The Hill

A few weeks ago, I left the house early to catch the sun rising in The Hill.  The Hill is a ‘long-established Italian-American neighborhood with family-owned delis, sandwich shops and bakeries on Marconi Avenue, and trattorias, pizzerias and upscale Italian eateries dotting the streets around Shaw and Wilson avenues’.  Italian immigrants settled there in the early 1800s and it’s been an Italian beacon ever since.  It should be on everyone’s list of places to visit in St Louis, especially if you’re looking for amazing food .. and great photo opportunities!

Location:  The Hill

Citygarden Sculpture Park

On a recent walkabout, I stumbled upon the Citygarden Sculpture Park.  It’s an urban sculpture park located in downtown St. Louis, currently under renovation.  The park contains free interactive art along with gardens and fountains that cover nearly two blocks in the downtown area.  It is located between Eighth, Tenth, Market, and Chestnut streets and is maintained by the Gateway Foundation.  The park is not enclosed and can be accessed from the street in any direction.  Here are a few images from the park, its sculptures, and the Peabody building that sits adjacent to the Citygarden Sculpture Park.  

Location: City Park, Downtown

Trains & Tracks

I love trains and tracks.  There’s something about their linear movement along leading lines that I find
fascinating.  To add, my grandfather worked on the railroad for 40 years.  So the interest and attraction is there because it’s been passed along in the family.  Over the years, I’ve taken countless images of trains and tracks in various settings across the seasons.  Here are a collection of images taken at multiple locations across St Louis and the greater area.  Enjoy!

Location: St Louis, Missouri  

St Louis Public Library

The St Louis Public Library - Central is an amazing building.  Not only does it have impressive architectural features inside and out, it blends both natural and interior lighting in amazing ways.  The St. Louis Public Library’s flagship, Central Library was built in 1912 and is ‘a monument to the past and a cultural beacon for the future’ according to Explore St Louis.  It’s located on Olive Street and spans the entire city block between N 13th & N 14th streets.  In addition to its collections and technology, it houses an array of artwork.  This building should be on every photographer’s bucket list when capturing the city of St Louis.

Location:  Olive Steet - Downtown

Klondike Park

Klondike Park is part of the St Charles County Parks system.  It’s a ‘scenic property that includes more than four miles of natural surface and paved trails, a lake for fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding, a unique birding and wildlife area, shelters, playgrounds, and sites for cabin and tent camping’.  What’s most striking about the park is it’s white silica sand which leaves you with the impression that’s it’s been snowing.  The park used to be a quarry back in the day, but has been restored to it’s natural condition by the parks department.  It’s located in Augusta, MO along scenic Route 94.

Location:  Klondike Park 

Homes of Lafayette Square

Lafayette Square is an elegant and attractive part of St Louis.  The homes are gorgeous - the park is amazing - and the ambiance is inviting.  According to their website, ‘The green space is surrounded by stately Victorian townhouses, with wine bars, relaxed coffee shops and Italian restaurants nearby.  Park Avenue’s 19th-century buildings house gift and decor shops, as well as a craft brewery.’  For this post, I wanted to share some of the amazing homes that are situated throughout the Square.  A stroll throughout it’s brick-lined sidewalks leave you with no shortage of photo opportunities. 

Location:  Lafayette Square   

Earth Day Festival

In honor of Earth Day (April 22), the annual Earth Day Festival was held at Forest Park.  The festival ‘is a community tradition to learn about sustainable products and services offered by local businesses and organizations, meet local area non-profits that share Earth Day values, along with local entertainment and local Green Alliance restaurants’.  It was a great 2-day event held on the MUNY Grounds and was filled with vendors, food, events, people/dogs, and exhibits.  There was no shortage of people interested in sustainability, passionate about helping the planet.  Here’s a few images from the festival. 

Location:  MUNY Grounds at Forest Park

STL Cityscapes

Wander STL was launched last year with the goal of showcasing the amazing city of St Louis (MO) and the surrounding area.  Over time, I’ve had the joy of taking thousands of images from nearly every corner of the city and beyond.  This 7 image set features some of my favorite  photos, which can also be seen under the STL Favs tab on the website.  These are iconic buildings and structures that are synonymous with St Louis.  Here’s to more wandering in the days ahead!

