Once the launching point for settlers travelling farther west, today, St. Louis is a modern destination in its own right. Known for its parks and dramatic Gateway Arch, the city teems with cultural opportunities and a diversity of shopping and dining options. To help plan your next trip, we asked Darren Gorden, Concierge at Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis, to share recommendations for the best things to see and do in the city.
Food and drink in St. Louis
Photography courtesy Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
Located in a restored historical building, Square One Brewery and Distillery is a fun, relaxed place to enjoy an excellent locally brewed beer. Square One’s on-site brewery offers up to 13 beers on tap, including ales, pilsners, imperials, cask-conditioned ales and seasonal beers. Ask your server for beer/food pairing recommendations off of the extensive food menu.
Back at the Hotel, Cielo has a dining experience you won’t find anywhere else in the city, with spectacular views of the Gateway Arch from its award-winning patio. Come for breakfast, lunch, dinner, brunch or just a cocktail. Don’t miss the foie gras and marrow, served with a rhubarb jam, for dinner, or the selection of freshly squeezed juices for breakfast.
Blueberry Hill is one of the most unique places in St. Louis’s The Loop neighbourhood. Americana and rock ’n’ roll memorabilia fill this restaurant by day and bar/club by night. Enjoy a burger, play darts and listen to live music. Chuck Berry, a native St. Louisan and the Father of Rock ’n’ Roll, has played more than 200 consecutive monthly shows here.
The Central West End is a great place to combine some shopping with a meal at Sub Zero Vodka Bar, known for its fresh sushi; Herbies Vintage 72, where the menu combines traditional classics with newer dishes; and Scape, a modern American bistro with new takes on traditional comfort foods.
For further retail therapy, Plaza Frontenac offers high-end stores such as Saks, Tiffany & Co. and Louis Vuitton. After shopping, see a film at the movie theatre or have a light snack at one of the plaza’s many restaurants. Be sure to check the website for events occurring during your trip.
Cherokee Street in the Cherokee-Lemp Historical District is home to 19 antiques stores as well as a number of galleries and restaurants. Vintage jewellery, pottery, furniture and military items are among the treasures you will find in this seven-block area.
Nightlife in St. Louis
Mandarin Lounge, in the Central West End, is the perfect place to party in style. This Asian-inspired lounge and rooftop bar often features celebrity guest DJs and an energetic crowd. Have the signature drink, The Gold Standard Cosmopolitan, made with ultra-premium Gran Patron platinum tequila, limited-edition Grand Marnier Cuvée du Centenaire liqueur, white cranberry juice and a few other special ingredients. Garnished with 23-carat gold flakes, it is one of the most unusual beverages in St. Louis.
Arts and culture
Built in 1929, the Fox Theatre, also known as “The Fabulous Fox,” is a former movie palace that is now a performing arts centre. The interior of the restored Art Deco building features Asian motifs and ornate details. You can enjoy Broadway shows as well as performers like Lady Gaga and the Jonas Brothers.
Citygarden opened 80 years later in 2009, a stunning addition to downtown St. Louis. It features 24 pieces of sculpture by internationally renowned artists, and a spray plaza with 102 computer-controlled spray jets and custom lighting where children can play.
Outdoor family fun
Photography Bill Grant / Alamy Stock Photo
Take the kids over to Forest Park, one of the country’s largest urban parks and the location of the St. Louis Zoo. Home to more than 18,000 wild animals, the zoo offers complimentary admission, with an additional fee for certain attractions and exhibits. St. Louis Science Center and St. Louis Art Museum are also must-sees before leaving Forest Park, both attractions offering complimentary general admission.
Another option is to embark on a brief 15-minute walk to the Gateway Arch and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Take an enclosed tram to the top of the Arch and view the city skyline and surrounding area from 630 feet (190 metres) above ground.
Missouri Botanical Garden, the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark. Open since 1859, the 79-acre (32-hectare) garden features a geodesic-design greenhouse, maze, butterfly house and Chinese and Japanese gardens, to name a few.
If it’s baseball season, catch an afternoon game to see the St. Louis Cardinals, 10-time World Series Champions. Kids will love cheering the team on with Fredbird, the mascot. Or take a tour of Busch Stadium, during which you can go inside the Cardinals’ dugout.
Full-body wrap spa treatment
After seeing the city, relax at the Hotel’s Spa for a massage or full-body treatment. The multi-phase Ultimate Body Shaping Treatment begins with a full-body exfoliation with mineral-rich sea salts followed by a combination of award-winning Vitamin A.C.E Cream. You will then be cocooned in a warm body wrap and be treated to a scalp and neck massage.
A perfect day in St. Louis
Begin the day with a sweet or savoury crepe at Rooster café before exploring Missouri Botanical Garden. Enjoy a nice lunch or snack at the Terrace Café, before exploring its wonderful gift store. Take the family to see the St. Louis Cardinals play. Or, visit the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Be sure to save room for an early dinner at Pappy’s Smokehouse.