Having been born and raised there, there’s not much a resident misses and this is where I got a chance to deep dive into the treasure of the Show-Me State.
St. Louis has a multitude to offer for any palate from the most discerning to the person who just wants a great hot dog. The city’s food caters to everyone from the sports enthusiast, to foodies, to entrepreneurs, to art snobs, and more.
This beginners guide to St. Louis isn’t just for newbies, but to rediscover elements of the city you may have forgotten!
The Ritz-Carlton is the top player in town. Located in the upscale Clayton neighborhood, it is perfectly nestled in Clayton’s downtown business district between numerous art galleries, boutiques, fine restaurants, and cafes with outdoor seating.
What I love most about this hotel are the lavish rooms and excellent service. Going for a more elegant feel, they have provisioned rooms with Frette linens, Bose radios with iPod docking stations and Juliet balconies.
While you can always order room service, why would you with four on-site bars and eateries. There’s also a private cigar club and a fitness center. This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn some money if you click on one. Read the full disclaimer here.
Magnolia Hotel St. Louis is another fantastic property in St. Louis. Located in downtown St. Louis, this is a lavish boutique hotel. If being in the hustle and bustle of downtown St. Louis is your scene, then this is the perfect place. You’re in the heart of the city, so it’s an easy metro or Uber ride to most places in the city.
I love AirBnB because they provide so many more options and, at amazingly affordable prices.
You can choose anything from a downtown loft to a tiny house.
Check out this great loft located in the heart of St. Louis.
Cool Things to Do:
So yea.. of course you can get into those typical things to do like visit:
however, the suggestions below will give even more fabulous things to do!!
St. Louis Events- St. Louis is famous for its amazing events throughout the year. February brings a Mardi Gras celebration second only to New Orleans, May comes a Rib America Festival and delicious BBQ to town and summer visitors partake in the patriotic Fair St. Louis, which features fireworks, air shows, and free live concerts. Fall will bring the International Film Festival and see some of the world’s most unprecedented and cutting-edge features at each of St. Louis’ independent landmark theaters. Also in Fall, guests can also attend the St. Louis Art Fair and celebrate German culture with authentic food and live music at Soulard Oktoberfest. Before your visit, check out a full list of the city’s events.
The St. Louis Brewery Nestled in the beautiful and historic Soulard, this site was originally selected because of it’s access to the river, the large presence of German immigrants in the 1800’s, and the natural cave formations that were used to store beer prior to artificial refrigeration.
On the tour of the St. Louis Brewery, you will see the stunning and history-rich architecture ( home to three National Historic Landmarks) and the cutting-edge brewing technology while you witness first-hand part of the line in the making of the beer.
Grant’s Farm, once owned by Ulysses S. Grant, was once the ancestral home of the Busch Family and provided courtesy of Anheuser-Busch, takes you on a tram ride through its wildlife preserve, home for more than 900 animals, representing more than 100 different species and has a variety of animal shows and a petting area.
Purina Farms allows us to get up close and personal with barnyard animals and everyday dogs and cats. They offer a variety of other activities such as playing in the hayloft, milking a cow, taking a wagon ride and watching exciting canine performances of flying disc, agility and diving dog. Be sure to check the schedule for extra events you may want to attend.
The City Museum is housed in the 600,000 square-foot former International Shoe Company and the museum is an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects. The brainchild of internationally acclaimed artist Bob Cassilly, a classically trained sculptor and serial entrepreneur, the museum opened for visitors in 1997 to the riotous approval of young and old alike.
Pole Position Racewayis an indoor go-kart race track in St. Louis. The electric karts reach speeds of 45MPH! The race karts & track are designed for drivers aged 6 years and up and have a required height of at least 50 inches tall. They offer both junior races as well adult, with kart speeds able to reach 25MPH for junior and up to 45MPH for adults. For true racing connoisseurs, Pole Position Raceway offers monthly public events and tournaments that are open to the public.
Onondaga Cave State Park allows you to descend into the depths and drop into a world of wonder: towering stalagmites, dripping stalactites, and active flowstones help make the cave a National Natural Landmark and illustrate why Missouri is often called “The Cave State.” Visitors can take guided tours into the underground wonderland.
Meramec Cavernsis the largest commercial cave in the state of Missouri. Missouri is also known as the Cave state, hosting home to more than 6,000 surveyed caves. Guided tours by trained rangers are conducted along well-lighted walkways. Learn how an ancient limestone “Wine Table” and an entire 7-story mansion were built… all underground. On tour, you will see both the rarest and largest cave formations in the world.
Blueberry Hillis a landmark St. Louis restaurant and music club. Doors first opened way back in 1972, when the Delmar Loop neighborhood was a desolate, empty street that had seen better days. “We wanted to open a welcoming place that was all about music, pop culture memorabilia, and great food to share a beer over,” say owners Joe Edwards and Linda Edwards. “We were young and idealistic and within a week of the opening set out to revitalize the Delmar Loop.”The music started with a tune-spinning Seeburg jukebox from day one. “I had a collection of 30,000 records that I rotated in and out of the jukebox. I wanted people to experience music they might not hear otherwise,” says Joe. That jukebox, which people from all over the country started coming to hear, was the beginning of music history.
