from around the globe as well as runners from the Metro area, to compete in the races each year. Other races that St. Louis hosts are the St. Patrick's Day Run on the Saturday before the holiday and the Susan G. Komen Race For a Cure.
History buffs and admirers of fine architecture will love the many buildings and structures that are in the Downtown Neighborhood! One gem of Downtown is the Eads Bridge, completed in 1867, and is an amazing feat of architecture being the first bridge in the nation that used cantilevers during the construction of the superstructure which allowed for uninterrupted river boat traffic on the Mississippi River. Located on the St. Louis Riverfront, the upper deck of the Eads Bridge is open to pedestrians and cyclists. Several historic homes are still standing Downtown. One in the Downtown Neighborhood is the Eugene Field House and Toy Museum, childhood home of the poet Eugene Field and his father Roswell Field, an important attorney during the Dred Scott case. Washington Avenue is filled with beautifully restored buildings that once held the offices and warehouses of the Garment District but which now house restaurants, lofts, entertainment venues, galleries and more. Washington Avenue is also a shopping and dining destination in Downtown! Other architectural gems in Downtown are the Old Post Office, the Wainwright Building, the Civil Courts Building, and so many others!
The Drury Inn Plaza Hotel at the Arch in the International Fur Exchange building, NR, built 1920 Link