St. Louis resident Adam Sommer shares some of his favorite things to see and do in the city. Adam is the publisher of Visit Flyover Country, a family guide that covers destinations from all throughout the USA.
If someone only had one day to spend in St. Louis, where would you recommend they go?
No visit to St. Louis would be complete without a journey to the top of the Gateway Arch, our city’s most famous site. Down the street from the Arch is the Anheuser Busch Brewery where visitors can enjoy a free tour, free beer tastings, and best of all, views of the world-famous Clydesdales who call Missouri home. A few miles from downtown is the site of the famous 1904 World’s Fair, Forest Park. Today Forest Park is the cultural center of the city as the home the world’s most visited zoo, the Saint Louis Zoo (free), the Missouri History Museum (free), the just expanded Saint Louis Art Museum (free), and the award-winning St. Louis Science Center (also free).
What are some of the city’s best attractions for families?
City Museum is probably the newest and most cutting edge children’s museum in the nation – and it’s for adults too! Part children’s museum, part aquarium, and part science center it’s all build with such an eccentric twist it’s impossible to describe! Located downtown and open late (including a full service bar) on weekends, City Museum is will provide the whole family lasting memories.
What are some of your favorite museums in St. Louis?
The Saint Louis Art Museum, already one of the world’s finest, just opened a grand expansion in 2013. The new addition, designed by famed architect Sir David Chipperfield, vastly grew the exhibit space and offering of the museum, including a fine dining restaurant. As one of the oldest and largest art museums in the nation, it’s a must-visit for even the casual art lover.
Where should people go to chow down like the locals?
Crown Candy Kitchen, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard and Imos Pizza are the iconic St. Louis eateries. Crown Candy is famous for its rounds on various television shows for its extreme BLT (includes over one-pound of bacon!) and shake challenge; Ted Drewes is has its famous concrete; and Imos offers pizza cut in square slices topped with a St. Louis original, provel cheese. Check out some of the best breakfasts and best burgers in town.
What’s the city’s best kept secret?
The Missouri Botanical Garden! Typically ranked in the top 10 in the world, the Missouri Botanical Garden is so much more than a typical garden – it is widely considered one of the global centers of botanical research. The new children’s garden is one of the nation’s biggest and best, and the garden’s signature events (Chinese Culture Days, Japanese Festival, Best of Missouri Market) are worth coming to town all on their own!
What do you like least about St. Louis?
Public transportation. Although Metrolink will get tourists from the airport to downtown, its service is fairly limited to any other city attractions. St. Louis is very spread out, and to really enjoy the city a car is required.
What are some of your favorite day trips?
Hannibal, Missouri is the home to all things Mark Twain including the Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum and the Mark Twain Riverboat. Cape Girardeau, Missouri is also a great day trip for kids who will love the new Discovery Playhouse (children’s museum) located downtown near the Mississippi River flood walls covered in gorgeous murals as well as the Lazy L Safari Park and the free Conservation Nature Center. On the Illinois side, but still only a 90 minute drive, is Springfield, Illinois where the family can visit out 16th President’s tomb, homestead and one of the best Presidential museums in the nation.