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101 Things Every St. Louisan Must Do

You can travel across the country, carrying your laptop from one Starbucks to the next, and never know where you are. Or you can stay in St. Louis and rack up a long list of experiences so quirky, so rooted in this place, so delightful and so inimitable, they could only happen here.

 

CLICK HERE TO READ THE 2013 VERSION OF THIS LIST.


See

1. The Gateway Arch—it’s a given. But you’ve got to be there about 10 minutes before sunset, preferably in the spring or fall when the air is very, very clear. And you’ve got to stand about 75 feet to the south and 50 feet west of the south leg (the one closer to the Poplar Street Bridge), looking at the north leg (the one closer to the Veterans Bridge). What you will see is an array of color more vivid than any rainbow—really glorious reds and blues and greens, shimmering off the metal. The display ends as soon as the sun drops behind the horizon, leaving a reddish-orange glow until the city lights are reflected in the Arch’s steel skin. (707 N. First, 314-655-1700, gatewayarch.com)

2. The mosaics lining the walls of the New Cathedral. With approximately 41.5 million glass pieces, this is the largest mosaic collection in the world. The best way to experience it? Lie down in the nave, if you can, and gaze up at the glowing world above. Don’t miss the Stations of the Cross, restored in 2004. (4431 Lindell, 314-373-8200, cathedralstl.org)

3. Ernest Trova’s sculptures, tucked away in the wooded grounds of Laumeier Sculpture Park. It was his gift of 40 sculptures—the largest public collection of this internationally known St. Louisan’s work—that made it possible for the park to open, and coming upon one of his Cantos or Variations amid the trees is magical. (12580 Rott, 314-615-5278, laumeier.org)

4. The city from the top of the Compton Hill Water Tower, one of seven such towers remaining in the country. This one’s elegant French Romanesque, built in 1898 to costume a 100-foot standpipe, and a haunt of architects for its 360-degree view of the city. (Compton Hill Reservoir Park, 
Grand & Russell, stlouis.missouri.org/comptonhill/tower)

5. These 10 signature artworks from our beloved Saint Louis Art Museum (not all of which are on view at all times): the Egyptian Mummy Mask, the Buddhist deity Guanyin, Liu Cai’s 8-foot-long hand-scroll Fish Swimming Amid Falling Flowers, George Caleb Bingham’s The Verdict of the People, Vincent van Gogh’s Stairway at Auvers, Henri Matisse’s Bathers With a Turtle, Max Beckmann’s Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery, Claude Monet’s Water Lilies, Jackson Pollock’s Number 3, 1950 and Gerhard Richter’s Betty. (One Fine Arts Drive, 314-721-0072, slam.org)

6. Mastodon State His­toric Site, where archaeologists unearthed both Clovis arrowheads and mammoth bones, proving humans and prehistoric creatures existed side-by-side. Learn more about Missouri’s oldest Native American cultural site, and see a fully assembled (and fully intimidating) mastodon skeleton. Or just hike the 425-acre site, feeling the enormous cache of ancient history beneath your waffle stompers. (1050 Charles Becker, Imperial, Mo., 636-464-2976, mostateparks.com)

7. Theodore C. Link’s Union Station as it deserves to be seen—not as just another mall, but as an architectural marvel. The trick? Bring only enough dough to pay for parking or mass transit, thereby precluding consumerist temptation. Then appreciate the Market Street monolith as one of the metro area’s preeminent prodigies. (1820 Market, 314-421-6655, stlouisunionstation.com)

8. Forest Park’s Art Deco masterpiece, the Jewel Box conservatory; its masterful renovation left each facet of glass sparkling and gave the wild orchids room to breathe the light. Tennessee Williams sent Laura here for solace in The Glass Menagerie. (Forest Park, 314-531-0080, stlouis.missouri.org)

9. Eagles fly while you stand gravity-bound on the Chain of Rocks Bridge, gazing jealously through binoculars on a chilly January weekend. Even better, try watching them dive for fish in the churning waters at Lock & Dam 24 in Clarksville. Well worth the drive.

10. The Wainwright tomb at Bellefontaine Cemetery, its domed limestone decorated with Louis Sullivan’s signature foliage patterns and as serene as a Buddhist temple. Commissioned upon the tragic death of young Charlotte Dickson Wainwright, the tomb is considered one of the masterpieces of American architect Sullivan, who created the modern skyscraper and mentored Frank Lloyd Wright. A great place for pondering mortality. (4947 W. Florissant, 314-381-0750, bellefontainecemetery.com)

11. The Altar of Answered Prayers at the Shrine of St. Joseph, erected by parishioners who, after praying to
St. Joseph, were spared from the cholera epidemic of 1866. Or you can kiss the relic containing a sliver of bone from St. Peter Claver’s shin, which—as attested to by the Vatican—healed a German ironworker, Ignatius Strecker, who developed necrosis of the ribs after being struck in the chest by an iron spike. For a more contemporary brush with divinity, travel to Cahokia’s Holy Family Log Church, its chalice used first in 1698 and three centuries later by Pope John Paul II. (1220 N. 11th St., 314-231-9407, shrineofstjoseph.org. Holy Family Parish Log Church, 116 Church St., Cahokia, Ill., 618-337-4548)

