Citygarden: An Urban Oasis Blooms in St. Louis

Photo by Stefan Hester read about City Garden in St. Louis at

A public garden with spectacular landscaping and internationally renowned modern and contemporary sculpture in a completely open, accessible downtown

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Citygarden is an oasis in the City with multi-dimensional appeal, marrying art and nature, stone and water, architecture and design. It features fountains and pools, a waterfall, places to sit and even stretch out, and a cafe. No walls or fences surround it. Admission is free.

The garden occupies the two blocks between Eighth and Tenth and Chestnut and Market Streets. The two blocks, which are owned by the City and cover 2.9 acres, are part of the Gateway Mall, a 19-square block spine of green space that stretches mostly uninterrupted for a little more than a mile from Broadway to 21st Street. The space is framed to the east by St. Louis's world-renowned Gateway Arch and its historic Old Courthouse.

The garden is intended for everyone -- downtown workers and residents, St. Louisans from all parts of the metropolitan area, and visitors from around the country and the world. It is aimed at people with and without backgrounds in art, at adults, and at children.

Among its major features are:

  • Three fountains and pools: A 180-foot rectangular basin with a six-foot waterfall at its mid-point between Eighth and Ninth streets near Chestnut. A state-of-the-art spray plaza with 102 computer-controlled spray jets and custom lighting between Ninth and 10th streets near Market. A 34-foot-diameter tilted granite disc partly covered by a scrim of water near the corner of 8th and Market.
  • A cafe with indoor and outdoor seating along Chestnut Street, overlooking the garden.
  • Twenty kinds of trees, including shade and flowering species, as well as shrubs, exotic plants and lush flowers. The Missouri Botanical Garden was consulted on the selection of the plantings, most of which are native to Missouri, and will be consulted on their maintenance.
  • Large-scale modern and contemporary sculpture by nationally and internationally renowned artists. The sculptures show tremendous breadth ranging from whimsical, tongue-in-cheek, and fun to somber and mysterious; from elegant, lyrical, and sensuous to geometrical and edgy and surprising; from figurative and classical to abstract. But two attributes apply to every one of the 24 pieces: extraordinary quality, and an intention of stimulating a relationship with the viewer. Like Citygarden itself, the sculpture is meant to engage.
  • A stunning eight-foot tall limestone wall, evoking the limestone bluffs of the rivers that mark the St. Louis area, in the shape of an arc, running along the entire length of the garden's north side.
  • A meandering 18-inch-tall polished granite-capped wall, evoking a serpentine river, along the garden's southern border. This wall offers seating and breaks the space into multiple smaller parts, or "rooms," offering more intimacy and visual interest while showcasing flowers, shrubs, and works of sculpture.
  • A double-row of gingko trees along both blocks on the Market Street side. The City intends later to extend the tree promenade to help knit together the entire Gateway Mall, for which master planning is now complete.
  • A state-of-the-art LED video wall displaying video art and movies.
  • For more information visit CityGarden St. Louis

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    Photo by Stefan Hester

    December 6, 2016

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