St. Louis is “The Gateway to the West” but I think everyone should come and stay for a while. The city and surrounding area hold a plethora activities for every personality. Many of which are FREE! I grew up in the country about an hour from St. Louis and officially became a City dweller in 2009 when I moved into the Soulard neighborhood, an exciting historic neighborhood home to the 2nd largest Mardi Gras in the country.
This article is one of many about the fun, adventures you can have in St. Louis. Keep your eye out for information on the free attractions, beer culture, coffee culture, parks and accommodations. Here is an overview of the main venues in St. Louis, both sporting and theater/entertainment.
I’m an athlete at heart and sports are a passion of mine. I have been a die-hard Cardinals fan since the day I was born. St. Louis LOVES its hometown team, but don’t worry we have good Midwest manners we’ll be nice to you even if you don’t cheer for them. My husband and I love them so much we spend 28-30 games a year at Busch Stadium! Don’t be confused if you hear a local call it “New Busch Stadium,” this stadium opened in 2006 and is the 3rd Cardinals stadium to hold this name. It is a beautiful, brick stadium reminiscent of the red brick found throughout St. Louis. Designed to allow you to see part of the downtown skyline and frame the St. Louis Arch. If watching a baseball game is not for you, you can take a tour on non-game days for $10 in which all areas are wheelchair accessible except for getting into the dugout, however you can get out onto the field. Also, next door is Ballpark Village holding the Cardinals Museum, the Fox Sports Midwest Live! Studio, Howl At the Moon dueling pianos, and the PBR bar. Ballpark Village has its own parking lot.
The stadium has accessible seating in every price point and in every area of the stadium. You can order tickets online by clicking on the accessible seat link or you can call the stadium itself. Entryways are all accessible with numerous curb cuts to access the sidewalks around the stadium. Staff is easy to pick out and very friendly in directing you to your seat. General bathrooms have 1-2 accessible stalls but ask your usher if there is a family/accessible restroom near your seat, it’s larger and lines are shorter. There is some amazing food at the Ballpark, whether you are going for traditional fair or local brisket, don’t hesitate to ask staff to assist in carrying food or drinks back to your seat. The bottom levels can easily be pushed around with ramps with decent grades. Upper decks are accessed via elevators, don’t wait in the long line if you are going up, staff will assisted you toward the front of the line as a wheelchair user.
Now, if you won a contest, have a non-wheelchair using friend, or get tickets in a hotel package FEAR NOT! If you can’t exchange your tickets for accessible ones prior to the game (you have to come in person to exchange), go anyway! Use your non-wheelchair ticket to get through the gate then go to the ticket window inside by Gate 3 and they will find somewhere for you to sit. Even if all the accessible seats are sold they’ll call around and send you to a section.
Getting there. There is a metro train station right across the street. It’s cheaper than parking and the train station is flat with long, moderately sloped ramps leading to street level. No elevators, so no worry you’ll get there and be stuck. There are many garages and parking lots within 1-2 blocks from the stadium that have actual accessible parking spots or if you tell them you are a wheelchair users they’ll park you in a special spot and watch out for you. You’ll pay anywhere from $10-$30 for these lots.
SCOTTRADE CENTER & PEABODY OPERA HOUSE
The Scottrade Center is the home of the St. Louis Blues hockey team, this venue is also home to concerts and other large events. Attached to the Scottrade Center is the Peabody Opera House which is a smaller, historically restored, beautiful theater.
Both entrances are flat and staff has been well trained in clearing wheelchair users through security and are extremely friendly to point you to your seat. You should buy your accessible tickets ahead of time. You can do this by calling or online at www.ticketmaster.com. If you did not, then you enter the venue and exchange your tickets inside the venue. There are 4 seating areas on level one in which the wheelchair seating has been bumped out over the row in front of it. This means that when the crowd stands to clap or during a concert a seated individual can still see what is going on.
Restrooms all across the venue are large and have 1-2 large accessible stalls. These are spacious enough for powerchair users and have grab bars.
Peabody Opera House. Once the famous Kiel Opera House, Peabody has been beautifully restored. Accessible seating is located on every level but I recommend not sitting on the floor as points of view are better off of the floor. To access the front entrance there is a ramp on the west side of the building leading to the main doors. Ushers greet everyone in the main lobby and will direct you to the correct elevator. When buying tickets make sure to check if your seats are on the same floor as the accessible restroom (not every floor has one). There is thicker carpet to roll throughout the opera house.
