History geeks will appreciate a day trip to St. Charles, about 25 miles from downtown St. Louis, to visit the first Missouri state capitol. It was here in 1821 that the big-wigs of the day began planning what would eventually be the Show Me State.
The building was first a general store and the second level donated to the state government for the first four years of statehood.
You can tour the building for free on your own or pay a couple of dollars a head and have a costumed interpreter really bring the place to life. Kids and adults can actually learn a thing or two here about what makes government tick or grind to a halt, as the case may be.
Of course, the downtown area around the First State Capitol in a historic shopping district with great restaurants and an unfettered view of the Missouri River as it flows toward confluence with the Mississippi just a few miles away.
Exit at 229-B off of I-70 westbound.