Image: St. Louis
Charlie Riedel  /  AP
Sure, the Tigers-Cardinals game will be the hot ticket over the next several days, but there is plenty to do in the Gateway City when the teams aren't on the field.
By Travel writer
msnbc.com contributor
updated 10/23/2006 1:16:14 PM ET 2006-10-23T17:16:14
OPINION

It’s official: The Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals will battle to be baseball's best. Two teams, two sets of fans, and two cities looking for bragging rights, more exposure — even a little love.

I have no idea who’s going to take home the trophy, but both cities are clearly gearing up to show visitors a good time.

In Detroit, popular attractions like the Motown Historical Museum and Greenfield Village (in nearby Dearborn) will no doubt draw big crowds. And you can’t leave St. Louis without riding the tram to the top of the Gateway Arch or sipping a short cold one at the Anheuser-Busch brewery.

During the Series, which kicks off Saturday night in Detroit, there’s even more to do. And since the games don’t start until 7:30 p.m. or later, there’s plenty of time to discover what’s on the other side of the turnstiles. From The D to the Gateway City, here’s a look at what’s happening outside the ballpark:

Detroit
Forget “Hockeytown.” With the Tigers in the Series for the first time since 1984, Detroit is Baseball City for the foreseeable future. And while all eyes will be on Comerica Park during game time, the rest of the city is also ready to rock.

What to do: Take in a concert. Among the performers coming to Motown soon: Barenaked Ladies (The Palace of Auburn Hills, 10/27) and Lionel Richie (Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts, 10/27). Who knows, maybe native son Kid Rock will do another impromptu concert outside the stadium like he did after the Tigers won the pennant.

Music will also be highlighted at several local museums. At the Detroit Historical Museum, the Fabulous Five exhibit (ongoing) celebrates the music of several homegrown stars, including Eminem, Stevie Wonder, and the Queen of Soul herself, Aretha Franklin. Meanwhile, The Detroit Institute of the Arts is sponsoring Annie Leibovitz: American Music (through January 7, 2007), a 70-piece exhibit of large-format photos of everyone from B.B. King to the White Stripes.

Where to stay: Despite a recent rush in bookings, a few hotels haven’t put out the No Vacancy sign just yet. The towering Marriott Renaissance Center, the city’s largest hotel, has rooms starting at $269 per night, while the Inn at 97 Winder offers suites in an 1876 Victorian mansion for $225–$325. The former is a quick People Mover ride from the stadium; the latter, just a few blocks.

Where to eat: Sure, Fishbone’s and Tribute have better food, but you might as well join the rowdy crowds at Cheli’s Chili Bar or Hockeytown Café, just outside the stadium. The menus run to chili, burgers, and baby-back ribs, but the cold beer and big-screen TVs at these sports bars still draw thousands of visitors a day.

For more information on Tigertown’s attractions, accommodations, and eateries, go to visitdetroit.com.

St. Louis
When Yadier Molina hit that ninth-inning dinger in Game 7 of the NCLS, you can bet sports bars across the Gateway City erupted in thunderous cheers. With a pennant in hand and a brand-new stadium, St. Louis will be ready to shine when Game 3 kicks off on Tuesday night.

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What to do: World Series aside, the biggest event in St. Louis this fall is “Glass in the Garden,” a dazzling Dale Chihuly exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden (through January 1). From floating globes to massive chandeliers, the glass-master’s works will add even more color to the MBG’s already-vibrant displays. Coincidentally, the St. Louis Art Museum will feature the turn-of-the-century works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, whose stained-glass designs visually defined his times (through October 29).

While you’re at the museum, consider a visit to the city’s zoo, history museum, and science center — all four are located in Forest Park, and all are free of charge. A few blocks away, The Loop neighborhood is home to some of the city’s hippest restaurants, trendiest shops, and hottest nightspots.

Where to stay: Midway between the Arch and Busch Stadium, the Drury Plaza Hotel occupies three historic buildings in the heart of downtown. Rooms start at $110 per night and include a complimentary hot breakfast and free high-speed Internet access. A few blocks away, the Adam’s Mark Hotel has indoor and outdoor pools, several nightspots, and rooms for $309 per night.

Where to eat: For steaks or seafood in a classy setting, head one block north of the stadium to Mike Shannon’s, the new steakhouse owned by the famed Cardinals announcer of the same name. If you prefer beer, burgers, and big-screen TVs, head instead to Al Hrabosky’s Ballpark Saloon, where the former pitcher, aka, “The Mad Hungarian,” will probably be leading the cheers.

For more information on St. Louis’ attractions, lodging, and restaurants, go to explorestlouis.com.

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