Thursday, December 5, 2013

More St. Louis Fun

I'm sure you have read all about our Grant's Farm visit on our first day in St. Louis, if not, DO IT.

Here are a few more things to do when being the touristy tourist, as we were. No shame.

The Gateway Arch, Of Course.

Ah the iconic Gateway Arch. When you think of St. Louis, this is what you think of, even for those who barely know where St. Louis is (it's in Missouri).

Sitting along the bank of the Mississippi River... it's a pain in the ass to get to. There is not much nearby parking as the Arch is situated in a large park. There are many parking structures surrounding the park, that of course charge a mildly ridiculous fee, or you can drive right up to the river and look for parking along the bank. There are a few small parking lots and meters along the street. If you opt for the latter option be prepared for this:

MWUAHAHA I took pictures and slyly got away with NOT having to carry the baby plus stroller up a bunch of stairs :D

Once up there you can skip through the park, have a picnic, try to take a picture of the entire thing...

(It's big)

Or just mosey on inside... By mosey I mean leave your wine and firearms outside the building and go through airport security. But knives are ok?

 National monument = national security... In ranger hats

Sometimes the lines just to get inside (and through security) are huge. They generally tend to go pretty quickly but when the line is all the way out into the park, you may want to come back later... Or check the other side; there are two entrances. Just because you get inside doesn't mean you get to go to the top (did that sound dirty to you too?) You actually have to buy tickets to ride the space pods to the top of the Arch and the tickets are for specific time slots. If it's busy they may be sold out for hours, you will have to buy tickets for later and just come back. Which we had to do... Or you can buy them ahead of time online and avoid the hassle. Because then you'd be smarter than me!

Inside the Arch there is a Westward Expansion museum you can walk around while waiting for your time slot and the line to get on the trams is like a mini museum as well. You won't be terribly bored and the toddler will find something they are not supposed to get into to play with. I will warn you, the journey to the top of the 630 foot Arch is a claustrophobic and mildly bumpy one... If you are bad with tight spaces or particularly afraid of heights, I would skip this. It's a very small space to puke in.

The view, Hamburger taking a picture of the view, Hamburger enjoying the wait to the top, Hamburger getting into the space pod (yes, that's the door, as big as it gets!), and finally proof that Hamburger was at the top.

 Once to the top, you can snap a few pictures and look out both sides of the Arch overlooking the city and the river, but it's a small space so don't expect to spend too much time up there. 

Although we had to wait in a few lines and come back for our time slot we enjoyed the attraction. You're not missing out on a whole lot if you skip it but it's like going to Chicago and not going to the Sears Tower (it's forever the Sears Tower, I don't care what anyone says!). It's a fun experience and an iconic building with a lot of pretty interesting history. 

City Garden 

My favorite thing to do when exploring a new city (besides trying local beer) is to walk around as much as possible and enjoy the outdoor spaces. I also love exploring outdoor public spaces because it allows the kiddos to run around and get some energy out. It's a good break from all the structured sight-seing.

City Garden lends itself perfectly to just that. It is easily accessible on foot, simply head away from the river from the Arch and go straight, you'll run into it eventually! Or go here for better directions... There are many places to run, climb, and even get wet among the art features!

Views, jumping fountains, T.V. watching, bunnies, pools, and creepy faces

The gardens are open in winter, although the experience will be a little less... wet. But during certain times of the summer you can even splash in the multiple pool installations (legally).

And don't worry if you forgot a towel, diapers work well.

 It's cool, just Hamburger with a diaper on his head.

Fitz's Bar & Grill

I love food and I love beer. And now also root beer. Best burgers, floats, and fried pickles!

A really great place for a meal... a very large meal. Don't skimp on the root beer floats either, even crunchy momma won't forgive you!

You can even watch the root beer bottling process, pretty cool!

And make sure to stock up on all the Fitz flavors at the restaurant. It's cheapest there and you won't have to go looking for grocery stores. Just make sure you don't leave it in your hot car, because it will explode. It's like I know from experience or something?

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

While we're on the subject of food, let's bring our attention to the most important food group... Ice cream! Yes, even I take a short break from being a food psycho when on vacation.

Seriously though, this ice cream is THE BEST. And there's like, a million flavors. 

Yes folks, this is Ted Drewes, not the line for Millennium Force in 2000.

It's THAT good. People were tailgating in the parking lot. For ice cream. I have no words.

Summer Festivals

 That's Burger, and me, and Mommy in front of Crown Royal at Muddy Blues.

Yep, St. Louis likes to party! And that's a good thing because you can find some sort of festival any month of the year! And many of them are free. From music to arts to beer, St. Louis is bound to have something going on, what a perfect way to experience the vibe of a city.

Not all events may be family friendly, but most have something to offer every age group. Hamburger definitely enjoyed dancing to some blues on Laclede's Landing, but it was time to go once the drunks really hit the dance floor. 

More to See and Do in St. Louis!

I realize I haven't even scratched the surface of all the fun things there are to do in St. Louis, but we only had a few days, interrupted by baby (and grown-up) nap times. 

I can't wait to come back and explore more of this amazing, vibrant city.

One thing I am particularly sour we missed out on was City Museum.  Slides and airplanes and rooftops... And even a bar at night! Check it out if you get the chance, I have heard only amazing things, and hope to have an update sometime after our next visit! Check out their hours and plan ahead of time because they have some strange hours, which we learned the hard way.

Other good choices for a rainy day include The Magic House Children's Museum and the Science Center.

And be sure to check out Explore St. