St. Louis, Missouri, is pretty underrated. I mean, how many people decide to go on vacation to St. Louis? Not as many as they should. How many people think “wow, St. Louis sounds like the dream place to live?” More people, lately, but still fewer than dream of moving to oh, say, Miami, Chicago, or Portland.
Although St. Louis may not be your cup of tea, it’s one of my favorite places on earth. Other than being where I met my husband, it’s a unique city that has a little something for everyone. Yes, I do mean everyone. Whether you’re into sports, the outdoors, or the food scene, you’ve got a lot to love in St. Louis. I have a deep and undying love for this city, but Five Things stand out more than others. (To me, anyway.)
1. The Food
Okay, if you went to St. Louis and didn’t have a slinger, did you even really go to St. Louis? St. Louis has a wide and varied food scene, with everything from Ethiopian food to some of the best BBQ in the country. Whether you’re looking for fine Italian food in the Hill, upscale dining downtown, or a mom and pop barbecue joint, you’re in the right place. While St. Louis is full of options for any palate, you really can’t pass up a few things that are, well, stereotypically St. Louis. Get a St. Louis style pizza covered in Provel at IMO’s, hit up City Diner for a slinger, grab some toasted ravioli….well, just about anywhere. Gooey Louie has the best gooey butter cake, and you can’t miss Ted Drewe’s for frozen custard. And don’t forget to hit up Goody Goody Diner for the best chicken and waffles you’ve had in your life! If you’re gluten free like me, there are still plenty of options. Fitz’s Root Beer, Lulu’s Local Eatery, and Sweet Art all make my gluten-free list.
2. Forest Park
Forest Park in St. Louis is larger than the famous Central Park in NYC. As if having acres and acres of land to explore couldn’t keep you busy, it’s also home to some of the coolest activities St. Louis has to offer. Check out the St. Louis Zoo, which is free to visit and has enough animals to keep even the shortest attention spans happy for hours. The Children’s Science Center is also free to visit, as is the Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum. You could also snag a free seat for a show at the Muny, but you’d have to get there incredibly early and you really should just pay for admission. You’re gonna want to be front and center for whatever you decide to see. We’ve seen Les Miserables and Mary Poppins at the Muny, and I can’t decide which one I liked better.
3. City Museum
For those of you who have never been, there’s something you should know about the City Museum. It’s false advertising. It’s not really a museum. No, instead, this refurbished factory has been turned into a giant playground made out of recycled junk. It’s fun for all ages, but if you’re an adult without a child, you’ll probably want to visit after 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Also, the City Museum sells alcohol, which seems dangerous, but okay.
4. South City
South City is really just the southern part of the city of St. Louis, which comprises a variety of areas. It’s definitely my favorite region of St. Louis. Don’t get me wrong, North City is cool. There’s a lot of immigrant influence, some beautiful architecture, and anything you could want in a city. However, South City contains my favorite neighborhoods. I mean, there’s Tower Grove East, South Grand, Cherokee… Of course, like any city, there’s crime in this part of St. Louis. If you avoid it because of its bad reputation, you’re missing out on some really cool parks, restaurants, and experiences. Just be safe, and don’t do anything you wouldn’t do in your own city.
5. Grant’s Farm
A safari, a petting zoo, and free beer samples. I mean, what else can you really want? I can’t drink the beer samples, but I could spend all day feeding the baby goats. They’ve really got a racket going on there, since the tourists are paying money to feed the baby goats. That’s never stopped me from shelling out the money to do it, but when you think about it, it’s pretty much a scam. At Grant’s Farm, you can also see the famous Budweiser/Anheuser-Busch Clydesdale horses. They’re not as cute as the baby goats.
I’ve had a ton of trouble paring down this list to Five Things. I mean, I left out the food trucks, float trips down the Merrimac, Purina Farms, all the haunted houses during Halloween, the food festivals, the free concerts in the summer, the beautiful architecture, and more. (I’m trying to sneak it in now, but it isn’t working.) Hopefully this post has given you a taste of why St. Louis is my favorite place.
Have you been to StL? What’s your favorite thing about the city?