12. The Saint Louis Zoo penguins. Their habitats are welcome relief in July, but if you go on a dreary, drizzly day in the fall, you can watch them waddle for hours, uninterrupted. Spot your favorite Gentoo, Rockhopper or King penguin winging through the icy waters of the Penguin Cove, then go out to the tidal pool to see the Humboldt penguins and their pelican pals through the rush of a 22-foot waterfall. (One Government Drive, 314-781-0900, stlzoo.org)

13. The Black Madonna Shrine and Grottos in Eureka. Though his materials were humble—cement, junk jewelry and Missouri stone—Brother Bronislaus Luszcz’s collection of sculptures is powerful as both spiritual testament and public art. His grottoes dedicated to Mary, Joseph and St. Francis glitter with 1950s brooches and pearl clip-on earrings, and the statues were poured from standard lawn-saint molds, but Brother Luszcz’s longing for the ineffable transformed the everyday into the transcendent. (8 miles outside Eureka, Mo., 636-938-5151, franciscancaring.org)

14. Shaw Nature Reserve sans camera, guidebook or binoculars. Let your feet and curiosity be your tour guides. There are sufficient prairie, marshland, woodland, forest and glade areas to lose yourself to that giddy place where you hear and smell and feel rather than think, finding yourself without any need to peer at plaques or rifle through your birding guide. Sometimes forgetting the definition of “angiosperm” is a very good thing. (Highway 100, 636-451-3512, shawnature.org)

15. The Piasa (pronounced PIE-uh-saw) monster (“the bird that devours man”), re-created high on the bluffs of the Great River Road. This prehistoric pictograph, carved deep into stone and painted, was first recorded in 1673—and it scared even the Jesuits. (Illinois Highway 100, Alton, Ill., roadsideamerica.com)

Do

16. Paddle through Forest Park’s waterways, starting at the Boat House and winding up there again at sunset to eat and drink on the dock. (6101 Government Drive, 314-367-2224, boathouseforestpark.com)

17. Pick at least one ritual of your own in this festival-rich city: Mardi Gras in Soulard, the St. Paddy’s Day Parade in Dogtown, Fair St. Louis, one of the Greek festivals, the Festival of Nations, the Polish Festival at the Polish Falcons Gardens, the French festivals in Ste. Genevieve, the Thanksgiving Day Parade downtown …

18. Drag a few of your urban-phobic friends into the “big, bad city” for a Downtown Gallery Walk, and show them what they’ve been missing. (downtowngallerywalk.com)

19. Kick up your heels at the Casa Loma Ballroom to the sounds of Sentimental Journey or the Knights of Swing. If you don’t dance, grab a table, order up a burger and enjoy the music—these are real live big bands, as they were meant to be heard. You’ll hear standards, sure, but keep listening. The cats at Casa Loma are anything but predictable. (3354 Iowa, 314-664-8000, casalomaballroom.com)

20. Rendezvous with faux-fur trappers, colonial soldiers, settlers, voyageurs and blacksmiths at Fort de Chartres in Prairie du Rocher. In the 18th century, the rendezvous was the peak of a fur trapper’s year; now the fort’s June Rendezvous is hog heaven for history lovers. Hundreds of reenactors camp on-site, and visitors can watch archery demonstrations, listen to period music or even learn how to tan a hide (!) themselves. (Fort de Chartres, 1350 State Route 155, Prairie du Rocher, Ill., 618-284-7230, ftdechartres.com)

21. Go grass-sledding on a block of ice on a hot summer’s day at Sioux Passage Park. Better yet: Let the kids run around on the playground—one of North County’s best—until they’re tuckered out. Then put ’em on ice. (17930 Old Jamestown, 314-615-8840, stlouisco.com/parks)

22. Feed the pygmy goats in the Tier Garten at Grant’s Farm, Affton’s 281-acre wonderland. The wee things’ hilariously single-minded devotion to gorging themselves—they’re little more than stomachs with legs—will lighten even the gloomiest mood. We kid you not. (10501 Gravois, 314-843-1700, grantsfarm.com)

23. Picnic at Tower Grove Park’s Fountain Pond—the stone ruins would fire Byron’s European imagination, but they’re really bits of the Lindell Hotel that burned in 1867, and the stone balustrade on the south shore came from the original U.S. Custom House downtown. Now look up: 200 species of birds take refuge in this Victorian strolling park. (4256 Magnolia, 314-771-4436, towergrovepark.org)

24. Build an arch of your own at the Science Center. Then walk out on the skywalk over 64/40 (remember 64/40?), and point a radar gun at speeders. We promise you’ll catch some. (5050 Oakland, 314-289-4400, slsc.org)

25. Stroll the grand­est stretch of urban elegance our city boasts, from the College Church at Grand and Lindell west to Skinker, where Brookings’ towers heave into view.

26. Walk across an engineering marvel at the Eads Bridge—when it was completed in 1874, it was the longest arch bridge in the world and St. Louis’ first rail and road link with Illinois. Stop halfway, poised above the center of one of the world’s great rivers.

