Photography by Joe Hendrickson.
WHY MAKE SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI, your choice for a metropolitan getaway? This beautiful Midwest city—The Gateway to the West—is the winner of the Scouted Cities Contest’s Metropolitan City category, and as The Scout Guide Saint Louis editor and owner Stacey Goltermann and associate editor Amy Jo Mitchell explain, the city has a little bit of something for everyone. “There are endless adventures for the whole family, from attractions and activities including fabulous food, gorgeous parks, lively music, spirited sports, and a variety of arts venues and museums,” Stacey says. With a rich history rooted in commerce, architecture, and culture, there are many diverse neighborhoods to explore—each with a unique feel and appeal—and people that exude Midwestern charm, making Saint Louis a city you’ll want to return to again and again.
Ready to plan your trip? Here, Stacey and Amy Jo share their favorite local finds to make the most of this beautiful city.
*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc.
WHERE TO STAY
From an art-centric hotel in the middle of the hustle and bustle to a riverside oasis and more, you’ll find the perfect spot to lay your head.
The Angad Arts Hotel (3550 Samuel Shepard Drive). The Angad Arts hotel is centrally located in the Grand Center Arts District near the Fox Theater district. The hotel is a work of art in itself, but also features rotating artist installations and creative attention to detail in every space. Each room is decorated floor-to-ceiling in one of four colors—red, yellow, green, or blue—making for a truly unique experience.
The Four Seasons (999 North Second Street). The gorgeous Four Seasons Saint Louis is truly an urban oasis on the Mississippi River in the heart of the entertainment district in downtown. The spa and amenities are the best in the city, providing an incredible experience. From the fantastic cuisine of Cinder House to the stunning views of the Gateway Arch, a stay here is a wonderful indulgence.
The Ritz-Carlton (100 Carondelet Plaza). Enjoy the luxurious accommodations and unparalleled service that are to be expected from The Ritz-Carlton, located in the trendy Clayton neighborhood. With its recent elegant and extensive renovations, The Ritz-Carlton Saint Louis has elevated its experience with gorgeous guest rooms perfectly fusing contemporary and classic styles. The new restaurant from Michelin-star chef Mario Iaccarino, Casa Don Alfanso, brings delicious Southern Italian cuisine to the heart of the Midwest.
Union Station Hotel (1820 Market Street). This is a great pick with a central location. A Saint Louis icon since 1894, today the Union Station Hotel retains the elegant archways and décor of its famous Grand Hall. The hotel is within blocks of City Museum and less than a mile from the heart of downtown.
From taking in a major league baseball game to seeing historic landmarks and exploring new entertainment districts, there are a bevy of ways to fill your days and nights in Saint Louis.
Cardinals Baseball (700 Clark Avenue). You can’t visit Saint Louis and not feel the passion for the hometown baseball team, the Cardinals. The excitement and energy downtown is palpable when the Cards are in town playing a game at the infamous Busch Stadium. Fans are known as “the best fans in baseball,” and a visit to the park, aka “baseball heaven,” isn’t complete without some local BBQ and a Budweiser beer. Pre- or post-game, or even when the Cards aren’t in town, plan to visit Ballpark Village to check out the hopping bars and restaurants.
Gateway Arch Grounds (11 North 4th Street). The iconic “Gateway to the West” is visible throughout town, but it’s worth a trip to the grounds to partake in the activities. Whether you choose to take a tram ride to the top, visit the museum, take an excursion on a paddle boat, or simply pick up a picnic, this is a lovely way to spend an hour or a whole afternoon.
Union Station (1820 Market Street). This National Historic Landmark train station was once the largest train station in the world. Today, it’s home to the Saint Louis Aquarium and The Saint Louis Wheel, in addition to a mini golf course, ropes course, carousel, and many great spots to eat and drink.
Forest Park (5595 Grand Drive). One of the largest urban parks in the country, the park’s 1,300 acres feature beautiful landscapes sprinkled with forests, ecosystems, nature reserves, lakes and streams, as well as five of the region’s major cultural institutions and endless opportunities for recreation. Here you’ll find the Missouri History Museum, The Muny (a fabulous venue for live theater), the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center, and the Saint Louis Zoo.
City Foundry STL (3700 Forest Park Avenue). Located in Midtown, this 15-acre site opening in June 2021 will be home to a food hall, countless shops, entertainment venues, restaurants, and workspace. Saint Louis locals are excited about this new addition to the city, which will no doubt delight visitors as well.
9 Mile Garden (9375 Gravios, Affton). 9 Mile Garden is a family-focused entertainment district and home to Missouri’s first food truck garden. Locals and out-of-towners enjoy this destination, where everyone can find their favorite local food and drinks alongside outdoor movies, live music and performances, community events, and more.
There are abundant options for shopping surprises all over Saint Louis, but these three gems are always must-visit stops for Stacey and Amy Jo.
Lusso (165 Carondelet Plaza, Clayton). Lusso is a one-stop shop for interesting home decor, gorgeous clothes, enviable gifts, and on-trend jewelry. It’s a hip little lifestyle store tucked away in the Saint Louis suburb of Clayton, Missouri. Constantly voted as the “best gift shop in Saint Louis,” Lusso is an emporium of unique merchandise with a fabulous vibe. Expect to spend some time perusing the tiny department store, and if you make a purchase, take advantage of the signature gift wrapping that’s sure to bring a bright smile to the recipient’s face.
Story Seven (7 North Gore Avenue, Webster Groves). A delightful home and accessories boutique in the heart of the charming Webster Groves neighborhood, Story Seven offers a well-curated selection of traditional home decor, personal accessories, and a lovely assortment of gifts for everyone, including plenty sourced from local artisans.
Ylang Ylang (8845 Ladue Road). Ylang Ylang designer jewelry has been offering one-of-a-kind and designer pieces since its inception in 1985. YY is a warm, inviting, well-curated designer jewelry boutique decorated with classic interior finishes, offset by contemporary casework, and their core jewelry line is accented by an array of unique and trendy designer items, many found only in Saint Louis.
WINE AND DINE
With a focus on sourcing ingredients locally, these three hot spots are always at the top of Stacey and Amy Jo’s list.
Olive and Oak ( 216 West Lockwood Avenue, Webster Groves). A friendly spot in the darling Webster Groves neighborhood. Olive and Oak is a great place to enjoy delicious wine, craft beer, exceptional cocktails, and a phenomenal food menu with arguably the best burger in town. The menu changes daily with food that is thoughtfully sourced, and the cooking is from the heart. With an expansive new location, look for fun events and seasonal celebrations.
Bulrush (3307 Washington Avenue). Rooted in Ozarks cuisine, Bulrush offers contemporary fare with a conscience. All ingredients are locally sourced from small farmers and foraged by the team to ensure responsible harvesting, which means each dish is curated with the freshest food from a zero-waste kitchen. They offer a prix fixe five- or seven-course menu, curbside, and delivery.
Vicia (7213 Delmar Boulevards, University City). The seasonal, local, and vegetable-forward menu is built from close relationships with farmers, fisherman, and artisans, and focuses on providing a memorable dining experience. Each visit is totally unique, with an evolving menu based on the freshest ingredients, and changes with the season.