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1. Skip work for Opening Day.
Cardinals Nation has quite a few Opening Day traditions: pep rallies, T-shirts mocking the Cubs, Clydesdales… But perhaps the most fitting way to start this season is by meeting your fellow Redbirds fans in front of Gate 3, beneath that towering statue of Stan the Man. On April 8, the home opener pits the Cards against the Reds. Following the teams’ brawl in 2010, it’s a blossoming rivalry—but that doesn’t mean you can’t still wear your Cubs-bashing shirt.cardinals.mlb.com.
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2. Impersonate Mike Shannon.
Shannon speaks as if he took diction lessons from Yogi Berra, continually finding new, amusing ways tocontort the English language. Among our favorites: “Swing, and a home run—but it’s foul,” “It’s raining like a Chinese fire drill,” and “This big standing-room-only crowd is settling into their seats.” To perfect theimpersonation, you’ve got to imitate Shannon’s iconic voice: deep, gravelly, and thick with pure enthusiasm.stlouis.cbslocal.com/station/kmox/
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3. Pick a side.
For fans of high-school football, there’s the Turkey Day Game between Kirkwood and Webster Groves high schools, which has been played in one form or another for more than a century. If you prefer collegehoops, go to the Braggin’ Rights game between Missouri and Illinois, one of the country’s best nonconference rivalries. Now that the Tigers no longer play the Kansas Jayhawks, it’s the best border war around.
Photo by Dak Dillon
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4. Learn how to do the Power Play Dance.
No one knows how or why it got started, but when the Blues go up a man, do this: Raise your arms in front of you in the shape of football goal posts, elbows bent, and then shake them up and down in rhythmic fashion. Sure, you look silly, but so does everyone else. blues.nhl.com.
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7. Grab a microbrew.
Schlafly, our original craft brewer, isn’t so microanymore, having grown into a regional powerhouse over the past 21 years. Lately, it’s been joined by quite a few other local microbrewers, something of a Renaissance for this mighty beer town. If you want a sample, Mike Sweeney, founder of STL Hops (stlhops.com), suggests the following tour: an oatmeal stout and a roasted leg of lamb sandwich at the Schlafly Tap Room, a Zwickel and a meat-and-cheese sampler at Urban Chestnut Brewing Company, a double IPA and a roasted turkey club at Six Row Brewing Company, a Saison de Lis and a hand pie at Perennial Artisan Ales, an American brown and a hot pastrami on rye at The Civil Life Brewing Company, and a Reprise Centennial Red ale and peach-habanero wings at 4 Hands Brewing Co. schlafly.com/tap-room,urbanchestnut.com, sixrowbrewco.com,perennialbeer.com, thecivillifebrewingcompany.com,4handsbrewery.com.
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8. Tour the brewery.
The standard Anheuser-Busch tour is free, stops at the stables so you can see the beautiful Clydesdales, and ends with two complimentary beers. We could leave it at that, but for $25, you can step up to the Beermaster Tour (reservations required), which includes extra personal attention, stops at additional behind-the-scenes areas, and even a sample straight from the finishing tank. For $10, you can also go to Beer School, a 45-minute session that teaches you the differences between ales and lagers, hops and malts. Your beer-snob friends will never sneer at you again. budweisertours.com.
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9. Do St. Paddy’s Day in Dogtown.
Grab breakfast at Pat’s Bar and Grill before staking out a spot near St. James the Greater Church for the Ancient Order of Hibernians’ parade. It might not have giant balloons or corporate sponsors, but there’s something to be said for the Irish clans that march year after year. And afterward, if you can’t squeeze inside Seamus McDaniel’s, Nick’s Pub, or Felix’s Pizza Pub, consider O’Connell’s Pub just a bit farther east.stlhibernians.com.
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10. Catch a free big-name concert.
At Fair Saint Louis, the air shows and fireworks are fine and good, but the real draw is the free music. Performers have included John Legend, Dierks Bentley, Heart, Maroon 5, and The Steve Miller Band—and that’s just in the past few years. The party keeps going at Soldiers Memorial on weekends in July with the Celebrate St. Louis Summer Concerts, where the acts are equally as big (e.g., Neon Trees, Nelly, and Barenaked Ladies). fairsaintlouis.org.
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11. Venture to Fast Eddie’s Bon Air.
It’s onlyfitting that Mike Shannon—the man synonymous with “cold, frosty ones”—does the radio commercials for the Metro East’s most beloved bar. After all, there’s always a party there, with live music five nights a week, 99-cent burgers and brats, and no shortage of beer. fasteddiesbonair.com.
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12. Survive Mardi Gras.
The weeks-long Soulard extravaganza combines the predictable (beads, boobs, booze) with the playful (krewes, pets, Kevin Bacon). If you plan to stick around Soulard after the Grand Parade, just be sure you have a home base with heat (preferably a private party or a VIP tent)—the Porta-Potty lines and cold are no party. mardigrasinc.com.
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13. Splash at Citygarden.
