10 Things to Do in Granite City That You Shouldn't Miss

October 12, 2017 Dorsey Hagwood

Granite City is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States, within the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. The population was 29,849 at the 2010 census, making it the second largest city in the Metro East and Southern Illinois regions, behind Belleville. Officially founded in 1896, Granite City was named by the Niedringhaus brothers, William and Frederick, who established it as a steel making company town for the manufacture of kitchen utensils made to resemble granite.
Restaurants in Granite City

1. The Gateway Arch

11 N 4th St, Saint Louis, MO 63102-1810 +1 314-982-1400
Excellent
57%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 9 reviews

The Gateway Arch

The Museum of Westward Expansion closed, pending installation of all new museum exhibits. As of March 2, 2015, entry-only ticket or tram ticket required to enter Arch. The nation's tallest monument at 630 feet, the Gateway Arch has beckoned visitors since June 1967. The Gateway Arch commemorates Thomas Jefferson and the role St. Louis played in the westward expansion of the United States. A visit to St. Louis isn't complete without standing at the Arch's base and playing professional photographer, but the view from the outside is only half of the experience. Attractions within the Arch include the Journey to the Top (the last tram leaves one hour before closing); educational programs (will be housed at the Old Courthouse); award-winning documentary movie, Monument to the Dream; and a gift shop. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Note: the address shown is for the Old Courthouse which is acting as the Gateway Arch Ticketing and Visitor Center throughout construction. Pedestrian entrance to the Arch Grounds is at Walnut Street at Memorial Drive or via the Grand Staircase from the riverfront.

Reviewed By DMartin216 - Chicago, Illinois

Taking a road trip from Chicago to KC for a weekend BBQ Tour, we decided that it was time we finally visited the gateway Arch. Neither of us had ever been to the Arch, and as a Cubs and Blackhawks fan I had never even gotten out of my car while in enemy territory. We found the Arch to be an engineering marvel and enjoyed the tiny elevator cars that make you feel like you’re riding in a dryer drum. The view from the top extends for miles, but unfortunately, the Mississippi River has to be one of the least photogenic bodies of water in the world—despite St. Louis’ efforts to build a nice park along the river’s edge. Beyond the river, one is treated to a view of East St. Louis, a panorama easily forgotten, but the view to the west includes the entire city of St. Louis and points beyond. As the Gateway to the West, this is clearly the view Eero Saarinen had in mind. The Arch itself is also very photogenic, and we between us we took more than 50 artsy shots of it. All in all, we found the Arch itself to be more attractive than the views it affords.

2. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

30 Ramey Dr, Collinsville, IL 62234-7617 +1 618-346-5160
Excellent
67%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 649 reviews

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

A sophisticated Native American society of about 20,000 people that operated via a sun calendar and disappeared by 1400.

Reviewed By SportsMoose - Indianapolis, Indiana

If you are in the St Louis area, or plan to be, this is an amazing spot to stop! It's a State Historic site, National Historic site, and World Heritage Site! At its peak Cahokia Mounds was a community stretching 6 square miles and included 120+ mounds, which were used to elevate residences, official buildings, and even some graves. In 1250AD it housed 10-20,000 people, which made it a larger city then London was at the time! Monks Mound, the largest mound, is the largest prehistoric earthen construction in the Americas. We went on a day when the museum was closed, so I cannot speak to that. However, we drove around the paved areas to check out the various mounds, and then parked by monks mound and hiked up. I love historic places that are outside and open like this, so young kids can enjoy it instead of worrying about breaking something! The kids were able to explore the stockade re-creation, and run around on the grass. We did stay on the path and stairs when climbing the mound to avoid erosion, but when we got to the top there was lots of room to roam around, and you can even see St. Louis in the distance. Add this to your list of things to see!

3. Rusty Wallace Racing Experience

700 Raceway Blvd, Madison, IL, Madison, IL 62060
Excellent
89%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 17 reviews

Rusty Wallace Racing Experience

Reviewed By mykeytea - Antioch, Illinois

My wife got me this for a birthday gift and when a great offer showed up via their website we jumped on it. Signed up online - 8 laps plus insurance for 210 ~ plus taxes :(

Arrived day of race and circled State fair park for an open entrance and then were directed to the infield. Found a trailer where I was signed in, attempted an up-sell of photo and video packages as well as additional laps and then was sent to the 'school'.

