The City of Saint Louis is made up of distinct neighborhoods with their own cultures. The city government has designated 79 neighborhoods that are led by separate associations and councils. Whether the neighborhoods contain huge avenues bordered by stone mansions built for visiting heads of state during the 1904 World's Fair or middle- and working-class streets, the neighborhoods of the Port of Saint Louis have retained their own cultural identities for two centuries.
The Port of Saint Louis is busy with activity. It is home to music, dancing, and comedy clubs as well as public poetry readings. Its theaters present Broadway shows, Hollywood blockbusters, regional productions, and art films. Galleries and art museums are plentiful in the Port of Saint Louis, and the music scene offers the best of jazz, rock and roll, blues, and orchestral performances. The Port of Saint Louis has a variety of dining experiences and shops that meet everyone's needs and tastes. Home to the Cardinals, the Blues, and the Rams, the Port of Saint Louis is alive with sports events from these professional teams to college and amateur teams.
The Port of Saint Louis is in the transition zone between a humid continental climate and a humid subtropical climate. Without mountains or large waterbodies, it gets both cold Arctic winds in the winter and humid tropical air form the Gulf of Mexico in the summer. The Port of Saint Louis enjoys four distinct seasons. Spring brings rain and severe weather. Summers are humid and hot. Falls are mild, and winters can be cold and snowy with occasional ice storms. Temperatures in the Port of Saint Louis range from an average high of 32°C (89°F) in July to an average low of -6°C (24°F) in January. Heaviest rains, over four inches, come from May through July, and snow fall of about five inches can be expected in January and February.
Perhaps the most famous landmark in the Port of Saint Louis is the Gateway Arch, the world's tallest national monument. Built to celebrate the United States' gateway to the West, the Gateway Arch was designed by Eero Saarinen. Located in the Jefferson Expansion National Memorial Park at the Riverfront, visitors can ride an elevator that is a cross between a ferris wheel and a cable rail to the top of the arch. Beneath the Arch is a historical museum about the building of the 192-meter (630-foot) tall Arch.
Visitors can take a riverboat cruises on a replica of a 19th Century paddle-wheel boat that is moored on the riverfront below the southern leg of the Gateway Arch. The United States' National Park Service operates the paddle-wheel boat, and the ship's captain offers a narrative overview of the Port of Saint Louis area's history and the river's role in modern life. Featured cruises include a one-hour sightseeing trip aboard the Tom Sawyer or the Becky Thatcher. The Skyline Dinner Cruise allows visitors to enjoy the Port of Saint Louis' skyline while also having dinner accompanied by live music. The one-hour river cruise costs $14 for adults and $8 for children from three to fifteen. The Skyline Dinner Cruise costs $42 or $52 for adults and $20 for children from three to fifteen. Group rates are available for groups of at least 20.
The Port of Saint Louis' Gateway Arch Riverboat Cruises also include a wide range of specialty and themed cruises that include Sunday Brunch, Blues bands, Fireworks on the 4th of July, Oktoberfest, a Halloween Costume Party, and New Year's Eve cruises. You can also take the Lock-N-Dam Cruise to the mouth of the Missouri River and through the Mississippi lock system while enjoying a buffet and live banjoes or a cruise to the river town of Kimmswick to see historic homes and shops and to have lunch at the Blue Owl Restaurant.
The Missouri Botanical Garden offers serenity, natural beauty, and fun in the Port of Saint Louis. Open every day but Christmas, the garden is a "must see" for visitors to the Port of Saint Louis. The 79-acre 1859 Missouri Botanical Garden is the oldest garden in continuous operation in the United States. Listed as a National Historic Landmark, the gardens feature several unique components that are well worth an afternoon's visit. Garden Docent's offer guided walking tours that are included with a general admission from the Ridgway Visitor Center at 11am and 1pm daily from April through October and at 11am daily from November through March.
Highlights of the Missouri Botanical Garden in the Port of Saint Louis include the Climatron®, the first geodesic dome used as a conservatory. The greenhouse opened in 1960, receiving an award for architectural excellence in an aluminum structure. The Climatron features a tropical rain forest theme with dense foliage, a native hut, waterfalls, cliffs, and a river aquarium with exotic fish. The Japanese Garden covers 14 acres is traditionally authentic Seiwa-en ("garden of pure clear harmony and peace") with islands, beaches, waterfalls, and raked dry-gravel gardens. Open from April through October, the Children's Garden is a hands-on area for kids to explore and play while they learn about plants, nature, and sustainability.
Visitors can also tour the Garden by tram. Narrated tours are about 30 minutes long and give a lot of information about the gardens, sculptures, and buildings. The Port of Saint Louis's Missouri Botanical Garden tram tours run from April until October from on the hour from 10am until 4pm on weekdays and every 40 minutes from 9:30am until 4:10pm on weekends. Fare is $4, but children under three are free when sitting in a lap.