1. Pick your favorite tag on the graffiti-covered floodwall. Consider it a 4-mile-long, 20-foot-high concrete canvas for outdoor artists—a wall less divisive than others, where differences are celebrated in a rainbow of colors. Chouteau at S. Leonor K. Sullivan.
2. See the Cardinals on the cheap. In this baseball-crazy town, we could create a whole separate list titled “100 Things Cardinals Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die.” Wait, sportswriter Derrick Goold already wrote a book by that name. OK, we’ll just pick one: Wake up early on game day and hurry to the Eighth Street ticket windows, near Gate 3. Snag one of 275 vouchers for First Pitch Tickets and purchase two tickets for $11.20 after they go on sale at 9 a.m. Go to Gate 1 just 10 minutes before game time and pick up an envelope containing two tickets. They might be standing room only, or they might be green seats—that’s part of the fun. Either way, you can catch a game for less than a beer will cost you once you’re inside Busch Stadium. 700 Clark.
3. Visit Venice (Café). Go on a Tuesday night, and bring cash. At the Venice, plastic’s reserved for toys. Start upstairs, in The Explorers Room. While you’re there, use “The Blue Hole,” even if you don’t have to, because it’s an unforgettable loo. Then go down and listen to Jeremy Segel-Moss play the blues. If it’s balmy out, order jerk chicken from the shack and play seek-and-find for Lockheed’s outdoor sculptures. You’re inside the world’s artiest jigsaw puzzle. 1903 Pestalozzi.
4. Walk out on the bus at City Museum. It seems to teeter several stories up, dangling off the edge of the roof. As with many of his ideas, it was a whim of the museum’s late founder, Bob Cassilly, to hoist the retired Roxana School District bus atop the building in August 1999. The next day, a fire in the elevator tower drew the city’s attention to the bus. “We didn’t really have a parking permit for that at the time, so there was a little bit of controversy over that,” Cassilly later admitted. Today, the bus remains a symbol of the sculptor’s childlike imagination and his willingness to push creativity to the brink. 750 N. 16th.
5. Tour the brewery. Sure, you’ve stood in the Clydesdale stable, gazed up at Reynard the Fox, and sipped a free beer. But you’re a St. Louisan, so you need to take it a step further. For beer novices, there’s the 45-minute Beer School (teaching beer styles and the proper pour), as well as the 75-minute Day Fresh tour (following the entire beer-making process, from “Seed to Sip”). History buffs will enjoy the Beer Museum Tour, with a stop at the Old Schoolhouse. And for the true brew lover, there’s the two-hour Brewmaster Tour, an exhaustive behind-the-scenes journey across the campus, complete with a sip from a finishing tank and A-B mementos. 12th & Lynch.
6. Repeat after us: “Let’s go Blues.” Last season, the team turned 50 and had somewhat of a midlife crisis, leaving Ken Hitchcock for a younger coach and splurging on a fancy outing at Busch Stadium to show up old rivals. Still, the club isn’t showing any signs of its age: Unlike a certain former St. Louis pro sports team that will go unnamed, the Blues have made the playoffs the past six years, led by All-Star Vladimir Tarasenko, and won legions of loyal fans, from Jon Hamm to Tony X. 1401 Clark.
7. Admire the Arch. The most postcard-perfect vantage point of the city skyline: the overlook at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, across the river from the Arch. Rather sip while you admire? Try the rooftop patios at Three Sixty or Cielo. 185 W. Trendley, East St. Louis; 1 S. Broadway; 999 N. 2nd.
8. Browse the Soulard Farmers’ Market. As dining critic Joe Bonwich put it, “Soulard Market is St. Louis. Period. People of all ages, races, and economic levels are drawn to the area’s ‘original’ farmers’ market. Purists sometimes complain that Soulard isn’t a real farmers’ market because it mostly consists of produce brokers selling grapes and oranges and tchotchke vendors selling sunglasses and socks. But hit either of the eastern legs of the H-shaped market and you’ll find local farmers, as well as local cheese, meat, and other commodities.” 730 Carroll.
9. Hear the blues at the National Blues Museum. Want to unwind on a Friday night but can’t stay out to catch the headliner at BB’s (see No. 13)? Consider Howlin’ Fridays. Admission is $10, music starts at 7 p.m., and the acts are impressive: Big George Brock, Marquise Knox… Carve out enough time to tour the museum beforehand. 615 Washington.
10. Pick a favorite...holiday light display Whatever the setting, St. Louis has you covered.
- Candy Cane Lane: House decs on steroids.
- Brewery Lights: Hops meet holidays.
- Winter Wonderland: Carriage rides in Tilles Park.
- Garden Glow: Neon installations amid flora and fauna at the Missouri Botanical Garden.
- Our Lady of the Snows’ Way of Lights: Jesus, lasers, and camel rides.
11. See a big name at the Peabody Opera House. It hosted the Rat Pack, the Rolling Stones, President Harry S. Truman…and then sat dark for nearly 20 years. When it reopened, in 2011, Wilco graced its stage, and it’s brought in big-name acts ever since. Its Art Deco design and velvet seats provide a civilized event alternative to the arena next door. See for yourself by catching two big-name St. Louis natives, Michael McDonald and Kathleen Madigan, when they return this month. 1400 Market.
12. Watch the sunset from the top of the Arch. If you’re going to stuff yourself into one of those egg-like contraptions, make it worth the trip. Purchase tickets online in advance for a time just before dusk, then ride to the top, spot local landmarks miles away, take in the sunset, and see a serene view of the city after nightfall. 1 N. Leonor K. Sullivan.
