The Two-Day Best of St. Louis

View of the courthouse with the arch rising up to frame it in the background.

St. Louis’s landmark Old Courthouse. Photo © Kwan Tse/123rf.

Only have two days in the Gateway to the West? Don’t worry. You can still experience the best of the city in two days with this packed itinerary.


Day 1

Start your first day in St. Louis off right—with a strong cup of coffee and delicious crêpe at Rooster.

After your appetite has been sated (and your caffeine needs met), head due east on Locust Street. The Jefferson Expansion Memorial Park and world-famous Gateway Arch are just eight blocks away.

After a tram ride to the Arch’s observation deck, stop by the Old Courthouse for a mini-St. Louis history lesson, and then head southwest toward Busch Stadium to see the St. Louis Cardinals. Even if you don’t have game tickets, it’s worth walking around Busch’s perimeter to get a sense of St. Louis sports history.

The 8th Street MetroLink station is directly across the street from the stadium, and from there you can take the train to the Delmar Loop. Walk three blocks west of the Delmar Boulevard MetroLink stop, and you will find myriad shops and lunch options, including the landmark Blueberry Hill.

Take the MetroLink to the DeBaliviere stop, then hop on the 90 or 3 bus into Forest Park. From the stop at the top of Art Hill, the Saint Louis Zoo is less than a five-minute walk away.

By day’s end, a cocktail will be in order, and there is no finer place (or view!) than Cielo in the Four Seasons hotel. Kick back at this elegant bar and watch the sun set over the Mississippi River.

After whetting the appetite with a few small plates, head to Niche for dinner via car or the Four Seasons’ limousine service. It’s not every day that a Food & Wine Best New Chef and three-time James Beard Award finalist makes you dinner.

Finish the evening at B.B.’s Jazz, Blues, and Soups for more drinks and some live music.

Day 2

Start off your day with a delicious, leisurely breakfast at one of the delightful coffeehouses in the Central West End. The Central West End location of Pi Pizzeria offers delectable breakfast pizza (and some of the best coffee in town) 6am-11am every day. Coffee Cartel, a people-watching mainstay at the corner of Euclid and Maryland, whips up espresso drinks that will jump-start your morning. Then walk over to the Cathedral Basilica for a self-guided tour.

From the cathedral, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis is only a short cab ride away; the fare clocks in at right around 5 bucks.

After taking in the latest exhibition at the Contemporary, take another quick cab ride south to nearby Grand Boulevard. The Grand South Grand neighborhood, just past Tower Grove Park, offers some great shops and ethnic markets. Selecting a lunch spot can be challenging—given the overwhelming number of great spots—but you can’t go wrong with the a steaming bowl of pho at LemonGrass or delicious homemade pasta at Mangia Italiano.

Next, take a nice walk (or a quick ride on the 70 bus) to the Missouri Botanical Garden. After a stroll around the grounds, catch a cab or take the 8 bus to the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Cherokee Street.

A short jaunt down Cherokee puts you in the heart of the city’s largest Latino neighborhood. Taquería El Bronco offers some great, fresh choices for an inexpensive dinner, and some good margaritas as well. Whether your preferred post-prandial activity is antiques shopping or club hopping, you’ll find both options on Cherokee (most of the antiques stores stay open until 7pm). 2720 Cherokee Performing Arts Center, which serves as both a nightclub and a massive art space, is particularly fun.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon St. Louis.

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