The best time to visit downtown’s urban oasis is summer, when kids can splash in the park’s three fountains. And afterward, while Junior sticks his hand in Eros Bendato’s nose (the giant, head-shaped sculpture), Mom and Dad can learn about the park from St. Louis celebs by downloading the free audio tour. citygardenstl.org.
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14. Go to the Thurtene Carnival.
When St. Louisans see the giant Ferris wheel on Washington University’s campus, they know spring has arrived. The nation’s oldest student-run carnival includes the typical midway rides (a Tilt-A-Whirl, etc.), but the student-run productions (everything from step dances to drag-show skits) are the real treat.thurtene.org.
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15. Explore The Magic House.
When you go, you’ll need two things: 1. a camera to capture your youngsters posing inside the replica Oval Office and touching an electrically charged ball as their hair stands on end and 2. stamina. The kids will want to stay a while. magichouse.org.
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16. Visit Bob Kramer’s Marionnettes.
For 45 years, the Central West End stalwart has entertained kids with the classics: Peter and the Wolf, Hansel and Gretel. Those curious about who’s pulling the strings—and how the shows come together—canarrive early for a puppet-building demo.kramersmarionnettes.com.
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17. Ride the Carousel.
What do you do when your little girl requests a pony for her birthday? Book her a party at the St. Louis Carousel in Faust Park. Crafted in the 1920s, the horses never fail to delight—even if they are one-trick ponies, forever destined to go round and round.stlouisco.com/parksandrecreation.
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18. Visit the Museum of Transportation.
Your 2-year-old might just come unglued when he seesBig Boy, the largest operating steam locomotive ever built. Parents will be more impressed with the façade from a room at the Coral Court Motel, that one-time Route 66 stop that was infamous locally but admired nationally. transportmuseumassociation.org.
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19. Climb and crawl at City Museum.
The late Bob Cassilly’s eclectic playground remains our city’s hippest, most boundary-testing museum. What was once a shoe factory is home to enchanted caves, an aquarium, a maze of metal… As Cassilly once told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “The illusion of danger is essential for any kind of adventure.”citymuseum.org.
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20. Gather beneath the big top.
Most know Circus Flora as the one-ring spectacle under the tent in Grand Center, where legendary circus acts like The Flying Wallendas and Nino the Clown perform every June. But just as spectacular is Circus Flora’s Christmas show in December, whenhigh-wire acts and high-flying acrobatics take over Powell Hall. circusflora.org.
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21. Learn to play chess.
Studies have shown that kids who play chess do better on tests, have greater mental fortitude, and are even healthier. So teaching your kids is a smart move. Checking out an adult class at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is an even smarter one. saintlouischessclub.org.
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22. Experience Union Station.
The local landmark’s renovation is just beginning, so don’t go for retail. (For downtown shops and restaurants, you might stop by Washington Avenue’s Mercantile Exchange.) What makes the former rail terminal worth the exorbitant parking price is its Romanesque architecture, notably the Grand Hall’s barrel-vaulted ceilings and Allegorical Window. Before you leave, cross Market Street to see the Meeting ofthe Waters fountain. stlouisunionstation.com.
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23. Hang out under the Arch.
Remember, it’s not a parabola. It’s a catenary curve. Once you’ve memorized that, watch Monument to the Dream—especially the part where the last piece gets dropped into place. Then go outside, wait for sunset, and watch that perfect silver curve steal color from the sky. stlouisarch.com.
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25. Enjoy a taste of South Grand.
Soak up rich Ethiopian tibs wat, family-style, at Meskerem Ethiopian Restaurant; try the tilapia spring rolls at Banh Mi So #1; or order a hot pot from LemonGrass or Pho Grand. That still leaves a lot to explore on return visits, including Café Natasha, King and I, Basil Spice Thai Cuisine, Café Mochi, Mangia Italiano, Mojo Tapas Restaurant & Bar, Mekong Restaurant… meskeremstl.com, banhmiso1.com,lemongrass-rest.com, phogrand.com.
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26. Go to a festival.
Spotting Father Time, a.k.a. 90-year-old Paul Pagano, in his red, white, and blue outfits, might be thequintessential St. Louis festival experience. Here’s a handful that Father Time always hits—and you should, too.
• Czech Festival: The American Czech Educational Center’s April 13 festival includes a fashion show, concert, and more. acec-stl.org.
• Fruehlingsfest: Tiny Maeystown, Ill., hosts this German spring festival May 3 through 5.
• French Festival: Ste. Genevieve celebrates its heritage June 8 and 9 with tours, folk dances, and wine tastings. visitstegen.com.
• Festival of the Little Hills: This arts-and-crafts fair, held in historic St. Charles August 16 through 18, takes its name from Les Petites Côtes, the town’s original name. festivalofthelittlehills.com.
• Festival of Nations: Presented bythe International Institute on August 24 and 25, this festival resembles a world tour—all in Tower Grove Park.festivalofnationsstl.org.
• St. Nicholas Greek Festival: Centered at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church on Labor Day weekend, this is the place to enjoy gyros, Greek music, and more. sngoc.org.
