When we decided that we were actually going to move (to a whole different state!) we started trying to visit all the places that we figured we’d miss when we left St. Louis. Strangely, or maybe not so strangely since we want to move…. there weren’t that many places that we felt like we had to visit.
These were our top six places to visit in Missouri.
My #1 place that we had to see again, and the place that I’d actually recommend to STL visitors would be the St. Louis Zoo. Brian and I got a Zoo membership before we got married and we visited fairly frequently. It’s been our go-to place for when we just wanted to do something. Technically, there are lots of things you can do in STL completely free…. but you’re going to have to walk and be a bit creative. STL has a really amazing zoo and you can do it completely free, but I’d recommend getting either one of the zoo memberships (a lot of zoos honor other zoo’s memberships too) or one of the day pass things. I adore riding around on the train and seeing the sea-lion show… oh! and the new Stingray area! I’m not a big fan of the children’s area, but if you bring little humans with you, they’d probably enjoy that too, so you’d might as well have bought one of the bands or membership thingies. Try to go mid-week if possible, otherwise the place is busy.
Brian and I visited Ted Drew’s the first time I brought Boo along on one of our dates. We sat in the back of the MINI and people watched and ate our custard. (For the record, Boo likes blueberry) Brian’s parents took us to Ted Drew’s to celebrate our engagement (Cindermint). Birthdays…. (Fox Treat) and Christmas (Hawaiian). It’s one of those STL traditions and it became one of our favorite special treats.
The Missouri Botanical Gardens is one of those places that my mom and aunts used to drag me every summer and I hated it…. and then I got my own house and my own yard and learned to appreciate all the flowers and landscaping. The gardens are beautiful any time of year, you really can’t go wrong. They also have a number of festivals throughout the year that are all really cool, but they’re also really crowded. If you have the chance though, I’d absolutely recommend the Garden Glow at Christmas.
Okay, so those are the typical ‘Must See’ things that you’re going to see on every other list. And I completely agree…. I love ’em too, but there are lots of other great things to see and do outside of St Louis. I’m not a huge fan of being in the city anyway. I’d rather escape the crowds and traffic. The next two items are going to take you about 45 minutes to 1.5 hours outside of St. Louis….. and they are totally worth the drive.
Kimmswick is probably the place that I am most going to miss in the St Louis area. Mom and I spent many a lazy afternoon roaming through the historic homes turned adorable and eclectic shops. Each visit was always capped with a visit to the Blue Owl. If you’re not gluten-free you should order the Levee High Apple Pie for dessert. I don’t care how much you ate for lunch…. order dessert. The Blue owl is famous for their desserts. Order dessert. If you are gluten free, there aren’t may dessert options, but you can go next door to the Blue Owl Sweet Shop and get ice cream. I’m a fan of the Coconut Sunday. There are plenty of Gluten Free entree options, and the staff is so sweet! I am going to miss all of the ladies at the Blue Owl…. and the food. Kimmswick hosts several huge festivals throughout the year that are great… but huge and crowded. If you’re going to visit during a festival make plans to come back on another day to just enjoy the town. (The whole town is closed on Monday.)
Elephant Rocks State Park is a fair drive out of St Louis, but it is a fun place to wander and explore. You can climb all over the huge, elephant like rock formations and wander down paths surrounded by the granite monoliths. Take a picnic lunch and spend the day climbing, wandering and taking awesome photos. On your way back to the city, drive north on Hwy 21 and stop in Caledonia, MO. It’s a teeny, tiny, blink and you missed it town, but there are several cute little shops that are fun to visit. Stop at Old Village Mercantile to check out the antiques and enjoy and ice cream sundae.
Chaumette Winery is also a bit of a drive from St Louis, but certainly well worth the trip. The wine is delicious and the food at the Grapevine Grill is wonderful. Everything is locally sourced from area farms and dairies. The menu changes seasonally, but there are usually several gluten-free option for entrées and dessert. The staff is knowledgable about Gluten Sensitivity and I’ve even had the chef come out and talk to me once or twice. He even offered to make a special sauce for me once! Delicious food and wine, great staff, pup-friendly, allergy friendly, beautiful views, good music….. They even have bed & breakfast villas and a spa. I’d always wanted to do a spa weekend, but never got around to it…. It would make for an awesome Girl’s Weekend.