27. Ice skate at Steinberg Rink in Forest Park when it’s cold enough outside to see your breath. Bring a date. You ever see the movie Serendipity? It’s just like that. (400 Jefferson Dr. in Forest Park, 314-367-7465, steinbergskatingrink.com)

28. Forget that corny old joke about the newly converted Catholic trying to baptize his steak: Fried fish is tasty! And St. Louis offers endless variations on the Lenten fish fry. If you grew up Catholic, finding a seat in a musty old church gym with a paper plate full of fried fish and slaw is nostalgia at its best; if you grew up outside the fold, it’s more authentic than Filet-O-Fish—and the miracle is, there’s always more.

29. Find your favorite place to watch the riverfront fireworks—whether it’s the Barnes-Jewish crosswalk, SLU’s quadrangle, the spinning top of the Millennium Hotel or a wooded hill in the park, just off the globe-lit path to the fairgrounds, between trees in the moonlight.

30. Drive down the river road in the fall and stop at Eckert’s Orchards in Grafton to pick your own apples. Orchard workers drive you out to the arbor on a tractor-powered wagon, where you wander through the trees, gathering as much fruit as you can carry. (You can sample the fruit as you pick, too.) (951 S. Green Mount, Belleville, Ill., 618-233-0513, eckerts.com)

31. Photograph butterflies at the Butterfly House at Faust Park. Either you can spend a rapt hour mastering the capture of
perpetual motion, or you can take the fun route: Bring a child and snap one of the cutest photos ever, a butterfly perched on his or her button nose. (15193 Olive, 636-530-0076, butterflyhouse.org)

Sit

32. On the bluff at Mount Pleasant Winery with a charter-busload of friends, drinking the surprisingly fine port and basking in the colors of a Missouri fall. (5634 High St., Augusta, Mo., 800-467-9463, mountpleasant.com)

33. In the Missouri Botanical Garden, in the lantern-lit teahouse on an island in the Japanese garden. To reach the teahouse, you must obtain tickets to the tea ceremony that is conducted only during the Japanese Festival, which is held only once a year on Labor Day weekend. It’s worth it. (And don’t forget to feed the ravenous koi before you leave.) (4344 Shaw, 314-577-9400, mobot.org)

34. In a backroom at Fast Eddie’s Bon Air in Alton, a bar-and-grill venerated on both sides of the river. You’ll find everyone from church-folk to Harley riders, tourists to antique-hunters, filling every neon-lit corner, drinking ice-cold beer and eating cheap, fun food—no frills, but with a definite cult following. (1530 E. Fourth Street, Alton, Ill., 618-462-5532, fasteddiesbonair.com)

35. On the deck of the Becky Thatcher or another replica steamboat as it cruises the Mississippi for an hour at a time, daily from March to November. Imagine the majesty of the Big Muddy as it must have looked to Mark Twain when he envisioned young Becky and her towheaded beau on the run from Injun Joe. (50 S. Leonor K. Sullivan, 877-982-1410, gatewayarch.com)

Stand

36. At the base of the statue of St. Louis, in front of the Art Museum, to watch the population buzz in Forest Park on a Saturday afternoon. Then shift perspective and sit on the plaza across the Grand Basin, drawing inspiration by gazing up Art Hill.

37. On top of Monk’s Mound on a hot summer day, when no one else is around, and you can almost feel that first, long-gone civilization surrounding you. The Cahokia Mounds collectively are the largest structure built by Native Americans north of Mexico, and the base of Monk’s Mound is bigger than the base of the Great Pyramid at Giza. (30 Ramey St., Collinsville, Ill., 618-346-5160, cahokiamounds.com)

38. Inside the 125-ton torqued-spiral sculpture Joe, commissioned specifically for the courtyard of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. After you take the 50-plus steps inside—the height is 13 feet 7 inches, and the total length of the steel would be at least 150 feet stretched out—the world has been shut out, and you’re utterly absorbed by just two things: art and sky. (3716 Washington, 314-754-1850, pulitzerarts.org)

39. Hang out on the Hill: Drink the two-shot Italian-roast latte at Shaw’s Coffee, Ltd., watch old-timers play bocce ball at Milo’s Bocce Garden, buy the salame that made John Volpi famous at old-world Italian market J. Viviano & Sons, stop for chocolate drops at Missouri Baking Company, dine fancy at Dominic’s or, if it’s nice, on the patio at Charlie Gitto’s. Stop by Zia’s for at least one plate of toasted ravioli with marinara (their secret: more meat, less pasta). Genuflect at St. Ambrose to gain the patience to wait for a table at Cunetto’s House of Pasta. Or fall back on a gorgonzola bacon pizza and an icy fishbowl of beer at Rigazzi’s. You’d need reservations for the real pièce de résistance: the lobster risotto at Trattoria Marcella (southwest of the Hill proper, but no matter). Remember Hill baby Yogi Berra’s warning, “It’s so crowded nobody goes there anymore”? Everybody does go to Trattoria Marcella. (The Hill: Cunetto House of Pasta, 5453 Magnolia, 314-781-1135, cunetto.com. Rigazzi’s, 4945 Daggett, 314-772-4900. Dominic’s, 5101 Wilson, 314-771-1632, dominicsrestaurant.com. Charlie Gitto’s on the Hill, 5226 Shaw, 314-772-8898, charliegittos.com. Missouri Baking Company, 2027 Edwards, 314-773-6566. J. Viviano & Sons, 5139 Shaw, 314-771-5476, shopviviano.com. Shaw’s Coffee, Ltd., 5147 Shaw, 314-771-6920, shawscoffee.com. Milo’s Bocce Garden, 5202 Wilson, 314-776-0468. Trattoria Marcella, 3600 Watson, 314-352-7706, trattoriamarcella.com)