• Polish Festival: It’s beer, brats, and polka at the Polish Falcons Nest, where you can do the dollar dance and buy hand-painted pottery from Poland.polishfalcons.org.
• St. Louis Scottish Games: The games, taking place September 27
and 28, include bagpipes, sheepdogs, highland athletics, and more. stlouis-scottishgames.com.
• Jewish Book Festival: This festival always attracts best-selling
authors, which have included Carrie Fisher, Nathan Englander, and Elie Wiesel. stljewishbookfestival.org.
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28. Try a taco at Taqueria El Bronco.
You won’t go wrong anywhere on Cherokee Street for Mexican food, but word is that the best tacos al pastor can be found at El Bronco. 314-762-0691.
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29. Peruse Jay International Foods.
The South Grand store stocks hard-to-find items like fresh feta, Danish butter, Brazilian hot sauce, andauthentic Argentine yerba maté tea. 314-772-9393.
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32. Eat like a St. Louisian.
Of course we have our time-tested favorites, but newer establishments are quickly becoming St. Louis staples.
Classic: Bucatini bolognese at Cunetto House of Pasta. cunetto.com.
Contemporary: Bucatini bolognese at Pastaria.pastariastl.com.
Classic: An Imo’s Deluxe at Imo’s Pizza.imospizza.com
Contemporary: A South Side Classico at Pi Pizzeria.restaurantpi.com.
Classic: Ben’s Special at Adriana’s on The Hill. adrianasonthehill.com.
Contemporary: A Valenza Special muffuletta at Blues City Deli. bluescitydeli.com.
Classic: Rib tips at C&K Barbecue. candkbbq.com.
Classic: The Big Herm at Woofies. 314-426-6291.
Contemporary: A St. Louis–Style Hyaaah! Dog at Steve’s Hot Dogs on The Hill. steveshotdogsstl.com.
Classic: O’Connell’s Pub (thick) or Carl’s Drive-In(thin). saucemagazine.com/oconnells; 314-961-9652.
Classic: A Manhattan at Fox & Hounds Tavern.cheshirestl.com.
Contemporary: A French 75 at Bar Les Frères. 314-725-8880.
Classic: Ronnoco. ronnoco.com.
Contemporary: Kaldi’s Coffee. kaldiscoffee.com.
Classic: Tony’s. saucecafe.com/tonys.
Contemporary: Niche. nichestlouis.com.
Classic: Bissinger’s. bissingers.com.
Contemporary: Rick Jordan Chocolatier. rjchocolatier.com.
Classic: The Cardinal Sin concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. teddrewes.com.
Contemporary: The Cardinal Sin concrete at Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.
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33. See Chuck Berry perform.
The Duck Room is not named after Donald (though he makes a cameo in the memorabilia), but rather for Berry’s famous duck walk, which the 86-year-old musician still does in Blueberry Hill’s intimate basement venue. The next time he plays there, hurry to get tickets—they inevitably sell out.blueberryhill.com/events/duck.
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34. Go backstage at the Fox.
On Tuedays, Thursdays, and Saturdays at 10:30 a.m., take a 1 ½–hour tour of the storied Fox Theatre. The weekend tour includes a performance on one of the historic Wurlitzer organs—and on the fourth floor, you’ll find a tribute to the late Stan Kann.fabulousfox.com.
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35. Hear the blues the way it’s meant to be heard: Live.
Broadway’s blues strip—BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups; Beale on Broadway; and Broadway Oyster Bar—makes up a Bourbon Street in miniature, with shows from local favorites like Marquise Knox and Kim Massie, as well as touring bands like Victor Wainwright and the WildRoots. bbsjazzbluessoups.com,broadwayoysterbar.com, bealeonbroadway.com.
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36. Class it up at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.
Pick a production, and pack a picnic. Two hours before curtain, gather in the Loretto-Hilton Center for the Performing Arts garden to talk Puccini, Rossini, and Verdi; graze on Opera Theatre’s catered picnic boxes (or bring your own); and clink wine glasses. And after the performance, don’t miss the chance to talk arias with the divas at the champagne toast. opera-stl.org.
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37. Experience the St. Louis Symphony.
First, pick a performance that music director David Robertson conducts—his words beforehand are nearly as eloquent as the music. Then, for a truly sublime experience, dress in black tie or sparkles, spring for Powell Hall’s Dress Circle Box seats, and choose something orchestral: Hector Berlioz, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, or Robertson’s favorite contemporary composer, John Adams. stlsymphony.org.
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38. Delight in Sheldon Concert Hall’s acoustics.
The music-friendly architecture attracts stars with supernova wattage, from Nick Lowe to Rosanne Cash to Bucky Pizzarelli. But this warm, intimate room also books great St. Louis artists. Go hear Denise Thimes’ soaring voice, the strings of the Chamber Music Society of St. Louis, or the sweet Americana of singer-songwriter Javier Mendoza. (For the best view, head to the balcony.) thesheldon.org.
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40. Rediscover Peabody Opera House.
