14 Jun Lively St. Louis: A Cultural Renaissance on the Mighty Mississippi
St. Louis has many established neighborhoods full of shops, eateries, and museums. I’ve listed the best of the best, venues you won’t want to miss, whether you’re visiting for a short time or have more extended travel plans.
Start with breakfast at Rooster, whose mission is to bring responsibly and locally grown house-made foods to the public. Located in the downtown area, this quirky and casual establishment’s brightly painted lemon yellow chairs best describe its ambiance. The menu lists a variety of savory and sweet crepes, sandwiches, salads, and soups. I chose the scrambled eggs with sweet tomato jam served over cubed roasted potatoes— a delicious combination.
As the pioneers moved from the East and ventured westward across America, they made a necessary stop in St. Louis to stock up on supplies for their journey. Obviously, at that time, the famous Gateway Arch hadn’t been built. Plans for the arch began in 1947, and by 1965, hundreds of people stood on the grounds to celebrate the last piece of the structure being placed perfectly into position at the very top.
The arch stands 630 feet-tall and 630 feet-wide and was originally dedicated as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. In 2016, the name was changed to the more streamlined Gateway Arch. A multi-million dollar renovation helped transform the surrounding park grounds to a venue for blues concerts, wine tastings, skating, yoga, and family picnics. There is something for everyone!
Located on the waterfront in sight of the arch is the riverboat Tom Sawyer. A one-hour cruise is a good way to learn about this portion of the Mississippi with the pilot giving an informative and interesting narrative of the St. Louis River front’s colorful history. All we had to do was sit on deck chairs and enjoy this serene excursion.
Along the old Route 66, many travelers have stopped by Ted Drewes’ Frozen Custard for a serving of their famous concretes. The ingredients in a concrete are so thick that when the cup is turned upside down, no frozen custard falls out. This has been a St. Louis landmark since 1941 and quite a local tradition.
The Delmar Loop was an older neighborhood brought back to life with unique shops, boutiques, and restaurants. We stopped in at Fitz’s Root Beer where you can actually view the bottling process through a large glass window. The menu includes sandwiches, pizzas, salads, and, of course, root beer floats. Several unique flavorings of sodas such as key lime, grape, and strawberry are also available.
Lunch at the rustic Salt + Smoke, home of BBQ, Bourbon and Beer and award-winning macaroni and cheese, is a scrumptious barbeque experience where all sauces are house-made. Try the Fried House Pickles with the flaxseed mayonnaise or the Fried Chicken Skins served with sweet honey grain mustard, and you’ll know why the locals and tourists keep returning.
St. Louis has the distinction of being second on the list of having the most free-entrance attractions in the U.S.A. You can spend hours visiting the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, and the Missouri History Museum.
In the lovely neighborhood of Lafayette Square, 360 Victorian homes surround Lafayette Park, the first park west of the Mississippi. At Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery, owner Tamara Keefe scoops up unusual flavors of decadent ice cream made with 100% all natural ingredients— the way ice cream should be made. Leaving the corporate world behind, Ms. Keefe began her business as a result of a life-long love of ice cream, and her passion shows as locals and tourists flock to this eclectic shop tucked into a corner of Lafayette Square.
This Midwest American city is fun to explore with all its diverse character and culture. There are year-round special events and evolving attractions to keep the whole family happy!
For more information: Explore St. Louis
All costs for transportation, accommodations, meals, and attractions were provided at no cost for this review.