Ride

40. The Ferris wheel at Washington University’s Thurtene Carnival. Look out upon that which student hands hath wrought—they’ve been skipping class to work on this April tour de force, the nation’s oldest and largest student-run carnival, for months. (Tip: When you disembark the wheel, beware the fraternity-made chop suey.) (Skinker between Big Bend and Wydown, thurtene.org)

41. In one of the balloons in The Great Forest Park Balloon Race, held every September. Just don’t look down. (greatforestparkballoonrace.com)

42. Your bike on the Riverfront Trail, from the Arch leading up to—and across—the Chain of Rocks Bridge, stopping midriver to admire the architecture of the two water intake towers originally used to supply the 1904 World’s Fair with one of its marvels: “crystal clear” drinking water. (confluencegreenway.org)

43. The Superman Tower of Power at Six Flags—a 230-foot plume at 60 mph. Go again? Oh yeah! Hot? Head for the old-favorite Log Flume. (636-938-4800, sixflags.com)

44. The Barkus Pet Parade at Mardi Gras. Put on your green and purple, scrounge up some beads, and trot your pooch down to Soulard. Our humble suggestion? Save your pup the embarrassment, and leave that “oh so adorable” just-for-doggies court jester hat at home. (314-771-5110, mardigrasinc.com)

45. Through the Way of Lights at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville—5 mph would be too fast. One of the oldest such displays in the country, it glows with more than 1.1 million lights. (442 S. Demazenod, Belleville, Ill., 618-397-6700 or 800-682-2879, snows.org)

46. The Wabash Frisco & Pacific Railroad. Each Sunday from May through October, the miniature steam locomotives of “The Uncommon Carrier” take 30-minute, 2-mile trips, chugging through Wildwood groves near the Meramec River. Relearn why toddlers’ eyes glimmer at the merest mention of a choo-choo. (109 Grand, Glencoe, Mo., 636-587-3538, wfprr.com)

47. Faust Park’s carousel. Thought you’d had enough of spinning amusements after Thurtene? Think again. The carousel’s your chance to ride a reindeer. (Faust Park, 15189 Olive, 314-615-8383, stlouisco.com/parks)

48. A toboggan down Art Hill with as many of your favorite people as will fit. Whoa—don’t slide into the lake.

49. Step back in the past—and pretend you live there. Check out the Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion’s exhaustive World’s Fair collection, and then relax on its old-world patio. Visit the Campbell House Museum. Go to a madrigal dinner at Cupples House, the Richardsonian Romanesque masterpiece on Saint Louis University’s campus. Visit Taille de Noyer in Florissant, one of the oldest houses in St. Louis County. Drive to Old North to see the Mullanphy Emigrant Home, dubbed St. Louis’ Ellis Island and now fighting for its life—and a proper restoration—after a narrow escape from demolition. (DeMenil House, 3352 DeMenil Place, 314-771-5828, demenil.org. Campbell House, 1508 Locust, 314-421-0325, stlouis.missouri.org/501c/chm. Cupples House, 3673 W. Pine on Saint Louis University’s campus, 314-977-3575, cupples.slu.edu. Taille de Noyer, 18965 New Florissant, 314-839-3666, florissantoldtown.com. Mullanphy Emigrant Home, 1609a N. 14th St., 314-241-5031, savemullanphy.org)

Play

50. Amid the Elephant Rocks—then picnic in the woods—then drive to nearby Johnson’s Shut-Ins, famous for its breathtaking cliffs and chutes, and swim in clear pools sheltered by water-smoothed rock. (Highway 21 at Graniteville, Mo., 673-546-3454, mostateparks.com)

51. By bowling at the classics (Saratoga, Tropicana or Olivette Lanes) and the retro newbies (Pin-Up, Flamingo). (Saratoga Lanes, 2725 Sutton, 314-645-5308, saratogalanes.com. Tropicana Lanes, 7960 Clayton, 314-781-0282, tropicanalanes.com. olivette lanes, 9520 Olive, 314-991-0365. Pin-Up Bowl, 6191 Delmar, 314-727-5555, pinupbowl.com. Flamingo Bowl, 1117 Washington, 314-436-6666, www.flamingobowl.net/)

52. At Raging Rivers for the day. Rent floats and paddle out to the middle of the wave pool. Imagine yourself adrift, shipwrecked on the high seas. When you get worn out, head to the concession stand and order one of those huge slices of pizza—it will taste like ambrosia. Thirty minutes later, do it all over again. (100 Palisades Pkwy., Grafton, Ill., 618-786-2040, ragingrivers.com)

