A more elegant way to view the arch is from its base. It soars and sways in a most surprising fashion. Reflecting the sky, the arch's colors offer a constantly shifting light show. On a rainy day, its murky white color mirrors the clouds, while a radiant sunset creates an orange and pink glow.
* The final stop on my action-packed weekend was University City, also known as the Loop. This neighborhood's wide ethnic mix, which easily blends millionaires in mansions with Washington University students and government housing residents, has a cosmopolitan European flavor. Along Delmar Avenue, sidewalk cafes are plentiful and boutiques are stylish HTC and expensive. Fitz's, the only root-beer micro-brewery in the United States, is an institution, and you can even get a diet root beer on draught. But again, it's the music that provides this area's soul. Ironically, while there are several top-notch live blues venues, including Cicero's and Riddler, it may well be that the jukebox at Blueberry Hill is the greatest draw.
This Wurlitzer is not just an ordinary jukebox. Cash Box, a music industry trade publication, named the digital, CD-playing machine the nation's best, noting its vast selection of more than 2,000 songs.
"It's got pretty much any song you ever wanted to hear, from Duke Ellington to contemporary rap," says owner Joe Edwards. The collection is so extensive that he's developed four encyclopedia-sized tomes to cross-index all selections -- by year, title and artist. "You settle your bar bets that way," he says.
Outside Blueberry Hill, which is also a major St. Louis venue for live music -- is the city's Hollywood-inspired Walk of Fame. Plaques of bronze stars, embedded in the Delmar Avenue sidewalk, pay tribute to such cultural icons as singer Tina Turner, entertainer Josephine Baker, musicians Chuck Berry, Miles Davis and Scott Joplin, and gospel great Willie Mae Ford Smith. All spent formative years in the city.
It's only fitting that a city that attracted and perhaps even inspired so many musical greats would honor them in return.
IF YOU GO . . .
For more information on St. Louis, call (800) 916-0040.
Check out the Riverfront Times, St. Louis' alternative weekly newspaper, for club listings and other blues information. The paper is free and available at newsstands all over the city.