Posted June 2, 2022

The Best Off The Beaten Track Gems in St. Louis

Destinations

Photo by St Louis CVB

Relax, you’ve come to the friendly hub of St. Louis, a city surrounded by the historic Mississippi River and the iconic Gateway Arch. While taking in a Cardinals baseball game is a given, we’re also checking out some off the beaten spots from leafy parks, to robust arts and cultural venues, plus a lil’ craft beer sipping and heartland dining.

Art, History, Architecture and Culture
For mind-bending fun situated in a 100-year old warehouse, the City Museum, flanked by a full-scale rooftop school bus, is an interactive spot where visitors crawl through fish-head trees, ride a ferris wheel, see a circus and take secret passages to far off lands. More eye diversion? Nearby, the dynamic duo of the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis and the Tadao Ando-designed Pulitzer Arts Foundation offer an array of modern works. And now for some architecture: the three-domed Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, a Romanesque structure, is a marvel that also includes an eye-popping collection of mosaics. And, while it’s hardly under the radar, don’t miss a trip up to architect Eero Saarienen’s Gateway Arch, a 630-feet stainless steel monument with sweeping views. You’ll also want to catch a Cardinals baseball game (hot dogs, pretzels, nachos and beers hopefully included) at Busch Stadium. Later, explore the outside of the Old Courthouse (the interior is closed for renovation) which served as the homebase for the Dred Scott slave case; and Virginia Manor’s fight for women’s right to vote. For concerts and comedy shows, the 3,100-seat Art Deco Stifel Theater is aces, while the red-hued Fabulous Fox Theatre hosts a series of Broadway shows.

Craft Brews, Delis, BBQ and T-Ravs
It’s no secret Anheuser Busch, home to the storied Budweiser can, is located in town. Tour the facility (serious folks can take the Beermaster Tour) or visit those famed Clydesdales in their stable. You can also experience the city’s growing craft and microbrew scene. Just north of the Hill, 2nd Shift serves seasonal pours and funky flavors in an airy tasting room. Meanwhile, Bluewood Brewing, set in the former stables, is known for its artisan ales and barrel-aged stouts. Close to Soulard, 4 Hands Brewing pours French style Farmhouse ales and Belgian sips (there are also on-site arcade games and Skee-ball). Now you feast! Breakfast? Southwest Diner serves New Mexican style burritos with hearty chorizo alongside buttermilk cornmeal pancakes. Later, head to Blues City Deli for a tasty mix of NY deli sandwiches, hearty po-boys and Italian favorites. For a proper BBQ fix, Salt and Smoke doles out brisket, pulled pork and ribs, alongside 100-plus bourbons, beers and cocktails. Guido’s Pizzeria and Tapas, on the Hill, serves up the two famed staples: St. Louis-style pizza (with a thin cracker crust using Provel cheese) and toasted raviolis (breaded, fried and dunked in marinara sauce).

Leafy Parks For Art, Strolling and Sculpture
Vast and tranquil, no trip to St. Louis is complete without visiting the confines of Forest Park. Bustling attractions include the Saint Louis Zoo and Saint Louis Science Center. That’s not all: you’ll also find the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum and the Muny, a lovely outdoor musical theater. Later, in Shaw Park, stroll the The Missouri Botanical Garden (est. 1859), a 79-acre gem that includes a Japanese and Ottoman Turkish style garden alongside a lush tropical rain forest set in a glass dome. Or visit the wide expanse of Tower Grove Park, which showcases over 300 varieties of trees and birds (keep your eyes peeled for ospreys and monk parakeets). There’s also a serene pond with stone ruins from an old hotel. Nearby, the square-shaped Lafayette Park, the oldest in town, opens to a lake where swans float peacefully. Last but not least, Laumeier Sculpture Park, resting on 105-acres, features marquee contemporary works by revered artists like Donald Judd and Beverly Pepper, and 40 pieces donated by sculptor Ernest Trova.

A new Kimpton hotel will open in St. Louis in early 2023. See you soon!

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