Location:  St Louis, Missouri  

SLAM (St Louis Art Museum)

The Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) is one of the major art museums in the United States and includes paintings, sculptures, cultural objects, and masterpieces from around the world.  It was built in 1904 in anticipation of the World’s Fair being held in Forest Park.  In addition to the featured exhibitions, the museum offers rotating exhibits, including a ‘Currents’ series that features contemporary artists, new media art, and works on paper.  SLAM is visited by up to a half million people every year. The building has amazing architectural features that can be appreciate up-close and from afar.

Location:  Forest Park

Basilica of St Louis, King of France


Adjacent to the Gateway Arch is the Basilica of St Louis, King of France.  It’s also known as the Old Cathedral and is one of the most historic buildings in St Louis (Missouri).  The church dates back to 1764 when Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau (founders of St Louis) dedicated the land as a ‘church block’ for religious purposes. The existing building is the 4th church that’s been erected on the site.  The building is rich with details and should be on every photographers list. 

Location:  Basilica of St Louis, King of France

Boone Hays House

The Boone Hays House is located in Defiance (MO) about 45 minutes west of St Louis.  The House is part of the Daniel Boone Homestead, which is only a few miles to the west, and can be viewed on the left as you drive toward Matson Hill Park from the main road.  It’s nestled among thick trees with a gentle rolling hill as a backdrop, with massive trees that surround the House.  On really sunny days, the limbs create deep shadows that provide dark, streaking, contrasty lines that permeate the composition.  It’s one of those peaceful places that I return to again and again.

Location: Defiance, Missouri

Busch Stadium

If the Gateway Arch is the iconic symbol of St Louis (Missouri), Busch Stadium - ‘home of the Cardinals’ - is its darling child.  Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village (a dining and entertainment district that runs adjacent to the stadium’s outfield) is a mecca for St Louis Cardinal Fans.  While there are so many things I could write about the ‘Cards, I’ll just say that I absolutely love going to Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals play.  It’s a fantastic place and should be on everyone’s bucket list.  Go Cards in 2024!

Location: 700 Clark Avenue, Downtown

Union Station Hotel

Union Station Hotel and its Grand Hall lobby is an ‘awe-inspiring ode to Americana’.  Featuring nearly 600 rooms & suites, formal and casual dining, and a private event space with a Regency ballroom, the hotel is both elegant in design with touches of modern, contemporary flare.  According to the St Louis Aquarium website (which is attached to the hotel), it includes a ‘sweeping archway (The Whispering Arch), gold leaf and fresco designs, mosaic pieces, stained glass windows, a 65-foot-tall domed ceiling, and a model train station’.  It’s breathtaking to see and well worth the stop along Market St.  Just be sure to have your camera in hand!

Location: Market St - Downtown

St Louis Basilica

Every time I visit the St Louis Basilica (officially, the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis), I see and experience something new.  Not only is this an amazing sacred space, but its dazzling mosaics and architecture are an assault on the senses.  I have returned many times to try and photograph it, but always leave feeling there is so much more to see and capture.  I tend to shoot wide to soak in the whole of the structure, but if you dig deep and look close, you’ll find depictions and details that showcase amazing stories from history.  This is my second blog post on the Basilica and it certainly won’t be my last.  

Location: Central West End 

Augusta (MO)

Augusta, Missouri is a picturesque little town nestled among the rolling hills situated on the bluffs of the Missouri River.  It was incorporated in 1855, offering an array activities - Katy Trail State Park access, historical sites, wineries, a brewery, restaurants, a coffee shop, antiques, specialty stores, a spa, B & B’s.  According to the town’s website - ‘Augusta is a small town with charm from a bygone era’.   It’s less than an hour from St Louis and certainly worth the drive along Route 94.

Location: Augusta, MO

The Orchid Show

Between January 27 and February 25, 2024, the Missouri Botanical Garden (MBG) hosts its annual Orchid Show.  According to the MBG, ‘the Garden’s permanent orchid collection lives in greenhouses, where they are cared for by horticulture staff.  The annual Orchid Show is your once-a-year opportunity to see hundreds of these blooming plants on public display.’  Attracting large crowds and local gardening clubs, it was an amazing, colorful exhibit with orchids in full bloom from all over the world.  It’s well worth adding this event to your annual calendar and certainly a photography lover’s paradise for photos. 

Location: Missouri Botanical Garden

Historic Daniel Boone Home

The Historic Daniel Boone Home site located in Defiance, Missouri features an historic, reconstructed 19th century village and gift shop.  The house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and the property was donated in 2016 from Lindenwood University.  Today it is maintained by the St Charles County Parks Department who offers regular guided tours.  It’s a great picturesque, walkabout village that will keep you pressing the shutter button for hours!