13. Keep the party going on Broadway. It’s a little slice of the Big Easy on Broadway. Though BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups founder Mark O’Shaughnessy died earlier this year, blues legends continue to draw toe-tapping crowds to the onetime hotel. Nearby, Broadway Oyster Bar also serves up nightly music acts, along with Cajun food, in a colorful atmosphere that now includes a 60-seat space with a retractable roof, added in 2015. Across the street, Beale on Broadway, with its comfy patio, hosts such local legends as Kim Massie. 700 block of Broadway.
See what’s new along the Gateway Mall. As historian Michael Allen has noted, “Over one hundred years since publication of A City Plan for St. Louis, the Gateway Mall reflects a tortuous implementation and constant boundary changes.” Now it’s finally beginning to take shape. Don’t believe us? Take a hike downtown.
14. Start at Aloe Plaza, where the nude sculptures of Carl Milles’ The Meeting of the Waters once caused a stir but now light up the night. (The city installed new lighting five years ago.)
15. A dramatic overhaul of the Soldiers’ Memorial will include the Court of Honor, across the street. Look for new fountains and monuments to honor fallen St. Louisans.
16. Though it opened in 2009, Citygarden still feels brand new with its contemporary sculptures, 16-foot LED video screen, and the latest—and arguably hippest—Kaldi’s Coffee location.
17. The Instagram-ready “Running Man” sculpture in Kiener Plaza remains, but after a $23.7 million makeover, it’s surrounded by a splash pad, playground, and shade garden.
18. The Old Courthouse has received a facelift: Its exterior’s been polished and its exhibits rethought. And the adjacent Park Over the Highway now connects downtown with the Arch.
19. The reimagined Arch Museum is slated to open next summer, after multiple delays. Planners promise it will be worth the wait, with dynamic exhibits on St. Louis history and the Arch.
20. Bite into a BLT at Crown Candy. In case you’re wondering, there’s three quarters of a pound of bacon on the legendary sandwich. Pair the behemoth with a malt (we suggest the banana chocolate). Consider splitting both. 1401 St. Louis.
21. Grab Mexican food on Cherokee. Picking a favorite restaurant or dish is difficult here, so we’ll hedge: Lunch on a torta and a paleta at La Vallesana; pick a wacky ice cream flavor at The Taco & Ice Cream Joint; and dine on a whole fish, Nayarit-style, at Mariscos el Gato. Cherokee Street.
22. Visit the Griot. The Griot Museum of Black History— whose moniker (pronounced “GREE-oh”) refers to a West African storyteller who collects and shares a culture’s tales and traditions—lives up to its name. Using wax figures, art, artifacts, and interpretative programs, it vividly conveys the experiences of African-Americans in St. Louis, from Dred Scott to Sherman George, Josephine Baker to Miles Davis. 2505 St. Louis.
23. Race around the Velodrome. A curious sight south of I-70, the sloped track in Penrose Park might be mistaken as a training ground for wee NASCAR enthusiasts. In reality, it’s one of just 27 such velodromes across the U.S. When it was built, in 1962, the 1/5-mile track hosted the U.S. National Track Cycling Championships. But over time, it fell into disrepair, earning the nickname Mr. Bumpy Face. Today, a group of avid cyclists is working to give the 55-year-old track a much-needed facelift. 4200 N. Kingshighway.
24. Find a favorite donut shop. A staple in small towns and big cities alike
- World’s Fair Donuts: For the nostalgic.
- Donut Drive-In: For a Route 66 road trip.
- John’s Donuts: For the graveyard shift.
- Donut House: For around-the-clock cravings.
- Strange Donuts: For the truly quirky.
25. Cross the Eads Bridge. Before the Arch, St. Louis was known for the Eads. When it opened, shortly after the Civil War, the mighty steel structure was the world’s longest arch bridge, stretching 6,442 feet across the Mississippi—long enough, it took an elephant crossing it to convince people that it was safe. A 15-mile-long parade and President Ulysses S. Grant turned out on Independence Day 1874 to celebrate its opening, which helped fuel the city’s continued growth. A century later, The New York Times declared the bridge “among the most beautiful works of man.” Whether you walk, drive, or ride, know that you’re crossing an essential piece of St. Louis history.
26. Order a pretzel from Gus’ Pretzels. While devotées disagree on which Gus’ pretzel is best—stick or twist—you’ll find us working our way through a bag of pretzel ends, the best $1.50 deal in town. You can’t eat just one, but you can eat one 15-count bag. 1820 Arsenal.
27. Check out the Central Library. Five years ago, the Cass Gilbert–designed downtown library underwent a $70 million makeover, replete with a 250-seat auditorium, a computer commons, and a café. Most breathtaking of all, however, was the dramatic restoration of the Great Hall and Olive Street foyer, with Renaissance-inspired ceilings and antique lighting. “It was built as a great palace,” the library executive director, Waller McGuire, told us at the time, “but it’s unique in that it’s a palace that belongs to everyone.” 1301 Olive.
28. Sip a cocktail in Union Station’s Grand Hall. It’s hard to imagine a more scenic spot to relax. And just when you think the space, with its soaring ceiling and intricate mosaics, can’t be more breathtaking, it comes alive with a 3D light show. It’s enough to make you wonder whether you sipped one too many Santa Fe martinis and drifted off into some splendiferous dream. 1820 Market.
