This is a simple, but not un-serious structure to show to visitors. Its contents are much better than its exterior, though.
Inside are booths with brochures grouped by activity. A spacious front desk was staffed by four attendants when I visited. There is even a small theater that plays a Baltimore promo that looks as if it dates to 1997. My favorite part, though, was Baltimore's boasting of its ridiculous number and variety of neighborhoods:
Here are some random shots of the facility:
Baltimore does a great job of branding itself as a maritime/seafood destination. Crab paraphernalia is everywhere, as are sailboats, seen above.
This is the basics: have well organized booths where tourists-on-the-go can grab information about local attractions and restaurants.
The Inner Harbor was absolutely packed when I was there; the visitor center therefore had a good amount of pedestrians strolling through as well.
Two people staffed the welcome desk while two others roamed the floor.
St. Louis needs its own propaganda theater.
Guess what else? The Baltimore Visitor Center is located just outside a splash fountain popular with children...
I would like to see a nice St. Louis Visitors Center on Gateway Mall, specifically the block that houses Twain, better known as the Serra Sculpture. The center would feed into what has become a destination for St. Louis--Citygarden--much as Baltimore's does and could help visitors interpret and interact with the Serra Sculpture more than ever before. In addition, obviously, it would serve all the functions of that any visitor center should. The neighborhood map is a must!
I'm aware that St. Louis already has something similar to the example shown above in Baltimore. I volunteered briefly with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission at the Visitor Center on the northwest corner of 7th and Washington. This seems like a great spot, connected to the convention center and closer to the Loft District. The space, though, to me was a bit underwhelming and the programming is not as good as Baltimore's. With St. Louis Centre being retooled into a parking garage, perhaps it would be better to pick up operations and move the center to the Gateway Mall, where it could have an interplay with Citygarden and truly show the city at its best.
Using an extant storefront for this purpose would be fine, too. Basically, this post is just a plea for our visitors center to produce video propaganda promoting this city and to put up a neighborhood map. We can do at least that. We can all move along, now. Nothing else to see.