In the school which started about 10 minutes late we were told what to watch for on the track, where to brake and given a mostly very thorough 30 minute lesson in driving on this track and how to escape the car in the event of a big problem. Two items I thought were missed that I didn't realize until it was over (I'm not a NASCAR driver after all) was how hard to press the brakes to slow the car and how the car's driving characteristics would change during the time I was on the track.

Next up was getting into the fire-suit and a helmet. They were short helmets so a few of us were instructed to watch for someone coming off of the track to try and get one. Everything did fit OK though and looks good in photos. The suites are black however and waiting in the sun for my turn to race was getting pretty warm. A few canopies to hide under would be nice. After waiting in line for a car for about 20 minutes it was my turn. I was one of the last out of the suit-up area, so most in our group went ahead of me.

Now the fun part. I got to ride in the pepsi/Yoda 24 car. There was a person to help me get in the car, get a radio installed so I could listen to a spotter, and generally get me ready to go. After that he handed me off to a spotter up in the press area somewhere who was great. This person was keeping me from crashing and helped me to have a great time. Car was a 4 speed stick shift. Don't worry - they will tell you how to operate this if you don't know. The spotter even told me when to shift. During this fun time I only had to get the car into fourth gear. No downshifting - at the end we were instructed to simply coast in in neutral.

Now I am rolling down pit road. Spotter has me shift up through the gears and by the back straightaway I am in fourth and accelerating. The track has markings on it that I am supposed to stay in-between and if I strayed too much from them the spotter was quick to tell me to go up or come down. On the track there are cones to tell you when to hit the brakes and when to let up as you enter the turns. Spotter is also reminding me as I drive. My first time I was too fast into the turn (but not too fast!) and he warned me to take it easy the next time. It was nice having him along. One thing about Rusty Wallace is there is no pace car and I am racing with other cars like myself. I eventually overtook another car. The passing was very controlled by my spotter and the spotter for the other car ~ there is no unauthorized passing, it was very safe. About my 6th lap I started getting in trouble with the spotter again for not staying in the right place on the turns - this is where I felt the car was 'softer' or something. I figure the tires were heated up - it was over 80 and sunny out. Then it was over. I was back to the pits coasting and extracted from the car. A great time. 8 laps seemed about right. On the one mile track it was starting to get monotonous. I never felt too hot inside the car. It was so fun driving and I was so into it I never looked at the speedometer to see how fast I was going. It didn't feel as fast as I expected, but the sounds of the cars are impressive.
The only other complaint comes from my wife. She wants a shirt that said 'Driver's Wife' on it, but that wasn't one they had for sale. Maybe if they read this it will be there next time I do this.

4. Kenny Wallace Dirt Racing Experience

5100 Nameoki Rd, Granite City, IL 62040-2618
Excellent
79%
Good
7%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
14%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 14 reviews

Kenny Wallace Dirt Racing Experience

Reviewed By A TripAdvisor Member

They were running at least an hour behind. Finally got thru our driver class. Instructor informed is he was overcome by the heat yesterday and FIRE RESCUE had to come to his aide. While getting our helmets and fire-suit we were informed they were short on help today. Then informed there will be no spotters and no FIRE RESCUE!!!! One of the event employees told the group" I would not drive today ". I then overheard employee radio communication saying they should cancel today with no FIRE RESCUE. Myself and several others decided not to drive in these unsafe conditions. I asked for a full refund and was told they could not do that today? I spoke with the owner not Kenny Wallace and he told if they only run 1 car st a time its safe. He also told me it was more dangerous driving over to the racetrack than driving the race cars. I don't wear a helmet and a fire-suit when i drive my personal vehicle. It was very hot with a dangerous heat index the day of this. They had no provisions any emergencies from a crash or the heat. This was a very disappointing failure for me. I hoped for fun and exciting time and it was the opposite of that. I am a firefighter and have trained and worked FIRE RESCUE at several small tracks and at Gateway Raceway so i do have experience in these situations. I hope to get a full refund and an apology for the total disappointment caused from the extremely poor unorganized event

5. Malcolm W Martin Memorial Park

185 W Trendley Ave, East Saint Louis, IL 62201-1213 +1 618-346-4905
Excellent
56%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 59 reviews

Malcolm W Martin Memorial Park

Reviewed By Hturtle333 - Cincinnati

Beautiful views of the arch, and the geyser is pretty neat as well. (Note that the geyser only goes off a few times a day during warm months- check the website for exact times/dates.) There is also a live video feed from the top of the overlook that you can watch from the website - just I case you want to wave to family or take your own picture through that! The area driving to the park felt a little rough, but the park is well-kept and I felt safe there. Side note : The geyser is not in the same view as the arch! They are on opposite sides of the park.

