St. Louis is a fun and affordable city where you can enjoy breweries, sports and great BBQ without emptying your wallet.
Where to Stay in St. Louis
- St. Louis Union Station: this former train station has been renovated and converted into a grand hotel, complete with light shows every night.
- Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch: Location, location, location. The Hyatt lies a block away from the riverfront and the Gateway Arch (some rooms even have arch views).
What to Do
Watch some sports
- Catch a St. Louis Cardinals Game. Cardinals games are very fun, but book your tickets quickly as Cardinals fans are very loyal and games can sell out easily or be priced very high!
- Attend a St. Louis Blues Game. St. Louis might be known for its baseball fanaticism, but its fervor for hockey is not far behind. Join in on the excitement by cheering on the Blues.
- Visit Ballpark Village (St. Louis’ Entertainment District). The area includes a number of bars & restaurants and is located right outside Busch Stadium. Perfect for hanging out with friends pre- or post- a Cardinals game. Don’t have tickets? Not a problem because FOX Sports Midwest Live! has one of the country’s largest TV screens not located within a sports venue (35 ft diagonally).
Explore Forest Park (originally built out for the 1904 World’s Fair) and all its museums
- St. Louis Art Museum. You can’t beat the admission price at the SLAM (i.e. free every single day, and free admission to the special exhibits on Fridays). After its recent renovation, the museum has an additional 21 galleries, giving you a days worth of art and artifacts to explore.
- Missouri History Museum. The Missouri History Museum chronicles the past of St. Louis and Missouri showcasing events such as Lewis & Clark and the westward expansion of the US, the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, St. Louis’ contributions to the civil rights movement, Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, and much more. Plus, admission here is free as well.
- Saint Louis Zoo. With 15 major exhibits and 6,600 animals, the Saint Louis Zoo will keep you and the little ones entertained for hours. And in keeping with the trend, the zoo is free to enter.
- The Jewel Box. A unique art deco display greenhouse that “glows” again after its recent renovation. Best of all, admission is free Monday & Tuesday morning.
- Don’t forget the Muny! The St Louis Municipal Opera Theater hosts outdoor productions all summer long. Again, 1,500 of the 11,000 seats are free (on a first-come-first-serve basis).
- LouFest (Sept 9-10). If you’re in St. Louis this weekend, then schedule some time in for LouFest at Forest Park. The 2-day fest has headliners big and small with musical genres ranging from funk to indie-rock.
Drink in the brew scene
- Take a brewery tour at Anheuser-Busch. The St. Louis brewery site is Anheuser-Busch’s largest and oldest location (picked for its easy access to the Mississippi, large German population in the 1800’s, and natural cave formations that provided cheap refrigeration). Join a tour, learn the history of this beer giant, and cap it off with a visit to the biergarten. Prost!
- Or, if you want to experience a bit more of the local brew scene, tour Schlafly. The free tickets go fast at this popular beer tour so head in early to snag some (doors open at 11am every Sat & Sun). We like this one because samples.
Visit the sites
- Visit the Gateway Arch. While the Arch has been reopened after a $380 million renovation, the final touches on its museum won’t be complete until summer 2018. In the meantime, you can still check out newly renovated grounds (including a 7.5 acre expansion).
- Go to a concert at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater. This 20,000 seat venue is awesome for summer concerts. And because it has both covered seating and a lawn, you don’t have to let the weather dampen your fun.
What to Eat & Drink
Don’t come to St Louis without getting a taste for some St Louis-style BBQ (i.e. spare ribs doused in sauce and typically grilled rather than slow-cooked over smoke).
- Scape. An American bistro with European sophistication (and without the snobbery). Sunday brunch is our fave (BLT Pork Belly Benedict anyone?).
- Southern. This fried chicken restaurant is a product of both locally- and nationally-acclaimed chefs and the food’s taste shows it. Fresh chicken is fried to perfection in a special marinade (developed with the help of Pappy’s pit master) and then dipped in hot oil. As a result, the chicken is tender on the inside while crunchy on the outside.
- Sugarfire. While Sugarfire does serve traditional BBQ fare, it excels in its less conventional options. Try finding smoked fried artichokes or pork belly hush puppies at the run-of-the-mill BBQ joints.