Location: Defiance, MO

The Gateway Arch

Founded by the National Park Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a transcontinental United States, the Gateway Arch National Park (formerly known as the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial”) stretches from the Old Courthouse to the steps overlooking the Mississippi River.  The Gateway Arch was completed in 1965, rises 630 feet tall and wide, and is a bold monument to the pioneering spirit offering a ‘gateway’ to the West.  The Arch is awe inspiring and offers amazing views from every angle.  Here are a series of images, up close and far away, of this icon of steel that dominates the St Louis landscape.  

Location: Downtown

The Grove

The Grove is St Louis’s bohemian paradise!  The minute you enter The Grove - from Vandeventer (on the east) or Kings Highway (on the West), you can feel the ‘vibe’.  It’s one of those cool, hip, and chic spots on the St Louis mapscape that is lined with trendy restaurants, shops, drinking establishments, colorful murals, and businesses that attract locals and visitors alike.  Here are a series of colorful images that show off some of the cool spots along the Grove’s main street! 

Location:  The Grove

Route 66 Old Chain Of Rocks Bridge

The Old Chain Of Rocks Bridge is one of the most iconic, historic, and decorated places along America’s beloved Route 66 highway.  The bridge itself is a mile long and 24 feet wide linking Illinois and Missouri above the Mississippi River.  It’s an immense structure of steel and offers amazing views up and down the river, including Chouteau’s Landing.  It’s on the National Register of Historic Places and is open daily for sightseeing, walking, and bike riding.  Here’s a collection of images to appreciate this historic icon along the original Route 66.

Location: Madison, IL

Street Art, Murals, and Graffiti

Across the city of St Louis you’ll find a myriad of street art, murals, and graffiti.  Behind each one is a very talented and gifted artist telling a story about the culture, history, and vibrancy of the city.  There are two standouts where you’ll find countless pieces of art - the Mural Mile and The Grove.  The Mural Mile is located along the Riverfront between Victor and Chouteau Avenues, south of the Gateway Arch.  The Grove is just west of downtown along Manchester Avenue between Vandeventer on the East and Kings Highway on the West.  Both are rich with art, murals, and graffiti and well worth exploring, with your camera of course! 

Location:  The Mural Mile

Location:  The Grove 

Laumeier Sculpture Park

Laumeier Sculpture Park is located in Sunset Hills, west of downtown St Louis.  It’s a 105-acre, open-air museum and sculpture park and is maintained in partnership with St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department.  It houses over 60 outdoor sculptures and features a 1.4-mile walking trail along with educational programs.  It’s an impressive collection of art that features an amazing array of sculptures of all shapes and sizes.  It’s well worth a visit with lots of photo possibilities.

Location: Sunset Hills, Missouri

Dillard & Bollinger Mills

Two of Missouri’s great state historic sites are Dillard Mill and Bollinger Mill.  Dillard Mill is set on the waters of Huzzah Creek in Davisville, Missouri and is one of the state’s best-preserved gristmills, completed in 1908.  Most of the machinery in the mill is still intact and original to the building.  Bollinger Mill is a state owned property preserving a mill and covered bridge and is located in Burfordville, Missouri.  The Bollinger Mill park was established in 1967 and offers tours and picnicking.  Both mills are well preserved and should be on every photographer’s bucket list.   

Dillard Mill Location: Davisville, Missouri

Bollinger Mill Location:  Burfordville, Missouri

Alleyway Classic

A couple of weeks ago, I had a chance meeting with the owner of the ‘alleyway’ car that’s around the corner from my house.  If you follow my photography, you’ll know that I have been photographing this car from nearly every angle and under all sorts of lighting conditions for the past year or so.  The owner told me this is a 1940 Oldsmobile, 90 series without running boards.  He was super proud of it with big plans to restore it.  In fact, he was washing it when I ran into him.  It’s a joy to return again and again with camera in hand to capture one of the true Classics.

Location: Lafayette Square Area

Lafayette Square Christmas Lights

Tis the season!  A couple of weeks ago, I ventured out of the house early as morning light was about to break.  I wanted to capture some of the local Christmas lights against the morning dawn here in Lafayette Square.  The neighborhood feels really festive with so many homeowners decorating their homes with holiday lights.  It’s beautiful to see these amazing displays against the classic architecture of the Lafayette Square homes.  The light was nicely balanced and allowed that Christmas glow to shine.  It certainly was well worth getting up early to photograph displays.

Location: Lafayette Square

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