East St. LouisSouthern Illinois directly across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. It is a sprawling city with 26,708 inhabitants (2012).
While it attracts a few visitors who come mainly for gambling, East St. Louis is definitely not your typical travel destination. In 2013, it was considered to be the most dangerous city in the contiguous United States, based on violent crime statistics. A visit to ESL could be considered a way of getting a first-hand glimpse of the challenges that poverty-stricken U.S. urban areas face today.
By roadFour major interstates lead into East St. Louis. They are Interstate 70, Interstate 55, Interstate 255, and Interstate 64. Interstate 64 takes the most direct route into the city center. U.S. Route 40 connects East St. Louis to St. Louis, Missouri and runs through East St. Louis. U.S. Route 50 runs through ESL as well. Illinois Routes 3, 15, and 111 also enter and leave East St. Louis. The city is very accessible by road through many different routes.
MetrolinkThe Metrolink train travels into East St. Louis on the blue and red lines. The Red Line begins at Lambert Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, and ends in Shiloh, Illinois. The Blue Line begins in Shrewsbury, MO and ends in Fairview Heights, Illinois. Both of these lines run through downtown St. Louis and both stop at the same East St. Louis stations- which are named, East Riverfront, 5th and Missouri, Emerson Park, Jackie Joyner-Karsee Center, and Washington Park. For more information, fares, and schedules visit the Metrolink page.
AmtrakThe Amtrak Train does not directly station in East St. Louis, but makes many stops nearby. The closest stop is in St. Louis, Missouri, at the 16th Street stop, approximately 5 miles (8 km) away. Other stops are the Kirkwood Amtrak Station (about away) and Alton Amtrak Station (about away). Taxi cabs are available at the station.
By planeThere are many airports near East St. Louis. The largest nearby airport is the Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL) approximately from East St. Louis.
The Saint Louis Regional Airport (ALN) in St. Louis, Missouri, is around from East St. Louis.
A smaller airport is located in Mascoutah, Illinois, called Mid-America Airport (BLV), about 22 miles away.
Public-use airports closest to East St. Louis include: St. Louis Downtown Airport (CPS), Sackman Field Airport, and St. Louis Metro East Airport.
Taxis are available at all airports.
The Metro St. Louis website contains information about public transport in ESL as well as in St. Louis. ESL is a sprawling town, and the risk of sore feet is just one of the reasons why you shouldn't explore it on foot without a plan (see the Stay Safe section).
phone: +1 618-795-5970As one of the most famous residents of ESL, the Katherine Dunham Museum is centered on the life of this famous dancer. The museum is home to many of her personal items collected from all over the world. Some of these items include African Diaspora, African artifacts, dance costumes, pictures, drawings, paintings, and Dunham's personal awards and accomplishments. Hours are on an appointment basis: contact Leverne Backstrom for details.
Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Parkaddress: 185 W Trendley Ave
Gateway GeyserNear the Casino Queen on the Mississippi River is the Gateway Geyser. The fountain mimics the St. Louis Arch directly opposite, both reaching a height around 630 feet (190 m). The Gateway Geyser is the world's second tallest fountain after the King Fahd's Fountain in Saudi Arabia.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee CenterOpened in 2000 by a 6-time Olympic medalist in track, Jackie Joyner-Kersee began this project to help her hometown and encourage participation in sports.
address: 200 S Front StreetThe Casino Queen is known for its "loose slots" and is a major attraction for this area. It features an array of games, a hotel, 4 restaurants, The Stage Bar, and a RV park.
Eat & drink
Tienda El Ranchitophone: +1 618 875-3227address: 2565 N 32nd StMexican.
Mother's Fishphone: +1 618 875-7846address: 517 Martin Luther King DriveSeafood.
Tasty Burgersphone: +1 618 271-1722address: 2700 State StreetBurgers, wings and fish.
address: 200 South Front StHotel at the Casino Queen, steps from the casino floor.