29. Visit Chuck Berry’s old stomping grounds. St. Louis is a city of neighborhoods, and few encapsulate its ups and downs like The Ville. In 1875, the first African-American high school west of the Mississippi, Sumner High, opened there. At the turn of the century, Antioch Baptist Church, St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church, and what came to be known as the Annie Malone Children’s Home served as beacons in the community. It was one of the few havens from restrictive real estate covenants for African-American families; by 1930, more than 85 percent of the neighborhood’s residents were black—a dramatic change from 8 percent just a decade earlier. When a teaching hospital devoted to caring for African-American patients opened there, in 1937, then-Mayor Bernard Dickmann said it was “a great day because it gives us another opportunity to advance civilization.” (At one point, Homer G. Phillips Hospital was said to have trained the largest number of African-American doctors and nurses in the world.)
Indeed, The Ville advanced civilization in myriad ways, becoming what’s been called the “cradle of black culture in St. Louis.” Josephine Baker, Sonny Liston, Arthur Ashe, Dick Gregory, Tina Turner, and Grace Bumbry all once lived there. And it was The Ville where a boy named Charles Edward Anderson Berry learned to play the guitar. In 1950, Berry and his bride, Themetta, bought their first house, a three-room redbrick home, at 3137 Whittier. “The white family of Dimottios who lived next door welcomed us with open arms, giving us a pot of spaghetti over the backyard fence,” he recalled. It was in that house where Berry wrote “Maybellene,” “Johnny B. Goode,” and a string of other songs that would lay the foundation for rock ’n’ roll.
At the same time, though, as racial covenants were ending and desegregation was beginning, many black professionals started leaving The Ville. (Berry and his growing family moved in 1958.) By the time the city closed the once-renowned teaching hospital, in 1979, spurring months of protests, the neighborhood had already fallen on hard times. For years, Berry’s onetime home, like many others nearby, sat vacant and dilapidated, a shell of what it once was. Today, though, efforts are underway to save the late rocker’s former residence, and the school and churches remain cornerstones of a storied community.
30. See what’s new at the Contemporary Art Museum. In August, CAM welcomed new chief curator Wassan Al-Khudhairi, a founding director of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, in Qatar, who’s serving as a curator for the Asian Art Biennial 2017, in Taiwan. Art lovers citywide are eager to see what she’ll bring to St. Louis. 3750 Washington.
31. Cross the Victorian footbridge. Built in 1885 as an entrance to the park from the streetcar line, it’s among Forest Park’s oldest attractions. Yet many St. Louisans don’t even know it exists until stumbling upon it while strolling the park’s northeast corner. Stop, linger, and listen the next time you cross it. Northeast corner of Forest Park.
32. See the seasons on Art Hill. In winter, it’s a Norman Rockwell painting, with rosy-cheeked children on toboggans. In spring, it cries out for picnics on lazy Sunday afternoons. In summer, it’s a bustling spot for outdoor movies and concerts. In fall, it’s a quiet place to sit and reflect. With King Louie perched atop its crest, it embodies the best of our city. Forest Park.
33. See Kali the polar bear at the zoo. He was orphaned as a baby in the Alaskan wilderness and spent time in Buffalo, New York, before moving here in 2015. Since Polar Bear Point opened—next to the equally popular Penguin & Puffin Coast—Kali has captivated crowds. Seeing him plunge into the 50,000-gallon Polar Dive Pool and swim up to the glass is an unforgettable experience. 1 Government, Forest Park.
34. Celebrate The Muny’s centennial. There’s a reason that the nation’s largest outdoor theater is also its oldest: When something’s right, it endures. Mike Isaacson—just the third executive producer in the theater’s storied history—does a masterful job, mixing timeless shows with contemporary classics, attracting Broadway’s brightest stars to perform on elaborately constructed sets. 1 Theatre, Forest Park.
35. Experience the Pulitzer. Since 2001, the Pulitzer Arts Foundation has filled its striking Tadao Ando building with challenging exhibitions. In fact, the building itself and three other works, two of which were commissioned by founder Emily Rauh Pulitzer (Richard Serra’s winding “Joe” and Ellsworth Kelly’s “Blue Black”), serve as the only permanent works. 3716 Washington.
36. Race uphill to the World’s Fair Pavilion. In case you’re wondering, the pavilion wasn’t around for the World’s Fair. It was built five years later with the fair’s proceeds. Today, after a dramatic restoration, it shines atop a hill holding picturesque fountains and a reflecting pool. Athletes often run up and down the hill’s steps. Forest Park.
37. See the Beckmanns at the Saint Louis Art Museum. A source of inspiration and scholarship, SLAM’s collection includes contemporary works and antiquities, African and Asian works. It’s practically mandatory for St. Louisans to visit the works of one-time Wash. U. art professor Max Beckmann— SLAM houses the largest public collection of his paintings in the world. 1 Fine Arts, Forest Park.
38. Play at Turtle Park. For more than two decades, the seven concrete turtles have held court near the zoo. Philanthropist Sunny Glassberg, who commissioned the late Bob Cassilly to create the reptiles, called the turtles “symbols of peace.” They were inspired by the critters Glassberg’s children brought home at one time—and have helped create countless memories for other children. 6401 Oakland.
39. Grab lunch at The Boathouse and paddle to the Grand Basin. There’s something so classic-movie charming about the paddleboats in Forest Park. Maybe the fact that people have been boating there since 1876 lends a certain sepia-toned something. (Rentals are available year-round, weather permitting.) Before you head to the Grand Basin—where you can make a game of counting all of the posing wedding parties on a weekend afternoon— grab a quick bite at the dog-friendly Boathouse. 6101 Government, Forest Park.
40. Find a favorite slinger. The classic hangover cure at a classic diner
- Eat-Rite Diner: The owners claim to have invented the slinger after a trucker asked for chili on his eggs.
