What should I do in St. Louis?
September 1, 2005 8:05 AM   Subscribe

I was born in St. Louis, but I don't remember a thing about it (my parents moved when I was very young). Now, I'm going back.

First things first, what should I do while I'm there? I'll be travelling into town and spending next Tuesday and Wednesday night there. So, I need two nights worth of things to do.

Typically, I like to find a place to get a good steak or some good sushi. Any recommendations for either?

What about something past the dinner hour? Anything I should see? I was planning on taking some pictures of the Arch, but past that, I'm lost. I'd take recommendations for pretty much anything.
posted by jmevius to Travel & Transportation around St. Louis, MO (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Will you be driving or renting a car? St.L's downtown is pretty desolate and lacking in stuff besides the Arch and Anheuser-Busch brewery. Without a car, it might be difficult to get around -- Public transit there is pretty bad.

But I'd recommend checking out any of the restaurants around The Hill for food -- it's an old Italian neighborhood that still has more than it's share of grocery stores, cafes and restaurants.

For sushi, there are a few spots in the University District and North County that were pretty good as well + googleable.
posted by huskerdont at 8:17 AM on September 1, 2005

I spent a weekend in St. Louis this summer for the Tionol, had a great time.

The arch was fun, however the lines were long so if you want to go make sure you plan for it. I found out by chance that if you're by yourself than can usually squeeze you into a group, so even if they say the wait is over an hour, go to buy your ticket and say you're alone.

There's an interesting district nearby that looked like it would be fun to walk though, but I didn't have the time.

The Schlafly Taproom had good beer and good burgers.

I was also impressed by the zoo.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:19 AM on September 1, 2005

A supplementary note about the arch: security is insane. Think airport security level of searching and scanning and all sorts of similar nonsense.
posted by scruss at 8:29 AM on September 1, 2005

I took a very similar trip to St. Louis recently, having spent many summers in St. Louis as a young child. I second the recommendation of renting a car.

Beyond visiting my childhood homes, I found The Lowlife's Guide to St. Louis very useful; unfortunately, it seems to be down at the moment. The Wayback Machine seems to offer some (slow) assistance.

Standouts were Blueberry Hill on The Loop for a burger, frozen custard at Ted Drewe's, and the zoo. I was not too impressed with The Hill, though you might as well raise your cholecterol with some toasted ravioli. Catch a Cards game, perhaps?

While downtown is desolate, you can get some pretty good Priceline deals there, esp. on weekends.
posted by deadfather at 8:41 AM on September 1, 2005

I live in St. Louis and can give you all kinds of advice.

Lots of great sushi. The best is at Miso in Clayton. I Love Mr. Sushi is also really good, but a little further away from downtown.

There's the City Museum, Botanical Gardens, great bars in the Central West End and the Loop, several indie movie theaters, lots of ethnic restaurants on South Grand, etc. I can give you lots of more specific suggestions if you tell me in more detail what you're interested in. What kinds of activities? Where will you be staying? Will you have a car?
posted by kdern at 8:54 AM on September 1, 2005

Response by poster: I will be staying close to the airport (there for a training session / conference). If having a car is necessary, I'd get one (if getting a cab isn't easy).

As far as what to do, I'm pretty easy. Record stores, dive bars, interesting areas to walk around -- I'm not too picky.
posted by jmevius at 9:09 AM on September 1, 2005

Oh, around the airport? Um... there's a mall... yeah, you're going to have to get a car. There's nothing on that side of town.
posted by muddylemon at 9:23 AM on September 1, 2005

I'd second the City Museum recommendation. It's an incredible place. Evenings and nights are best for those of us over the age of ten, but I don't think they're open late on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. It's worth going to anyway though.
posted by HiddenInput at 9:33 AM on September 1, 2005

Yeah, the City Museum is about the most fun you will have in downtown St. Louis -- think museum with a gigantic adult playground in an industrial setting.

