I've been in St. Louis for just over 28 hours, and I've tried to cover as many bases as possible. What I haven't covered myself, I've gotten recommendations of for folks traveling throughout this city this weekend (and any time, actually), on where to go for libations, entertainment, and more.
I've broken the list down into three parts:
1. Places I've gone
2. Places I would have liked to go
3. Places I've been told to go
There's plenty of room for additions to the list, so if you know any places, feel free to add them in the comments at the end and keep the suggestions flowing.
Places I've gone
1. Mike Shannon's Steaks & Seafood
Go: If you're a fan of steaks, perfect pairings, and a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere.
More: Owned and operated by Mike Shannon and his family, this spot is a gem. It's perfect for the traveling businessman, local sports fan, or college student looking to kick back with friends.
Try: Toasted ravioli. It's not on the menu, but like I was told, it's a must-do while you're here. You'll thank me later.
2. Three Sixty (in the Hilton)
Go: If you want to feel like you're on top of the world.
More: Stellar views of Busch Stadium from the roof decks, floor to ceiling streaming fountains, and friendly servers are just three of the pluses of this downtown establishment. For you lucky ducks that got rooms in the Hilton, start off with drinks and snacks here while you catch a view of the teams warming up before heading to the stadium.
Try: Schlafly Pumpkin Ale on tap.
3. The Flying Saucer
Go: If you feel like trying a flight of beers from their selection of 80 taps.
More: This is a chain. One of 17. From what I hear, St. Louisans are big into their locally bred brands, but this spot is so close to the ballpark, it's hard to ignore. There are 80 selections on tap, around 150 in bottles, and a full menu of goodies to indulge in before or after the game.
Try: A beer and a bratzel.
4. Culinaria (grocery store)
Go: If you forgot any of the essentials in Boston.
More: You'd never know it from walking by outside, but there's a fully-stocked, large scale grocery store in downtown St. Louis. Surprise! Culinaria is close to the City Museum so if you want to stop and get sandwiches before going to explore (see No. 5) the museum, that's totally doable. I picked up a made-to-order wrap and banana for under $6.
Try: Whatever you need.
5. City Museum
Go: If you have (or want to feel like) a kid
More: Walking down Washington Ave. and looking up means seeing lots of varying architecture, and it also means (if you're in the vicinity) seeing the ferris wheel on the rooftop of City Museum. There is nothing typical about this "museum." It's more like a jungle gym on Pixy Stix steroids. There's a 10 story spiral slide (video), an outdoor play area with oversize ball pit, gutted airplane, and dozens of other treats. I could go on and on, but seriously, go there.
Try: To make it to every exhibit in the building.
6. The Dubliner
Go: If you're craving an Irish pub.
More: This was the first place that I walked in and was actually given a hard time for wearing my Red Sox hat. It only got worse when two friends that I made on Twitter joined me, also sporting Boston gear -- and I liked it. This was the rivalry I was looking for the entire time I ventured through St. Louis. I know I haven't been here long, but I thought I would have gotten a bigger rise out of the people here than I did.
Try: Not to get in a fight with the bartenders when you show your Red Sox pride.
7. Three Kings Pub (University City, Delmar Loop)
Go: If you're looking for a Hub-style bar/eatery in the Lou.
More: I walked in and immediately felt at home in this bar. I could see this place thriving in Harvard Square or Fort Point. The menu features comfort food and owner Ryan Pinkston recommends burgers, fried chicken, and chicken wings. If you're staying the Delmar Loop, or venture there (via car or Metrolink), hit up Three Kings.
Try: The bacon jam pub burger with Gruyere cheese.
8. Blueberry Hill (University City, Delmar Loop)
Go: If you want to visit a St. Louis institution.
More: Blueberry Hill opened in 1972 and is a true St. Louis institution. Every time I told a local that Blueberry Hill was on my list, they had the same reaction, "Ahhh." As if I was talking of sacred ground. If you consider a venue where Chuck Berry has played 199 shows, then yes, BH is it. I sat down with founder Joe Edwards who has helped revitalize the Delmar Loop over the past 40 years, brought countless independent businesses to the area, and met almost every celebrity you could think of. I'll have a separate post on this area legend later.
Try: The 5 oz. cheeseburger with cheddar, lettuce, onion, and tomato.
9. Mission Taco Joint (University City, Delmar Loop)
Go: If you want authentic Mexican and margaritas.
More: There's only one TV in Mission Taco, so this wouldn't be the place to necessarily watch a game, but it would be the place to visit for a late night taco once the game ends. The bar recently instated a late-night happy hour featuring $2 tacos from 10 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. A wall of tequila has something for every margarita lover, and if you're lucky, bartender Kyle will perform a mini magic show for you while you imbibe.
