The city of St. Louis is full of historic landmarks, some well known and some not so well known. The following is a list of five landmarks in St. Louis that are worth visiting when in the city. Information as to hours of operation can be found on each landmark’s website. Hampton Inn St. Louis-Downtown and the Millennium Hotel-St. Louis are the closest hotels to all of these St. Louis landmarks.
1: The Cathedral Basilica
Built between 1907 and 1914 in both the Neo-Byzantine and Romanesque styles, the Cathedral Basilica is the archdiocesan cathedral for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis and was designated a basilica by the late Blessed Pope John Paul II on April 4th, 1997, two years before he would visit. The mosaic installation and the outdoor sculpture to promote racial harmony are two highlights of the cathedral.
2: St. Francis DeSales Oratory
First built in 1867 and popularly called “the Cathedral of South St. Louis”, St. Francis DeSales Oratory was at first home to a large German congregation. After being destroyed by a tornado in 1896, the church was quickly rebuilt and continues to serve the faithful of South St. Louis. In 2005, at the behest of then Archbishop Raymond Burke, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest took control of the oratory. The main highlight of the oratory is massive steeple that is undergoing renovation.
3: Basilica of St. Louis, King of France
Formerly known as the Cathedral of Saint Louis, the Basilica of St. Louis, King of France was the first cathedral west of the Mississippi River and the first mother church of the St. Louis Archdiocese. After the Cathedral Basilica was opened, the Basilica of St. Louis started to see a drop in membership, but those who are still members have a strong loyalty to the basilica. The main highlight is the collection of artifacts housed in the basement of the basilica. The basilica is also a very popular wedding ceremony site.
4: Museum of Contemporary Religious Art
The first interfaith museum in the world, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art is the first interfaith museum in the world and is home to modern day art that engages religious and spiritual themes. The main mission of MOCRA is to be inclusive and to serve as a platform for interfaith understanding. The main attraction of the museum is its rotating exhibits, with the next one opening in mid-February of 2012.
5: Jefferson Barracks State Park
Home to the nation’s first Infantry School of Practice, Jefferson Barracks replaced Fort Belle Fontaine and was in use from 1826 to 1946. After the Second World War, most of the land was sold off for other uses while the military maintained a small portion that is now used by the Army and Air National Guard. The main attractions to the barracks are its two museums, one which houses rotating exhibits, and the annual WW2 weekend.