- White Knight: The diner featured in the film White Palace serves the Super Slinger, with mushrooms, bell peppers, and onions.
- Courtesy Diner: The Devil’s Delight has all the staple ingredients, minus the hamburger.
- Goody Goody Diner: Get dollar cakes on the side of your slinger.
- Spencer’s Grill: An alternative to the slinger, the Slammer’s topped with gravy.
41. Skate at Steinberg. The largest outdoor rink in the Midwest, Steinberg has a certain Currier & Ives vibe. It’s open every day between mid-November and late February, providing the perfect place to skate off those carbs from Grandma’s mashed potatoes and burn off the sugar rush from one too many candy canes. 400 Jefferson.
42. Stargaze at the Science Center. The planetarium’s space-age Zeiss Universarium (even the name is cool!) projector beams more than 9,000 stars, planets, and other interstellar objects onto a 24-meter dome. It can simulate eclipses, comets, and meteor showers in true-to-life depiction. For those in the city, whose view of the night sky is obstructed by bright lights and smog, it’s a magical escape. 5050 Oakland.
43. See the Cathedral Basilica’s spectacular mosaics. Whatever your spiritual persuasion, the New Cathedral’s a sight to behold. Installation of the 83,000 square feet of vibrant mosaics, depicting biblical scenes and moments from the life of our city’s namesake, began in 1912 and lasted until 1988.Take a tour, or behold the cathedral on your own. (Just be sure that Mass isn’t underway). 4431 Lindell.
44. See the Kemper and MOCRA. Wash. U.’s Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum is undergoing a dramatic expansion, including 30-foot-tall pleated stainless steel panels and a 2,700-square-foot gallery. Among the latest acquisitions at SLU’s Museum of Contemporary Religious Art is Texas artist Michael Tracy’s moving depiction of martyred Bishop Oscar Romero. 1 Brookings; 221 N. Grand.
45. Take an author-inspired tour of the Central West End. Many of the homes that once housed literary greats are still standing in the CWE (though they’re private residences, so gawk from a distance). In his classic novel Junky, William S. Burroughs described his childhood home (4664 Pershing Place) as a “solid, three-story, brick house in a large Midwest city.” Tennessee Williams (4633 Westminster Place) openly loathed that city, calling St. Louisans “cold, smug, complacent, intolerant, stupid, and provincial.” Poet T.S. Eliot (4446 Westminster Place) and author Kate Chopin (4232 McPherson), on the other hand, credited their hometown as a fine, inspiring place in which to grow up.
46. Marvel at The Chase. At age 95, The Chase Park Plaza rises above the CWE like a dignified grandparent watching over energetic youngsters. It’s as hip as any of them, having hosted Sinatra and Nat King Cole, Bob Hope and George Clooney. The new restaurants, The Preston and Chase Club, capture the same timeless glamour. Sipping a cocktail while overlooking the Mediterranean-style pool still conjures visions of old-time Hollywood, like La La Land on Lindell. 212 N. Kingshighway.
47. Learn the difference between a bishop and a rook. St. Louis’ rise in the world of chess is something of an underdog story (fueled by multi-millionaire Rex Sinquefield). We boast the World Chess Hall of Fame, the U.S. Chess Championships, Webster University’s power-house chess team (which recently won its fifth consecutive national championship under the tutelage of coach/grandmaster Susan Polgar), and even the World’s Largest Chess Piece. Some of the world’s top players live here, and more important, the game is being taught at schools, hospitals, and community centers. It’s even inspired avant-garde fashion, including the internationally renowned A Queen Within exhibit and grandmaster-designer collaborations. Experts and novices alike gather at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, in the Central West End; eavesdrop at the Kingside Diner while they rehash clever moves. 4600 block of Maryland.
48. Pick a favorite music series. A concert for every day of the week
- Monday: Musical Mondays, Compton Heights Concert Band
- Tuesday: Twilight Tuesdays, Missouri History Museum
- Wednesday: Whitaker Music Festival, Missouri Botanical Garden
- Thursday: Summer Concert Series, Kirkwood Station Plaza
- Friday: Jungle Boogie, Saint Louis Zoo
- Saturday: Sounds of Summer Concert Series, Chesterfield Amphitheater
- Sunday: Carondelet Summer Concert Series, Carondelet Park
49. Experience a vast range of stories at the Missouri History Museum. The breadth of MoHist’s recent exhibits is impressive: coffee, Nazis, the Arch, fashion, terrorism, Route 66, World War I, panoramic photos… But none is more relevant at the moment than current exhibit #1 in Civil Rights: The African American Freedom Struggle in St. Louis. 5700 Lindell.
50. Spend time inside the Jewel Box. Built in 1936, the Art Deco masterpiece is a gleaming treasure, with more than 4,000 glass panes set in wood and iron. The greenhouse was initially built to showcase plants that could survive city smog levels; these days, it’s an inspired choice for weddings, parties, or just ogling. Don’t miss the special floral shows throughout the year, particularly poinsettias at Christmastime. Wells and McKinley, Forest Park.
51. See St. Louis’ most famous historic homes. Architect Ernst Janssen designed the Magic Chef Mansion (3400 Russell, pictured above) a century ago for Charles Stockstrom, founder of the Magic Chef stove company. Fur trader Robert Campbell’s downtown family home (1508 Locust), built in 1851, now serves as a museum with artifacts and photographs from the 1880s. The Lemp Mansion (3322 DeMenil Place) housed the forefathers of the city’s beer heritage and, some say, retains ghostly vestiges of the tragic family’s misfortunes. The nearby Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion (3352 DeMenil Place) was home to descendants of the city’s founders; an example of the Greek Revival style, the house sits over caves that were used as beer production rooms and housed prehistoric animal remains. And the Scott Joplin House (2658 Delmar), a two-story brick building constructed around 1860, is the King of Ragtime’s only known surviving home. In 1983, it became the first historic state site devoted to African-American heritage.