Try: A signature margarita and torta.
10. Top of the Riverfront (in The Millennium Hotel)
Go: If you're staying in the hotel and want to check out a killer view of the sights.
More: Top of the Riverfront is a pretty standard hotel restaurant in terms of food, but the fact that it rotates sets it apart from other local in-house eateries. One minute you're looking at the Gateway Arch, the next your omelet, and the third, you're staring directly into Busch Stadium.
Try: Not to stare at the revolving seam in the floor. It kind of made me nauseous.
Places I would have liked to go
1. Any of the local breweries
Go: If you're a beer lover.
More: Anheuser-Busch has its headquarters in St. Louis and offers Budweiser Brewery Tours for 21+ crews. There are a slew of other craft breweries in the area that have similar programs, including Schlafly (that's the pumpkin brewer I loved). Get more details about other beer makers via Beer Advocate.
Try: Beer. Duh.
2. Local Harvest
Go: If you're a clean eater looking for something that's not... fried.
More: Toasted raviolis are delicious, but you can't eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (or can you?), so if you're looking for something light and clean, head to Local Harvest for breakfast, brunch, or lunch depending on the day. The local spot has a mouthwatering menu that I wish I had time to try, featuring locally grown goods.
Try: Something and let me know how it is.
Go: If you're a breakfast person. This one came per Jamie, a bartender at Three Sixty, who told me there's no other place in St. Louis to get breakfast. If my hotel hadn't come with breakfast, I would have walked the 12 minutes to get there and would have probably tried every crepe on the menu. Seriously. They have sweet and savory varieties, along with other hearty breakfast items.
Try: A crepe. For my sake.
4. Robust Wine Bar
Go: If you're a wino.
More: When I reached out to the twittersphere for recommendations on a late lunch spot, the masses replied with recommendations for Robust on Washington Ave. I regret that I chose another spot over this one, because it was booming and I completely missed it on my way to City Museum. Next time, I'll make it.
Try: One of the cheese plates paired with a tastefully selected wine.
5. Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar
Go: If you're looking for an intriguing menu.
More: This is another "should've, would've, could've" on my list of places in the area. The current specials menu features things like pumpkin hummus and a dessert crepe stuffed with blueberry compote. Think they'll let me take one of each to go?
Try: The specials.
Places I've been told to go
1. Broadway Oyster Bar
Go: If you're looking for a party.
More: This place is lit up like Mardi Gras from the street with a menu to match, and from what I've heard; it's a local party staple. It's pretty close to the stadium and would be good for reveling in a win, or forgetting a loss. A New Orleans-style food selection of crawfish, jambalaya, muffuletta, and po'boys has my mouth watering.
Try: The alligator and shrimp cheesecake appetizer.
2. Paddy O's
Go: If you're looking for a true sports bar near Busch Stadium.
More: Paddy O's was launched by Medfield native Veta Martorelli and the former Bostonian was torn during the 2004 World Series. If you feel like trying to push her buttons, head over to the sports bar and ask who she's supporting this season. This spot is only open during Cardinals home games so I couldn't scope it out.
Try: To get Veta back on the Sox side.
3. Forest Park
Go: If you're bringing your family and/or enjoy the outdoors.
More: Forest Park encompasses the St. Louis Zoo, several golf courses, the St. Louis Art Museum, Steinberg Skating Rink, and more. Forest Park is larger than New York's Central Park and offers plenty of FREE things to do, including the zoo, which could be a fun stop depending on the weekend weather. If you venture in that direction, you'll be a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Delmar Loop where you can grab a bite and pint before heading downtown for the game.
Try: As many activities as you can.
That's all I've got for now. If you have any recommendations on where visitors should go, add them in the comments section.
A couple more...
1. The Gateway Arch
Go: If you aren't afraid of heights.
More: You can walk to this St. Louis landmark from Busch Stadium with ease. It sits along the Mighty Mississippi with its own man-made water feature (I guess you could call it a pond) and perfectly manicured lawns. It's an awe-inspiring monument on its own, but the real jaw-dropping moment comes when you take a look from the top -- or so I've heard. I told the locals I wasn't afraid of heights but when it came down to it, I liked my view from the ground just enough to keep me there.
Try: The journey to the top until 6 p.m.
2. The Hill
Go: If you want to see the Lou's Italian neighborhood.
More: Us Bostonians are big fans of the North End. Let's be real, how can you not be a fans of the North End? That being said, I don't know if The Hill can live up to our Boston waterfront neighborhood, but from what I hear, it's worth giving a shot.
Try: A cannoli and let me know if they're as good as Cafe Vittoria's.