Frank Sinatra, President Harry S. Truman, Bob Dylan—they all came to Kiel Opera House. Now that its gilded sconces are shining again, its velvet draperies replaced, and (perhaps most urgently) its HVAC modernized, a visit is imperative, not only because we came so close to losing it, but also because it’s where the big guys (Peter Frampton, Emmylou Harris, Fiona Apple) play. peabodyoperahouse.com.
Photo by Kevin A. Roberts
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41. Take in a show (or a dozen).
Hardcore cinema geeks make flow charts to catch all of the brilliant movies that screen over two weeks in November, during the St. Louis International FilmFestival, when you can also meet talented local filmmakers. We suggest focusing on the I in SLIFF: intrepid filmmakers’ works from places like Chad, Tibet, and Iraq, where great art is often created despite hardship. cinemastlouis.org
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42. Then see another show.
You can’t go wrong with the New York–level production values at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis or The Black Rep, both of which attract talent from the coasts. The St. Louis Actors’ Studio at The GaslightTheater and Upstream Theater, the latter of which focuses on works in translation, are consistently superb. And no one does edgy musicals like New Line Theatre. repstl.org, theblackrep.org,stlas.org, newlinetheatre.com.
Photo by Jerry Naunheim, Jr./courtesy of The Repertory Theatre
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43. Walk into the middle of Joe.
Richard Serra’s 13-foot-tall torqued spiral sculpture, made from 125 tons of weathered steel, is an abstract portrait of the Pulitzer patriarch, who was an early patron of the sculptor’s work. In the courtyard of the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the sculpture’s so large that you can walk inside it and scale the steps, which seem to lead right into the sky. pulitzerarts.org.Photo by @stlouismag
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44. Explore Laumeier Sculpture Park.
A giant eyeball, a tiny village of doghouses, a row of 50-plus steel buoys—this county park is just plain fun. It’s also one of the Midwest’s most important collections of outdoor sculpture, with a permanentcollection that includes work from renowned artists Beverly Pepper, Jessica Stockholder, and the lateErnest Trova. laumeier.org.
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45. Go to an art fair.
Take MetroLink to the Saint Louis Art Fair in downtown Clayton, where every fall, more than 100 artists from around the world exhibit paintings, photography, sculptures, jewelry, and works in wood, glass, fiber, and more. (The food, music, and people-watching are also draws.) In May, downtown Belleville, Ill., hosts Art on the Square, with 105 artists—plus performances by local arts groups like Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and the Belleville Philharmonic Orchestra.culturalfestivals.com, artonthesquare.com.
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46. Read a book.
New York’s iconic book depositories include the Strand Bookstore and the New York Public Library next to Bryant Park. San Francisco has Green Apple Books and the San Francisco Public Library in the Civic Center. We have Left Bank Books (in the CWE and downtown) and the recently restored Central Library—both of which hold their own against the coasts’ offerings and serve our city’s literary scene well. left-bank.com, slpl.org.
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47. Catch a concert at The Pageant.
You’ll probably have to wait before getting in to see the latest act—Owl City, Garbage, The Black Crowes, Fall Out Boy… Why not spend your time walking a loop along Delmar Boulevard’s sidewalks, making a mental note of those recognizable names on the Walk of Fame who have proudly called St. Louis home?thepageant.com, stlouiswalkoffame.org.
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48. Explore Forest Park.
• See the Jewel Box. More than 75 years after the Art Deco-style greenhouse opened, the Jewel Box’s 50-foot-tall, cantilevered glass walls remain a shimmering beacon for green thumbs, casual sightseers, and couples trading vows. stlouis-mo.gov.
• Float the waterways. Rent a paddleboat from the Boathouse, and take it across Post-Dispatch Lake and the Grand Basin. And if you dare, sprinkle yourcopilot by cruising near a fountain.boathouseforestpark.com.
• Admire the art museum. You’re going to hear a lot about SLAM’s modern addition, opening in late June. But don’t forget the works that made the museum famous, including Monet’s Water Lilies and van Gogh’sStairway at Auvers. slam.org.
• See the zoo’s Sea Lion Sound. Stand in the 35-foot underwater tunnel, and gaze upward as sea lions glide overhead. Then nab a front-row seat in Lichtenstein Sea Lion Arena, and ponder how the same species can be so cartoonishly awkward on land. stlzoo.org.
• Experience the seasons of Art Hill. Fly a kite in the spring, enjoy SLAM’s Outdoor Film Series in thesummer, return for a free symphony concert in the fall, and spend a snowy day sledding in the winter.forestparkforever.org.
• Appreciate our history. Despite its recent…leadership issues, the Missouri History Museum remains a treasure chest of St. Louis artifacts. Not to be missed: the Charles Lindbergh and World’s Fair exhibits. mohistory.org.
• Sit pretty at The Muny. Arrive early to nab one of the approximately 1,500 free seats in The Muny’s last nine rows. (Just remember to bring binoculars.) New fans are set to keep the entire audience cooler than ever this summer. muny.org.
• Cross the Victorian Footbridge. It’s as if the black pony truss–style bridge in the park’s northeast corner has been there forever—or close to it. It was added in 1885, even before the World’s Fair.