Catch a show in Grand Center. The arts and entertainment district continues to evolve, from historic and ornate to modern and minimalist.
52. The Fox Theatre
Building opened: 1929 Architectural notes: Siamese Byzantine Former life: One of five grand movie palaces built by the Fox Film Corporation in the late ’20s Capacity: 4,500 In a nutshell: Mary Strauss revived the vacant theater in the early ’80s; just a few years later, Chuck Berry took the stage alongside the likes of Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, and Etta James. Insider tip: Grab a glass of bubbly and toast at the Curtain Call Lounge before or after the show. 527 N. Grand.
53. Powell Hall
Building opened: 1925 Architectural notes: French Baroque Former life: Vaudeville and movie house, originally known as the St. Louis Theater Capacity: 2,683 In a nutshell: Best known as the home of the St. Louis Symphony, Powell Hall also hosts the St. Louis Speakers Series. Insider tip: Pre-Concert Conversations, offered one hour before subscription performances, provide fascinating insights about the performance to come. 718 N. Grand.
54. The Sheldon
Building opened: 1912 Architectural notes: Architect Louis C. Spiering, of 1904 World’s Fair fame, designed the building. Former life: Onetime home of the Ethical Society of St. Louis, as well as a former church Seating: 712 In a nutshell: Renowned for its acoustics, The Sheldon is an intimate alternative in which to see big-name performers and rising stars, such as Grammy winners Ricky Skaggs and Cécile McLorin Salvant. Insider tip: The Sheldon Art Galleries are open an hour before performances and during intermission. 3648 Washington.
Building opened: 1884 Architectural notes: Romanesque Revival Former life: First Congregational Church; formerly housed The Black Rep and St. Louis Shakespeare Capacity: 465 In a nutshell: The Kranzberg Arts Foundation and Grand Center Inc. manage the theater, but its myriad residents—among them The Big Muddy Dance Company, Dance St. Louis, Metro Theater Company, and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis— handle programming. Insider tip: The Dark Room serves up one of the best brunches around, complete with music and fine art. 3610 Grandel Square.
Opened: 2014 Architectural notes: Jazz at the Bistro’s former digs and an adjacent building were gutted and renovated to create the new masterpiece. Former life: In 1995, Barbara Rose moved the Just Jazz nightclub from the Hotel Majestic to Patty Long’s Grand Avenue Bistro and changed the name. Jazz at the Bistro was born. Capacity: 220 In a nutshell: The Harold and Dorothy Steward Center for Jazz includes the Ferring Jazz Bistro, an education center, and Jazz St. Louis’ offices. Insider tip: On brunch-happy holidays (Easter, Mother’s Day), the bistro often serves up breakfast with a side of jazz. 3536 Washington.
Building opened: 1919 Architectural notes: Egyptian Revival Former life: A car dealership, part of Midtown’s Automobile Row Capacity: 202 (in the theater) In a nutshell: Last year, the Kranzberg Arts Foundation—which already reimagined the space at 501 N. Grand as the Kranzberg Arts Center and opened The Marcelle several blocks away—transformed the Cadillac Building into another multi-use facility, housing the .ZACK Performing Arts Incubator Program and a proscenium-style theater shared by its residents. Insider tip: Besides the arts, .ZACK houses Turn restaurant, Sophie’s Artist Lounge & Cocktail Club, and the Music Record Shop. 3224 Locust.
Opened: 2013 Architectural notes: A bamboo stage and state-of-the-art audio equipment have replaced the graffiti and grime. Former life: Creepy Crawl, the onetime music club/dive bar Capacity: 140 In a nutshell: In 2013, independent radio station KDHX moved from Magnolia Avenue to the 13,000-square-foot Larry J. Weir Center for Independent Media, complete with a listening room, café, studios, and offices. Insider tip: Each month, on select Saturdays, DJ G. Wiz hosts Musical Edu-tainment, schooling audiences with a mix of soul, hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and pop from the ’60s to today. 3524 Washington.
Opened: 2014 Architectural notes: 2015 Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects St. Louis Chapter Former life: Parking lot Capacity: 700 In a nutshell: Located between the Nine Network and St. Louis Public Radio, the 9,000-square-foot courtyard is flanked by two-story video walls that heighten performances and special events. Insider tip: The space is available for rent, and it’s hosted a wide range of events: musical performances, fashion shows, storytelling, movies, tastings—even weddings. 3653 Olive.
60. Wander The Hill. There are too many noteworthy restaurants and sandwich shops to name here, so do yourself a favor: Start at St. Ambrose Church, beside the statue of two Italian immigrants; do bocce and beers at Milo’s; grab some wine and meats at DiGregorio’s, Viviano’s, or Volpi; break bread at Missouri Baking Company or Marconi Bakery; pick up some Herbaria soap and a Bertarelli knife. Once you’ve done all that walking and worked up a proper appetite, grab a bite.
61. Play a Chuck Berry tune on the jukebox at Blueberry Hill. Long after he could’ve retired, Berry continued playing shows with his family in the Duck Room, performing more than 200 monthly concerts. It might’ve been Fats Domino who popularized the restaurant’s namesake song, but it was Berry whose name grew synonymous with Joe Edwards’ landmark establishment over four-plus decades. Outside, along the ever-evolving street, the St. Louis Walk of Fame recognizes dozens of St. Louis celebs with bronze stars, but only one has his own statue: the Father of Rock ’n’ Roll. This one’s for you, Chuck. (See also No. 29.) 6504 Delmar.
