St. Louis Essentials

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

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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