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St. Louis Makes Forbes List of Top 25 Places to Visit in the U.S. in 2020

US Travel: 25 Best Places To Visit In 2020

Laura Begley Bloom Senior Contributor

Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

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Where: St. Louis, Missouri

Chosen by: Marcia DeSanctis writes for Vogue, Departures, Travel + Leisure and Air Mail, and is the author of a New York Times best-selling book about France.

Why: Why doesn’t everyone visit St. Louis, Missouri? And frankly, move there? As American cities go, it’s as vibrant, diverse and hip as it gets, and if that’s surprising, stop in next time you’re flying from New York to LA. Though the city endured some rough economic times in postindustrial years, start-up culture is redefining its economy in big, positive ways. That, on top of a legacy of architectural masterpieces from its moneyed past make the city the rarest of paradoxes: a cool city with class.

Name another steal-your-breath experience like the moment the 630-foot arch comes into view above the Mississippi River. The Gateway Arch National Park recently reopened after $380 million renovation, and the results are stunning. On Christmas day 2019, The 120,000 square-foot St. Louis Aquarium will open in the 125-year-old Union Station. In September, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum on the campus of Washington University unveiled its striking new expansion with an exhibit by Ai Weiwei. And of course, the St. Louis Blues won the 2019 Stanley Cup, so catch the champs at the Enterprise Center. In spring, it’s worth diverting for the cherry blossoms at the Botanical Gardens, the oldest in the country.

Downtown St. Louis has come alive in recent years. Rooster is great for a stick-to-your-bones brunch, while Blood and Sand, formerly a members-only supper club, is now open to the public for innovative American cuisine. Around Victorian-elegant Lafayette Park, try Polite Society for a romantic, locally sourced dinner, then head to Clementine’s Creamery for handcrafted ice cream, some of it spiked. In the trendy Botanical Heights district, try Nixta for cutting-edge Mexican, and across the way, in a repurposed gas station, Olio for fresh Mediterranean small plates.