St. Louis is a town I’ve thought about visiting many times, as it is very close to my home city of Chicago. What I didn’t know before I visited was just how much there is to do there. The city truly has something for everyone, which makes it hard to nail down the perfect day itinerary. However, I’m confident in sharing my recommendations after visiting beautiful St. Louis and experiencing everything (well, mostly everything) it has to offer a few weekends ago. Without further ado, here is how to spend the perfect day in St. Louis, Missouri:
9am: Get in a big breakfast at the Peacock Diner to keep you energized for a long, action-packed day. This cute, retro diner is the perfect place to settle into a booth and chow down on some classic breakfast fare like biscuits and gravy, omelets and French toast. BONUS: they also have a few skeeball machines in the restaurant to entertain you while you wait for your meal!
10am: Head to Forest Park to explore its 1,371 acres of museums, beautifully landscaped gardens and the St. Louis Zoo. Admission to the Zoo and the Art Museum is free, and both attractions are within walking distance of each other. If you are visiting during the summer, Forest Park also offers plenty of opportunities to catch a movie or a live performance with their Shakespeare in the Park.
12pm: Visit the Fountain on Locust for a bite to eat and to take in their gorgeous, art deco décor. It is the most photographed restaurant in St. Louis for a reason! Go there for the casual yet delicious lunch menu and stay for the amazing ice cream (or one of their famous ice cream martinis if you’re feeling fancy – the Thin Mint is fantastic).
1pm: Head over to the main drag downtown, Washington Avenue, to check out the Blues Museum and the City Museum down the street. Both are unique in their own separate ways and similar in that they both are must-sees in St. Louis. The Blues museum is very interactive and educational, and it serves as a music venue in the evenings too! The City Museum is something entirely different from anything I’ve experienced. It is like a huge jungle gym of old planes and metal tunnels and other large objects for kids and adults alike. It’s amazing, just go.
3pm: Take an elevator to the top of the famous Gateway Arch to catch a gorgeous view of the city. I would absolutely recommend buying your ticket in advance, as they do tend to sell out. Either way, there will be a wait, but when you have a ticket, it’s much quicker. The little pods you go up the arch in are quite small, so maybe stay on solid ground if you get claustrophobic. The view is worth it though, once you get to the top! And the park surrounding the Arch is quite pretty as well, if you get the chance to explore it a bit.
4pm: Choose your own adventure: tour the Cardinal’s Busch Stadium or tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Depending on your interests, both options are equally special to St. Louis. The stadium tour is really cool and not something you’d get to experience by just going to the game (walking out onto the field and sitting in the dugout would be frowned upon during a game). On the other hand, it is really fun to see Budweiser and Busch brands on menus in St. Louis as “local beers”, and even more fun to check out where they’re brewed.
5pm: Have a drink at the beautiful Union Station Hotel Grand Hall bar and take in their hourly light show. The Union Station Hotel used to be the, you guessed it, main train station in town, but has since been bought out and turned into a gorgeous hotel. The bar in the Grand Hall is a must-see. It has beautiful décor and fabulous specialty cocktails, AND there is a fun, if not ostentatious in the best way possible, light show at 5pm, and every hour on the hour until 11pm.
6pm: Head back to Delmar Loop for some strolling and shopping on the main stretch (definitely hit Vintage Vinyl and OSO Style Lab). This area is chock-full of interesting shops, music venues, and restaurants to check out. While you’re in the neighborhood, pop into Salt & Smoke for some delicious St. Louis barbecue for dinner (try the ribs!) and meander across the street to the iconic Blueberry Hill for a drink. The owner of the latter establishment is responsible for bringing many popular music venues to the area, and Blueberry Hill itself is famous for being one of the venues Chuck Berry played in his later years.
8pm: Choose your own adventure, evening edition: catch some live music at any number of fine venues (The Gramophone, BB’s Jazz, Blues & Soups, Broadway Oyster Bar…), go to a Cardinal’s game, or taste test more delicious beer at one of the many breweries in town (my favorite was 4 Hands Brewery). If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, head to the Hilton Hotel and up to their Three Sixty Rooftop bar for a birds eye view of the city and a really great drink selection.
10pm: If you’re in need of a late night snack after a full day of activity, end your day on a sweet note at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (open till 11:45pm) for one of their famous concrete mixers. They are a St. Louis institution, and though I didn’t get a chance to try it myself, I only heard rave reviews from every local I spoke to. Try the Cardinal Sin Concrete for me and let me know how it is!