62. Take a culinary trip around the world along South Grand. Start with happy hour sushi and sake at Café Mochi. Then make your way north, grabbing Persian at Cafe Natasha’s, Vietnamese at Pho Grand, Thai at Basil Spice or King & I, and Lebanese at The Vine. 3100–3200 blocks of S. Grand.
63. Have a progressive dinner date at The Cheshire. Start a Friday evening by heading south from The Loop to Clayton Road. Have drinks at Basso, then dinner at Boundary, the sleek space upstairs with its own raw bar. Sip a nightcap at Fox & Hounds and listen to live music. Finally, shack up in a novelty suite at The Cheshire. 6300 Clayton.
64. Try a Provel-topped pie. Food scribe Joe Bonwich once traced the lineage of the oft-debated cheese, concluding, “All legitimate Provel is distributed through Roma Grocery Co. on The Hill. The late president of Roma, Toots Pezzani, was the uncle of Ed Imo.” It’s a fitting twist, considering Imo’s has made the St. Louis–style pizza, that concoction of cracker-thin crust and mystery goo, a local favorite. Order a square-shaped Imo’s Deluxe—and a side of T-ravs for good measure. 1000 Hampton.
65. See the city from atop the Compton Hill Water Tower. “The view is just outrageous,” park/water tower society president John Maxwell once told SLM. “It’s this incredible Cinderella– Rapunzel tower with fancy ironwork stairs.” Climb 198 steps—particularly on a fully moonlit night—for a scenic view from atop a 120-year-old landmark. 1700 S. Grand.
66. Spend a morning in Tower Grove Park. On summer Saturdays, visit the farmers’ market at 8 a.m., before the crowds pick over the freshest produce, and then unwind with yoga at 9 a.m. and tunes, 10 a.m.–noon. (If you have kids, consider a swimsuit for the Wading Pool Pavilion, a favorite for tykes.) On Sundays, grab brunch at Café Madeleine in the Piper Palm House, then relax beside The Ruins (the remains of the Lindell Hotel, once the largest hotel in the U.S.) or in one of the 11 ornate pavilions. Rather burn calories? The South City gem offers three grass tennis courts (the only such public courts in the nation), as well as hard-surface and pickleball courts. 4256 Magnolia.
67. Catch a soccer game. St. Louis might not have a Major League Soccer team, but the city has an incredibly rich soccer history. A group of friends from The Hill played on the 1950 U.S. soccer team and inspired the film The Game of Their Lives. Between 1959 and 1973, SLU won 10 college soccer championships. And the Saint Louis Football Club draws a diehard legion of fans to World Wide Technology Soccer Park, whose namesake’s co-founder, Jim Kavanaugh, played on the 1984 Olympic team and serves as board president of the St. Louis Scott Gallagher Soccer Club. 3330 Laclede; 1 Soccer Park.
68. Get lost in the Kaeser Memorial Maze at the Missouri Botanical Garden. Located in the garden’s genteel Victorian District, the maze is a replica of one that garden founder Henry Shaw built in the 1800s. (It was replanted nearly a decade ago, so those yew hedges are plenty tall now.) Before you leave, be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden, admire the Climatron, and let your kiddos play at the children’s garden. 4344 Shaw.
69. Find a favorite movie theater. Take a seat at one of these classic spots.
Esquire: Reservable recliners + stadium seating Moolah: Leather couches + downstairs bowling alley Tivoli: Traditional red-cushioned rows + local movie memorabilia Hi-Pointe: Aquamarine aisles + reasonably priced popcorn Skyview Drive-In: Lawn chairs + double features
70. Do the Drewes. Turning a creamy cup of frozen-custard perfection upside down would be sacrilegious if those extra-thick concretes didn’t stay put in Ted Drewes’ iconic yellow cups. You can’t go wrong with any topping, but consider adding hot fudge, just to make it that much more decadent. (Note that the Grand location’s closed for the season.) 6726 Chippewa; 4224 S. Grand.
71. See a show at Joe’s Cafe & Gallery. Located around the corner from the Delmar Loop, on Kingsbury, Joe’s is chockfull of vintage neon signs, kitschy décor, and memorable entertainment (e.g., pop-up concerts and rotating art exhibits). (It’s only open occasionally, though, so check Joe’s Facebook page for show times.) 6014 Kingsbury.
72. Rock out in the pit at The Pageant. The intimate concert venue’s eclectic schedule often holds big-name surprises, from Green Day to a Karlie Kloss–helmed fashion show. For the most visceral live music experience, trade a cocktail table for a spot on the dance floor. Want something a smidge more low-key? Try a show at Delmar Hall, next door. 6161 Delmar.
73. See a show at the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts. In this age of TV, movies, and blockbuster music festivals, it’s nice to dial it back and watch a live, in-your-face performance. Look no further than this intimate venue on Webster University’s campus, home to both The Rep and Opera Theatre of St. Louis. The stage is versatile, permitting productions of everything from Shakespeare (in a black box theater of just 125 seats) to Verdi (in front of an auditorium of 763, with nary a seat more than 20 rows from the action). 130 Edgar.
74. Visit Shaw Nature Reserve. Missouri is a big state with a startling variety of terrain and plant life. How fortunate, then, that the metro area has this 2,400-acre reserve, where the rolling prairies meet the Ozark Plateau. Within minutes, you can trek through prairieland, wetland, and woodland to get a sense of the state’s diverse topography. 307 Pinetum Loop, Gray Summit.
