I recently returned from a quick weekend trip to St. Louis to visit some friends, which meant a lot of firsts for me: my first time seeing the Mississippi River, my first time to the state of Missouri, and my first time ever to the great city of St. Louis.
To kick off my arrival, we headed to Fitz’s for dinner. If you love burgers and floats, then this is the place to be. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating, a diverse menu, budget-friendly prices, and huge portions. What’s not to love? I would highly recommend the pepper jack burger and the Eurostar Float… It has Nutella, and you know you can never go wrong with Nutella.
After dinner, we decided to do some sightseeing in the city. I was surprised to find that the downtown of St. Louis is very industrial-looking in appearance. I absolutely fell in love with the urban architecture, and learned that the city is home to some of the oldest buildings in the country. The most iconic structure is of course the Gateway Arch, which was built in 1963. The Arch proudly stands a whole 630 ft tall. Just to put that into perspective, that would be more than twice the height of the Statue of Liberty. I happen to have a debilitating fear of heights, so I chose to admire the monument safely from the ground.
The following morning, my friends and I participated in a 10k race for charity. If you happen to live in the area and enjoy running, Hope for Haiti is a great cause to contribute to. After the race we were famished, so we decided to scout out a place for some well-deserved brunch. We happened to stumble upon 2Schae Cafe, which is an adorable corner cafe in a quaint neighborhood with a French-inspired menu. My first observation—other than the fact that it was quite picturesque—was the friendliness of the owners. I love visiting places where you can tell that the people truly care about their business and their customers. My second observation? The incredible food! I had the French Quarter Omelette, which was stuffed with asparagus, bacon, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. They also offer free coffee refills, which will satisfy any caffeine addict’s craving. If I ever again find myself in St. Louis, I will be sure to return.
If you love chocolate, you are in for a treat. Bissinger’s Chocolate Shop is located in the Maryland Plaza area of St. Louis. Their truffles are absolutely delectable, with incredibly unique flavors and French-inspired pairings: hazelnut, espresso, merlot, balsamic and pear, lemon cream, peanut butter cream, and many more.
Now that we had thoroughly pumped ourselves full of caffeine and sugar, we spent the rest of the evening relaxing with friends at a cookout before heading to a lawn concert to see Matt Nathanson, Train, and The Fray.
One of my favorite things about St. Louis is that many attractions are free, including the zoo! It is probably the most beautiful zoo I’ve been to, with natural exhibits and a large variety of animals. In fact, the St. Louis Zoo is home to more than 600 species of animals. You better believe that a zoo with that many animals needs a lot of space, 90 acres of it to be exact. We definitely got our walking in for the day!
If I could give you one tip for the zoo—especially if visiting in the summer—it would be to arrive very early. We arrived shortly after opening, and by doing so we were able to beat most of the crowds, as well as the heat. Oh, yes, I haven’t yet discussed how unbearably hot St. Louis can be, especially with the humidity! It was nearly 100 degrees the weekend I visited, and we may have intentionally stalled in the penguin exhibit just so we could enjoy the air conditioning for a bit longer.
If it wasn’t already obvious from the photos, my favorite exhibits at the zoo are always the marine animals and—you guessed it—the elephants. I purchased this Walk in Peace mug from the zoo as my little souvenir from St. Louis. As an avid coffee drinker, I have quite the mug collection. I love that each time I pour myself a cup of joe, I can be filled with memories of my trip.
As I mentioned previously, the St. Louis Zoo is 90 acres, and all of that walking definitely calls for some serious refueling. My friends recommended their favorite restaurant, Gringo. The enchiladas tend to be a fan favorite, leaving one with the agonizing task of choosing between three incredible options: chicken, brisket, or veggie. The brisket is the most popular, so after much debate I took the plunge and gave it a shot. These were seriously the best enchiladas I’ve ever had at any Mexican-style restaurant, hands down. The margaritas definitely didn’t disappoint, either.
If you have an appreciation for art, you must take some time to check out the St. Louis Art Museum (SLAM). This art museum is home to world-class exhibits and collections from around the world. With so many nooks and crannies in this large and beautifully designed building, you could easily spend all day being transported from century-to-century via artwork. A cool exhibit that can’t be missed is the armor room downstairs, particularly if you have an interest in medieval history. The best part of all? SLAM is another one of St. Louis’ many free attractions.
Hold on tight, because you’re about to be transported from St. Louis to the heart of New Orleans! Okay, so perhaps not literally, but it will certainly feel that way once you’ve stepped foot in The Broadway Oyster Bar. This is by far the best hole-in-the-wall Creole-style dive you will find anywhere in the city. From the outdoor live jazz and blues music to the authentic Creole dishes, Broadway Oyster Bar delivers nothing less than excellence.
For dinner I ordered the famous shrimp ‘n’ grits, which I would highly recommend. I will advise that they are much different from the traditional Charleston-style grits, however, they still did not disappoint. This is another place I would absolutely want to return to on my next trip to St. Louis. Even if you can’t make it for a meal, it’s a great place to spend the evening on the patio under the string lights listening to live music that’ll surely make you feel like you’re part of the true Mardi Gras festivities.
There you have it, a weekend gone too fast! On my next visit to St. Louis, I’m hoping to pay a visit to Busch Stadium. I would love to see my home team—Go Tigers!—play the Cardinals. Thanks for a fab time, St. Louis. We’ll be seeing each other again soon.