St. Louis Essentials

Here's where to go to get and do, well, pretty much anything in St. Louis! Restaurants, bars, shopping, and more....

By: Bob Beebe

Food and Drink Essentials

BEST PLACES TO BUY GROCERIES

Most convenient: Schnucks, the dominant grocer in the area with more than 60 stores, with good meat and produce. Stores vary with the neighborhood.

A little upscale: Dierbergs, a smaller chain, 23 stores with a little better service and slightly higher prices.

Top of the heap: Straub’s, with five stores that cater to the well-off, with prices to match. But top quality meat and produce, lots of prepared food, unique items, excellent service -- and charge accounts, too.

Straight from the farm: Soulard Market, 730 Carroll Street, 63104, several blocks south of downtown St. Louis on Broadway 314-622-4180. Farmers bring their trucks to Soulard, back them up to the stands and sell you produce just picked.

BEST PLACES TO GET A BEER

Cicero’s 
6691 Delmar Boulevard 
University City, Mo. 63130 
314-862-0009. 
This restaurant and bar boasts scores of beers from the around the world.

Schlafly’s Bottleworks 
7260 Southwest Avenue 
Maplewood, MO 63143 
314-241-BEER. 
The largest microbrewer in St. Louis has its brewery here. Good food, too.

The Stable 
1821 Cherokee Street, in Lemp Brewery 
St. Louis, Mo. 63118 
314-771-8500

BEST PLACES FOR A LATE NIGHT BITE

City Diner 
3139 S. Grand Boulevard 
314-772-6100

Uncle Bill’s Pancake House 
3427 South Kingshighway Boulevard 
St. Louis, Mo. 63139 
314-832-1973

White Castle restaurants 
Various locations

BEST PLACES FOR A LATTE

Kaldi’s Coffeehouse 
700 Demun Avenue, 63105 
314-727-9955, and three other area locations.

Park Avenue Coffee 
1919 Park Avenue 
314-621-4020 
Coffee and 64 flavors of gooey butter cake, a kind of coffee cake that is a St. Louis tradition. In the Lafayette Park neighborhood.

Entertainment Essentials

BEST FREE THINGS TO DO

Saint Louis Zoo 
One Government Drive in Forest Park, 63110 
314-781-0900 
One of the nation’s top zoos. Lions, tigers, elephants, monkeys, bugs, a petting zoo, a talking Charles Darwin, giraffes, ducks, prairie dogs, penguins, sea lions, gorillas -- and a train to carry people around the beautiful grounds. One catch: Parking charges keep going up. If you arrive early, you can park on the street. Consider bringing a picnic lunch.

Missouri History Museum 
5700 Lindell Boulevard in Forest Park 
314-746-4599 
See Charles Lindbergh’s flight suit and other artifacts from his solo flight across the Atlantic, and other exhibits about St. Louis.

Great Forest Park Balloon Race, in mid-September 
Around 100 hot-air balloons lift into the sky from Forest Park and drift where the winds take them. Always draws a crowd.

Laumeier Sculpture Park 
12580 Rott Road 
St. Louis, MO 63127 
314-821-1209 
Wander the woods and fields of one of the largest sculpture parks in the nation. The sculptures are in all kinds of media, from earth to steel.

Powder Valley Conservation Nature Center 
11715 Cragwold Road 
Kirkwood, MO 63122 
314-201-1500 
Paved paths wend through this conservation area, just off the intersection of two interstates

BEST PLACES FOR YOUNG COUPLES

Both the Washington Avenue Loft District downtown and the U. City Loop area along Delmar Boulevard in University City have a wide range of clubs, restaurants and shops appealing to young people.

The Loop boasts the Pageant (6161 Delmar Boulevard, 314-726-6161), a rock concert hall, where new and old acts perform.

BEST THING TO DO WITH THE KIDS

Magic House 
516 South Kirkwood Road 
St. Louis, MO 63122 
314-822-8900 
Plenty to keep children fascinated and help them learn about their world. They can sit behind the president’s desk in the Oval Office, change the tires on a kid-sized car or make a mess with water. Parking is free.

City Museum 
701 N. 15th St. 
St. Louis, MO 63103 
314-231-CITY 
An eclectic mixture of children's playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects.

Museum of Transportation 
3015 Barrett Station Road 
St. Louis, Mo. 63122 
314-965-7998

Grant’s Farm 
10501 Gravois Road 
St. Louis, Mo. 63123 
314-843-1700

The Butterfly House 
15193 Olive Boulevard 
Chesterfield, Mo. 63017 
636-530-0076 
Wander a large greenhouse full of beautiful butterflies.

BEST FUNKY LOCAL BUSINESSES

Vintage Vinyl 
6610 Delmar Boulevard 
St. Louis, Mo. 63130 
314-721-4096

Star Clipper Comics 
6392 Delmar Boulevard 
St. Louis, Mo. 63130 
314-725-9110

BEST PLACE TO DANCE

Club Viva 
408 N. Euclid Avenue 
361-0322. 
Downstairs. Salsa nights are popular.

Outdoor Essentials


BEST OUTDOORSY THING TO DO

Sam Vadalabene Bicycle Trail 
Ride 20 miles along the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers, from downtown Alton, Ill., to Pere Marquette State Park north of Grafton. View limestone bluffs, river traffic and riverside towns. Stop for fudge in Grafton at the Fudge Store Country Corner, 321 East Main Street.

Chain of Rocks Bridge 
10950 Riverview Drive 
St. Louis, Mo. 63137 
Walk or cycle a mile across the old bridge that carried Route 66 across the Mississippi. Traffic now uses an interstate highway bridge to the north. See the natural “chain of rocks” across the river and two century-old water towers built for the City of St. Louis. Be careful of parking at the Missouri end of the bridge.

Katy Trail State Park 
800-334-6946 
You can start in St. Charles and walk or cycle 225 miles, mostly along the Missouri River, along an abandoned railroad right-of-way. Trailhead in St. Charles is off Riverside Drive.

BEST PLACES TO TAKE FIDO

DuSable Dog Park 
2598 North Main Street 
St. Charles, MO 63310 
636-949-3372. 
A free dog park along the Katy Trail. Separate areas for large and small dogs. Nearby trails lead to the Missouri River.

Quail Ridge Park, Wentzville, has a big and free off-leash dog area. 
Near the intersection of Interstate 70 and Highway 40, off Callahan Road.

American Kennel Club Museum of the Dog 
1721 South Mason Road in Queeny Park 
St. Louis, MO 63131 
314-821-3647 
An art museum about dogs. Pets welcome, and Queeny Park has miles of trails.

BEST VIEWS OF THE CITY

Gateway Arch 
From the top, there’s no other view like it. Be warned that the lines are long in summer.

Eads Bridge 
East end of Washington Avenue, adjoining the Arch grounds 
The first bridge over the Mississippi in Saint Louis has a pedestrian sidewalk and is a great place to scan the Arch and the river traffic.

Central Fields 
Forest Park 
The Central West End skyline rises above the park.

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