75. Kayak Creve Coeur Lake. Paddle the Creve Coeur Water Trail, a 6-mile trek across the lake and up Fee Fee Creek. Along the way, get the skinny (from a brochure or your smart phone) at several points of historical or natural interest—or just take in the herons, dragonflies, and submerged trees on your own. If you’re scared of the water, stick to the lakeside trails and disc golf—or venture through the treetops on the Go Ape! Zip Line & Treetop Adventure course. 13219 Streetcar.
76. Play at Faust Park. The 200-acre park and preserve in Chesterfield covers a lot of historical territory, including Thornhill, the 1819 home of Missouri’s second governor, Frederick Bates, as well as a historic village of salvaged buildings from 1840–1910. But kids are drawn to the modern attractions, including the 1920s St. Louis Carousel—boasting 64 hand-carved horses and deer in a climate-controlled building—and the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, which hosts the must-see Morpho Mardi Gras in spring. 15185 Olive.
77. Climb the grand staircase at Fort Belle Fontaine. Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated the five-tier staircase of rugged limestone in 1939, but it’s actually one of the park’s newer features. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark camped here in 1804 and stopped here again on the last day of their trip, in 1806. (The charming ruins near the river look almost that old, but they’re actually WPA-era bathhouses.) 13002 Bellefontaine.
78. Visit Jefferson Barracks’ growing museum district. Long known for its bluff-top views and nearby national cemetery, the South County park’s recently become a hotbed of history museums, including the Missouri Civil War Museum, the Telephone Museum, the Laborer’s House, the Old Ordinance Room, and the Powder Magazine Museum. Considering Jefferson Barracks’ long history as a military post, it’s an apt setting. 345 North.
79. Find St. Louis beer barons in Bellefontaine Cemetery. Each October, the cemetery hosts its annual Beer Barons Tour, during which you can ride a trolley past tombs and mausoleums bearing such names as Busch, Anheuser, Uhrig, Lemp, Wainwright, and Griesedieck. 4947 W. Florissant.
80. Meet a Mexican wolf at the Endangered Wolf Center. The Mexican gray wolf, or el lobo, was plentiful all over the American Southwest, before the spread of the livestock industry chased it onto the endangered list in the 1970s. In 1998, for the first time in 50 years, a puppy was born in the wild. That puppy’s father was born at this nonprofit in Eureka, where you can see a pack of five wild-born gray wolf pups on the species’ long road to recovery. 6750 Tyson Valley.
81. Take a selfie in front of “Eye” at Laumeier. There are tons of photo-ops at the 105-acre Sunset Hills sculpture park, but artist Tony Tasset’s gigantic fiberglass eyeball is the perfect place to let Instagram know where you are. Once you’ve strolled past the outdoor art (some of it sited in the surrounding woods), stop inside the sleek new Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center. 12580 Rott.
82. Cheer on the talented dogs at Purina Farms. Pack up the pooch and head to Purina Farms, where you can catch the incredible Pro Plan Performance Team. The canines demonstrate dock diving, agility and, of course, wildly popular Frisbee tricks, in which the furry athletes soar and snatch discs in mid-air. 500 William Danforth Way, Gray Summit.
83. Admire the wildlife of West County. Observe Missouri fauna and wildlife in their natural digs. Spot eagles, hawks, buzzards, owls, parrots, and even bats at the World Bird Sanctuary. Then look for deer, bison, wild turkey, and elk at Lone Elk Park. 125 Bald Eagle Ridge.
84. Find a favorite fish fry. Where to spend a Friday during Lent
St. Cecilia Catholic Church: Chiles rellenos, mariachis and folkloric dancers. St. Mary Magdalen School: With a drive-thru and central location, it’s ideal for those on the go. Holy Spirit Parish: Weekly specials, raffle tickets, and a drive-thru to boot. St. Ferdinand Catholic Church: Open Fridays year-round. First Unitarian Church of St. Louis: Tired of fish? Try the falafel.
85. Take a train ride at the National Museum of Transportation. What better way to traverse the grounds of a museum dedicated to the history of getting around than by train? The C.P. Huntington miniature train pulls out of the station every 20 minutes for a seven-minute excursion around the West County campus, where you can spot old boats and planes and all other modes of conveyance from the comfort of your seat. A $5 wristband gets you unlimited rides all day. All aboard! 2933 Barrett Station.
86. Pet a Clydesdale at Grant’s Farm. Pull yourself away from the beer and baby goats long enough to pay homage to A-B’s iconic stars. Petting the majestic animals, you can feel the power that made them synonymous with the world’s largest beer-maker. Next thing you know, “Here Comes the King” is on repeat in your head—and you’re headed back to the Bauernhof courtyard for another round. 10501 Gravois.
87. Sit in the Oval Office at The Magic House. The Magic House has long been the go-to for kids to get hands-on with science. When the Kirkwood attraction expanded, though, administrators decided it was time for citizens young and old to get a civics refresher. In the Star-Spangled Center, you can cast an electronic ballot, apply your John Hancock to the Declaration of Independence, and sit at the POTUS’s desk in a replica Oval Office. Politics aside, it’s a powerful experience for aspiring politicos. 516 S. Kirkwood.
88. Explore the National Building Arts Center. The life project of preservationist Larry Giles, it’s located in an industrial pocket of Sauget, Illinois. Its more than 300,000 holdings include stained-glass windows, marble caryatids, and a terracotta cornice from the Lincoln Trust Building, considered the finest example of its type in the world. There’s also a more traditional archive, overflowing with blueprints and trade journals. 2300 Falling Springs, Sauget, Ill.
