St. Louis is known for the Gateway Arch and... well, actually, that's pretty much what it's known for. The Louisiana Purchase Exposition (more widely known as the "St. Louis World's Fair") was held there in 1904. Also headquarters of one of the world's largest brewing conglomerations, before they were bought by another of the world's largest brewing conglomerations, though St. Louis is still the North American headquarters.
St. Louis sits just south of the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, a naturally strategic place for a major settlement (the ancient Native American city of Cahokia, the largest pre-Columbian settlement in what would become the US, was more or less just on the other side of the river) which helped it grow into a huge city and made it a big deal back when riverboats were considered a speedy form of transportation. However, the city has been gradually declining in importance (and population) for quite a while now. It's lost population in every census since 1950 and is no longer even the largest city in Missouri, though some of those people just moved to the suburbs and the metropolitan area still has a larger population than Kansas City's. The suburbs across the river in Illinois go by the description "Metro East" for obvious reasons.
Its nickname is "the Gateway to the West" (cf. the Gateway Arch), presumably because a gateway is a place you go through to get to where you were actually interested in going. Missourians who live more than a couple of dozen miles from the Arch may instead call it "the Exit from the East." Politically, St. Louis is a fairly deep blue stronghold in an otherwise mostly pink-to-red state, a trait it shares with Jackson County (Kansas City) and Boone County (the University of MissouriColumbia). Speaking of counties ... Missouri has 114 counties, plus the City of St. Louis, which is not in any county. It used to be part of St. Louis County but voted to secede in 1876.
The Gateway Arch has a viewing area at its apex which can be reached by so-called tram cars that ascend either leg of the arch. Each tram consists of a chain of cars with circular cross-sections, which remain horizontal as they travel up and down the changing inclines. Definitely not for the claustrophobic, however, since each car holds five people with no standing room, and looks a bit like a washing machine drum.
St. Louis is home to:
- The St. Louis Cardinals (Baseball; used to be home to the football ones also, but they moved to Arizona. The Cardinals are second only to the New York Yankees in total World Series titles won.)
- The St. Louis Rams (NFL; they moved to town a few years after the Cardinals left....Before they moved back to Los Angeles. As the Greatest Show on Turf, which lasted from 1999 to 2001, they won the Super Bowl in 1999 by one yard against the Titans, made it to the big game in 2001 but lost to the Patriots by a last-second field goal. From 1999 to 2006, they went 78-40 and made the playoffs five times, with a 6-4 record.)
- The St. Louis Blues (Ice Hockey)note
These days almost nobody says "Saint Louie" unless they're joking. Or they're referencing Yogi Bear.
People from St. Louis (and vicinity)
- Noah Antwiler
- Scott Bakula: Born in St. Louis, attended Kirkwood High School.
- Evan Bourne
- C. J. Cherryh
- Jimmy Connors: Tennis great from Metro East (born in East St. Louis, raised in Belleville)
- Bob Costas
- Phyllis Diller
- Colin Donnell
- T. S. Eliot
- Redd Foxx
- John Goodman
- Ulysses S. Grant
- James Gunn
- Jon Hamm: Born in St. Louis, grew up in nearby Creve Coeur.
- Scott Joplin
- Jackie Joyner-Kersee: Track legend born and raised in East St. Louis.
- Ellie Kemper—perhaps best known as Erin from The Office and now starring as the title character in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt—was born in Kansas City but moved to St. Louis as a child. Fun fact: she went to the same high school as Jon Hamm had, and he taught her eighth grade acting class.
- Beau Willimon: Born in Alexandria, VA, but mostly raised in St. Louis.note Creator of The Ides of March and the American adaptation of House of Cards. Also a veteran of Jon Hamm's 8th-grade drama class.
- Kevin Kline
- Taylor Momsen
- Stan Musial: Born and raised in western Pennsylvania, but played his entire MLB career with the Cardinals and lived in St. Louis County for the rest of his life.
- Dan O'Bannon
- Randy Orton
- Vincent Price
- William Tecumseh Sherman
- Phyllis Smith (Phyllis from The Office)
- Tina Turner
- Tennessee Williams
- Defiance is set in the city formerly known as St. Louis — the Gateway Arch survives (and is host to a radio station) while much of the city ended up buried underground.
- Meet Me in St. Louis, of course.
- The Spiral Zone episode "Island in the Zone" is set in St. Louis.
- The sitcom Work It is about two St. Louis men who see no option but to dress as women to get employed.
- The John Larroquette Show
- The City appears in National Lampoon's Vacation.
- Masters of Sex, based on the real-life studies of Masters and Johnson at Washington University in the '50s.
- In The Lightning Thief, Percy goes up the Gateway Arch, then in an emergency jumps straight into the Mississippi River. No, really. In real-life, he would have been swatted before he even reaches the street separating the complex from the river, because there's a freaking stairway in front of the arch. A gently sloping stairway.
- Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter.
- Lackadaisy is set in Prohibition-era St. Louis.