53. On Queeny Park’s immense playground, or walk its trails when the dogwoods are in flower—you can see deer very early and late in the day. If it starts to rain, shake yourself dry at the inimitable Dog Museum on the east side of the park. (550 Weidman, 314-615-8472, stlouisco.com/parks)

54. At the Magic House. The four-floor Kirkwood kiddie landmark includes everything from a mirror maze to an art studio to a science lab, all predictably pint-size. A visit there can turn the everyday into the enchanting. And the Van de Graaff generator can be downright hair-raising—but in a good way. (516 S. Kirkwood, 314-822-8900, magichouse.org)

55. Chess on the life-size board (shades of Alice) at Pere Marquette Lodge. Then rest your exhausted brain in front of the 50-foot-tall fireplace, eat a big dinner and spend the night in one of the cabins. (15780 State Highway 100W, Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton, Mo., 618-786-2331, http://63.135.118.189)

Watch

56. Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes. For the past 44 years, Kramer has been making his marionettes dance to the beat of Prokofiev, Broadway and more. Not only is the show delightful, but the preview lecture also tells you how the puppets are made in one of the country’s few remaining puppetry theaters. (4143 Laclede, 314-531-3313,
 kramersmarionnettes.com)

57. A humble, mighty barge lock through the dam at the Melvin Price Locks and Dam. Then check out the National Great Rivers Museum, which celebrates the meeting of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. (2 Lock and Dam Way, Alton, Ill., 618-462-6979, greatriverroad.com)

58. The Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis in Forest Park. This theater company customarily stages free outdoor productions by the Bard to great acclaim, so pack a blanket or lawn chair now. This year, near nightly for the better part of a month starting May 21, plumb the darkest depths of villainy in Richard III. (462 N. Taylor, Ste. 202, 314-531-9800, sfstl.com)

59. The River City Rascals, an independent ball club in the Midwestern-based Frontier League, playing at the equivalent of the A-ball level in the traditional minors. Or in the opposite direction, the Gateway Grizzlies, famous for Baseball’s Best Slider (a deep-fried bellybomber), Burger (on a Krispy Kreme donut) and Hot Dog (with bacon, cheese, sautéed onions and sauerkraut). Both teams offer ticket prices anybody can afford, great sightlines, easy parking and access, and family fun that’s not slick, sexy, sophisticated or extravagant. This is baseball the way it used to be. (River City Rascals, 900 T.R. Hughes, 636-240-2287, rivercityrascals.com. Gateway Grizzlies, 2301 Grizzlie Bear, Sauget, Ill., 618-337-3000, gatewaygrizzlies.com)

60. At least one show at The Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis, whose productions have consistently set the high-water mark for professional theater in St. Louis. Another at The Black Rep, a company that’s fearless in its choice of material and attracts illustrious African-American actors from all over the country. And at least one experiment at edgy musical theater company New Line or the superlative new Actors’ Studio at the Gaslight Theater. (Repertory Theatre of Saint Louis, 130 Edgar Road, 314-968-4925, repstl.org. St. Louis black Repertory Company, 1717 Olive #4, 314-534-3807, theblackrep.org. New Line Theatre, 314-773-6526, newlinetheatre.com. Gaslight Theater, 360 N. Boyle, 314-458-2978, stlas.org)

61. The Webster/Kirkwood Turkey Day Game. There are grudge matches, and then there are gridiron classics that transcend mere rivalry—like the one between the Kirkwood and Webster high school football teams. Held on Thanksgiving Day, it started in 1907 and is still going strong—if you want to go, you’ll need to buy tickets in advance. The winner gets the Frisco Bell; the loser, a little brown jug.

62. Collectors at an Ivey-Selkirk auction. They’re a snap to spot: They arrive armed with their auction catalogs dog-eared and well worn. They lug totes loaded with water and food because God forbid they might leave and miss snaring the day’s best buy. The trick—if you’ve got the cash to burn—is to go to the previews, pick your favorites and then plan your attack. (314-726-5515, iveyselkirk.com)

63. A big show at the Fox. The Rockettes started on Grand, not in Gotham. Learn that and more when you tour the over-the-top Fox Theatre—from the old projection booth to the stars’ dressing rooms. Plan your tour on one of the days that Stan Kann comes to tickle the organ ivories. To finish it Fox-style, return later for a show straight off Broadway after a buffet dinner in the Griffin Room. (527 N. Grand, 314-534-1678, fabulousfox.com)

64. The Cards take on the Cubs at Busch Stadium. If you don’t have your tickets already, you’ll probably pay an arm and a leg from a scalper, but you’ve got time to save up for our biggest rival’s second trip to town over the Fourth of July weekend. (stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com)