• Skate Steinberg. Strap on a pair of skates ($4 per rental, with $6 admission) during the winter months, and you’re instantly transported to the late ’50s, when Steinberg Skating Rink opened. Afterward, warm up with a cup of hot cocoa, and gather round the bonfire.steinbergskatingrink.com.
• Gaze up at the Planetarium. Fifty years ago this month, the planetarium opened in that unmistakable Gyo Obata–designed building. slsc.org.
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49. Stroll the Japanese Garden.
Its name is Seiwa-en, meaning a “garden of pure, clear harmony of peace.” It’s not the most lush or ornate space in the Missouri Botanical Garden’s 79 acres, but it’s surely the most serene. Slowly stroll the shores of the 4-acre lake, with its four islands, and linger on the wooden bridge, where you can feed the koi during the warmer months. In winter, when the snow falls on the garden’s elegant features, the sights are equally beautiful. missouribotanicalgarden.org.
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50. Take a cruise through the area’s many holiday lights displays.
You could cram the kids in the car and drive to one of the larger lights displays: the Way of Lights at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Winter Wonderland in Tilles Park, Santa’s Magical Kingdom at Jellystone Park near Six Flags, the Saint Louis Zoo, or the brewery. But you’re a St. Louisan, so you might go the neighborhood route: Drive Candy Cane Lane, along the 6500 block of Murdoch in St. Louis Hills—and pick up a Douglas fir at Ted Drewes on the way home.snows.org, stlouisco.com/parksandrecreation,santasmagicalkingdom.com.
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51. Watch the fireworks.
Want to avoid the crowds beneath the Arch at Fair Saint Louis? Find your own favorite vantage point: Three Sixty’s rooftop bar, Top of the Riverfront’s rotating restaurant, Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, the midway point along the Eads Bridge’s pedestrian pathway… Better yet, find a friend with a high-rise downtown or in the CWE, and watch the ’works from your own private spot. 360-stl.com,millenniumhotels.com/millenniumstlouis/dining.
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53. Spend a night at the Lemp Mansion.
Few houses in St. Louis—or the U.S., for that matter—are reputed to be as haunted (or more successful at capitalizing on the tragic history of a beer-baron family). The historic Lemp Mansion hosts murder-mystery dinner theater, Halloween parties, paranormal investigations… And the truly brave can spend a night in the Elsa Lemp Suite, in the attic. lempmansion.com.
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55. Visit the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site.
The green house on Grant Road opposite Grant’s Farm was built in 1818 but came into Grant’s life in 1843, when he met his future wife, Julia Dent, there, initiating one of the great love stories of American political history. The National Park Service has done an outstanding job of restoring this property during the past 20 years, and in the same period, Grant’s reputation has risen among historians. nps.gov/ulsg.
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56. Remember Dred and Harriet Scott at the Old Courthouse.
It might seem odd to commemorate one of the worst decisions ever made by the U.S. Supreme Court, but at the center of the controversy were two people whose legal battle embodied the human spirit’s unquenchable thirst for freedom. See the new statuein front of the Old Courthouse on Fourth Street, then walk through the magnificent rotunda to theilluminating exhibition in the west wing. nps.gov/jeff.
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57. Eat at Café Madeleine at the Piper Palm House in Tower Grove Park.
This fine restaurant, open only on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., celebrates the oldest greenhouse west of the Mississippi, built in 1878, and Tower Grove Park, a National Historic Landmark recognized as the most perfectly preserved Victorian park in America.palmhousestl.org/cafe-madeleine
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58. Find the birthplace of T.S. Eliot.
A bronze plaque is set into a weed-choked sidewalk in front of a vacant lot at 2635 Locust to mark the place where arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century was born, on September 26, 1888. This was then a fashionable neighborhood, which reminds us how much St. Louis has changed.
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59. See the Wainwright Tomb at Bellefontaine Cemetery.
Louis Sullivan was one of America’s greatest architects, and the Wainwright Tomb is his most beautiful building. It has the added advantage of being set in one of the greatest landscape cemeteries in the country, which is also a Valhalla of prominent St. Louisans. bellefontainecemetery.org.
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60. Gaze up at one of our water towers.
The city of St. Louis has outstanding drinking water. In the 19th century, our water was muddy, but our water-system architecture was outstanding, and we’re the only city with three monumental water towers still standing. The Grand Water Tower’s Corinthian column and the Bissell Water Tower’s redbrick campanile are off Interstate 70 on the city’s north side; the Compton Hill Water Tower’s castle-like dome is in Compton Hill Reservoir Park and offers regular tours.stlwater.com/watertowers.php.
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62. Appreciate our sacred spaces’ architecture.
That means not only the fine old German churches and Ashkenazi synagogues, but also the serene geometry of the Daar-ul-Islam Masjid. The Hindu Temple of St. Louis, which could just as easily be a landmark in Mumbai. The pure clarity of Gyo Obata’s masterpiece for the Benedictines, the Saint Louis Abbey. And the exquisite temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, seen off Interstate 64 in West County. islamicfoundationstl.org,hindutemplestlouis.org, stlouisabbey.org,ldschurchtemples.com/stlouis.