Also on the Loop as far as resturants, I saw Saleem's Lebanese Cuisine reccomended here on the Green a few months back and have to give it my reccomendation as well. It may not be steak or sushi, but is quite fantastic.
posted by The Bishop of Turkey at 9:41 AM on September 1, 2005

Consider taking your hotel's shuttle to the airport, then MetroLink down to the Delmar Loop, Forest Park, or all the way down to the Arch. Maybe you wouldn't need a car at all.
posted by jmcmurry at 10:54 AM on September 1, 2005

The Loop and the Central West End are your best bets for parking and walking around. (The Loop has a pretty locally famous record store called Vintage Vinyl.) The Central West End has a little less bohemian feel than the Loop (40 to McCausland to Skinker to Delmar), but it's still very nice and has a slighly higher quality of restaurant than the Loop. Though in the Loop, don't miss 579, down an alley pretty near the intersection of Skinker and Delmar -- totally eclectic food. In the Central West End, I really like Cafe Zoe and Baliban's, but neither for sushi and I don't eat steak.

For good steak and very high-profile shopping, the Brentwood area is your best bet (particularly downtown Clayton rather than the area around the Galleria). Though it does tend to close down early and it's much easier to drive through than walk. One of the best meals I've had in STL was at a very classy place in Clayton called Portabellos. Amazing food and wine list and I'd bet they serve an amazing steak.
posted by ontic at 11:06 AM on September 1, 2005

And with all due respect to Metrolink, it can get you to the Loop all right, but Forest Park is huge and not terribly accessible by foot. I've never actually taken it to the Central West End. The Loop and CWE stops used to be pretty sketchy in the evenings (but that was some time ago and I don't really know now).
posted by ontic at 11:13 AM on September 1, 2005

There's a good steak place not far from the airport called Kreis'. It's small and family owned. I Love Mr. Sushi is not far from the airport. If you like dive bars, you would probably like a burger place called Carl's, located on Manchester. Look it up on hollyeats.com - it's amazing.

I would definitely recommend a rental car - the Metrolink would be a pain.

With two nights, here's what I recommend:

TUESDAY: Visit the City Museum or Art Museum, or see an indie film at Frontenac Mall. Maybe get dinner at Carl's or even Steak n' Shake, then head downtown to Broadway Oyster Bar for cajun food and great live music. (If there's a Cardinals game that night, it'll be crowded).

WEDNESDAY: Dinner at Kreis' or Miso. Then head down to the Loop for a drink at the Delmar Lounge or Pinup Bowl (cool bar/bowling alley). Go to see a concert in the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill. It's some band called Aqualung - never heard of them but it's a cool room and tix are only $12. This is where Chuck Berry plays live once a month.
posted by kdern at 11:39 AM on September 1, 2005

For a dive bars, check out the Hi-Pointe just west of Washington University on McCausland. Punk bands upstairs, PBR downstairs. Also Blackthorne off South Grand, great pizza.
posted by rabbitsnake at 11:42 AM on September 1, 2005

Sorry, that should be south of Wash. U., not west.
posted by rabbitsnake at 11:43 AM on September 1, 2005

as far as walking around goes, i second the central west end for stumbling upon a restaurant or bars -- dressels and llewelyns (sorry don't have link) are decent bars. another fun area is south grand at grand and arsenal. sekisui has good sushi, and mangia italiano has a great beer list, and good food too. when in doubt, check riverfront times and sauce. enjoy your trip!
posted by slogger at 1:49 PM on September 1, 2005

Blackthorne is on Wyoming and Spring.

Watch yourself at the Delmar Metrolink station.
posted by pieoverdone at 3:24 PM on September 1, 2005

If you want to up in the arch, get there early as the lines can be long, especially on weekends. The museum at the base of the arch is terrible--not updated since the 70s--but the old courthouse is interesting.
posted by LarryC at 5:08 PM on September 1, 2005

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