Little Bits of St. Louis

St. Louis is a city made up of hundreds of diverse, delightful neighborhoods. Each has its own distinct flavor, architectural style and vibe. Highlighted here are a few great neighborhoods for walking, shopping, dining and exploring.

Day One

1. Lafayette Square

1 - 3 Hours

The Marquis de Lafayette, France’s leadership contribution to the American Revolutionary War effort, visited St. Louis in 1825. He made such an impression on the citizens that they named the city’s first designated park in his honor. Lafayette Park in St. Louis, founded in 1836, is the oldest public park west of the Mississippi. The elegant neighborhood surrounding the “squared park” is known as Lafayette Square. The area’s circa 1870 –1880 “painted ladies” have been called the finest and largest collection of Victorian-era architecture in the country.

http://www.lafayettesquare.org | Get Directions

2. Park Avenue Coffee

30 Minutes

Take a coffee break and bite into one of St. Louis’ iconic foods – gooey butter coffee cake – at Park Avenue Coffee Company. This friendly neighborhood café air roasts its many coffee offerings and serves up delectable baked goods and other flavorful drinks.

http://www.parkavenuecoffee.com | Get Directions

3. Tower Grove Park and South Grand

1 - 2 Hours

The South Grand neighborhood’s slogan says it all: “The Best Food from Around the World in Just Six Blocks.” The neighborhood has a flavor of its own with international restaurants and bakeries, vintage clothing and decor shops, fair trade boutiques, coffee houses and martini bars. South Grand’s most notable attractions are Tower Grove Park and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

http://www.southgrand.org | Get Directions

4. Tower Grove Park

1 - 2 Hours

Tower Grove Park, the finest example of a Victorian park design remaining in the United States, is one of only four municipal parks designated a National Historic Landmark. It also is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tower Grove has the most diverse forest of any urban park in the country, with more than 8,000 trees and woody shrubs of more than 350 varieties. The park was a gift to the people of St. Louis by Missouri Botanical Garden founder Henry Shaw.

 

This lovely park features a bandstand, goldfish ponds complete with faux ancient ruins, and 10 unique pavilions each of a different architectural style. The park’s “ancient ruins” were recycled blocks from the old Lindell Hotel that burned to the ground in 1867; the balustrades surrounding the sailboat pond came from the U.S. Customs House, designed by George I. Barnett, that was razed in 1899 and entry way columns along Magnolia Avenue were reclaimed from a renovation project at St. Louis’ historic Old Courthouse.

http://www.towergrovepark.org | Get Directions

5. Missouri Botanical Garden

1 - 3 Hours

Time for a beauty stop at the amazing Missouri Botanical Garden. Founded in 1859 by English immigrant Henry Shaw, this is the oldest public garden in the United States and is considered one of the top three public gardens in the world (along with Kew Gardens in London and the New York Botanic Garden). The Garden is renowned for its beauty and its world-wide research aimed at plant conservation. Highlights of the 79-acre-Eden include: a tropical rainforest inside the Climatron geodesic dome that features endangered plant species; Seiwa-En, the largest authentic Japanese garden in North America; a Victorian garden; Boxwood garden; Chinese garden; two rose gardens; reflecting pools; garden architecture, sculpture and an elaborate Missouri Adventure-themed Children’s Garden.

http://www.mobot.org | Get Directions

6. Soulard

1 Hour

A driving tour of Soulard, St. Louis’ oldest neighborhood, showcases brick row houses, blues music clubs, corner taverns and the oldest operating farmers market in America. Soulard celebrates its French heritage each year by hosting one of the nation’s biggest Mardi Gras celebrations. There’s always a “bon temps” vibe in this lively, friendly neighborhood.

http://www.soulard.org/ | Get Directions

7. Soulard Farmers Market

1 - 2 Hours

See the spot (and shop any Wednesday – Saturday) where St. Louisans have shopped since 1779 – Soulard Farmers Market.   Owned and operated by the City of St. Louis, it is the oldest farmers market in the country. Fresh produce, flowers, bakery goods, meat and spices are available. There’s even a pet shop on the premises. People come from all over the St. Louis area to take advantage of the Market’s low prices and fresh produce.

http://www.soulardmarket.com | Get Directions

8. Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour

1 - 3 Hours

The Soulard neighborhood’s biggest residence is home of the original Anheuser-Busch Brewery. Complimentary tours of the fabled American brewery complex – including the popular, historic stables of the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales and free tasting room – operate daily.

http://www.budweisertours.com | Get Directions

Day Two

1. The Hill

1 - 2 Hours

The Hill is known throughout the food-loving world as one of the most tasteful “Little Italy” neighborhoods in America. Settled in the early 1900s by Italian immigrants, residents still carry on their traditions in this lively spot near downtown and Forest Park. Green, white and red Italian flag-painted fireplugs mark the boundaries of the Hill where the neat shotgun-style houses are almost as interesting as the creative pasta dishes served in the corner restaurants. The neighborhood’s dining establishments range from mom and pop sandwich shops and casual trattorias to elegant Mobil and Zagat-rated restaurants. Stop for a game of bocce – Italian lawn bowling – and pick up Italian essentials in the aromatic specialty shops. Baseball-loving visitors will want to see the neighborhood where Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola grew up and famed broadcaster Jack Buck resided on Elizabeth Avenue – now called “Hall of Fame Place” in their honor.

http://www.shopthehill.com | Get Directions

2. Central West End

1- 2 Hours

Stroll and shop along the tree-and-sidewalk café-lined streets of the Central West End neighborhood. Antique shops, eclectic boutiques and even a store named Left Bank Books add a Parisian flare to the streetscape. Note the beautiful cast iron street lamps, from the early 1900s, that illuminate major intersections.

http://cwescene.com | Get Directions

3. Bissinger’s French Confections

1 Hour

Hop into Bissinger’s French Confections to pop a delectable, hand-made chocolate for a melt-in-your mouth taste treat. Bissinger, one of the last handcrafted chocolatiers in the world, has been making fine French confections for more than 400 years and takes pride in the fact that it has not sacrificed quality ingredients, taste or craftsmanship to produce more candy at a lower cost.

http://www.bissingers.com | Get Directions

4. World Chess Hall of Fame

1 - 2 Hours

Steps away from Bissingers, a sculpture of the world’s largest chess piece marks the location of the World Chess Hall of Fame and The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. During a tour of the Hall of Fame, visitors see displays of chess-related artifacts from the permanent collection, and temporary exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games, and rich cultural history of chess.

http://www.worldchesshof.org/ | Get Directions
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