If for any reason you find there isn’t enough action in St. Louis, between your friends’ places, the carrels, and the hospital, fear not! Chicago is just a few hours away. I usually take the Amtrak, which costs between $25 – $75 each way, depending on the day/time. There are usually four-to-five trains running between St. Louis and Chicago daily from early morning to late afternoon. Currently, the train ride takes about five hours, but the states of Illinois and Missouri are collaborating to build high-speed rails that will reduce the transit to three hours. Other travel options include Greyhound, flying, and driving. When you arrive, just walk around and soak in the beautiful cityscape. If this is your first visit, I highly recommend the Magnificent Mile, where the Feinberg School of Medicine is located. Run along the Riverfront, check out the Art Institute of Chicago, and enjoy musicals at the Bank of America Theater. And if you have money to spare, shop and dine along Michigan Avenue. (Just beware of the high sales tax!) Finally, Chicago is a gigantic commuter hub — it has Union Station and O’Hare — so from there you can get almost everywhere in the U.S. and beyond. And all this is only five hours away from St. Louis!
— Vivian C., M1
Whether you’re from Kansas City or just want to try some amazing barbecue, you’ll have no problem getting there. It’s only four hours away — perfect for a weekend trip. Unless road trips are your thing, the train is a great option. There is an Amtrak station 15 minutes away from campus that offers a train from St. Louis to Kansas City and back twice a day. Being from the suburbs, I have already ridden the train home a couple times to visit family. The train ride is about four and a half hours, which provides a good amount of time to catch up on your studying before and after the weekend. As for a weekend in KC, there are lots of things to do! Go check out the art at Nelson Atkins Museum, see the Chiefs play at Arrowhead Stadium, or do some shopping at the Country Club Plaza during the day. Then head to Westport or Power&Light District to dance the night away! Whether for fun or to visit family, having such easy access to Kansas City is a big plus to living in St. Louis.
— Lyndsey C., M1
That big highway right next to campus? That’s Route 64/Highway 40. Take that directly east for a little less than four hours and you’ll end up right in the center of Louisville. Louisville is a fun and unique city that can entertain literally anyone. You could start your day at one of the many art festivals or at a tour of your favorite bourbon distillery. Snap some touristy pictures in front of the 10-story Louisville Slugger baseball bat or attend a minor league game at Louisville Slugger Field. If baseball isn’t your sport, the University of Louisville is crazy about its football and basketball teams. When you get hungry, grab dinner at a bourbon-themed restaurant or any of the endless local stops. To top off the night, you could visit the many bars at Bardstown Road or join the giant party that is 4th Street Live. With St. Louis being so close to Louisville, there’s no excuse for missing the biggest event of the year, the Kentucky Derby. Find your biggest hat and go to the races! Derby festivities aren’t just limited to the one big race day — other races and parties last for a couple weeks. When your visit is over, just hop back on 64/40. With the onehour time difference, the four-hour drive gets you back only three hours after you leave, making Louisville a quick and enjoyable weekend destination.
— Rachel G., M1
Tired of the old Chicago grind? Enjoy music and food? Turn south on I-55 instead of north and experience the magic of Memphis, Tenn. The highlight of your trip will be visiting the places where old blues and rock legends got their starts, including Graceland, the home of the totally still alive Elvis Presley. Whether it’s jazz, blues or rock ‘n’ roll, Memphis has live music to suit your taste and the history to back it up. When you get hungry, grab some Southern-style soul food or a plate of distinctive Memphis barbecue. And, while you’re in Tennesse anyway, you might as well sample the range of Tennessee bourbons, including the famous (and not actually a bourbon) Jack Daniel’s. You can get to Memphis by car, bus or plane (again, if you’re some kind of millionaire).
— Punit V., M2
We have a lot of fun in St. Louis, but sometimes you’ve just got to get out of town, right? If you feel the urge to steal away for a weekend, a stop to consider is Nashville, Tenn. It’s within reasonable driving distance (five hours on easy interstates) and it’s a hoot of a time. You might think that Nashville is a nice, well-behaved Southern town, but that thought would be wrong. Nashville is the wildest place I have ever been. “Loveably and unashamedly trashy” only begins to describe it. On a Saturday night, it is a sight to behold. The honky tonks (country music bars, for those who don’t know) are packed with all sorts of colorful people looking to have a good time. On every floor of every establishment, a different band will be playing, and playing loudly. That’s a good thing too, because all those colorful folks will be singing along. Jason Aldean said that in Nashville “everybody is trying to make it.” You, too, should be trying to make it … home in one piece. Be prepared to witness and enjoy some shenanigans in this town.
— Kevin C., M1