Saint Louis, Missouri
The six-block Delmar Loop district maintains a Main Street feel thanks to a panoply of dining and shopping outlets entwined with cultural and nightlife institutions. The neighborhood’s more than 140 shops, eateries, and entertainment forums run the gamut from the casual espresso and conversation of Meshuggah Coffee House to the top-flight touring acts at The Pageant, a 1,000+-capacity concert venue a few doors east of the Moonrise. Just across the street from the hotel, the Little Shark Athletic Company rents mountain, road, and tandem bicycles by the hour and day with a 10% discount to hotel guests. Alongside rentals, keen cycle sage Natalie Carroll dispenses bike maps, route recommendations, and suggestions on city highlights. About a half-mile south of the hotel, golfers, bikers, joggers, and walkers romp in the 1,293 verdant acres of Forest Park, an enormous swath of urban greenery laced with 5.5 miles of trails. At high noon, sunbeams refract into a beckoning glare off the geometric façade of the Jewel Box, a small 1936 art deco greenhouse in the southeast quadrant of the park. Slightly west along the park's Wells Drive, the renowned Saint Louis Zoo corrals hundreds of species of animals and herds of taxonomically inclined children, and to the north, the park's boathouse allows visitors to take to the waters of Post-Dispatch Lake aboard pedal-powered craft. In the Southwest Garden Neighborhood 5 miles from Moonrise, the Missouri Botanical Garden sustains an enormous diversity of plant species in habitats such as the Buckminster Fuller–inspired Climatron dome. Outdoors, butterflies flit among the many-hued blooms of the Daylily Garden, and large blue dragonflies hover and zip above lily pads and lotus flowers in the numerous ponds scattered across the grounds. The Gateway Arch—which at 630 feet is the tallest national monument in the National Parks system, more than twice as tall as the Statue of Liberty—offers a somewhat thrilling ride to its peak and, for those who make the ascent, bird's-eye views of Mississippi riverboats and Busch Stadium. Doors at the visitors' center and the Museum of Westward Expansion at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial open at 8 a.m., lines get long around 10 a.m., and the day’s tickets for tram rides to the top of the arch sometimes sell out in the afternoon.