As a DC-area native, I never thought I would live in St. Louis, Missouri. But after doing all the touristy things in St. Louis, I learned the best way to appreciate the city is to live like a local. Best bets, ahead...
Though those who aren't in-the-know may write it off as a flyover city, St. Louis is rich with culture, food, an underground hipster scene, and great museums. You just have to know where to look.
8:00am Start your day with a filling breakfast. Hop on your city bike and ride over to The Mud House. This restaurant uses only the best local and artisanal ingredients—everything is as fresh as it is delicious. You can expect top-notch coffee, vintage décor, and a large dose of St. Louis culture all in this small shop. Definitely a hipster hotspot, so don’t forget your boots, skinny pants, and beard. Pro tip: Get here early—there’s minimal seating.
8:45am Once you’ve soaked up the morning with a caramel latte, walk along Cherokee Street to peruse the antique shops. If your visit coincides with the first or last Sunday of the month, swing by the St. Louis Swap Meet. Food trucks, boutiques, clothing trucks, antiquers, home owners, and restaurants come together to take over the street and showcase their goods in a HUGE yard sale—only better.
9:30am Next, walk through one of the largest urban parks in the United States, Forest Park. It contains most of St. Louis’s major museums—the St. Louis Art Museum, Missouri History Museum, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Zoo, and The Muny, which is the country’s biggest outdoor theatre. Bike and pedestrian paths circle the park, which also hosts annual events like the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis and LouFest, a two-day celebration of modern music and green living.
11:00am All this wandering might whet your appetite again. Time for some BBQ. If you’re looking for an innovative take, head over to SugarFire Smokehouse. Not only have they mastered the classics, but they also offer The Big Muddy, a smoked portobello sandwich, and custom add-ons such as a fried farm egg, balsamic smoked onions, coleslaw, and a wide variety of house-made sauces.
Another tried-and-true option for carnivores around STL is Pappy's Smokehouse, whose ribs were named to the top 5 in America by the Food Network. Locals tend to rank Pappy’s as #1 or #2 in town. Try to get there by 11:30am or earlier—the place runs out of menu items fast, and the line gets long. Don’t worry, though—it moves quickly!
1:00pm Head to the City Museum. The unique space is built with recycled materials made for climbing, sliding, and exploring—so make sure to wear closed-toe shoes.
3:00pm Check out one of the many local breweries. Most famous is the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, which offers a free tour that includes Clydesdale horses, the brewing process, and a complimentary beer. End the tour by cashing in your free drink token in the Budweiser Biergarten.
7:00pm For the evening, walk over to the Delmar Loop in University City (U. City). The Loop’s great collection of speciality shops and boutiques, live music venues, and galleries is concentrated within a six-block strip on Delmar Boulevard. Top destinations include the St. Louis Walk of Fame (where more than 140 brass sidewalk stars and plaques honor notable St. Louisans), The Pageant (one of the best music and comedy venues in the nation), Blueberry Hill (a landmark restaurant and live music club), Tivoli (a historic three-screen movie theatre), and more. At this last stop along the Loop, you can take a brief pause from the bustle of the city and check out independent films, cult classics, and first-run sensations.
9:30pm Exhausted from exploring the city? Wrap up your day with a delicious St. Louis tradition—order a gooey butter cake from Park Avenue Coffee. Texturally, this favorite dessert is similar to a brownie, with flavors including Maple Bacon, Pecan Pie, Pina Colada, and more.