Antiques in St. Louis
Is it an antique or is it just old? If you like it, it doesn’t matter – the fun is in the hunt! You can enjoy all sorts of “competitive shopping” activities in St. Louis, as you dig for buried treasure among the spoils inside the region’s many antique stores, flea markets and fairs.
1. Cherokee Antique Row
Plan to stay: 3-4 hours
For more information: www.cherokeeantiquerow.com
Cherokee Antique Row features more than 30 shops within a six block area, and all are filled with everything from the fine to the funky. Stores offer all sorts of treasures and trinkets, including collectible beer steins, antique jewelry, ornate lighting fixtures, books, Old World furniture and everything you can imagine.
Lunch suggestion: Enjoy lunch in Soulard, St. Louis’ oldest neighborhood, which offers dozens of casual dining options. Or visit Bevo Mill (www.thebevomill.com) a historic restaurant with an authentic windmill that was built in 1915 by August A. Busch, Sr.
2. Campbell House Museum
Plan to stay: 45 min. – 1 hour
For more information: http://stlouis.missouri.org/501c/chm
After lunch, head back to downtown for a tour of the historic Victorian home of Robert Campbell. Campbell was a fur trapping mountain man who became a millionaire in the mid-1800s, and his success with his Rocky Mountain Fur Trading Company made him the richest man in the state of Missouri. The recently restored Campbell House Museum is filled with his family’s original elegant furnishings.
3. St. Charles
Plan to stay: 3 -4 hours
For more information: www.historicstcharles.com
The ten-block, 200-year-old Historic Main Street features 125 one-of-a-kind shops filled with framed art, antiques, Victorian accessories, lamps, collectibles, and more. Nearby Frenchtown is a haven for antique lovers, with more than 20 stores located throughout the neighborhood. From Americana and Victorian to Depression era or mid-20th century, there are numerous places to find authentic furniture, glassware, and linens, along with wartime, nautical and aviation memorabilia.
Dining suggestion: Back to St. Louis for dinner on the cobblestones of Laclede’s Landing, an entertainment district along the historic riverfront. Restaurants and clubs are located within the former warehouses that once stocked cotton, grains, and other goods that traveled to St. Louis via steamboats on the Mississippi River.
1. Alton, Illinois
Plan to stay: 2 hours
For more information: www.visitalton.com
Located about 25 minutes from downtown St. Louis, Alton is home to more than two dozen charming antiques shops and the Beall Mansion (www.beallmansion.com). Take a tour of this historic home, built in 1903 as a wedding present, that was designed by noted architect Lucas Pfeiffenberger. If you’re lucky enough to be in southwest Illinois on the third weekend of the month, make tracks to the Belleville Flea Market at the St. Clair Fairgrounds (http://www.keysfleamarket.com/fleamarket/state/illinois.htm) for one of the country’s better antique markets. The market includes everything from fine and estate jewelry to new merchandise, sportswear, and electronics.
Plan to stay: 3-4 hours
For more information: www.visitkimmswick.com
A charming hamlet founded in 1859 by German immigrants, Kimmswick features century-old buildings that are home to B&Bs, boutiques, specialty shops, and antiques stores, as well as charming restaurants. The Kimmswick Historical Society museum features a collection of town memorabilia, including historical pictures, artifacts and maps, and the group offers self-guided walking and driving tours of the town.
Lunch suggestion: Stop in for lunch at the Blue Owl Restaurant & Bakery (www.theblueowl.com), a Kimmswick landmark, featuring good old-fashioned home cooking, country-style www.gypsycaravan-stl.org/default.htm, and fabulous desserts.
3. Central West End
Plan to stay: 1-2 hours
For more information: www.thecwe.org
Back to the city for some additional shopping at the Central West End’s numerous antique stores and galleries. The Central West End neighborhood was developed at the turn of the 20th century and features beautiful mansions along tree-lined streets. Today, the neighborhood is home to a variety of sidewalk cafés, upscale restaurants, and specialty shops.
Seasonal: Every Memorial Day, the Gypsy Caravan (www.gypsycaravan-stl.org/default.htm) takes place on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). The huge one-day affair is the Midwest’s largest flea market/antiques and crafts fair, and features hundreds of vendors with all sorts of new, used, rare and not-so-rare items. The popular event benefits the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.