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63. See the Old St. Ferdinand Shrine.
Florissant was founded, to the best of our knowledge, in 1786, and it maintains its original grid plan and low-density development better than any nearby colonial town other than Ste. Genevieve. The former parish church dates to 1821, more than a decade before the Old Cathedral, while the 1819 convent to the north was the home of Catholic St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. oldstferdinandshrine.com.
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64. Listen to the Pink Sisters at Mount Grace Chapel.
Serene in their rose habits, the Holy Spirit AdorationSisters maintain silence as they work and pray. But when they file into their gold-and-ivory chapel for Mass, their voices float high and pure through the bars of their enclosure, out past the pews, into the troubled streets and broken lives for which they pray.mountgraceconvent.org.
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65. Behold the mosaics of the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.
Where else can you find 41.5 million tiny square glass tiles, reflecting more than 7,000 colors, depicting sacred images as finely crafted as anything in the Old World? The world-famous work took more than three-quarters of a century, and it’s not likely to come unglued anytime soon. cathedralstl.com.
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66. Visit Holy Family Log Church in Cahokia, Ill.
Founded in 1699, it is the oldest house of worship in the greater St. Louis area and the oldest continually sited parish in Illinois. (The original paten and chalicewere brought out for Pope John Paul II to use when he celebrated Mass in St. Louis.) If you want to know what the first church in St. Louis looked like, come here. holyfamily1699.org.
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67. Go to the Holocaust Museum & Learning Center.
There are photographs here you will never see anywhere else, stories you would learn no other way, facts that will haunt your heart. This museum was made necessary by evil—and the intelligence visible in its exhibits is the only possible answer to that evil.hmlc.org.
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68. Eat at a Friday fish fry during Lent.
This ritual’s catholic—universal, all-embracing. In minutes, you’ll feel like part of the community around you, bound by camaraderie, the letdown of Friday evening, and your shared gratitude for greasy-crisp fish, cold beer, and homemade pie. The St. Ferdinand fry is famous, and St. Cecilia’s gives the festivities a Hispanic twist. stferdinandstl.org,stceciliaparishstl.org.
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69. Check out an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art.
The world’s full of religious art, but often it’s seven centuries old or lives sequestered, seen only by those of certain beliefs. MOCRA quickly carved itself aninternational reputation by exhibiting fresh works of art that ask questions so deeply spiritual, they cannot be contained. mocra.slu.edu.
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70. Follow the flood wall.
Unload the Schwinn at Rootwad Park, and pedal north on the Riverfront Trail for 11 miles, along the flood wall, through industrial north St. Louis, past Mary Meachum Freedom Crossing, through Riverfront Park, and across the Chain of Rocks Bridge. Afterward, once you’ve made the return trek, load up the bike and drive south along Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard and Wharf Street to the colorful, mile-long graffiti wall.confluencegreenway.org.
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71. See the city skyline.
For the most iconic vantage point of our fair city, take the MetroLink to the Arch–Laclede’s Landing station, cross the historic Eads Bridge, follow a pathway down to the Casino Queen parking lot, head south along Front Street, and climb up the Mississippi River Overlook at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park. Time your trip right, and you can watch the Gateway Geyser erupt (at noon and 3 and 6 p.m.), beginning April 15. Just remember to pack a camera.meprd.org/mmmp.html.
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72. Climb the Confluence Tower.
After myriad delays, the 180-foot-tall Lewis & Clark Confluence Tower opened in 2010 in Hartford, Ill. Its three observation decks allow you to gaze westward toward the confluence of the Missouri and Mississippi rivers, as well as squint out to the southeast at the city of St. Louis’ skyscrapers. confluencetower.com.
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73. Drive the Great River Road.
As you’re driving out of Alton, Ill., the menacing Piasa Bird marks the beginning of Route 100’s most scenicstretch. Winding north along the Mighty Mississippi, the road runs 15 miles to Grafton, Ill., and onward to Pere Marquette State Park, where you can play chess with oversize pieces inside the lodge. Afterward, enjoy a drink at Aerie’s Riverview Winery, overlooking the confluence of the Missouri and Illinois rivers, before making your way back to Missouri via the Brussels and Golden Eagle ferries. (Tip: Follow County Road 1 and the signs to the Golden Eagle, bring cash to cross, and be prepared for a long return trip if you don’t live in the metro area’s western stretches.)greatriverroad-illinois.org, pmlodge.net,aerieswinery.com.
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74. Take a blues cruise.
Once a month from June through October, you can board a replica 19th-century paddle-wheel boat, and listen to the likes of Big George Brock and the Soulard Blues Band. It’s how St. Louis night life used to be—and a lively way to spend a Thursday evening.gatewayarch.com.
Photo courtesy of Gateway Arch
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75. Watch a barge lock through the Melvin Price Locks and Dam.
After touring the National Great Rivers Museum near Alton, Ill., visit the adjoining locks and dam, an engineering marvel on the Upper Mississippi that was 16 years in the making. Time your trip right, and you can witness how the locks’ valves and gates allow a prodigious barge to pass through.www.mvs.usace.army.mil/rivers/museum.html.
