It has been nearly twenty years since my last visit to St. Louis, and this time with my children aboard, I had high hopes that it had been enough time to turn it around. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of improvements the city had undergone since my last visit.
A brief history on St. Louis for those interested. St. Louis is located on the western banks of the Mississippi River and the eastern border of the state of Missouri. Originally founded in 1764, it has been host to both a World’s Fair (1904) and Olympic Games (1904) and home to a Major League Baseball team (St. Louis Cardinals). St. Louis is also the center of many American history books as an important region for several Native American cultures as well as the site of much dispute between the French, Spanish, and British Armies. Try explaining the American Revolution and Louisiana Purchase to a four and seven year old.
Many significant elements of classic architecture have been restored, as well as providing ample ways to explore and enjoy the city. The St. Louis Lambert Airport offers several modes of public transportation to and from including the MetroLink light rail which can take you almost anywhere in St. Louis. I suggest a hotel located in the downtown area as you will be able to fill three days of amusement within walking distance or a short taxi ride.
Three Days in St. Louis
- Day One: Breakfast at Chili Mac’s Diner, explore the Jefferson National Memorial area, dinner at Tony’s.
- Day Two: Breakfast at Roosters, spend the day at Forest Park: Art Museum, Zoo, History Museum. Dinner at Cielo at the Four Seasons Hotel.
- Day Three: Breakfast at Red Kitchen & Bar, visit the Campbell House Museum, lunch at Gelateria Tavolini, afternoon at the Soldiers Memorial and surrounding parks, dinner at Baileys’ Range.
Highlights of St. Louis:
Things to See
- Campbell House Museum
- City Museum. A great place for any age, however it is especially fun for kids.
- Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. This park includes the Arch and courthouse as well as several other monuments and museums.
- Old Courthouse. Also part of the “Core Discovery”, the building is currently in a restoration process however is open to the public and worth a stop.
- Soldiers Memorial & Military Museum.
- St. Louis Gateway Arch. This is an amazing view of the city and feet of architectur e.
- A short drive from downtown St. Louis you find Forest Park, home to the Missouri History Museum, St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum, and an expansive path to roam.
- Baileys’ Range Burgers & Shakes. Perfect for burgers and beers and family friendly (sit upstairs or outside if you have young children). Extensive beverage menu covers everything from old fashion sodas to a substantial list of local breweries. French fries are served with a choice of in house mayo and ketchup options (favorites: ginger ketchup, chipotle mayo, and honey mustard) as well as homemade pretzels served with a house cheese sauce (I would have taken a pint of this if I possible).
- Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar. Third restaurant from the team that brings you Rooster and Bailey’s is their wine bar, well stocked with local, regional, and international breweries and vineyards. The cheese selection is equally satisfying. Great for late afternoon small plates and happy hour.
- Chili Mac’s Diner (510 Pine St). Classic diner and great for breakfast, however plan ahead as they are only open on weekdays.
- Cielo Restaurant & Bar. Located in the Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, the menus are well thought out and presented.
- Roosters Crepe Sandwich Café. This is a great breakfast and lunch hotspot for eggs, crepes and sandwiches. The kids menu got two (sticky) thumbs up for its crustless pbj’s and large bowl of fresh fruit. The fried egg, bacon and avocado sandwich was a solid favorite as well.
- Tony’s. This local institution is the place to go for the quintessential steak and wine dinner. An Italian restaurant by description, it serves a variety of classics from carpaccio to veal chops along with outstanding service.
- Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch. Located across the street from the Arch and Old Courthouse, it’s a great location for home base. Red Kitchen & Bar located in the lobby has a great buffet breakfast (including steel cut oatmeal!) and a fully stocked cocktail lounge. There are lots of great local options for dinner beyond the hotel, however if you want to stay in Ruth Chris Steakhouse is also in the lobby. Round out the hotel with a full service Starbucks, gift shop and Brewhouse Pub (good for lunch). The hotel offers a valet or self-serve parking and cabs are always available. Staff at the hotel was outstanding and views equally satisfying including our view of the fireworks display at Busch Stadium.
- Hilton at the Ballpark. Located across from Busch Stadium, this is another great place to stay within walking distance to the sites of downtown. There are several options for dining as well as the 360 rooftop bar, perfect for viewing the city lights, ballgame and arch.