City of Culture
St. Louis may be famous for baseball and beer, but this town of ours is rich in culture, too. We’ve got museums big and small, venues for every kind of art and music imaginable, and theater and dance, to boot. Get out pen and paper, because you’ll want to add many of these to your calendar!
We have nearly 100 art museums and galleries! We all know about the stupendous Saint Louis Art Museum, but our universities also have stellar offerings, including Washington University’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, SLU’s Museum of Art, UMSL’s Gallery 210 and Fontbonne’s Gallery of Art. For modern art, there’s the Contemporary Art Museum and Pulitzer Arts Foundation, which explores the relationship between modern art and architecture. Did you know SLU’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art is the first one dedicated to interfaith contemporary works?
If you want an outdoor art experience, there’s always Laumeier Sculpture Park (12580 Rott Road), Citygarden (801 Market St.) , Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Blvd.) and the Art Museum’s sculpture garden.
St. Louis is home to more than 40 professional theater companies, including The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, which has been putting on professional plays at its Mainstage and Studio theaters since the ’60s. In addition there is quirky Stray Dog, which performs in Tower Grove Abbey; Upstream Theater, which produces American scripts; the annual happening Shakespeare in the Park; and Stages, which has been entertaining us and educating future thespians for 30 years. We’ve also got three (can you believe?) opera companies: Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Union Avenue Opera and Winter Opera.
St. Louis played a central role in the formation of the blues, so it’s only fitting that we can lay claim to the National Blues Museum (where you can hear some living greats perform). There are many other spots to hear the blues, or you can attend a free weekly jazz crawl at Grand Center. And let’s not forget KDHX, our independent, listener-supported radio station spinning 24 hours of everything from folk to fado.
As a dance presenter, DanceSTL brings in professional troupes in all genres, and there’s Saint Louis Ballet for classical shows, Big Muddy Dance Company and MadCo for contemporary.
Our St. Louis Symphony is one of the best in the country, offering not only the classics, but also contemporary music, as well as beloved film scores, all in gorgeous Powell Hall. There’s also the St. Louis Civic Orchestra, founded in 1949, which combines amateur and professional players. The Gateway Festival Orchestra performs four times annually on Washington University’s campus, and the Metropolitan Orchestra performs four times at Kirkwood’s First Presbyterian Church. The St. Louis Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the oldest of its kind in the U.S., formed in 1860 and offering six concerts annually.
We’ve got museums for almost every topic imaginable: the Civil War, the Holocaust, transportation, photography, black history, the Cardinals, science, chess, dogs, telephones and more. Check out these unique options:
* The American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog (1721 S. Mason Road)
* Saxophone Museum (2114 Cherokee St.)
* The Economy Museum of The Federal Reserve (1 Federal Reserve Bank Plaza)
* Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis (4746 Gravois Ave.)
* Eugene Field House and St. Louis Toy Museum (634 S. Broadway)
* Karpeles Manuscript Museum (3524 Russell Blvd.)
* World Chess Hall of Fame (4652 Maryland Ave.)
The above list is a sampling of the variety in town and not intended as a comprehensive listing.