65. Live the European life in the Central West End. Have breakfast at the Chase before buying a mystery at Big Sleep, a newspaper at Daily Planet, a fine single-malt at Brennan’s. Hit the antique stores—don’t miss West End Antiques, Rothschild’s and Sambeau’s. Browse at Arlene Lilie and Centro. Sit by the Maryland Plaza fountain, linger on Coffee Cartel’s huge patio, have a fragrance mixed for you at Cassie’s and browse Left Bank Books, the independent holdout. Sit in the late afternoon sun and drink Welsh ale at Llywelyn’s—or, in winter, by the fireplace with a Double Dragon ale at Dressel’s. Eat dinner at Bar Italia and finish with a martini at Sub Zero or a chocolate Pot de Crème at Bissinger’s. (The Central West End: The Chase Park Plaza, 212 N. Kingshighway, 314-633-1000, chaseparkplaza.com. Big Sleep Books, 239 N.Euclid, 314-361-6100. The Daily Planet, 243 N. Euclid, 314-367-1333. Brennan’s, 4659 Maryland, 314-361-9444. West End Antiques Gallery, 4732 McPherson, 314-361-1059. Rothschild’s Antiques and Home Furnishings, 398 N. Euclid, 314-361-4870, rothschildsstl.com. Sambeau’s LTD, 4724 McPherson, 314-361-4636. Arlene Lilie Interior Design, 4733 McPherson, 314-367-4000. Centro Modern Furnishings, 4727 McPherson, 314-454-0111, centro-inc.com. Cassie’s Fragrance Boutique and Scent Bar, 316 N. Euclid, 314-454-1010, cassiesscents.com. Coffee Cartel, #2 Maryland Plaza, 314-454-0000, cwecartel.com. Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid, 314-367-6731, left-bank.com. Llywelyn’s Pub, 4747 McPherson, 314-316-3003, llywelynspub.com. Dressel’s, 419 N. Euclid, 314-361-1060. Bar Italia, 13 Maryland, 314-361-7010, baritaliastl.com. Sub Zero Vodka Bar, 308 N. Euclid, 314-367-1200, subzerovodkabar.com. Bissinger’s, 32 Maryland Plaza, 314-833-3656, bissingers.com)

Hear

66. A lecture at Washington University’s acclaimed Assembly Series, which is free, open to the public and often held in the university’s beautiful Graham Chapel. The series roster runs the gamut—from Mo Rocca to Madeleine Albright, Karen Armstrong to Noam Chomsky, Cornel West to Stephen Jay Gould—but it’s always compelling. (assemblyseries.wustl.edu)

67. An opening-night performance at the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, after indulging in the famous Picnic on the Lawn. Sip champagne under the tent and prepare yourself for the vocal fireworks. (210 Hazel, 314-961-0171, opera-stl.org)

68. At least one of the following holiday classics: a Bach Society Candlelight Concert, the Symphony’s chorus singing Handel’s Messiah, the new but already-beloved Charlie Chaplin concert December 28 and 29 or conductor David Robertson’s surprise New Year’s Eve concert, at which the female musicians trade classical black for a rainbow of shimmery evening gowns. (718 N. Grand, 314-533-2500, slso.org)

69. The Pink Sisters—a contemplative order that maintains silence and prays around the clock for the rest of us—sing an ethereal Midnight Mass at Mount Grace chapel. (1438 E. Warne, 314-381-5686, mountgraceconvent.org)

70. Yourself “play” the classic “Maple Leaf Rag” on the player piano at the Scott Joplin House. While you’re there, see the museum, Joplin’s re-created living quarters and, across the street, the new Rosebud Café, which replicates St. Louis’ most famous tavern at the dawn of the last century. (2658 Delmar, 314-340-5790, mostateparks.com)

71. One of our fine jazz or blues acts play or sing: Willie Akins on saxophone, teaching the new kids at Spruill’s; ultrasmooth saxophonist and pianist Peanuts Whalum at Brandt’s; Marquise Knox singing the blues at BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups; or one of the queens of the ballads—Denise Thimes, Jeanne Trevor or Mae Wheeler at Jazz at the Bistro or the Sheldon. (Jazz at the Bistro, 3547 Olive #212, 314-289-4030, jazzstl.org. Bb’s Jazz, Blues and Soups, 700 N. Broadway, 314-436-5222, bbsjazzbluessoup.com. Spruill’s International Catering, 1101 N. Jefferson, 314-533-8050. The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington, 314-533-9900, thesheldon.org)

Dare

72. A musical at the Muny. Pack a picnic, take a blanket, go to the north entrance and get in the mood. If you’re opting for the cheap seats, get there early and make friends in line—it’s a community unto itself. Just be sure to bring your binoculars. If you’re buying, try for the middle of Terrace A. You have to be born or marry into those seats in the pit, and quite honestly, they’re too close and too low to see well. (200 Forest Park, 314-361-1900, muny.org)

73. The citizenship swearing-in on the Fourth of July. Pack your hankie, because we guarantee you’ll tear up when you see the Old Courthouse decked out in red, white and blue bunting and packed with people ready to leave their homelands and swear loyalty to the United States. From Bantu families to Bosnian bachelors, from Chinese kids to Russian octogenarians, they’re all filled with the hope of a new beginning. (111 S. 10th, 314-244-7913. Old Courthouse, 11 N. Fourth, 314-655-1600, moed.uscourts.gov)

74. To convince the security guard to let you tiptoe into the private Westmoreland and Portland places by convincing him you are visiting Mr. or Mrs. X. (Hint: Make certain the person really lives there.)

