St. Louis’ Best Arts & Leisure
Best Art Museum: A work of art in itself, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (3750 Washington Blvd., 314/535-4660, www.contemporarystl.org, $5 adult, $3 senior, free for students and children) brings the world’s most talented artists to the heart of St. Louis. But the museum also gives local talents plenty of credit — and it’s that sense of community that makes the Contemporary so appealing, so respected, and so successful.
Best Acoustics: Known as the “Carnegie Hall of St. Louis,” the Sheldon Concert Hall (3648 Washington Blvd., 314/533-9900, www.sheldonconcerthall.org) does justice to many visiting luminaries with its near-perfect acoustics. The Sheldon also houses a small but beautiful art gallery.
Best Seat in the House: With more than 4,000 seats, a gorgeous Baroque interior, and the renown of the largest Broadway houses in the nation, the Fox Theatre (527 N. Grand Blvd., 314/534-1678, www.fabulousfox.com, Tues., Thurs. and Sat. 10 a.m. (tours), Tues. $5 adult, $3 child; Thurs. and Sat. $8 adult, $3 child) is the perfect place to see a musical, enjoy a concert — or just take a tour.
Best Theater Company: St. Louis Black Rep (1717 Olive St., 314/534-3807, www.theblackrep.org) is the largest African American theater company in the United States, and its shows are consistently stellar. Performances take place in the gorgeously renovated Grandel Theater in Grand Center.
Best Place for Movies and Martinis: The Moolah Theatre & Lounge (3821 Lindell Blvd., 314/446-6868, www.stlouiscinemas.com/moolah, $8.50 adult, $6.50 student/senior, $5.50 child, $6.50 matinee), a former Shriners Temple, boasts a full evening’s entertainment under one roof. Grab a pre-show martini, watch a first-run movie (while sitting on a plush leather couch), and then repair to the basement for a few frames of bowling.
Best Summer Festivals: The Festival of Nations (314/773-9090, www.iistl.org/festival.php, free) in Tower Grove Park is hosted by the International Institute and celebrates the food, dance, and art of St. Louis’s many cultures. PrideFest (Tower Grove Park, 314/772-8888, www.pridestl.org) brings the city’s LGBT community together for three days of parades, performances, and camaraderie.
Best Art Festival: While some art fairs seem stuffy and staid, ArtOutside (7260 Southwest Ave., Maplewood, 314/241-2337, www.schlafly.com/artoutside.shtml, free) brings a sense of pure fun (plus beer!) to the proceedings. Peruse awesome, affordable work by some of St. Louis’s best artists; you’re sure to find something you’ll love.
Best Park for Joggers: Forest Park (Hwy. 40 between Skinker Blvd. and Kingshighway Blvd., daily 24 hours, free) is the perfect place for casual joggers and marathoners-in-training alike. The park’s jogging path is 7.5 miles long and wraps around the circumference of St. Louis’s urban oasis.
Best Urban Bike Route: The Bike St. Louis (1000 St. Louis Union Station, Ste. 102, 314/436-7009, www.bikestlouis.org) route originally extended 20 miles from Forest Park Parkway to the Gateway Arch, and now it’s been expanded by 50 miles. Along the way, colorful Bike St. Louis signposts direct cyclists to city neighborhoods, attractions, and other points of interest.
Best Way to Feel Like a True St. Louisan: No matter how the team is doing — whether the season culminates in a World Series win or a pre-playoffs elimination — St. Louisans stay true to the St. Louis Cardinals (Busch Stadium at 700 Clark St., 314/345-9000, http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com, $16–140). Take in a game at the new Busch Stadium, and be sure to wear red.
© Brooke S. Foster from Moon St. Louis, 1st Edition