City Guide: Meet St. Louis
With a population slightly over 300,000, St. Louis certainly isn’t one of this country’s giants but its rich heritage and uniqueness certainly make up for its lack of population. Introduced to the world in a certain 1944 movie starring Judy Garland, St. Louis was portrayed with the hometown charm and elegance that the locals still revere. Join us as we offer a bird’s eye view of our hometown with a closer peek at the little treasures that make St. Louis a fabulous place to live and work.
First Things First
- We have the largest national monument in the United States in the form of the Gateway Arch, the symbol of America’s move westward in honor of Thomas Jefferson. Completed in 1965, the Gateway Arch is a catenary curve (remember that for the science portion of the ACT) and was designed to withstand the elements. The foundations go 60 feet below ground and when the winds kick up, the arch can sway nearly two feet.
- We have an unwavering loyalty to the Cardinals (the Cards) and happily look north while chanting, “where’s your Commissioner’s Trophy?”
- St. Louis is home to a rich soccer heritage way before it was a national middle school obsession. Just watch “The Game of Their Lives”, inspired by a team with players from “The Hill” (see below) who defeated England in the World Cup in 1950.
So, grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage, play some jazz and settle in for a brief sojourn to the STL.
Oh, the Places We Go!
- Forest Park – Home to the 1904 World’s Fair, a symbol of prosperity and urbanization, Forest Park is the 7th largest urban park in America and home to the city’s major museums. A must for first-time visitors!
- Laumeier Sculpture Park – where else can you look at a giant eyeball? Here at the Midwest’s most important outdoor sculpture park. Cameras required.
- City Museum – Part funhouse, playground, salvage yard but always a crazy good time, City Museum resides in the former International Shoe Company building. A maze of reclaimed city parts including two planes, you can’t begin to imagine what you will see.
- Crown Candy – Homage to the sweet tooth in all of us, Crown Candy is a STL destination for lunch and sweet treats since 1913.
- The Delmar Loop – or “The Loop,” and former home to the trolleys in the movie, is a 6-block neighborhood of specialty shops, restaurants and history not to be missed. Rock and roll legend, Chuck Berry still plays at the famous Blueberry Hill and his relationship with the club is legendary and documented. Plus we are trying to revive the trolley line made famous in the movie, which will we can’t wait to re-enact on a sunny Saturday.
- Central West End – known for its brand of “urban eclectic” shops, restaurants, and bars is where we go when we are feeling the need for a taste of the hip and happening.
- Anheuser Busch – It’s German heritage brought lager style beer to the masses and remains a national market leader. Headquartered in St. Louis since 1852.
- The Hill – St. Louis’ Little Italy boasts Italian restaurants and shops that will transport you to the Old Country.
Get your Chow On / Food We’re Famous For
- Toasted ravioli – Ricotta and spinach filled rav’s, breaded and deep-fried. Folklore labels it a happy accident back in the 1940’s but we don’t care when or where they were invented. Try them at Lombardo’s or Charlie Gitto’s and prepare to fall in love. Also check out DiGregorio’s Market.
- Cracker thin Pizza with Provel Cheese – What’s Provel you say? Unique to St. Louis and little known outside the city, Provel is a processed blend of provolone, Swiss and cheddar and we can’t imagine pizza without it. Imo’s is the go-to for this tradition and get it loaded with bacon, bell peppers and onions. Check out a recent perspective from our friends at Serious Eats and another on the facts about Provel and its umami properties.
- Pork steak – A St. Louis staple, pork steak, is the core of St. Louis barbecue. Simmered with sauce for long periods of time, this succulent steak is the centerpiece of summer. Don’t have time to cook your own? Visit Phil’s Bar B Q for a classic.
- Gooey Butter Cake – Another St. Louis favorite founded by accident, gooey butter cake is a cake-pudding hybrid of butter, evaporated milk and a pastry crust that is nothing short of amazing. Of course we have to share our favorite recipe.
- Fitz’s or Ted Drewes – Don’t feel like baking? Run over to Fitz’s Root Beer for floats bigger than your head or to Ted Drewes for custard so creamy you won’t remember what you had for dinner.
Secret St. Louis / Insiders Guide
a few little known (outside the Lou) facts and places
- St Louis Bread Company – Your favorite lunch spot, Panera, grew from the acquisition of St. Louis Bread Company and Au Bon Pain. We know good food!
- Rootwad Park: You can’t access it from a car or GPS – only by bike or on foot. This secret park is full of beautiful mosaics on a floodwall and a fun find.
- Bonne Terre Mine – Yep, there’s scuba diving in Missouri. And Jacques Cousteau and National Geographic took the plunge into this abandoned lead mine filled with fresh water, a ghost town, locomotives and plenty of other treasures of the deep.
- Gus’ Pretzels -A snacking institution since 1920. Whether sticks, twists or in pretzel dog or deli sandwiches, Gus’s which is right near the stadium doesn’t disappoint and a St. Louis best kept secret.
- Soulard – The oldest neighborhood in St. Louis and home to the second largest Mardi Gras in the country, Soulard is named for the French.
- Milo’s Bocce Garden – Even thought it’s illegal to throw hard objects in Missouri, we are pretty sure Bocce balls and baseballs are excluded. Whether you are a league player or just a casual participant, this is the place.
- Thurtene Carnival – the first sign of spring in STL is when the Ferris wheel at Washington University goes up for the nation’s oldest student-run carnival. Coming April 17-19!
And don’t forget, our door is always open. Stop by and say hello – if you let us know you are coming, we might have a pizza or gooey butter cake ready. We share!