Top 5 shopping destinations
1. The Loop
Located in University City, this unique area offers more than 120 specialty shops, mostly on Delmar Boulevard. Shops range from selling exotic flowers (Blooms in the Loop Florist and Gifts) to buying or selling in-style and vintage clothes (Rag-O-Rama).
2. Central West End
A cosmopolitan area of St. Louis with specialty shops, boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops. Most shopping is on Maryland Plaza and McPherson and Euclid avenues. Check out an independently owned bookstore that has a wide selection of books, new and used, called Left Bank Books.
3. Historic Main Street
It is a registered historic district in St. Charles that offers more than 125 unique shops. This 200-year-old, ten-block area allows anyone to decorate their home from the buys made here. And the Frenchtown District offers a special spot for antiquers.
4. Downtown Kirkwood
Also known as the Kirkwood Junction, this section of town includes the Kirkwood Farmers’ Market and many specialty stores.
5. Clayton Business District
Upscale boutiques and specialty stores on Maryland Avenue offer a fun girl’s day with many good restaurants in the area as well.
5. Soulard Farmers Market and Cherokee Street
The farmer’s market has served as a market since 1830 with a wide selection of fresh food. It is only open Wednesday through Saturday. And south of Soulard is Cherokee Street, the “antique row” of the area.
730 Carroll Street, St. Louis, 63104, 314-622-4180
Top 5 culture, arts and music
1. Grand Center
It’s four blocks, including the famous Fox Theater, Powell Symphony Hall, the Grandel, the Sheldon, Jazz at the Bistro, and the Creepy Crawl. Visitors will experience arts and culture unique to St. Louis and the nation.
634 N. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 63103, 314-533-1884
2. St. Louis Art Fair and Fair St. Louis
The St. Louis Art Fair is held every September in Clayton and is noted as one of the top five outdoor festivals in the country. Every July, Fair St. Louis (formerly VP Fair) takes over under the Arch with live music, entertainment and fireworks. Entertainment continues on the riverfront during the summer with Live on the Levee.
3. St. Louis Art Museum
At the top of Art Hill in Forest Park, this museum carries more than 30,000 works of art from the time of the ancient Egyptians to the present. A Napoleon exhibit will be open from June 17 to September 16 and will include gowns and furniture from his reign.
1 Fine Arts Drive, St. Louis, 63110, 314-721-0072
4. The Loop
For music, try Blueberry Hill’s Duck and Elvis rooms, where Chuck Berry is a frequent performer. The Pageant offers a small concert feel with a wide selection of music. The Tivoli Theater, which has a 1924 décor, is a proud sponsor of art, limited-release, and foreign films.
5. Forest Park
The park is home to the annual Great Forest Park Balloon Race, and each summer the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis takes over a section of the park for daily performances. Also, the outdoor Muny runs different classic plays throughout the summer. stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark/ or forestparkforever.org
6. Home of the Blues
It’s one of St. Louis’ nicknames, and, for a taste of it, try BB’s Jazz, and Blues & Soups or Broadway Oyster Bar, both on Broadway downtown.
7. Missouri Botanical Garden
Open since 1859, the Garden is a historical landmark and includes the Seiwa-en Japanese garden and the Climatron that houses a tropical rain forest. The Garden will host an outdoor exhibition of stone Chapungu animals from Zimbabwe beginning in May. The Japanese Festival begins in the fall.
4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, 63110, 314 577-9400
8. Riverboat gaming
The local version of this national trend stretches across the city from downtown to St. Charles. Prominent casinos include Ameristar, Casino Queen, Harrah’s and President Casino.
9. Webster University
The Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, in the Loretto-Hilton Theatre on campus, is an opera festival that runs four different operas in English throughout May and June and often features newcomer opera singers.
And celebrating it’s 40th year, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, also in the Loretto-Hilton Theatre, houses six theatre productions September through April and the Kevin Kline Awards in the spring.
10. Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
This popular outdoor music venue, with lawn and covered seating, is open May though October.
14141 Riverport Drive, St. Louis, 63043, 314-298-9944
Food/Wine for Locals
(R indicates reservations are a good idea; L indicates lunch; D indicates dinner)
1. Eleven Eleven Mississippi
In operation since 2003, Eleven Eleven Mississippi offers Tuscan and northern California cuisines. In the Lafayette Square area, the restaurant boasts two floors and a trendy bar.
1111 Mississippi Ave., St. Louis, 63104, 314-241-9999. R/L/D. Closed Sundays; no lunch Saturdays.
2. Trattoria Marcella
In the South Hampton area, it is one of the best Italian places in town. Known for its homemade pastas, it even serves homemade toasted ravioli — St. Louis’ claim to fame.
3600 Watson Road, St. Louis, 63109, 314-352-7706. R/D. Open Tuesday through Saturday.
3. Annie Gunn’s
A great Irish bar that specializes in steaks, chops and seafood. It features locally produced meats and is in suburban Chesterfield. Also connected to the restaurant is the Smokehouse, a gourmet market and deli.
16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, St. Louis, 63005, 636-532-7684. R/L/D. Closed Mondays.
4. Sidney Street Café
On the edge of Soulard, Sidney has a romantic décor, with exceptional food from around the globe. Don’t expect anything less than how the menu reads.
2000 Sidney Street, St. Louis, 63104, 314-771-5777. R/D. Open Tuesday through Saturday.
Just turning 35, with new ownership and a recent remodel, this restaurant is an American bistro with a French flair. 405 N. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, 63108, 314-361-8085. R/L/D. Closed Sundays.
