Nashville, TN skyline

Skyline of Nashville, Tennessee taken from east bank of Cumberland River (PROVIDED)

Finding a weekend getaway is easy when you live in St. Louis. You're within driving distance to a variety of places that can keep you busy for a weekend or even longer. The following six are just a handful of entertaining trips to try.

1. Chicago, IL

Head northeast to spend the weekend in one of the country's famous cities. You can try Chicago-style deep dish pizza and hot dogs, revel in the sounds of the city at one of the jazz and blues clubs, and visit local attractions such as the Navy Pier and Shedd Aquarium. You could also enjoy the view from the top of the Willis Tower. You'll have no trouble finding lodging in Chicago, but remember, you may not want to leave.

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2. Nashville TN

In a little over 4 hours, you can be in Nashville, the land of country music. With so music venues to enjoy, you could never see them all in one weekend. A few examples include the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Gulch entertainment district. The city is alive with music, but it also has restful nature spots, such as Radnor Lake State Park or J. Percy Priest Lake. You can soak up history at Belle Meade Plantation or any number of historic Civil War sites. Historic hotels in the city are also popular.

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3. Indianapolis, IN

If you're looking for an urban getaway, try staying in downtown Indianapolis. From this central location, you'll be close to all the arts, sports, festivals, restaurants and shops that Indianapolis has to offer. On the other hand, if you want to focus on spending time at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you might want to stay near the airport at the Wingate by Wyndham to avoid downtown traffic.

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4. Branson, MO

Ready for a family vacation destination just under 4 hours from St. Louis? Branson is the place for you and your family to enjoy shopping, fine dining, over 100 live shows and three fabulous lakes. You can also take advantage of outdoor activities such as horseback riding, water sports and world-class fishing. Lodging is a treat in itself at hotels such as the Hotel Grand Victorian or the Savannah House Hotel.

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5. Springfield, MO

Springfield is just over 3 hours from St. Louis. It's about an hour from Branson, MO, but it's worth a separate weekend getaway. A visit to Fantastic Caverns is one of the area's outstanding experiences and is America's only ride-through cave; here, you can revel in the splendor of the cave's natural features while protecting the cave for future generations. Ready for some history? Try a visit to the Pythian Castle for history tours or ghost tours of this famous landmark. When you're ready to leave the ghosts behind, consider the area's accommodations such as the Greenstay Hotel & Suites.

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6. Louisville, KY

If you have a horse lover in your family, you really need to visit Louisville. In season, you can take a 4-hour tour of Churchill Downs in a golf cart, tour the backside barn area, or take walking tours of all the exclusive destinations at the track including Millionaires row and the Matt Winn Dining Room. Non-horse lovers in your group can visit unique museums like the Louisville Slugger Museum, the Kentucky Science Center or the Frazier History Museum. For one-of-a-kind lodging, try the historic Rocking Horse Manor B&B.

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St. Louis has a lot to offer, but when you want to head out of town, you'll have no trouble finding fascinating weekend getaways!

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