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76. Climb the staircase at Fort Belle Fontaine.
The first American military outpost west of the Mississippi, this North County site was where Lewis and Clark spent the last night of their return trip. Decades later, the Works Progress Administration built the Grand Staircase, the five-tier set of limestone stairs that is a journey in itself to climb (and is supposedly haunted).stlouisco.com/parksandrecreation.
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77. See the Blessing of the Fleet.
Each July, a convoy of pontoon boats, bow riders, and jet skis gathers near Portage des Sioux, where the 25-foot-tall Shrine of Our Lady of the Rivers overlooks the Mississippi. They come, bedecked to match that year’s theme, to receive a blessing from a local priest. This year’s theme? Sharks—card sharks, pool sharks, etc.—with the festivities on July 20.blessingofthefleetstl.com.
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78. Play amid Elephant Rocks and Johnson’s Shut-Ins.
The two-hour trip south of St. Louis is well worth it on a nice summer day. First, climb on and around the giant red granite boulders at Elephant Rocks. Then drive south to Johnson’s Shut-Ins, the natural water park that’s been restored after the upper reservoir at Ameren’s Taum Sauk plant was breached in 2005.mostateparks.com.
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79. Make a day out of the wine trail.
Load up your mountain bike and drive to Defiance, then pedal west along the Katy Trail to wine country.Among the stops: Sugar Creek Vineyards & Winery, Blumenhof Vineyards and Winery, Montelle Winery, Augusta Winery, and Mount Pleasant Estates. (Just be sure to pace yourself, so you can eventually make your way back.) sugarcreekwines.com,blumenhof.com, montelle.com, augustawinery.com,mountpleasant.com.
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80. Find a favorite hidden trail.
Everyone knows about the Katy Trail, as well as those at Castlewood and Babler state parks—and they’re all worth visiting. But what’s fun is exploring a lesser-known trail: Klondike Park’s Hogsback Trail, Cliff Cave Park’s Mississippi River Trail, Weldon Spring Conservation Area’s Lost Valley Trail…
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81. Explore Meramec Caverns.
The state’s largest commercial cave isn’t exactly a challenge for seasoned spelunkers—in fact, the hardest part of the 1 ¼–mile guided trip might be waiting more than an hour to return to the restrooms. But the year-round 58-degree temperature, the lack of tight spaces, and the lore surrounding its use as a one-time hideout for Jesse James make Meramec an ideal family destination. americascave.com.
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82. Dive at Bonne Terre Mine.
We know what you’re thinking: “Scuba diving in landlocked Missouri? Get real.” But what if we told you Bonne Terre has attracted the likes of Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic? What draws divers to the world’s largest abandoned lead mine is the fact that the fresh water allows them to clearly see a veritable underwater Atlantis, a ghost town complete with a timekeeper’s shack, locomotives, and myriad underwater artifacts. 2dive.com/btm.htm.
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83. Sail Creve Coeur Lake.
If you’re not already a seasoned skipper, here are two ways to get out on the state’s largest natural lake with the pros. 1. Volunteer as a crew member aboard one of the Creve Coeur Sailing Association’s vessels. 2. Sign up for a learn-to-row class with the St. Louis Rowing Club. sailccsa.com, stlouisrowingclub.com.
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85. Float the Meramec River.
What better way to spend a warm Saturday afternoon than a lazy 5-mile journey down the Meramec? Rent a canoe for $45 at Blue Springs Ranch, and depart before noon with the cooler fully loaded. Afterward, pitch your tent for $10 once you return to the ranch, and make a night of it. floatbsr.com.
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86. Feed the pygmy goats at Grant’s Farm.
Zagat ranked Grant’s Farm the seventh-best family attraction in the country. It could be the oxytocin—that biochemical rush of tenderness when baby goats nuzzle you. Or maybe it’s the serene rides through Deer Park or the chance to meet the exotic, whether that means an Aldabra tortoise, a dromedary camel, or the ghost of Gussie. grantsfarm.com.
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88. Be surrounded by butterflies at the Butterfly House.
Stand in a cloud of glowing indigo wings during March Morpho Mania, and let your eyes drink in the color. Its beauty is a trick: The morpho butterfly isn’t actually blue. Rather, the metallic scales on its wings reflect only blue light. butterflyhouse.org.
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89. Drive Lone Elk Park.
We have a place where the buffalo roam! Also elk, deer, wild turkeys… No pets allowed, not even pacing in the hatch; this park’s for wildlife. The elk feel free to take a dip in the lake with you nearby; baby bison nap in the sun a few feet from the narrow road you’re traveling. stlouisco.com/parksandrecreation.
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90. Visit the Endangered Wolf Center.
It’s the only wolf center in the world certified by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and its captive breeding work has restored the Mexican gray wolf to the American Southwest, as well as recovering a sustainable population for the red wolf. Go when there are pups. endangeredwolfcenter.org.
Photo by Kevin A. Roberts
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91. Take a dog to the Museum of the Dog.