Getting there. The Metro link train station Civic Center stop is right across the street. This station only has ramps so you don’t have to worry about an elevator being down. Ample parking lots are within a few blocks including a parking garage attached to the center. Parking in lots to the West of Scottrade will give you slight uphill push to the venue. Sidewalks and curb cuts are, for the most part, well maintained.
THE FABULOUS FOX THEATER
No really, that is its name and it IS fabulous. Historic, beautifully renovated, takes you back to another era. Again, I recommend seating not on the floor due to sight lines. Accessible tickets can be bought through Ticketmaster or at the box office. You can go through the main entrance off Grand Avenue. Roll through the door and you will be stunned! Multi story gold and intricate craftsmanship. The elevators are the old crank style, manned by friendly staff and are so fun! The fourth floor is home to Peacock Alley, a hall of fame which is a must see. You also get a bird’s eye view of the majestic main lobby from Peacock Alley. There is an entire hallway of restrooms only for those who need accessible features on the first floor. There are accessible stalls in the public restroom but only on 1 of the upper levels. Ushers in your section will direct you.
The Fox serves a meal you can purchase with your ticket. However, I recommend exploring one of the many great restaurants within a few blocks. City Diner gives you a throwback dinner experience, Dooley’s is a British inspired pub with a great burger. Kobe has wood fired steaks. For an interesting but delicious, easy on the pocket book experience, The Best Steakhouse gives you cafeteria style dining with delicious sides and a great steak. Want classic Sicilian pizza, roll down to Vito’s, a beautiful patio. All of these restaurants have flat entrances.
Getting There. There is a parking lot attached to the back of the theater which has accessible parking (5-10 spots) and there is an accessible entrance attached to this parking lot. There are several other flat parking lots with 2-4 accessible spots which are within a 1 block flat roll. There is not a nearby Metro Train station but the Metro bus #70 stops at Grand Ave & Lindell which is 2 flat blocks with curb cuts away from the theater. All St. Louis Metro busses have lifts. Taxi service is another option for getting to the Fox, the largest fleet of wheelchair accessible van taxi’s are A Best Taxi (314-781-1515) and Metro Taxi Cab also has a few (314-773-1000).
VERIZON WIRELESS AMPHITHEATER
Located in Maryland Heights about a 30 minute drive from the St. Louis City center. Verizon Wireless Amphitheater is an outdoor theater host to some big acts. My husband and I recently went to see Chicago and REO Speedwagon and had so much fun! The amphitheater has both lawn seating and covered regular seats. Accessible seats are located under the cover on both sides of the stage right next to the VIP seats. The accessible section is raised above the first level of seats allowing for a good site line. However, they sell 2 rows of tickets in the accessible area which meant that we had people sitting right in front of us, you can see in the picture the problem this caused. Also, they have boxes painted on the concrete for where the seating should be. The box is supposed to hold 2 chairs, when it’s 2 wheelchairs this is a little tight.
From parking lot to the seating area is a flat roll and a gently inclined ramp leads to seating. Restrooms are located close by. The women’s restroom had man accessible stalls, a few were a little smaller in size. I was able to fit my manual chair in but barely. There were 2 larger stalls, however at the time one was out of order and the other one had lost its grab bar. Overall, the bathroom was manageable and if kept in good repair would have been perfect.
Getting there. If driving to the venue, a free parking lot has a large number of accessible parking (25-30) right by the main entrance but get there early because they do fill up. The Metro Bus #34 does run out to Verizon but plan on the trip taking 1.5 hours if traveling from the city center. The accessible taxi companies listed earlier will also get you there. If you are in St. Louis specifically for a concert at Verizon I recommend staying in one of the nearby hotels, many of which offer free shuttle service to concerts at Verizon. Don’t forget to call at least 2 weeks in advance to check if their shuttle is accessible, if it is not they have to provide you an accessible alternative at no cost.
For sporting events, music, and theater St. Louis has more options than tourist might think. This article doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the small theater venues and other sporting activities. Overall, the above venues rate high in accessibility. Keep a look out for more about why you should stay awhile in the Gateway to the West.