- Hendel’s Restaurant. Hendel’s is a a quaint house-turned-restaurant in old town Florissant. For a classic, get their burger (angus beef, bacon, cheddar, Swiss, honey mustard, piled onto a pretzel bun).
- Guerilla Street Food. This Filipino food truck is so good, it’s expanded into a couple of brick and mortar shops. They put a creative spin on traditional Filipino dishes like their popular Flying Pig (steamed rice topped with braised pork, hoisin sauce, a spicy red sauce, poached egg, sesame seeds, and green onions).
- O’Connell’s Pub. The prototypical neighborhood dive bar (and we mean that in the best sense). Reasons to visit: the burger has been repeatedly voted the best in St. Louis, prices are cheap, and the beer selection is extensive.
- Pappy’s Smokehouse. Pappy’s is billed as THE best BBQ place in town and it lives up to that hype. Why? The ribs have a rich smoky flavor and are so tender they practically fall of the bones. Also, sweet potato fries…
- The Shaved Duck. The Shaved Duck prides itself on having good folk, fresh bbq and honest, soulful food. And you can expect the wild cherry & hickory smoked meats to live up to that promise. If you’re ready for a game-changer, order the smothered fries (pulled rib and pork meat over hand cut fries topped with cheese sauce and freshly grated sharp cheddar).
- Olive + Oak. This busy and highly-acclaimed wine bar has an ever-changing menu featuring local ingredients whenever possible. Everything is sure to please but the fried cheese curds are not to be missed.
- Broadway Oyster Bar. With live music most days and rich Cajun food, Broadway Oyster Bar feels more like a restaurant straight out of NOLA, rather than St. Louis. Share a plate of grilled oysters with friends and get the meaty Shrimp Po’ Boy for yourself.
- Blood & Sand. This discrete corner restaurant is technically members-only (non-members can still make reservations) and feels like a modern speakeasy (without trying too hard). Come for a seasonal menu featuring upscale American fare.
- Blues City Deli. Possibly the best deli in the city (perhaps farther). When you arrive, you’ll see a line. Ignore it because the service is fast and the sandwiches are worth any amount of wait. Get the 7th-Street Sicilian Po’ Boy (genoa salami, cappicola, pepperoni, and provel, dressed with lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, and pepperoncini). Plus, live jazz & blues music Thursday and Saturday nights.
- Gioia’s. The Hot Salami at this Italian deli is legendary (hot salami and roast beef served on toasted cheesy garlic bread). Do yourself a favor and try it.
- 360 Rooftop at the Hilton St. Louis. This bar has the best view of the city in our opinion. Because it overlooks Busch Stadium, you can basically watch games from the roof and that’s not to mention its view of the Arch.
- Taste Bar. This cocktail bar will not leave you disappointed on the drink front. Get a classic, go for one of their unique specialty options, or ask the bartender to whip you up something to your tastes.
- Tamm Avenue Grill. A self-proclaimed neighborhood “gastro sports pub” in Dog Town. Come hang on the back patio for a burger and a drink.
- 33 Wine Bar. People love 33 Wine Bar for its extensive wine list, knowledgeable staff, and a relaxed atmosphere. Come on a Tuesday for a tasting.
- Eclipse. Visit Eclipse’s rooftop bar at sunset during the summer or early fall to close out your day right.
- International Tap House. A great hangout spot for locals and tourists alike. While they don’t serve food (you are welcome to bring your own), they have 40+ beers on tap at all times and tons of space (3 floors!).
- Olio. An intimate but trendy wine bar great for wine or a craft cocktail. Also, their food (a modern take on Israeli) is on point.
- Planter’s House. Planter’s House is a cocktail bar and restaurant celebrating St. Louis’ grand history of hospitality through historically-inspired recipes. Meaning, classy drinsk served in a classy atmosphere.
Your best bet for the night scene is to hit the Grove Neighborhood because it has a ton of bars within a walkable distance. But beyond that, here are some of our favorite bars for the late hours:
- John D McGurk’s Irish Pub
- Upstairs Lounge
- Beale on Broadway
- Blueberry Hill
- BB’s Jazz, Blues, and Soups
- Club VIVA!
- City Coffeehouse & Creperie
- Comet Coffee
- Mississippi Mud House
- Blueprint Coffee
- Soulard Coffee Garden