Travel Top 5: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis had never really been a travel destination in my mind before I started dating Will, but after hearing the born and bred native rant on about it for months, I figured I might just have to pay good ol' St. Lou-aaay a visit.

Every time I've gone to St. Louis, we've always had some sort of occasion or special reason for being there--Will's sister Camille's wedding, Mardi Gras, and a VERY short stay after a Thanksgiving trip to Arkansas--so we never got to properly explore the city the way I would have liked to. 

Luckily, we worked out a free weekend that we could get away solely to enjoy the little things that make the Lou a hidden gem among the not quite Northern, not quite Southern states. Unfortunately I accidentally deleted all my pictures from our first day and a half there, but still had enough material to compile this mini St. Louis city guide...  

Best Restaurant: Sweetie Pie’s Kitchen

When a restaurant has a line out the door and around the corner at 2 pm, you know the food has gotta be good. But good is an absolute understatement for this soul food hotspot in South St. Louis. This is finger-licking deliciousness in epic proportions with every Southern comfort food imaginable from home-style fried chicken to black-eyed peas complete with a slice of corn bread.

Fun for All Ages: City Museum

I have no idea how I had been to St. Louis three times before without ever visiting this acid trip of a jungle gym. With over 600,000 square feet of unique, found objects transformed into a giant playground, funhouse and architectural wonder, the City Museum was by far my favorite place in all of St. Louis. Weaving through tunnels in the Enchanted Caves and discovering hidden passageways up to the 10-story slide, I felt like I was seven years old again and couldn't wait to reach the rooftop where we could jump aboard the revived, four-story ferris wheel Big Eli for a breathtaking view of the city by night.

What Brings It All Together: Gateway Arch
While the Arch may seem like an obvious destination, it is truly the defining feature that sets the St. Louis skyline apart from other Midwestern cities that have already seen their heyday. Standing in at 630 feet tall, the Arch is the largest man-made monument in the US and serves as the gateway to the West. The view driving down Market Street perfectly frames the Arch around the Old Courthouse where Dred Scott sued for his freedom in 1847. While we didn't have enough time to ride to the top on this trip, we had a blast doing cartwheels and posing for touristy, holding-the-Arch shots (that were sadly deleted!) before devouring St. Louis-style BBQ from Smoki O's as a picnic in the park.

For a Bit of Fresh Air: St. Louis Parks – Forest Park, Tower Grove Park, & Laumeier Sculpture Park

{Original Art Museum & Flight Cage from 1904}

As the host of the 1904 World's Fair, Forest Park is one of the largest urban parks in the country. After all of our heavy BBQ and soul food, it was great to get out on an 8 mile run around this expansive park where remnants from the iconic fair still stand today.

Tower Grove Park is a stone's throw away from Will's mom's house in South City and we always enjoy strolls through this gorgeous park that features a large variety of pavilions fashioned after the architecture of faraway lands (my favorites are the Turkish and Chinese!).

A giant eyeball. Mayan walking circles. Surprise sculptures hidden deep in the woods. Sign me up. Laumeier reminded me a lot of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, but they take it a step further with random works hidden throughout the woods and over 70 outdoor sculptures. Still gotta love the Spoonbridge and Cherry though.

To Feel the City's French Roots: Soulard Market/Lafayette Square

Unlike the boutique-y, farmers' market full of Lincoln Park moms buying overpriced organics that I’m used to in Chicago, the 233-year-old Soulard Market is much more funky with actual farmers and their overalls and crooked teeth (if they even have any at all...), selling fresh produce and livestock (legit, live chickens) for a fraction of the price.

Neighboring the market is historic Lafayette Square, home to the sprawling Victorian mansions of the flamboyant aristocrats in the 19th century. The ornate details that these homes adorn and their wonderful shades of violet, turquoise, and gold make for eye-popping exquisiteness against the uneven brick sidewalks.

Again sadly, my Soulard/Lafayette photos were deleted so... Images via 1, 2 

No comments:

Post a Comment