75. To ride the third- to first-floor “Monster Slide” at City Museum, wholeheartedly. (701 N. 15th, 314-231-2489, citymuseum.org)

76. To host a slumber party at the Lemp Mansion. Rent the Lavender Lady Suite (two rooms with a huge private bath), bring wine, food, cameras and an overactive imagination, channel the Lavender Lady and watch the lights go off and on. (3322 DeMenil, 314-664-8024, lempmansion.com)

77. To dress to the nines for one of the classic fundraisers—Zoofari or COCAcabana, the Wall Ball or the masked Mayor’s Ball. Or at least sweat in one of the charity runs.

78. To take a class at COCA or Craft Alliance—feel your blood thrum to African drumming, hear the hiss of the torch as you forge metal, slick clay around a wheel—we don’t care if you’re any good. It’s good for your soul. (524 Trinity, 314-725-6555, cocastl.org. craft alliance, 6640 Delmar, 314-725-1177, craftalliance.org)

79. To flirt—with a date or a spouse—in the pricey, time-warped, David Lynch-esque diorama bar at Al’s Restaurant (on First Street, established 1925). (1200 N. First, 314-421-6399, alsrestaurant.net)

80. To float the Current River, one of Missouri’s three protected scenic rivers. Peaceful and spring-fed, it can be paddled even in winter and has no real hazards—except that current. (currentriver.net)

81. To show up for a midnight movie at the Tivoli—or a midnight bike ride at the Moonlight Ramble. (314-995-6270, landmarktheatres.com; moonlightramble.org/ramble/)

82. Spend a Saturday afternoon on the Loop. Browse the Craft Alliance gift shop, R. Sole sneaker gallery and Compônere art gallery; sit on the wall around the parking lot at Fitz’s, watching the Loop’s denizens and costumed visitors swarm by. Dig for books at Subterranean, shop Ziezo and any other boutique that catches your fancy, including the vintage shops, Meli-Melo antiques and comics superhero Star Clipper. Get your hair cut by Denise Edgar at D-Zine. Stroll the Walk of Fame, stargazing, and when it gets dark, move to the balcony of the Twisted Olive, above Vintage Vinyl, and catch Audio Agent spinning sparkling soul grooves. On to Blueberry Hill for its famous burger and cheddar cheese balls, enough cold beer to make you smile at the Howdy Doodys, a lively game of darts, music in the Duck Room and, if you’re lucky, a glimpse of Chuck Berry. (The Loop: Craft Alliance, 6640 Delmar, 314-725-1177, craftalliance.org. R.Sole, 6662 Delmar, 314-721-7653. Compônere Gallery, 6509 Delmar, 314-721-1181, componere.com. Fitz’s American Grill and Bottling, 6605 Delmar, 314-726-9555, fitzsrootbeer.com. Subterranean Books, 6275 Delmar, 314-862-6100, subbooks.com. meli-melo, 7201 Delmar #102, 314-725-4285. D-Zine Hair and Art Studio, 6679 Delmar, 317-727-0708. Twisted Olive, 6608 Delmar, 314-862-2141. Vintage Vinyl, 6610 Delmar, 314-721-4096, vintagevinyl.com. Blueberry Hill Restaurant and Music Club, 6504 Delmar, 314-727-4444, blueberryhill.com. St. Louis Walk of Fame, 6504 Delmar, 314-727-7827, stlouiswalkoffame.org)

Buy

83. Produce at Soulard Farmers Market. Or a lovely beef tongue. Or—who can really say? The spectacle of the market’s 100-plus stands always supersedes the shopping; in its hustle and bustle, its glorious swirl of humanity, Soulard ranks as St. Louis’ closest approximation to a Middle Eastern bazaar. (Seventh & Lafayette, 314-622-4180, soulardmarket.com)

84. A basket at The Smokehouse Market in Ches­terfield, filled with specialty condiments, marinades, BBQ sauces and the unforgettable homemade beef jerky. Then treat yourself to a gourmet lunch next door at Annie Gunn’s. (16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, 636-532-3314, smokehousemarket.com)

85. One of Gus’ Pretzels, if not outside Busch Stadium then on one of the city streets (try Jamieson just south of I-44). (1820 Arsenal, 314-664-4010, guspretzels.com)

86. Art so original, you can crow about finding it—either in May, at the newcomer, Belleville’s Art on the Square, still pinching itself after ranking first in the nation in the 2007 Art Fair SourceBook, or in September at its older sibling, the Saint Louis Art Fair in Clayton, which has been reaping similar accolades for years. (Illinois Highway 159 & Main St., Belleville, Ill., 800-677-9255, artonthesquare.com. Saint Louis Art Fair, 7818 Forsyth, 314-863-0278, saintlouisartfair.com)

87. A toy from the Eugene Field House. The gift shop in the three-story row house, which was designated a National Historic Landmark in March 2007, sells tin windup toys and other memorabilia celebrating the poet behind “The Duel.” Visit it—and revisit your childhood by picturing the gingham dog and the calico cat, wallowing this way and tumbling that … (634 S. Broadway, 314-421-4689, eugenefieldhouse.org)

88. The spaghetti maybe, or the fish sandwich, with an ice-cold baby Coke at Beffa’s on Olive (no sign, you gotta know where it is) while you eavesdrop on homicide cops, DAs and politicians. (Seriously, you have to know where it is.)

