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Explore St.Louis


Article by Grady McGill

Photography by Grady McGill + Mary Welch

This country has some of the best cities in the world—New York City, Charleston, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami. But there are also places whose restaurants are just as delightful, their museums as informative, their sports teams just as winning and the experience just as fun—if not more. St. Louis has surprises on each block, and it’s a fun city to walk around and explore. The subway system is easy to use and gets you where you want to go—especially the airports, sports arenas and museums.

Case in point: St. Louis, Missouri. Most people may know St. Louis for two things—the Gateway Arch and Anheuser-Busch—and those two things are worth the trip alone! But there’s so much more. St. Louis is an old city with fantastic brownstones and office buildings that are just now coming to life. There’s a vibrancy in the air—you feel it! Our hotel, for instance, the Hotel St. Louis, which opened its doors last year, was a bank built between 1886 and 1888, and the Greek Revival architecture is amazing, particularly the marbled lobby and ornate elevator doors. St. Louis has unique neighborhoods filled with Italian bakeries, Irish bars and German eateries with homemade sausages. Every street was an international experience. And, don’t forget to try Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a local icon for more than 80 years.

Of course, with restaurants comes beer, and St. Louis, along with Milwaukee, is the home to the country’s largest breweries. In fact, more people drink Bud Light than any other beer. A trip to the brewery is a must. It’s a short Uber ride from downtown, and the guides take you through the history of the company, a little about Prohibition and a nice visit with the famed Clydesdales. They take their beer seriously here, and for the past two years, USA Today named it the “Best Beer Scene” in the country. There are at least 35 breweries, including 2nd Shift Brewing, 4 Hands Brewing Company and Bluewood Brewing. Want to know how much they love beer? The restaurant in our hotel, the Olive 400, even had beer pairings with breakfast!

Museums and Food

St. Louis is full of culture, and some of its best museums include the Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Science Center and the Saint Louis Art Museum. It also has some that you won’t find elsewhere, which is just another reason to love this city. For instance, there’s the Jefferson Barracks Telephone Museum, the National Museum of Transportation, the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, the Miniature Museum of Greater St. Louis and the World Chess Hall of Fame.

We loved the City Museum ,where it looks like all the junk and leftover stuff, such as airplanes, machines and ramps, are all put together and children are able to just run free with their imaginations.

However, our favorite museum was the National Blues Museum, where we could listen to the blues and connect it to some of our favorite modern music that was influenced by these artists, such as the Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers and Janis Joplin. Actually, who wasn’t influenced by the blues? There is a hall of fame of legends from BB King to Louie Armstrong. The museum is a learning experience. Then, go next door to Sugarfire Smoke House. There are a few cities that can boast being a barbecue hotbed, and this is one of them. Everything on the menu is fantastic, and there are seven different sauces to smother your ribs, pulled pork or brisket. We tried several barbecue places, and each one was amazing. It’s a good thing St. Louis is a walking city because you will be very well fed!

Sports and the Arch

St. Louis is a sports town with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team and St. Louis Blues hockey team (which won the Stanley Cup championship last year) and a yet-to-be-named Major League Soccer team leading the way. But there are also several semi-pro men’s and women’s hockey, basketball and soccer teams to whet your competitive appetite.

The symbol of St. Louis is the Gateway Arch as in the gateway to the West. We were there during the 2018 government shutdown, so we weren’t able to take the elevator up the Arch. For photographers, the best pictures can be found by taking the train to the East Riverfront Station in East St. Louis, Il., on the riverboats or by the Old Courthouse.

St. Louis is a fantastic city and frankly, you won’t know how great it is until you visit. 

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