St. Charles

Get off the highway and step back in time with our guide to this St. Louis suburb

Motorists speeding along Interstate 70 west of St. Louis might think that the city of St. Charles is just another sprawling suburban town. But they would be giving this old Missouri city short shrift. Getting off the highway opens up an entirely new aspect to St. Charles, which served as Missouri’s first state capital from 1821 to 1826. The historic center of St. Charles along the Missouri River front is a charming and inviting place with brick streets and sidewalks, restored commercial buildings and homes. Most venues are accessible on foot. And don’t forget that St. Charles is the eastern terminus of the Katy Trail and is bike friendly as a result with 21 recommended bike routes.

Things to do

Historic St. Charles
The downtown historic district dating from the 1769 is noted for its red-brick architecture, specialty shops, antiques, lovely parks, and a wide variety of restaurants. Tour Missouri’s first State Capitol building or just shop along Main Street.

Listen to the Music
On Aug. 16, Music on Main offers a free concert from 5-7 p.m. in the 100 block of N. Main St. August brings the band Delta Sol Revival. Every Thursday at 8 p.m. though August, the St. Charles Municipal Band will perform a free concert at Jaycee Pavilion in Frontier Park. Bring your own lawn chairs to both concerts. Food vendors available.

It’s a Festival
St. Charles’ largest festival of the year, Festival of the Little Hills, will be held the weekend of Aug. 18-20 at Frontier Park. More than 300 artisans and crafters will participate with live music on three stages scheduled each day. Free shuttles from satellite parking areas available.

Getting Around
St. Charles offers visitors a free trolley that makes a 30-minute loop stopping at the city’s most visited areas including the Ameristar Casino, Convention Center and the Historic District. It runs until 9:30 p.m. except on Sundays until 7:30 p.m.

Getting There
St. Charles is located 230 miles east of Kansas City on Interstate 70.

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