St. Louis is the only city I know that had a world’s fair and the Olympic Games in the same year. That year was 1904. St. Louis is still a celebratory place with several new attractions and more on the way since others, like a new and different aquarium, are scheduled to open before the end of this year. I was very glad to learn from its mayor Lyda Krewson that St Louis’ population will jump to far more than a million because as 2019 began a task force made a proposal to finally combine the old city with its county to create a mega metro area with 1.3 million residents, putting St. Louis back into the top ten cities in the United States. I hope this proposal is quickly adopted and implemented. In the meantime, plants are wearing their spring attire and the Mississippi is, as usual, over its banks in many places. Missouri Dogwood has never been more lush and beautiful than it is this year.
That’s why Ruth and I finally included Citygarden in our itinerary. This urban project within sight of The Arch at 808 Chestnut Street will celebrate its 10th birthday this year, and visitors like us who find it will surely include it among this city’s best downtown attractions. Two ladies at the new St. Louis Arch museum reminded Ruth & me about it and told us that, due to the weather, it is better than ever in 2019. Citygarden was designed to represent the geographic features of the US City that sits just south of the convergence of its 2 major rivers, the Missouri and the Mississippi. Citygarden’s fountains, waterfall, and splash plaza reminded me of the river bluffs, terraces, and floods that are as much a part of this city’s character as The Arch.
City Garden is opened from sunrise until well after dark, closing at 10 pm. It includes 6 rain gardens, 235 trees, many native plants, and 24 accessible sculptures that will have you playing “which is your favorite?” especially if your party contains children. We were enchanted by Jim Dine’s Pinocchio, Tom Claassen’s rabbits, and Tom Otterness’ rather weird “Kindly Geppetto”. I was even glad to see the controversial Richard Serra sculpture across the street from Citygarden. It has been part of St.Louis’ downtown for 37 years now.
There are 20 species of native trees in Citygarden, but the gorgeous Dogwood in the picture below is adjacent to The Arch.