Meet me in St. Lou-e Lou-e! {E+C travel}

Is anyone else singing the ol famous song from the 1944 Judy Garland flick? (Sorry, they don't allow me to embed that YouTube clip.)

As you continue to hum that song, I'll fill ya in on our own adventures in St. Louis!

Over spring break this past March, Evan and I decided to head towards warmer weather. We contemplated jetting off to some tropical island but decided to stay closer to home -- for the sake of saving money and for some quality bonding time with family. My sister lives in St. Louis and although I visited her when she graduated from Wash U two years ago (also here), Evan had never been there. There's a lot of fun stuff to do in good ol' St. Lou-e: historical, cultural ... botanical? And we figured we were still going south, so it had to be warmer than Minnesota, right? Typically that would be a 'yes', and the week before our visit I hear St. Louis was showcasing their best spring-weather days. But of course the night we showed up .... you guessed it, it snowed.

But a little colder weather can't dampen a Minnesotan's sense of adventure! For four days we traipsed around the city (mostly on foot!), taking in everything from Botanical Gardens and Science Museums to local doughnut shops and hockey games! And because everyone loves a list (who doesn't love lists?), I've compiled our Top-Ten St. Lou-e Activities:

1. Eat doughnuts
These are AMAZING doughnuts. I'm not sure if the shop was around during the St. Louis World's Fair back in 1904, but the woman working the shop surely was! No, I'm kidding. But she is quite the character, and old. Hair spun up and sprayed in place above her head, face caked with makeup an inch thick, and the happiest person to be serving out fresh doughnuts all day long. It's understandable she closes her doors a little early in the evening, because she's up at it again at 3am or so -- I forget the specifics but you can probably read about it somewhere, she's a legend. This little shop on the corner is such a treasured part of the St. L community that a guy passing by IN HIS CAR stopped when he saw we were trying to snap a photo. That's how we ended up getting the full body shot of us three. Gotta have your doughnuts! Oh, and they cost about 50 cent a piece!

Lucky for us, this little haven of sugar and goodness is just around the corner from Kirsten's apartment, so we stopped by on a little walk our first morning, and then again on our last.

2. Build an Arch
... at the Science Museum! We were definitely the only adults there without kids in tow, but we had a great time!

3. Take crazy jumping-under-the-arch photos (and of course go to the top!) We took similar photos under the arch two years ago.

We also highly recommend both of the videos playing in the museum (at the base of the arch). One is a documentary on the making of the arch, the other is a fun reenactment video (made by National Geographic?) telling the story of Louis and Clark.

4. Take a picture with a celebrity

... Or just take a picture with a celebrity plaque, at a celebrity hangout, or take a picture of someone taking a picture with a celebrity! Play darts while you're at it (at Blueberry Hill).
"Nelly's Hangout" apparently

 The owner of this bar seems to attract celebrities, and likes to take pictures with them to add to his collection. We saw everyone from Barack Obama to Jenna Fischer (from The Office).

 Blueberry hill has a dart wall ... maybe about eight boards in this one room.

Interesting story: my dad was actually singing with Todd Rundgren that very night! (hence, the photo).

5. Pet a famous dog

... The Budweiser Dog! 

We had a blast touring the Anheiser Busch Brewery -- walking around, dwarfed in the shadows of the towering brick buildings I was reminded of Willy-Wonka and the Chocolate Factory ... but of course this would be the "chocolate" factory for grown-ups ; )

My favorite stop was visiting the horses.
That's where Evan actually patted the pooch and somehow I managed to catch it on camera! I think Evan's favorite part was the packaging plant. Those bottles were just flying by, getting filled, packaged, and ready for send-off. I forget the stats at the moment, but it was quite impressive how quickly they turn those puppies out of there.

Of course we all enjoyed the treat at the end of the tour!

6. Shop at Schnuck's then stay in and enjoy a home-cooked meal
Although St. Louis has tons of good eats out and about, there's nothing like a good home-cooked meal of Chicken Parmesan and a glass of wine to make you feel at home. We used this Martha Stewart Everyday Foods recipe, in case you're wondering. Probably the best parmesan I've ever had!

7. Eat custard on old Route 66

St. Louis likes custard. Apparently there are quite a few ice cream/custard stands in the area. But Kirsten took us to her favorite, Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, which happens to be right on old Route 66! I have learned that if you are truly a St. Louis-an (what's the appropriate ending on that?) you will do anything for custard, even stand in the freezing rain pretending it's summer. Notice the hats, scarves, and mittens? But it was tasty : )

8. Take a run or walk through a park then drop by the St. Louis Bread Company! (aka: Panera)
Here we are at the entrance to Tower Grove Park -- the morning after it snowed. Thankfully the snow melted quickly! St. Louis is home to many beautiful parks, some of which share the same designer/planner as NYC's Central Park. The Botanical Gardens, which I guess you could consider a park, is a great place to stroll around and relax. Even thought the rose garden wasn't in bloom in March, we enjoyed feeding the fish in the Japanese Garden!

(the bridge and purple flower photos were actually taken a few years ago in May)

We did in fact stop by Panera ... I mean the St. Louis Bread Company. St. L is actually Panera's place of origin, for those of you who don't know random trivia like that. All Paneras in the city actually say St. Louis Bread Company in the same scripty writing as the standard Panera logo. Same tasty food.

9. Search for animals the zoo! I guess when you visit the zoo in March you just take what you can get. In our case it was an elephant, penguins, and two bear-like creatures.

10. Learn a new dance ... or sport's cheer. Root for the out-of-towners!

We were lucky to have the Minnesota Wild in town during our visit ... so of course we got tickets and cheered them on. And they won -- in a shoot-out! We were pretty proud of the Wild. Well maybe that's not true. If you know me, you know I am not exactly a pro-hockey fan. But it was an exciting game and was fun to walk away happy for the win when everyone else was bummed!

Apparently if you're cool you do this dance/cheer during a power play:

So there you have it, our top-ten St. Lou-e adventures! Just a little late ... definitely no more snow on the ground now!


  1. Wow -- great report -- I felt like I was there with you!! But you know I was actually in a Todd Rundgren concert! Funny coincidence on that one!

  2. I still have plans of adding the photo you sent me of the World's Fair Doughnuts Lady!

    Yea, funny coincidence. You were actually on stage with him when we snapped that photo!


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