This restaurant creates American cuisine with seasonal ingredients and has a fun atmosphere.
1059 S. Big Bend, St. Louis, 63117, 314-645-3522. R/D. Closed Mondays.
7. Bailey’s Chocolate Bar
In Lafayette Square, this bar, with its red decor and late-night atmosphere, pizzetas, cheeses, desserts and an extensive alcohol list, attracts many. Sixty beers and chocolate martinis are only a sampling of the full bar.
1915 Park Ave, St. Louis, 63104, 314-241-8100. No reservations but times to avoid crowds are on the weekend before 8 p.m. or after 11 p.m. It is best to call ahead and ask how busy it is. Dinner only; open every day of the week.
It’s an upscale Italian restaurant on The Hill that cannot be missed. From risotto to bowtie pasta and veal scaloppini, you will not leave unsatisfied. Expect to be greeted in Italian.
5201 Shaw Avenue, St. Louis, 63110, 314-772-5958. R/D. Closed Sundays.
Sophisticated, upscale American cuisine; the restaurant has locations in both Clayton and Frontenac and is notable for its lunches and for frequently changing menus.
8100 Maryland Ave., St. Louis, 63105, 314-726-5055. R/L/D. Closed Sundays.
94 Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis, 63131. R/L/D. Open every day of the week.
10. Schlafly Bottleworks
Enjoy a bottle of St. Louis’ own Schlafly brewed beer in Maplewood. The restaurant serves classic American comfort food. Also, try the Schlafly Tap Room downtown before a sports game.
7260 Southwest Ave., St. Louis, 63143, 314-241-2337. R (except on Fridays and Saturdays after 5 p.m., and in general not as necessary as the other restaurants mentioned)/L/D. Open every day of the week.
If you are under 21, Fitz’s root beer never gets old. L/D. Open every day of the week.
Best dessert for tourists
Ted Drewes — The St. Louis custard has two locations in town. 4224 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis, 63111, 314-352-7376 and 6726 Chippewa, St. Louis, 63109, 314-481-2652
Best dessert for locals
St. Louis Frozen Custard Factory — With a wide selection of flavors and walk-up or drive-through service, the place and the taste comes awfully close to Ted Drewes.
9420 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 63119, 314-961-9191
Karl Bissingers — After serving their hand-crafted chocolate to European nobility several centuries ago, this French chocolatier has their delicacies located in four places in St. Louis: 4742 McPherson, St. Louis, 63108; 2053 Saint Louis Galleria, St. Louis, 63117; 97 Plaza Frontenac, St. Louis, 63131; 142 Crestwood Plaza, St. Louis, 63126.
Village Bar — This classic, smoky, hole-in-the-wall bar has exceptional burgers, as well as waffle fries and shuffleboard.
12247 Manchester Road, St. Louis, 63131, 314-821-4532. L/D. Open every day of the week
Best pizza for tourists
Imo’s — Take a bite of St. Louis’ famous thin-crust pizza. Several locations in and around St. Louis. Imospizza.com
Best pizza for locals
Dewey’s — It’s a chain with two locations in town. Not only does Dewey’s offer a large selection of ingredients, customers can choose between red and white sauces. They are also known for great salads. Be prepared to wait at night — usually a half an hour — especially on weekends. If you are in a hurry, order to carry out.
L/D. Open every day of the week but no lunch on Sundays.
Best wine shop
Wine Merchant — With two locations in town, it has one of the widest selections of wines and cheeses in the area.
Missouri Bakery Co. — If you are looking for great bread, cookies and Italian pastries, this bakery on The Hill is a perfect spot. Avoid weekends and holidays unless you want to take a ticket and stand in line.
2027 Edwards St., St. Louis, 63110, 314-773-6566
Top 5 history destinations
1. Gateway Arch
Missouri’s most famed monument, known as the Gateway to the West. If you aren’t afraid of heights and are not claustrophobic, a trip to the top, about 630 feet up, is a must.
St. Louis Riverfront, St. Louis, 63102, 877-982-1410
2. Old Courthouse
One of downtown’s architectural and historical landmarks, it was the site of the Dred Scott trials. The Old Courthouse marks the 150th anniversary of the decision with a yearlong exhibit.
11 N. 4th St., Saint Louis, 63102, 314-655-1700
3. Anheuser-Busch Brewery
The King of Beers originated here and the brewery’s tour includes a trip to the historic stable, watching beer being made and, if you’re of age, a beer sampling at the end. 12th & Lynch streets, St. Louis, 63118, 314-577-2626
The Basilica of St. Louis is the city’s oldest church and a national monument.
209 Walnut St., St. Louis, 63102, 314-231-3250
The New Cathedral, or Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, in the Central West End, is home to the largest mosaic collection in the world and can be recognized by its dark-green mosaic dome.
4431 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63108, 314-373-8200
5. Soldiers Memorial Military Museum
Dedicated by former president Franklin Roosevelt, it honors WWI veterans. The exterior features gigantic stone panels and beautiful statues.
1315 Chestnut Street, St. Louis, 63103, 314-622-4550
5. Missouri History Museum
Located in Forest Park, this museum includes exhibits on Charles Lindbergh, the 1904 World’s Fair, and Lewis and Clark in Missouri. “St. Louis Takes to the Air,” showing the history of what made the city an aviation center, will be on exhibit June through September. 5700 Lindell Blvd., St. Louis, 63112, 314-746-4599
-- Compiled by Talbot Merlotti