St. Louis, Missouri is one of those "big cities" that is just small enough that you can get a pretty great look at it during a busy weekend. Charming yet gritty, urban yet edgy, a whole host of contradictions will welcome you as you sing, "Meet me in Saint Louie." Rest up before your flight and be ready to hit the streets the moment you arrive.
1104 LOCUST ST. ST. LOUIS, MO 63101
Start your day with the best breakfast in the city, at Rooster (who also happen to do the best Bloody Marys in town). Whether you go for a crepe, custardy Finnish pancake, or hearty scramble, you won’t be disappointed as everything they serve is delicious.
10AM ST. LOUIS ZOO
1 GOVERNMENT DR. ST. LOUIS, MO 63110
Stretch your legs in Forest Park, a large urban park and home to the St. Louis Zoo, which is ranked one of the best in the nation. After the zoo you can pop into the St. Louis Art Museum, both attractions in the park are free of charge.
1PM TED DREWES FROZEN CUSTARD
Now it's about time for lunch. If you want to give St. Louis style pizza a go, hit up any of the many Imo's chains throughout the city. Be warned - St. Louis style pizza is served on a cracker-thin, yeast-less crust and topped with the STL-created provel cheese. You either love it or hate it. If that doesn't sound too appealing to you, head over to The Hill, which is the Italian part of town. You'll have your pick of delicious restaurants, such as Zia's, where you can get another St. Louis original: toasted ravioli. Go ahead and gorge yourself on the breaded and baked ravioli, but make sure to leave room for dessert, which you should get at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a St. Louis favorite as well as a stop on the historical Route 66. This delicious custard shop is a time-honored St. Louis tradition and no trip to St. Louis would be complete without it.
3PM GATEWAY ARCH
Take a trip to the top of the Gateway Arch, a beautiful example of mid-century modernist architecture and, at 630ft, the tallest man-made monument in the US. You can see 30 miles out on a clear day, which gives a great view over the city.
4PM CITY MUSEUM
Climb, crawl, and jump your way through the incredible City Museum. No ordinary museum, this 60,000 square-foot building is packed with tunnels, caves, slides, tree houses and more, all made out of recycled materials and painted by local children and artists. You can explore the caves, squeeze yourself through the tunnels, have a fight in the giant outdoor ball pit, ride down a 10-story slide, or take in the view from a Ferris wheel on the roof. Make sure you wear pants and bring your childhood wonder, because this place will amaze you.
7PM SIDNEY STREET CAFE
Head over to the Sidney Street Café for a phenomenal meal prepared by a James Beard nominated chef. The menu is eclectic and interesting, the ambiance is great, and the wine list superb.
10PM VIN DE SET
Finish the day with a nightcap at Vin De Set, a rooftop bar overlooking the city, which has an impressive wine list and small but carefully curated selection of classic cocktails.
10AM GRAND CENTER DISTRICT
Start the day in the Grand Center District, the cultural hub of St Louis. Here you’ll find galleries, theaters, restaurants and all manner of neat arts venues to explore. Start off with coffee and fresh beignets at Café Ventana, then head over to the Contemporary Art Museum of St Louis, which always has cool exhibits to check out.
12PM BRIDGE TAP HOUSE AND WINE BAR
1004 LOCUST ST. ST. LOUIS, MO 63101
Get lunch at Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar, a great looking restaurant with more than 200 beers and 100 wines to choose from, as well as really great food.
2PM BUDWEISER BREWERY
Head to beer school at the Budweiser Brewery where you’ll be schooled in the art of beer appreciation. You’ll learn all about different styles of beer, and get plenty of free samples to try too.
4PM BUSCH STADIUM
After the tour, head over to Busch Stadium to explore the home of the St. Louis Cardinals; you’ll get to go everywhere from the broadcast booth to the dugout.
6PM THE LOOP
Spend the evening over at The Loop, a 6-block district on Delmar Blvd that boasts a variety of boutiques, restaurants, art galleries, and bars. Take your pick of the many ethnic restaurants, or dig into comfort food at Cheese-ology, a restaurant dedicated to mac and cheese (that has 12 different varieties). After, check out Pin-Up Bowl, a bowling alley/ martini lounge, for an interesting, boozy and fun end to your 48 hours in St. Louis.
WHERE TO STAY: HOTEL IGNACIO
3411 OLIVE ST. ST. LOUIS, MO 63103
The Hotel Ignacio is well priced, centrally located in the artsy part of town, and has really lovely rooms. This hip boutique hotel gets rave reviews.