Early this Spring, my husband Chris and I took a short 3 day trip to St. Louis. I went to the City Museum years ago with friends and have always wanted to go back. St. Louis is only 5 hours away from Nashville and has so much to do so it was pretty difficult to narrow down what we would see in the time we were there.
Our first stop was the City Museum, a must-see for anyone traveling to St. Louis. It's a giant art installation, event space, circus school, and playground made of repurposed materials from around the city that has multiple restaurants, a bar, interior cave system, and artists' residence located in an old factory downtown. Sounds crazy/perfect right? It's unbelievable and magical and I love it.
Our next stop was the adorable Airbnb we stayed at. The prices to stay in St. Louis are great compared to Nashville and the surrounding areas. We got to stay in a beautiful brownstone in the trendy Benton Park for under $100 a night.
Next we headed out to the Schlafly taproom for dinner. Chris used to work for Whole Foods and a beer distributor, so before I found out that I'm gluten intolerant craft beer events and brewery tours were a favorite hobby for us. Thankfully, Schlafly not only makes a cider (naturally gluten free) but they also have a gluten free dinner menu. This was the first of my discoveries that St. Louis is an incredibly allergen-free friendly town!
The next morning we slept in pretty late and then went to get coffee at Sump (coming to Nashville soon! Yay!) which was delicious and strong.. just what we needed to get going.
I read a lot of reviews for Pi Pizza, where we went for lunch that day and it did not disappoint. They're famous for their deep-dish cornmeal crusts, but they also have gluten-free crust with a ton of good topping choices. I read that President Obama had it brought to the White House because it's his favorite pizza place. We went to the Central West End location because it was closest to where we stayed but there are several.
After lunch we went to the St. Louis Zoo which is FREE! Originally built at the turn of the 20th Century, there's beautiful architecture all over the zoo, and it's right in the middle of town in Forest Park, which is home to other museums and the location of the 1904 Summer Olympics. The zoo had Polar Bears (my favorite), Rhinos, and really well planned out exhibits that made it so easy to see the animals. I loved the underwater tunnel that went beneath the sea lions.
Next we stopped by the Jewel Box, an art deco greenhouse and event space located in Forest Park. Absolutely beautiful.
For dinner we went to the Delmar Loop part of town to eat at Salt + Smoke for some famous St. Louis barbecue. We skipped the wait to sit at the bar and got a couple of really well-made cocktails. For dinner we got a brisket plate and it was probably the most delicious brisket I've ever had.. and I eat a lot of barbecue. The fat was perfectly caramelized and crispy and the meat was savory and just fell apart when we put our fork in it.
The bartender at Salt + Smoke was really friendly and recommended a social club/bar/cigar lounge to get cocktails later so we headed back to the Central West End to go to Brennan's. When we first came inside it looked like a regular high-end bar, but we soon found a PING PONG ROOM downstairs in the basement that we had all to ourselves.
After several games that neither one of us could say we won, we ventured upstairs to explore some more. We passed through the room that displayed all of the cigars available, and up a staircase. There was a members only lounge for playing records and another full bar upstairs.
The next morning we went to Rise Coffee House in the Grove neighborhood.
Total HGTV nerds, we looked up an awesome house from House Hunters Renovation that used to be a firehouse and drove past. The couple has a blog about their renovations called A Fire Pole in the Dining Room.
Next we stopped in the Historic Soulard Farmer's Market, the oldest market this side of the Mississippi, but not many booths were open since we went during the middle of the week. We did see a sign for some interesting meats though...
For brunch we drove out to the suburbs for a very highly reviewed gluten-free restaurant, New Day Gluten Free. We shared blueberry muffins and biscuits & gravy and it was so worth the drive. I wish there was one here in Nashville- I seriously couldn't tell that our food was gluten-free at all! So good.
Our final stop was the Malcom W. Martin Memorial Park for a good view of the St. Louis Gateway Arch. It started pouring when we got there, so our photos were gray and gloomy but it was such a cool view of the city from across the river.
We started the drive home after that,which seemed much longer than the drive there. I really didn't want our little trip to be over so quickly, but there's no place like home, especially when you live in Nashville. I can't wait for our next road trip adventure!