A few weeks ago I had one of my best friends, Rachel, come visit me. She is the first out-of-state visitor I’ve ever had. It was an honor and of course I had to put together an itinerary that showed off St. Louis. She was only in town for 3 days; I couldn’t show her all my favorite things, so I narrowed it down (and even still, we didn’t get to everything). At the end of this post I will put the full itinerary.
Rachel came into town on a Wednesday evening and we started off her trip with a bang. We pick up St. Louis style pizza and wings on our way home from the airport. (Consider yourself warned, this itinerary focuses a lot on food) While IMO’s is a staple and STL fan favorite, we went with Peggs on the Boulevard, which is Jefferson County’s gift to St. Louis style pizza. For those of you that don’t know what this culinary masterpiece is, it is super thin crust pizza covered edge to edge with toppings and provel cheese, then cut into squares. If you didn’t know - provel cheese is St. Louis’s cheese. It’s a special combination of cheddar, swiss and provolone. AKA it’s flavorful and perfectly melty. You hungry? I am.
Thursday, we went to the Dapper Donut in Creve Coeur. We had delicious mini donuts and even more delicious donut milkshakes. (After a quick visit to get my haircut… what? It was my first week day off in a LONG time) we went to the St. Louis Zoo.
We spent basically the rest of the day strolling through all the world class exhibits. All the animals were out, about and happy. It should be noted that the St. Louis Zoo is a must, it’s FREE to enter and was recently voted “Best Zoo” and won “Best Zoo Exhibit” in the Reader’s Choice Awards. The accolades are so well deserved!
After the Zoo we went to Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill for their amazing pasta and to have the original toasted ravioli. Toasted ravioli are a delicious mistake where a ravioli was fried instead of boiled and it became an instant STL classic. Charlie Gitto’s was the perfect spot to cool off with their house sangria on their gorgeous patio.
We ended our day with a stop at the famous Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. The sun went down as we sat in the back of my car watching the crowds of people enjoy their tasty treat.
Friday, we started out bright and early to head to my favorite St. Louis neighborhood, Maplewood. Here is where we had breakfast at Tiffany’s Diner. Sure STL has dozens of beautiful, hipster brunch places but when you want a real deal, cooked right in front of you diner experience, Tiffany’s is where it’s at. Plus you get to hear about the interesting life of the cook while you’re there… win win. Tiffany’s is particularly special to me because my parents would go on dates there pre-children and pre-marriage. It’s definitely an STL treasure.
After we were stuffed full of food we went down to the Arch and bought tickets to the top. This was actually my first time up in the Arch. I was amazed, I felt like a little kid up there; I felt so small.
Once we were done taking in the views from the Arch we headed to Clementine’s Naughty and Nice Creamery in Clayton. Here they sell the most delectable and unique ice cream flavors. They even have boozy ice cream, which is where they get the “Naughty” in their name. I got a gooey butter cake ice cream cone, which is what my dessert dreams are made of. Then off to the art museum we went.
Since we went to the art museum on a friday we lucked into some free tickets to the Sunken Cities exhibit. To clarify, the St. Louis Art Museum is always free but they often bring in extraordinary exhibits that you have to pay for, except for on Fridays. Since Rachel lives for art museums, we spent 6 hours weaving our way through every exhibit in the museum. It was breathtaking. If you haven’t been to the art museum lately, you need to go. We have all kinds of pieces from Van Gogh to Warhol to Monet to a bunch of local artists. It’s incredible.
To end our day, we went just down the park to the Boat House where we had a couple drinks and Sugar Fire pulled pork sandwiches while listening to live music and watching the sun set over the water.
Saturday, Rachel’s last half-ish day in the Lou. We started off with a trip to the Soulard Farmers Market. Not only is Soulard crazy beautiful, the market has everything you could want. Here we filled our tummies with the fluffiest, freshest beignets outside of New Orleans.
We drove just down the street to the Anheuser Busch Brewery. The tours here are - yep, you guessed it - FREE. Plus they include a pint of beer at the end of the tour… score. I did this tour on my 21st birthday, so I already knew what to expect but I was still blow away at how beautiful, thoughtful and historic the Anheuser Busch Brewery is. I mean, it’s certainly not what I think of when I imagine a high volume factory. The tour take you through their gorgeous campus, my favorite being the clydesdale stables. The tour ends in the biergarten where Rachel and I shared some soft pretzel sticks and wings as we downed our free brews.
Next we headed to the Lumiere Casino to blow $20. We had to, there isn’t a whole lot of gambling to be done outside of Vegas.
Our last stop of the trip had to be cheap since we both spent $20 on nothing (moral of the story, don’t gamble, kids). We went to the St. Louis History Museum to brush up on my fourth grade Missouri history knowledge. St. Louis is filled with so much important and, in my opinion, cool history. We are such an underrated city but we have done, and are doing so much.
I am proud that I got to show off my city to my bestie. I didn’t even get to all my favorite things, which makes me want to continue exploring even more. If you’re from St. Louis and haven’t done a staycation lately, I would really encourage it. If you’ve never been to St. Louis, what are you waiting for?