Friday 16 September 2011

St. Louis Downtown Running Route

Click here for route map
Length: 5.6 km (3.5 miles), terrain flat

For other running routes, see Route List.

View from Arch: courthouse with Market Street
NOTE: see the Destinations Tips page for tips about spending your free time in this great town!
If you're staying in downtown St. Louis, here is a short route taking you past the most interesting sights. And what's more interesting than the gigantic Gateway Arch? So we'll start there, at the banks of the Mississippi. From there, we'll run a little loop along the Mississippi, visiting Lacleades Landing, the City Museum and then back along the Gateway Mall, returning down Market Street.

The Arch Entrance
We'll start the run at the corner of Memorial Drive and Market Street, with the Arch rising up straight ahead. There is a footpath leading straight ahead into Gateway Park, curving around the arch to the right.

Follow the path as it curves southwards, going uphill through the park. Turn around at the top of the hill and head north towards the arch again. Stop to touch and examine the stainless steel arch: this is an amazing structure. Built in the 1960s after 2 decades of planning, the arch is 192 meters in height and width. The hyperbolic shape was designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen.

In Gateway Park
Now, run past the arch and then up the hill at the north end of the park. Where the park ends, turn right and head down the steps to the road below along the riverfront. This area was once lined with hundreds of riverboats loading and unloading their cargos and passengers along the banks of the Mississippi. That era died suddenly when the railroads were built out west through Chicago, and the St. Louis riverfront has been abandoned ever since.

Run under the old railroad bridge and then turn left on Lucas Avenue to run up along the converted warehouses in Lacleade's Landing. This is an area of old warehouses converted into restaurants and clubs.

Pub at Lacleade's Landing
Turn right on N Second Street, at the wax museum and run by the Morgan Street Brewery pub, then turn left on Lacleade's Landing to cross under the I-70 overpass to N. 4th Street. Here you turn left and run to Washington Avenue, where you turn right to run westwards through the downtown.

Along Washington Street
Run all the way out past Flannery's Irish Pub on 14th Street. At 15th Street, turn right and run the one block to Lucas Avenue, then turn left to run by what I consider the coolest spot on the entire planet: the City Museum.

In the City Museum "MonstroCity" Courtyard
The City Museum is more a gigantic playground than museum, with climbing bars and slides and all kinds of fascinating objects to explore: airplanes suspended in mid-air, a school bus perched on the edge of the roof, a rooftop ferris wheel, and a 10-storey system of slides through the converted shoe factory.

Up on the City Museum rooftop
You can run through the front courtyard, called MonstroCity, which has been turned into a giant climbing area between various fantasy towers, a fire-truck and two suspended airplanes. The log cabin now used as a refreshment stand was once the home of Daniel Boone's son.

The museum is the product of St. Louis artist Bob Cassilly, and their motto is "where imagination runs wild", which is definitely no overstatement. All the objects used were found within St. Louis.

Market Street at City Hall
After staring wide-eyed at this place for a while, you'll have to get going again: this time turning south on N. 16th Street and running 5 blocks to Market Street in the center of downtown. Market Street is lined with a park, the Gateway Mall, the whole way back to the Gateway Arch.

When you reach Market Street, turn left and run back the last kilometer to the arch, passing the veterans' memorial, opera house, the city hall, and then the domed courthouse before finding yourself back at the huge arc rising in front of you at Memorial Drive.

NOTE: Just one block to the south (right) of Market Street, at 8th Street, you can find Busch Stadium, if you feel like adding a little extension to the run.


  1. We are going to St. Louis this month, and I can't wait to try this route! Thanks so much for sharing!