89. Harvest the season at Eckert’s. Gathering apples—or pumpkins, peaches, strawberries, or blackberries—is only part of the family fun. There are also cooking classes, live music, and seasonal fun (haunted hayrides in fall, Santa in winter). Oh, and did we mention that kids eat free at the Country Restaurant on Thursdays? 951 S. Green Mount, Belleville, Ill.
90. Climb at Cahokia Mounds. Kids once sledded down Monks Mound, unaware that the site was once home to the continent’s largest civilization. Today, you can climb to the highest peak at the UNESCO World Heritage Site and envision life there. 30 Ramey, Collinsville, Ill.
91. Revel at Fast Eddie’s Bon Air. Take a number for the 39-cent shrimp and Big Elwood on a stick and order up a cold frosty one. Then settle in for some tunes, inside or on the expansive patio. (Just remember to bring cash—the place doesn’t take plastic.) 1530 E. Fourth, Alton, Ill.
92. Catch a Frontier League game. You won’t find big-league players—or big-league prices—at a River City Rascals or Gateway Grizzlies game. Lawn seats are $5ish, and parking’s free. For a family looking for a cheap night at the ballpark, it’s a welcome changeup. 900 T.R. Hughes, O’Fallon, Mo.; 2301 Grizzlie Bear, Sauget, Ill.
93. Find a favorite microbrew. Something for every taste
An American classic: Schlafly Pale Ale An English classic: Civil Life’s British Bitter A German classic: Urban Chestnut’s Zwickel A bit stout: Perennial’s 17 Mint Chocolate Stout A Bit Malty: Ferguson Brewing’s Pecan Brown Ale A bit hoppy: 2nd Shift’s Art of Neurosis A bit sour: Side Project’s Saison du Blé A bit citrusy: Modern Brewery’s Citrapolis A bit fruity: O’Fallon Brewery’s Wheach A bit St. Louis: 4 Hands’ City Wide
94. Sightsee at the Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower. Whether you want to go high (50 feet), higher (100 feet), or really high (150 feet), hop on the elevator for a sweeping view of the Mississippi River bottoms, including the confluence, the Clark Bridge, and lots of industry. (On a clear day, you can see the Arch, too.) Don’t miss the historic garden once you’re back on terra firma. 435 Confluence Tower, Hartford, Ill.
95. Take a hike. Start at the Katy Trail, which runs along the Missouri River. Then take in the lush Meramec Valley on the paths at Castlewood State Park, or spot deer and other wildlife while walking through Powder Valley Nature Area, in Kirkwood. Rockwoods Reservation, in Wildwood, is another hiker’s paradise, with six trails of varying distances and terrains for a leisurely stroll or an intense workout—all in the tranquility of nature, just outside the city.
96. Visit Missouri’s first capitol. Before you hit the quaint shops along St. Charles’ historic Main Street, tour Missouri’s first capitol building. The ground floor once housed goods and residents; legislators met upstairs to decide the state’s direction, at a time when Thomas Jefferson and his successors were still pondering the shape of the Louisiana Territory. 200 S. Main, St. Charles.
97. Birdwatch at the Audubon Center at Riverlands. Located thrillingly close to the shores of the Mississippi, the 3,700-acre site is the ideal place to look for birds: trumpeter swans, eagles, warblers, herons, pelicans, kestrels, terns, harriers… Hike the 8.5 miles of trails, peer out at Heron Pond from inside the modern avian observatory, or look through one of the powerful spotting scopes inside the visitor center. Don’t know that bird? A guide’s typically nearby, ready to help. 301 Riverlands, West Alton, Mo.
98. Cross the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge. The bridge is unparalleled in structure and sights, with its 22-degree bend and pair of picturesque water-intake towers just below. Today, all that remains of its Route 66 glory days are weathered vestiges—an auto court sign, a vintage Texaco gas pump, an old firetruck—and the parking lot on the Missouri side is closed because of car break-ins. Still, on a clear day, it’s worth parking at North Riverfront Park or the Illinois bridge entrance and biking across.
99. Motor down the Great River Road. In fall, the road’s lined with brilliant foliage on one side. Pere Marquette Lodge offers Sunday brunch (and a Wine Festival in November), and at Grafton Winery, you can pair vino with live music and a sweeping view of the river. In winter, head to Alton or Piasa Harbor (named for another impressive bird native to the River Road) to watch eagles hunt over the icy waters of the Mississippi—or see them close up at TreeHouse Wildlife Center.
100. Get out on the river. Start at the National Great Rivers Museum (2 Locks and Dam Way) and Melvin Price Locks and Dam. Then drive up to Grafton and take a ferry—the Grafton (open weekends; 800-258-6645) or Golden Eagle—across the river. For a longer outing, take the Blues Cruise on select Thursdays. And if you’re really venturesome, go out in a canoe with Big Muddy Adventures.
101. Experience our monthly musts.
January: Loop Ice Carnival February Mardi Gras in Soulard March: Ancient Order of Hibernians St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Dogtown April: Earth Day Festival May: Cinco De Mayo on Cherokee Street June: PrideFest, Circus Flora, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis in Forest Park July: Fair Saint Louis August: Festival of Nations September: Great Forest Park Balloon Glow & Race, LouFest, Saint Louis Art Fair, Big Muddy Blues Festival October: Best of Missouri Market, Shaw Art Fair November: St. Louis International Film Festival December: St. Louis Symphony’s NYE Celebration