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Gateway Arch, Riverboat Tours & Free Attractions in St. Louis, Missouri with Dea

Best things to do in St Louis Missouri Dea Hoover Gateway Arch courtesy of Alexander Schettino on Pixabay

Gateway Arch. Photo courtesy of Alexander Schettino on Pixabay

I’m really excited to interview Dea Hoover of Are We There Yet? Tours about St. Louis, Missouri. Dea’s tips for the best things to do in St. Louis are awesome because she’s lived here since college. She was accepted to Washington University in St Louis and decided to stay after she graduated. Dea loves how St. Louis has the most free attractions of any city outside of Washington, D.C. and that every neighborhood is like its own small town.

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Best things to do in St Louis Missouri Dea Hoover Busch Stadium courtesy of ESD-SS on Pixabay

Busch Stadium. Photo courtesy of ESD-SS on Pixabay

St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis is known as the gateway to the west. This midwestern town is popular for beer, baseball, and its Gateway Arch. But there’s so much more to its history and allure. Fair St Louis is the largest Independence Day celebration in the midwest with multiple stages of free concerts, an air show, and an enormous fireworks display staged in the Mississippi River. To those watching in the crowd, it appears as if the fireworks are shooting from the Arch.

Dea recommends visiting during the spring or fall. The summer can be hot and humid, while the winter is relatively mild. There’s an average snowfall of 14″ per year.

Locals and tourists alike save money while visiting many of the city’s attractions. Every museum and the St Louis Zoo (located in Forest Park) offers free admission thanks to the taxes paid by locals.

While visiting St Louis, Dea recommends going for a ride on one of the local riverboat tours. Some even offer packages that include a ride on the boat and a ticket to go up the Gateway Arch, which is part of the National Park Service. Riverboat tour operators include Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher, and both offer specialty cruises throughout the year.

The Old Courthouse near the Arch has historical significance. It is here where the Dred Scott v. Sanford case was heard. This horrible decision against Dred Scott in 1857 added to the division among Americans and contributed to the start of the Civil War. Historian David Thomas Konig says that this was “unquestionably, our court’s worst decision ever.”

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out Explore St. Louis, the local convention and visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests. While planning your visit, check out the Passport to STL. It is filled with numerous discounts and freebies to save money during your trip.

Best things to do in St Louis Missouri Dea Hoover Favazza's Sicilian Chicken

Favazza’s Sicilian Chicken

Getting around St. Louis

The local airport is St. Louis Lambert International Airport (STL), which is about 14 miles from downtown.

Dea says that, if you’re staying downtown, there’s no need to rent a car. The Metrolink light rail is available from both airport terminals and stops in Forest Park. From there, you can switch to another line or head Downtown. The Grand line runs every 10 minutes, while the others are every 20. The MetroBus lines feed into the Metrolink system, making it easy to get to destinations further away from the light rail.

Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around. And I’ve personally found the downtown area very walkable.

For the best offers, visit Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

When you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in St Louis Missouri Dea Hoover Gateway Arch Kiener Plaza and Old Courthouse courtesy of skeeze on Pixabay

Gateway Arch, Kiener Plaza, and the Old Courthouse. Photo courtesy of skeeze on Pixabay

Places we talked about on the podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Dea Hoover about St. Louis, Missouri. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Green dots = best things to do in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in St. Louis, Missouri

Who is Dea Hoover?

Dea Hoover is a veteran local tour guide who knows St. Louis, spending time sharing with visitors and locals alike the fascinating tidbits and overarching history of this River City in the Show-Me State. She spends most of her time with a microphone in her hand leading tours on luxury motorcoaches and sharing stories about the places you will find in her new book. Using her knowledge of the city and surrounding areas as well as contacts with personal insight, she puts together a fun book that will keep people seeking for days.

She owns and operates Are We There Yet? Tours and Discover St. Louis tours along with her husband, Declan Rutan, and office manager, Maggie Rutherford. She has multiple guides locally to give fun and educational tours when she is out of town showing others the world. Her career has spanned over two decades in tourism and it’s actually her third career. Previously she worked as a car salesman at Saturn of South County, and in retail for May Department Store’s Famous-Barr.
Best things to do in St Louis Missouri Dea Hoover headshot

Here are a few articles that were written about Dea:

You can connect with Dea on her website and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Big thanks to today’s podcast partner – Bluffworks

This episode is brought to you, in part, by Bluffworks. Whether I’m traveling for business or pleasure, it’s important to have clothes that make me look good AND feel great. I wear Bluffworks jeans, slacks, dress shirts, and blazers because they’re wrinkle-free and are designed for the modern traveler. And if they get dirty, a quick spin in the washing machine and they’re good as new.

Go to and use the promo code from the image below to save 10% off your order. There are many styles to fit your needs so you can stay wrinkle-free when you travel.

Best things to do in St Louis Missouri Dea Hoover St Louis Botanical Garden courtesy of Anonymous Traveller on Pixabay

Botanical Garden. Photo courtesy of Anonymous Traveller on Pixabay

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Brisbane Australia with Breanda Cross at Radio 4EB

Listen to the next episode when Breanda Cross of BreandaFromBrisbane shares the best things to do in Brisbane, Australia. Breanda and I talk about the Australian Zoo, beautiful beaches and islands off the coast, and Adventure WorldWe hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of St. Louis? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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