Few cities have contributed to American music as much as St. Louis has over the years. Everyone from Scott Joplin to Jeff Tweedy have spent their formative years here before taking the world by storm. So whether you’re a fan of The King of Ragtime or the first man to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, there are plenty of places to visit while you’re in town for LouFest.
A good place to start is the St. Louis Walk of Fame. Located in the Delmar Loop, you can find stars for Ike and Tina Turner, Miles Davis, Albert King, and many more. As you stroll down the boulevard, be sure to stop by some of the great shops and theaters along the way. Artists and fans alike will appreciate the amazing custom guitars at Go Music (6515 Delmar Blvd) and exhibitions featured at the Center of Creative Arts. If you want something smaller to take home from your trip, who knows what kind of great finds you can make at Vintage Vinyl (6610 Delmar Blvd) or Subterranean Books (6275 Delmar Blvd)?
“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it ‘Chuck Berry.’” -John Lennon
The legendary singer and guitarist, who still performs regularly at 86 years young, was born and raised in St. Louis. Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Blvd), the club where Berry plays monthly all-request shows, is full of guitars, gold records and other memorabilia from over the years. In a plaza across the street is a more recent tribute, a sculpture that captures the rock icon in the middle of his signature duckwalk. Surrounded by moving lights and his famous lyrics, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Fans can also check out Chuck Berry’s former home on the city’s North Side. In the early 1950s, when he was topping the charts with hits like “Maybellene” and “Johnny B. Goode,” he and his wife moved to a modest red brick home at 3137 Whittier Street. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the house looks just like it did when the legend lived there (including an extension he built himself).
Scott Joplin, one of the most successful and influential 19th century African-American musicians, also called St. Louis home. The Scott Joplin House State Historic Site (2658 Delmar Blvd) looks just like it would have when the King of Ragtime lived there and is full of exhibits and artifacts from his career. Jazz fans will especially love hearing classic songs like “Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer” from a turn-of-the-century player piano, which was cutting-edge technology at the time. Tours are offered several times a day and give great insight into the life of one of our country’s first rock stars.
So don’t just limit your St. Louis experience to LouFest while you’re in town! Visit some of these sites and you can see for yourself that this city has been rocking for centuries.