6. Mastermind Vodka

4262 State Route 162, Pontoon Beach, IL 62040-6408 +1 314-691-9000
Excellent
71%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 26 reviews

Mastermind Vodka

Reviewed By beachykeen17 - Missouri

Behind the doors of this unassuming little building lies distillery magic. The folks at Mastermind not only brew what is arguably the best American vodka, but they're fun and friendly, too.

Our tour began in a room with comfy chairs and tables clustered about, relaxing music playing, and a server taking our orders for mixed drinks. Then we enjoyed vodka and moonshine tastings. (Note: if the moonshine is too much for you straight, toss it in your mixed drink and it'll go down nice and smooth).

Then it was down the hall to the back for a quick talk on vodka making. We capped off the tour with bottles of our own, hand-dipped and signed by company founder Carl, who led our happy tour. Very fun experience!

7. Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

4431 Lindell Blvd, at Newstead Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63108-2403 +1 314-373-8242
Excellent
88%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 2 reviews

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis

The Mother Church of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, the superstructure of the Cathedral was built between 1907 and 1914. The Cathedral's 100th Anniversary is being celebrated in 2014. It is known for its' beautiful interior mosaics, which took nearly 80 years to create using more than 41 million pieces of glass tesserae. The Cathedral is known for having one of the largest mosaic collections in the Western Hemisphere.

Reviewed By cowdogsmomma - Brazil, Indiana

Beautiful architecture!!! If you like Catholic Churches and appreciate art work this is the place to see. Hard to imagine the amount of money the have in it.

8. Rusty Wallace Driving Experience

700 Raceway Blvd, East Saint Louis, IL 62201
Excellent
100%
Good
0%
Satisfactory
0%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 31 reviews

Rusty Wallace Driving Experience

Reviewed By Drew C

I was given the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience 10 lap experience for Christmas. On 2/15/15 we arrived at Mobile International Speedway and were cheerfully greeted and signed in. We then attended a class for the experience. The class was very informative and at times comical! We then went and got all of our racon gear on. Then off to the cars, strap in and START YOUR ENGINES!!!

The cars torque and the way it handled and accelerated will make you have a great respect for the professionals that do this every weekend. If you ever have the opportunity to do the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience.... D

9. Gateway Motorsports Park

700 Raceway Blvd, Madison, IL 62060 +1 618-215-8888
Excellent
76%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 12 reviews

Gateway Motorsports Park

Gateway Motorsports Park is home to 5 distinctive racing venues! The Gateway Kartplex, Oval Track, Dragplex, Road Course, and Dirtplex. There is sure to be something for everyone at Gateway Motorsports Park!

Reviewed By orpotter - Monmouth, Illinois

Was there for 4th year of Super Chevy Show, The staff if super and very accommodating, will help in any way they can. Wish was longer, too many things to do, but not enough time. Wanted to do the Petty Experience, and the cartplex but ran out of time, Car show was super and the Drag races were great also.

10. Missouri Botanical Garden

4344 Shaw St, Saint Louis, MO 63110-2291 +1 314-577-5100
Excellent
86%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 3 reviews

Missouri Botanical Garden

The Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis was founded in 1859 by Henry Shaw. Today, the Garden is a National Historic Landmark and a center for science, conservation, education and horticultural display - widely considered one of the top three botanical gardens in the world. It features 79 acres of horticultural displays, including indoor conservatories and demonstration, formal and international gardens.

Reviewed By AlexisZA - Indianapolis, Indiana

Unfortunately the Chihuli glass onion installation wasn’t there, but there there is still the entrance chandelier and a smaller flame lily installation in the climatron. The gardens are incredible. It was a cold day and we just hopped from the climatron to the houses and braved the open air in between. Such a fabulous way to spend a day

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