View from across the river of the arch at night

Planning Your Trip

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The weather in St. Louis is as varied as the city’s offerings. Whether it’s business, a romantic getaway or a spa weekend that brings you here, the hotel’s experts have put together a list of must-pack items.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What to Pack
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis

Lacking mountains or an ocean to temper its climate, the area around St. Louis is subject to extreme weather. In summer, sunglasses and sunscreen are a must. In winter, be sure to have a very warm coat, gloves, hat, scarf, and plenty of warm socks. A light, packable down jacket or vest is a smart layer that does not take up much room in your suitcase, and insulated, waterproof boots with grippy traction soles are a must in snowy and icy conditions.

Business Travel

Preparation is key to packing light. St. Louis’ weather is notoriously fickle, so plan ahead and bring items that can pull double or triple duty. A raincoat and travel umbrella are musts.

Pack versatile pieces that can go from office to dinner with ease — a blue suit, white shirt, and brown or black shoes for men; a blazer, a couple of dresses, and comfortable shoes for women; a sleek pair of jeans for more casual companies. Be sure to pack your workout gear to take advantage of the hotel’s gym in your downtime.

Wear your suit jacket on the plane to save room — the hotel can press it for you later. Roll up belts and ties and pack them in your shoes, then place them in a dust bag for even more space.

For women, think multipurpose: a long scarf to wrap up in on the plane or dress up an evening look; chic mules you can slide into for a meeting or for dashing out of the security line faster.

Exploring the City

There is a lot of ground to cover in St. Louis, from cosmopolitan Clayton to the hipster enclave of The Loop to blues-soaked Soulard and the artsy Central West End. Here’s how to explore in style.

The weather in St. Louis might surprise you. Check the weather in advance … then check it again. Bring a travel umbrella, a raincoat, and a warm outer layer for just about any time of year.

A good pair of walking shoes is essential. If you have a stylish pair of sneakers to pair with your daytime ensembles, you can wear them for comfort on the plane and during your daily workouts, too.

Bring a hands-free tote, cross-body bag, or backpack to carry your essentials while you are on the go.  

Weekend Getaway

A little forethought is all that is needed to fit what you require into a simple weekend bag. Most people don’t use everything they pack, so err on the side of simplicity.

Bring season-appropriate basics that can be mixed together without much thought: a pair of jeans, a couple of collared shirts, and a sport coat for men; jeans, a couple of blouses, and a cocktail dress for women.

Bring shoes that are comfortable, and stylish and go with everything. For women, think of ankle boots and backless loafers. For men, weatherproof boots and minimalist sneakers are a good bet.

Take along sneakers and activewear for working out and outdoor adventures.

Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
What To Reserve
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis

Modern travelers exploring the US will find themselves in St. Louis, MO, which means you won’t be alone in your wish to experience the city. Tickets to the City Museum, a concert at The Pageant, a visit to the Anheuser-Busch brewery, and a romantic couple’s massage at the hotel spa are among the must-reserve experiences for your visit.

In this culinary hotbed, a few establishments should not be missed. Start at Pappy’s Smokehouse, which kicked off the city’s lauded barbecue boom. Try the ribs — a dish of magic, smoked over apple and cherry wood — with a side of beans and bright, tangy slaw. In fine dining, two farm-to-table ventures stand out: Chef Carl McConnell’s Stone Soup Cottage, now on the farm where most of its produce is grown (a weekend visit requires a reservation two or more months ahead), and Vicia, from former Blue Hill at Stone Barns Chef Michael Gallina, which features vegetable-forward seasonal fare. After, retire to The Cigar Club at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis, where scotch, whiskey, and cigars are served in a handsome setting. Alternatively, for a quiet afternoon at the hotel, make a tea reservation and enjoy a traditional service, featuring a wide selection of teas, sparkling wine, and finger foods.

The former Fine Arts Palace of the 1904 World’s Fair is now home to the Saint Louis Art Museum, which includes more than 30,000 works of art from antiquity to the present. The outlandish City Museum, the brainchild of the late artist Bob Cassilly, is a mysterious, surreal journey through a former shoe factory that includes enchanted caves, slides, and a rooftop Ferris wheel. Contemporary art lovers should stop at the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Fumihiko Maki, a charming, gem-stuffed institution at Washington University, while Citygarden is a world-class sculpture park featuring large-scale works framed by the old courthouse and the Gateway Arch.

St. Louis is a family paradise, boasting one of the nation’s best zoos and most acclaimed parks. Start at check-in, where young guests receive V.I.K. (Very Important Kids) registration and instructions for a hotel scavenger hunt. Then bring them to the Gateway Arch, the tallest man-made monument in the United States — an enclosed tram carries riders to the top, offering panoramic city views. Introduce them to red pandas and Tasmanian devils at the Saint Louis Zoo, then explore the rest of Forest Park — Turtle Playground draws all ages with its massive turtle and snake sculptures; you can also rent a paddle boat, visit the Saint Louis Science Center or simply enjoy a picnic lunch.

Day trips abound from within easy reach of St. Louis. You could spend an entire day sampling the best of the city’s exceptional beer scene, from the quintessential Anheuser-Busch flagship brewery and its iconic Clydesdales to the area’s innovative craft brewers (wine lovers should check out nearby Augusta and Defiance for superior wines and breathtaking scenery). Or witness the historic charm of nearby St. Charles, Missouri’s first capital. Tour the Lewis and Clark Boat House Museum, then explore the lively shops, cafés, and restaurants nestled in the pristinely preserved buildings of the historic city streets


Ritz Carlton Hotel image
Ritz Carlton Hotel image
The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis

Whether St. Louis is simply a weekend stopover or the destination for your family vacation, there is plenty to explore in the “gateway to the West.” The hotel’s experts used their local knowledge to craft custom itineraries that sample popular experiences and hidden gems.

