I just returned from St. Louis and had a nice long weekend to explore the city and take in some great experiences. I actually had not been back to Missouri since 2004 so it was nice to return and see the state in tourist mode. I put together my top things to do, as a visit to The Gateway City would not be complete without these experiences.
Visit the Botanical Garden
Easily the MOST beautiful botanical garden I have ever been to! What I love about this location is that the gardens are broken down into sections and spread out.Visiting could easily take up half a day to leisurely stroll through everything they have to offer. My favorite attraction is the Climatron – which is a dome like ecosystem housing plants and even a couple waterfalls.
Take in a sunset
You know I can’t visit a city and not find a sunset – that is my favorite thing to do. I say to find a sunset with the Arch in it as it is far more dramatic and the arch is an icon of the city.
A trip to St. Louis would not be complete without a stop at the Blue Museum. The museum is not very big or overwhelming and can be easily done in under an hour. Learning about the history of Blues, its artists and even making your own track is part of the magic the museum offers.
See a Cardinals game
Visiting Busch Stadium was not like visiting any other baseball game I have ever been to. You could feel the sense of hometown pride and it was not chaotic – it was a family event. You really get that Midwest vibe (something I miss as I am from Michigan but live in D.C.) and feeling of community.
Don’t forget to get a Nathan’s hot dog and a beer – true staples.
Saint Louis Zoo
Its free AND its one of the best in the United States .. I think that’s the two best reasons to go!
Sample beer at Schlafly Bottleworks
I love finding craft breweries in new cities and I especially love when they are passionate about their work. I had the opportunity to meet the owner and one of the founding brewers, Stephen Hale. I honestly don’t think I have ever met two people more passionate about beer. Both of these guys are an excellent resource and knowledge base in the brewery and I would recommend a tour.
Something that I loved right inside the brewery was a computerized monitor that showed you everything they have on tap with alcohol content, tasting notes, etc so you would know what you want before you reached the bar.
I loved the passion fruit beer! It was not overpowered by citrus, it was actually just the right amount.
Relive your childhood at the City Museum
It is true – I am 34 .. but I make sure to take time everyday to laugh and to keep the child in me alive. The City Museum is housed in an old shoe company that has been turned into a big play park with a bar. Several story slides, ball pits, a ferris wheel and school bus on the roof, jumping rocks pretending its lava, fun flooring, and unique finds around each corner – you are in for a great time. Kids or not – visit and go play your heart out.
Visit Forest Park
Forest Park is a spacious park in St. Louis that is home to the Saint Louis Zoo, Art Museum, Science Center, The Muny, and the Missouri History Museum. In addition, you can drive/walk around the park and see how gorgeous the land is. My two favorite areas were the Pagoda Circle and Jewel Box.
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
I am always on the hunt for architecture that will blow me away and that is exactly what you feel inside the Basilica. The domes on the ceiling offer the most gorgeous grandeur and you will not be able to stop staring in awe. No matter what your beliefs, visit. The amount of work that went into this building is worth seeing with your own eyes.
Eat your way through the city!
I don’t want to leave out the best part of St. Louis, and that is the food and drinks. I was taken by surprise at the bustling foodie scene that the city offers. Some of my favorite finds were Fitz’s enormous root beer floats, Nathaniel Reid Bakery’s pastries and quiche, the mint chocolate cold brew coffee and potato salad at Vicia, and the candied bacon and craft cocktails at Retreat Gastropub. If those are the only things you eat while in town – consider it a success!
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Disclaimer: this post is written in partnership with the Explore St. Louis Tourism Board. As always, opinions are entirely my own.