The Right Start: Forest Park spans 1,371 grassy, forested, lake-studded acres in the heart of the city. See it best from the floor-to-ceiling windows of the Saint Louis Art Museum’s ultra-modern restaurant, Panorama. The elegant weekend brunch menu changes seasonally — look for the eggs Benedict served over a split croissant.
Historic Highlights: Forest Park is 1.5 times the size of New York City’s Central Park, so forget about seeing it all. Thankfully, two beautiful (and historical) must-sees are nearby. The magnificent World’s Fair Pavilion was built in 1909, with proceeds from the 1904 World’s Fair, and the unique Jewel Box, with its 50-foot vertical glass walls, opened in 1936.
Wander the Grand Hall: A St. Louis tradition for 238 years, the Soulard Farmers Market runs year-round Wednesday through Saturday at the “Grand Hall,” an open-air space inside a Renaissance-style building. Expect more than 140 top-rated vendors, from farmers to artisans.
Lunch like a Local: Tangy-sweet St. Louis barbecue is the city’s most noteworthy contribution to American cuisine. If you have not already filled up at the farmers market, head to Bogart’s Smokehouse just around the corner for a plate of burnt ends or a slab of apricot-brûlée pork ribs.
Unique Shopping: Opt for an afternoon shopping antique row on Cherokee Street rather than the hustle and bustle of the mall. You can find rare gifts and treasures on the historically unique street.
More than Beer: Now world-famous, Anheuser-Busch’s very first brewery opened in St. Louis in 1852. Tour the original brewery in Soulard for a glimpse of St. Louis’ German roots, visit the Budweiser Clydesdale stables, and get a sneak peek at the company’s latest brewing technology.
The Grandfather of Botanical Gardens: The 79 spectacular acres of the Missouri Botanical Garden date back to 1859, making it the nation’s oldest in continual operation. Locals know it as Shaw’s Garden, for founder Henry Shaw, a botanist, and philanthropist. Do not miss the 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, one of his masterpieces.
Dine at the Biergarten: In addition to industry giant Anheuser-Busch, St. Louis also boasts a robust craft beer scene. Local standout Urban Chestnut Brewing Company creates award-winning beers in both American and European styles, served alongside gourmet pub fare with a German twist, like gravlax — cured salmon, créme fraîche, beet, and capers on crostini.
Dessert Like You've Never Had Before: St. Louis is big on the boozy ice cream trend, and no place does it better than Ices Plain and Fancy, where the ice cream is flash-churned on demand using liquid nitrogen. The best part? Liquid nitrogen is so cold that it can freeze alcohol. Try a Benjamin; with vanilla ice cream, whiskey, and pralines.