Breakfast at Home: One mile from The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis you will find Winslow’s Home, a delightful combination of a farm-to-table restaurant, European bakery, and gourmet kitchen boutique. Do not miss the selection of savory scones — the Parmesan and Bacon are particularly tasty.

The Best Culture Stop: If you have time for one culture stop in Forest Park, choose the world-class Saint Louis Art Museum in the historic Palace of Fine Arts, designed by renowned American architect Cass Gilbert for the 1904 World’s Fair. Admission is free, and the museum’s comprehensive collection spans works of art from every continent and era.

The Top of the Arch: The iconic Gateway Arch was erected in 1965 at the site of the city’s founding on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The 630-foot monument remains the tallest arch in the world and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. An enclosed tram zips visitors up the side of the arch in four minutes to the Observation Desk and its birds-eye view of St. Louis and the mighty Mississippi.

Beautiful Music: The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1880, making it the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States, behind the New York Philharmonic. The world-renowned ensemble performs at Powell Hall, a gorgeous French Renaissance-style theater in the Grand Center neighborhood; the city’s arts and entertainment district. If your visit does not coincide with a scheduled orchestra performance, the spirit of St. Louis can also be found in its jazz scene and nearby Jazz at the Bistro will definitely deliver.

Gaze Heavenward: The historic Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis is breathtaking from the outside, an awe-inspiring blend of Neo-Byzantine and Romanesque Revival architecture dating back to 1907. It is even better inside, where the world’s largest collection of mosaics under one roof cover every wall, dome, and arch. Visitors are welcome to enter and behold the extraordinary interior; but unless you’d like to attend Catholic Mass, arrive after 8:30 a.m.

Explore a Superstar City Park: Situated in the heart of St. Louis, 1,371-acre Forest Park is what all other cities’ public parks aspire to be. It contains 10 cultural institutions and landmarks, including the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Zoo, and St. Louis Science Center, eight restaurants, and more than 20 monuments. This is not counting the abundant nature: forest, prairie, wetlands, lakes, a river, and a 75-foot waterfall or the recreational facilities, which are too numerous to list. Rent a bike from the hotel, with a picnic for two prepared by the culinary team, and explore.

Discover an Urban Oasis: Gateway Mall is not a mall at all but multiple blocks of green space tucked in between Chestnut and Market streets. Within it lies Citygarden, an urban sculpture park where a paved pathway winds around six gardens, several fountains and 24 significant works of public art displayed on wide-open grassy grounds.

Soulard Soul Food: One of St. Louis’ oldest neighborhoods, Soulard (pronounced SOO-lard) is the home of the historic Soulard Farmers Market, thought to be the oldest continually operating farmers market west of the Mississippi, since 1779. The area is a culinary hotspot, with more than 40 restaurants, many punctuated with festive outdoor patios or courtyards. Choose Molly’s for the bistro’s hip vibe and bold Creole-influenced menu.

Curtain Call: Two blocks from Powell Hall, savor a nightcap at Curtain Call Lounge at Fox Theatre. The Byzantine-inspired architecture and opulent décor lend an exotic flair to the sexy space; a throwback to the swanky clubs of the 1940s and 1950s. But even more than its ambiance, Curtain Call is known for its bubbly — serving up St. Louis’ best selection of fine champagne, available by the flute or bottle. Try one of the nightclub’s sparkling cocktails like The Star, made with chilled Amaretto, a dash of bitters, sparkling wine, and a star of anise garnish.


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.


Best Brunch View: With approachable French cuisine served in an architecturally charming setting, Vin de Set personifies St. Louis. The bistro also has what is arguably the best view of the Gateway Arch and downtown skyline courtesy of its rooftop deck. 


A Scenic History Lesson: Take a step back in time aboard a replica 19th-century paddle-wheel riverboat on a one-hour sightseeing cruise along the Mississippi River with a National Park Service ranger. Soak in the city views and learn about the role the river played in St. Louis’ colorful past.

Stroll the Walk of Fame: Brass stars and bronze plaques embedded into the sidewalk of the Delmar Loop, named after an old streetcar turnaround, honor the city’s greatest stars like T.S. Eliot, Maya Angelou, and Chuck Berry. The Loop is also the hottest spot for clothing boutiques, funky shops, and art galleries.

An Unforgettable Burger: The Loop is the place for ethnic restaurants, but for a first-time visit to St. Louis, you must visit Blueberry Hill Restaurant & Music Club. Full of music memorabilia and pop culture kitsch, this local institution makes the best burger in town, including vegetarian versions.


The Weirdest Museum: There’s simply nothing else on earth like the City Museum. The 600,000-square-foot fun house and surreal architectural marvel was created by a team of artists using repurposed architectural and industrial objects and is housed in a former shoe company warehouse. You have to see it to believe it.

Take a Break: Inside The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis you will find one of the city’s top day spas. Relax with the 80-minute Missouri Red Rock Massage, inspired by the state’s volcanic red rocks, or the Black Walnut Massage with locally-sourced walnuts.


Broadway Oyster Bar: Enjoy dinner at Broadway Oyster Bar, affectionately known as Bob. The restaurant’s award-winning Cajun and Creole cuisine is second only to its rollicking music scene, drawing America’s best blues, jazz, and R&B acts.  

Nightcap: Round out your weekend at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis with one of the signature cocktails in the swanky Lobby Lounge, where classics like Manhattans and martinis are made to perfection. Or for a one-of-a-kind experience, sip, smoke, and relax in the warm ambiance of our private Cigar Club with a classic scotch and cigar.