89. The chef’s tasting menu at Tony’s. Sure, it’ll set you back more than $200 for you and your date, but you don’t go to the mecca of fine dining in St. Louis to pinch pennies. (410 Market, 314-231-7007)

90. Warm gooey butter cake from Gooey Louie’s, which dared improve on the St. Louis original with eight flavors. Bet you can’t eat just one. (6483 Chippewa, 314-352-1925, gooeylouiecake.com)

91. A late-night burger at O’Connell’s, which opened in Gaslight Square in the ’20s and serves regulars at Kingshighway and Shaw. (4652 Shaw, 314-773-6600)

92. A BLT and a Johnny Rabbitt (the local radio personality’s trademark banana malted with crushed nuts, whipped cream and nutmeg) at Crown Candy Kitchen. Play the table jukebox, leave with a box of the house-specialty heavenly hash and walk off the calories in the reemerging Old North neighborhood. (1401 Saint Louis Ave., 314-621-9650, 
crowncandykitchen.net)

93. Pecan pancakes at the original Uncle Bill’s on Kingshighway at 3 a.m. (427 S. Kingshighway, 314-832-1973)

94. A Ted Drewes Terramizzou concrete or Sin Sunday (we won’t tell the archbishop) while the sun welds the backs of your thighs to the trunk of your car. Choose the Route 66 location, and make sure you back in to the parking spot. Summer’s the essential trip—although there’s a certain frisson in buying your Christmas tree there while snow’s falling and you’re sucking down a mint-chip concrete. (6726 Chippewa, 314-481-2652, teddrewes.com)

95. An Espresso Macchiato or Classic Mokka Java from the original Kaldi’s Coffeehouse on DeMun, drunk across the street on the peaceful grounds of Concordia Seminary, early on a spring morning. (700 DeMun, 314-727-9955, kaldiscoffee.com)

96. Everything you can on the Anheuser-Busch tour. A-B’s world HQ opened here in 1852, and the South City giant stands as a reminder of why the company remains the largest brewer by volume in the United States. Before the current Age of the Microbrewery dawned, St. Louis had the nation’s undisputed “macrobrewery.” (1127 Pestalozzi, 314-577-2626, budweisertours.com)

97. Coffee stout and dense, moist sticky-toffee pudding at the Schlafly Tap Room. (2100 Locust, 314-241-2337, schlafly.com)

98. Lepinja from Bosna Gold. Break bread—specifically, a miniloaf of scrumptious, chewy Bosnian flatbread—in this small Gravois eatery at the heart of what may be the nation’s largest neighborhood of immigrants from Bosnia. Then order a second loaf … just to confirm the excellence of the first. (4601 Gravois, 314-351-2058)

99. Chicken consommé, hot popovers and strawberry butter at Neiman Marcus’ Zodiac Room during the big day-after-Christmas sale. The second-floor tearoom takes the ladies-who-lunch tradition to its highest level. To avoid mall madness, park in the upper lot and walk in from the patio. Oh, and insist that those mushroom clouds of bread come piping hot; as they cool, they turn cardboardy. (100 Plaza Frontenac, 314-994-5050, neimanmarcus.com)

100. The signature espresso martini, sinking into the sofa by the fireplace in the Ritz-Carlton lobby. (100 Carondelet Plaza, 314-863-6300, ritzcarlton.com)

101. A thin-crust Imo’s deluxe pizza, just made and hot enough to burn the roof of your mouth. (imospizza.com)

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Old to new | New to old
Dec 17, 2010 09:23 am
 Posted by  Whitney.Oharrah

Thanks for the post and for sharing with us all of these great events! Here is another article I found with some great holiday stuff to do right here in St. Louis that I thought I would share: http://bit.ly/gWH7Xu. Happy Holidays!

Jan 1, 2011 09:06 pm
 Posted by  tmt1630

This is a great list! Thanks for putting it together. I am traveling through St. Louis during late February 2011...am hoping to make the most of my visit here with the short amount of time I have.

Jul 24, 2011 09:46 am
 Posted by  cmg1913

Great Post, I am a single mother of two boys. This is a great list of adventures that we are going to try to accomplish. We are going to create a scrapbook for all the locations. GREAT POST

Oct 27, 2011 08:21 pm
 Posted by  Mrs Smith

Things to do, i would add The Jumpin' Jupiter. It is a must see in St. Louis for great places to go in St. Louis of things to do in St. Louis. It is a a restaurant and live music venue and a burlesque club. The do some great shows with food. You must see it. I was there last weekend. http://www.thejumpinjupiter.com/

Feb 19, 2012 11:50 am
 Posted by  takarli

iam student

Jun 13, 2012 04:44 pm
 Posted by  Rbeffa

Unfortunately Beffa's is gone. For iota replacement add Fitz, Gus' Pretzel, or Schlafly

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