“I CAME FOR THE MUSIC AND STAYED FOR THE TERRIFIC ATMOSPHERE.” – BIG LEBOWSKI STAR JOHN GOODMAN
For The Foodie In You:
I’m a self-professed Foodie. Well..I’ve even had friends call me one as well.
I love food and wish I could eat never-ending amounts.
Below are some of my absolute favorite finds of Saint Louis.
Imo’s Pizza– I literally have dreams of this pizza. By far the best I have evereaten.
Ed and Margie Imo began their journey to St. Louis pizza history as a pair of young, hardworking St. Louisians who fell in love, started a family and dreamt of owning their own home.After years of picking up their pizzas safely after midnight, a simple idea launched a phenomenon…“Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would deliver the pizza to us?”They opened their first pizza parlor in 1964 at Thurman and Shaw Avenues in St. Louis. It was open evenings only, offering pick-up and delivery. Ed continued to work as a tile setter, slicing squares of linoleum by day and pizza by night. Their first kitchen consisted of a used oven, two refrigerators and a stove they purchased for $75. St. Louis style pizza is a thin and crispy crust that is beyond compare.
Crown Candy Kitchen was opened in 1913 by Harry Karandzieff and his best friend Pete Jugaloff. They brought their confectionary skills from Greece, along with a dream of providing a friendly family environment to enjoy their delicious creations. During the early 50’s Harry’s son George took the business over and built the business into what it is today. Now George’s three sons – Andy, Tommy, and Mike run the business with a little help from the 4th generation. Besides the soda fountain and candy, Crown Candy Kitchen serves great food for lunch and dinner.
Gus’ Pretzel Shop is located in the Benton Park neighborhood on St. Louis’s south side, in the shadows of the world-famous Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Gus’ Pretzel Shop is a family-owned business that has been using the same recipe and method of making pretzels, including twisting each pretzel by hand, since the business started in 1920. Third-generation pretzel twisters, Gus Jr. and David, are preparing the fourth-generation, Gus III, to carry on the same tradition.
Visitors are able to view the entire pretzel production process through the viewing area at various times throughout the day and takeout orders are quickly filled at the retail counter. Through the years, Gus’ has become an St. Louis destination for both locals and visitors.
Adriana’sis a small family owned lunch cafe nestled in St. Louis’ Italian section of town, known as “The Hill.” The restaurant opened its doors in December of 1992 and is run by Adriana Fazio and her daughters. At Adriana’s it’s all about family. From the names of the sandwiches down to the recipes, Adri and her girls offer guests a little
taste of their heritage.
Throughout the years, Ted Drewes Frozen Custardhas become a popular treat for St. Louisans and tourists to enjoy after visiting the Arch, the Fox and Muny Theaters, the St. Louis Zoo, or a Cardinal’s baseball game. Along with the delicious hot fudge sundae, Ted’s “concrete” has been the most popular treat at the custard stands. The concrete, which was created in 1959, is a malt or shake so thick that it is served upside down.
Hodak’s Bar & Restaurant in Soulard is an St. Louis institution. Voted the “Best Fried Chicken” in St. Louis year after year by the great folks here in Saint Louis.
Gooey Louie got its start in the fall of 2006 during the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Best of Missouri Market. We’d baked hundreds of cakes for friends and family over the years and decided it was time to share our cakes with the world! Our gooey butter cakes were a hit, so we decided to make Gooey Louie our full-time job.
This is just a start to the amazing restaurants of St. Louis. Be looking for a food only feature on St. Louis restaurants from me as there are just so many great ones! It’s a foodie’s paradise!
What are some of your favorite places to go, do, or experience in St. Louis?
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Thank you for this guide. I would love to visit St.Louis in the near future.
St. Louis is such a great city! We have loads of personal ties there. Caitlin went to SLU!
I’ve been to St. Louis for just a couple days, but didn’t get a chance to see the caverns or Grants farm. They sound awesome. I really enjoyed going to the top of the Arc too! 🙂
Dee at My Dee Dees Diary
This looks like such a fun place. There is a Ritz Carlton in Jamaica so I would love to check out the one here.
I never heard of this place before but it sure sounds fun. I might plan it for the upcoming long weekend.
Great article, well written! Would love to go there someday
I’d have to plan a really long trip here because I want to do it all while there. I’d start with Meramec Caverns.
This sounds like a beautiful city. St.Louis is on my wish list. I’ll be saving your recommendations!
Wow thank you if I ever visit here your blog is the place I am referring to! Thank you for all the detail sounds amazing!
St. Louis is a fantastic city! My trips there have all been short and I’m hoping to go for an extended stay one of these days. I’ll be saving your recommendations!
Ann F. Snook-Moreau
This city sounds like it would make the German part of me so happy! I would definitely want to tour the brewery and grab a pretzel at Gus’s Pretzel Shop as a snack afterward!
St Louis sounds like an amazing place to go and explore with so much to do! I love you have gone through everything a first time visitor might need to know thank you.
Sounds like there’s lots of great reasons to visit St Louis and great places to stay. We have never tried Air BnB yet but definitely sounds like it is worth a look.
I love how thoroughly you covered every aspect of the city! It’s now on my list of places to visit! Such useful info. Thank you!
Lots of fun things to do! I’ll have to check out all your recommendations if we ever get to St. Louis!