Just because you can. And while the dog sniffs around, count your blessings: Paris has a Sewer Museum; Austin, Minn., has the SPAM Museum; andwe have the world’s finest collection of art devoted to the dog, loyal companion to soldiers, kids, and kings.museumofthedog.org.
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92. Catch the canines at Purina Farms.
Throughout the year, dog lovers flock to Gray Summit to see pooches strut their stuff at Purina Farms’ Main Show Field—and dive off of docks at the Incredible Dog Arena. Don’t miss the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge in October. purinafarms.com.
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93. Watch eagles fly.
Stand on the old Chain of Rocks Bridge with binoculars, hike the bluffs, cycle the Great River Road, go out on a viewing barge, or if you want to keep warm, just watch through spotting scopes from the curved, two-story bay windows of the Audubon Center at Riverlands. riverlands.audubon.org.
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94. Or see an eagle up close.
The eagle symbolizes freedom and courage. (And here, beer.) So once you’ve watched the national symbol soar, come in close at the World Bird Sanctuary. Note the bright eyes, the massive wings, the well-deserved hauteur. Sanctuary founder Walter Crawford Jr. was the first to breed the bateleur eaglein captivity; he’s spent his life protecting these magnificent birds. worldbirdsanctuary.org.
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95. Catch a movie at a classic theater.
Our historic movie houses just seem to fit in their respective neighborhoods. You can pair an indie flick with a bottle of Schlafly at the Tivoli Theatre on the Loop. Or watch a classic flick while sitting in an aquamarine seat at the Hi-Pointe Theatre near Forest Park. Or enjoy the latest blockbuster and an organperformance at The Chase Park Plaza Cinemas. Or sip a martini on the plush couches at the Moolah Theatre in midtown. Or get out of town—and indoor theaters—altogether by seeing a double feature at the Skyview Drive-In in Belleville, Ill. landmarktheatres.com, hi-pointetheatre.com, stlouiscinemas.com; skyview-drive-in.com.
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96. Play bocce on The Hill.
First, don’t wear black pants—you’ll be covered in big, chalky handprints by the end of the night. (Yours, if not somebody else’s.) Pick a not-so-hot summer night, order a pitcher of cold beer, and experience the glory of open play hours at Milo’s Bocce Garden. Not only does Milo’s cook a mean chicken spiedini, it also offers the best authentic bocce courts around.milosboccegarden.com.
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97. Pamper yourself at the Chase.
If it were 1979, we’d be telling you to watch King Kong Brody take on Ric Flair in the Khorassan Room. But since it’s 2013, you should order from the 300-bottle wine list at The Chase Park Plaza’s Eau Bistro or order a White Russian at The Tenderloin Room’s bar—and think about how much you miss hearing the late Barbara Gabriella performing Frank Sinatra tunes at her grand piano. chaseparkplaza.com.
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98. Bid (or just watch) at Ivey-Selkirk.
In February, the 183-year-old Clayton auction house sold off the largest collection ever assembled of ’80s East Village artists: Kenny Scharf, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kiki Smith, Sue Coe, Keith Haring… Even if you’re too blasé, too shy, or too broke to raise a paddle, it’s astonishing to see some of the rarified objects that pass over the auction block.iveyselkirk.com.
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99. Explore Jefferson Barracks.
There’s a lot to see on the 1,702-acre grounds, including a field for corkball. Be sure to stop at the restored Laborer’s House and stables (dating back to 1851), the stone Powder Magazine Museum, and the Old Ordnance Room. Perhaps the most resonant sight, though, is the Battle of the Bulge Memorial, which looks out over the Mississippi River and pays tribute to soldiers who fought in the Ardennes Campaign of World War II.stlouisco.com/parksandrecreation.
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100. Stroll historic St. Charles.
The 244-year-old downtown’s 10 blocks are filled with small shops selling everything from art glass and antiques to quilts and tintype photography. If the weather’s nice, lunch on the patio of the Old Millstream Inn Restaurant, which looks out on a tiny creek. Then tour Missouri’s first capitol. And before you leave, make a trip down to the riverfront.historicstcharles.com.
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101. Find a favorite bowling alley.
Old-school establishments include Maplewood’s Saratoga Lanes, Richmond Heights’ Tropicana Lanes, and Dick Weber Lanes. Then there are Joe Edwards’ vibrant takes on the sport: the Loop’s Pin-Up Bowl and downtown’s Flamingo Bowl. saratogalanes.com,tropicanalanes.com, amf.com/dickweberlanes,pinupbowl.com, flamingobowl.net.
Every city’s got its own personality, and St. Louis is old enough and stubborn enough to have a distinct one. In human form, we’d probably be your favorite uncle, the one who scoops up little kids on his shoulders, takes them for ice cream, plays baseball with them, romps with the dog, goes to church or temple every weekend but stays out late the night before at the Greek Festival or Mardi Gras, drinking a cold one and telling stories. Here’s a checklist of that personality for you, trait by trait. Because there’s a big difference between just living in St. Louis and being a St. Louisan.
Download the full checklist and start exploring St. Louis.
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