The Two-Day Best of St. Louis
Start your first day in St. Louis off right—with a strong cup of coffee and delicious crêpe at Rooster (1104 Locust St., 314/241-8818, www.roosterstl.com, Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–3 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 8 a.m.–3 p.m.). After your appetite has been sated (and your caffeine needs met), head due east on Locust Street. The Jefferson Expansion Memorial Park and world-famous Gateway Arch (St. Louis Riverfront, 877/982-1410, www.gatewayarch.com, Labor Day–Memorial Day 9 a.m.–6 p.m. daily, Memorial Day–Labor Day 8 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $10 adult, $7 youth, $3 child) are just eight blocks away.
After a tram ride to the Arch’s observation deck, stop by the Old Courthouse (11 N. 4th St., 314/655-1600, www.gatewayarch.com, daily 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m., free) for a mini-St. Louis history lesson, and then head southwest toward Busch Stadium to see the St. Louis Cardinals (Busch Stadium at 700 Clark St., 314/345-9000, http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com, $16–140). Even if you don’t have game tickets, it’s worth walking around Busch’s perimeter to get a sense of St. Louis sports history.
The 8th Street MetroLink station is directly across the street from the stadium, and from there you can take the train to the Delmar Loop (Delmar Blvd. between Trinity Ave. and Des Peres Ave., www.ucityloop.com). Walk three blocks west of the Delmar Boulevard MetroLink stop, and you will find myriad shops and lunch options, including the landmark Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Blvd., University City, 314/727-4444, www.blueberryhill.com, daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m.; nighttime grill menu offered Mon.–Sat. 9 p.m.–midnight, Sun. 9–11 p.m.).
Take the MetroLink to the DeBaliviere stop, then hop on the 90 or 3 bus into Forest Park (Between Skinker and Kingshighway, sunrise–sunset, free). From the stop at the top of Art Hill, the Saint Louis Zoo (1 Government Dr. in Forest Park, 314/781-0900, www.stlzoo.org, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day), free) is less than a five-minute walk away.
By day’s end, a cocktail will be in order, and there is no finer place (or view!) than Cielo (999 N. 2nd St. (in the Four Seasons Hotel), 314/881-5800, www.fourseasons.com/stlouis, daily 6:30–10:30 a.m., 11 a.m.–2 p.m., and 6–10 p.m.) in the Four Seasons hotel. Kick back at this elegant bar and watch the sun set over the Mississippi River. After whetting the appetite with a few small plates, head to Niche (1831 Sidney St., 314/773-7755, www.nichestlouis.com, Mon.–Thurs. 5:30–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5:30–10 p.m., Sun. 5–9 p.m.) for dinner via car or the hotel’s limousine service. It’s not every day that a Food & Wine Best New Chef makes you dinner. Finish the evening at B.B.’s Jazz, Blues, & Soups (700 S. Broadway, 314/436-5222, www.bbsjazzbluessoups.com, daily 6 p.m.–3 a.m.) for more drinks and some live music.
Start off your day with a delicious, leisurely breakfast at one of the delightful coffeehouses in the Central West End, then head over to the Cathedral Basilica (4431 Lindell Blvd., 314/373-8240, www.cathedralstl.org, daily 7 a.m.–5 p.m. (guided tours by appointment; call in advance to schedule), free) for a self-guided tour. From the cathedral, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Blvd., 314/535-4660, www.contemporarystl.org, Tues.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–4 p.m., $5 adult, $3 senior, free for students and children) is only a short ride away.
After taking in the latest exhibition at the Contemporary, head south down nearby Grand Boulevard. The Grand South Grand (South Grand Blvd. between Arsenal St. and Utah St.) neighborhood, just past Tower Grove Park, offers some great shops and ethnic markets. Next, head over to the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Blvd., 314/577-9400, www.mobot.org, daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Memorial Day–Labor Day open Wed. until 9 p.m., closed Christmas Day, $8 adult, free for children).
After a stroll around the grounds, head toward the intersection of Grand and Cherokee Street (Cherokee St. between Lemp Ave. and DeMenil Pl.). A short jaunt down Cherokee puts you in the heart of the city’s largest Latino neighborhood. Taquería El Bronco (2812 Cherokee St., 314/762-0691, Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–8 p.m.) offers some great, fresh choices for an inexpensive dinner, and some good margaritas as well.
© Brooke S. Foster from Moon St. Louis, 1st Edition