St. Louis has many charming neighborhoods connected by less charming highways. The public transport is abysmal, so be prepared to drive.
While downtown is where you'll find the sports stadiums and a number of tourist attractions, it's not necessarily where you want to stay. Much of this area gets quiet during non-business hours and there is not much to do.
The Loop is a great place to go during the day or at night. This neighborhood has it all, from local restaurants and boutique shops to hipster bowling, and live concerts.
Tower Grove is a park full of beautiful World's Fair pavilions. The surround-ing neighborhoods in all directions have their own distinct vibe, so make sure to walk around.
Soulard is an old industrial neighborhood, centred around the old Anheuser-Busch brewery. Visit this neighborhood for good food, and drinks of all kind, including beer.
While Forest Park isn't actually a neighborhood, it's worth mentioning as one since it houses days' worth of tourist attractions.
The Central West End
The Central West End is an upscale neighborhood full of nice shops and restaurants.
See & Do
St. Louis's most famous landmark is undeniably the Gateway Arch. Situated alongside the Mississippi river, a ride to the top of the arch provides lovely views to both the east and the west.
Contemporary Art Museum
Right next to the Pulitzer Arts Foundation, the Contemporary Art Museum or CAM is a small arts building with rotating shows. Check their site to see if their current exhibit intrigues you.
The St. Louis Zoo is a wonderful destination for both children and adults. It's easy to spend hours with the over-700 species of animals in what is consistently ranked one of the best zoos in the United States.
Just across from the zoo is Turtle Park, a small park full of giant turtles. Whether it's for play or just the photo op, Turtle Park is worth visiting.
Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove is not only a neighborhood full of great food, it's also a park filled with beautiful pavilions and lily ponds.
The Missouri Botanical Garden is a gardener's dream. Wander through the paths of the Japanese Garden or get lost in the beautiful butterflies of the Climatron.
The Science Center
The Science Center is an interactive museum where kids (and adults) can learn about all sorts of sciences. My favorite pastime is building a catenary arch out of foam blocks.
The Art Museum
The St. Louis Art Museum is an amazing collection of art, both old and new. While the newly-renovated modern wing is lovely, I prefer the baroque classics like St. Francis Contemplating a Skull.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
Laumeier sculpture park is a giant outdoor sculpture garden with over 60 sculptures. Take an afternoon to wander about and discover them all.
Pulitzer Arts Foundation
The Pulitzer Arts Foundation has rotating shows of both historic, and contemporary art. The museum itself is lovely, and the curation is always thoughtful.
If you have time for only one thing, make sure to see City Museum. Great for both adults and children, City Museum is a giant playground that extends many stories into the air both inside and outside of an old building.
The museum was conceived by local celebrity and artist Bob Cassily whose imagination is made evident by the manmade caves, 10-story slide, rooftop Ferris wheel, and more.
Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and clothes that you can be active in.
Food & Drink
Crown Candy Kitchen
Crown Candy is a family-owned diner that's been in St. Louis for over 100 years. Serving traditional lunch fare, the real reason to visit Crown Candy is for the malts, milkshakes, and sundaes. Also make sure to check out their huge selection of chocolates and other candies.
MoKaBe's is a classic café serving co ee and sandwiches right across the street from Tower Grove park. Their veggie-focused Sunday brunch is so amazing, I always make sure my visits include a Sunday.
Bailey's Chocolate Bar
Bailey's Chocolate Bar in Soulard is the perfect way to end any night – whether you're looking for dessert or a dessert cocktail. I recommend the signature hot.
Rooster has restaurants in both Downtown and in Tower Grove. Visit if your craving crêpes in either sweet or savory varieties.
Fitz's is a local rootbeer company. Visit their restaurant and factory in The Loop for classic American food and gigantic rootbeer oats.
Ices Plain and Fancy
This little nitro ice cream parlor is sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.
When Obama had this organic Chicago-style pizza, he declared it the best. Poor Chicago.
Found in Soulard, this local favorite makes for the perfect mid-day snack... or even breakfast or lunch!
The Schafly Tap Room
I'm not a beer drinker, but my local friends all enjoy a Schla y. Visit the Tap Room for beer, food, and live music. If it's autumn, don't miss the Pumpkin Ale.
Also in Tower Grove, Mangia Italiano is an Italian eatery that serves freshly made pasta. Don't forget to try the St. Louis classic – toasted ravioli (available in meat and veggie).
The Royale is a distinctly St. Louis bar. Located in Tower Grove, this place engenders the blue-city-in-a-red-state feeling shared by so many in St. Louis proper.
Open 24 hours on the weekends, City Diner is the place to go when you need a bite to eat after a show or a late night.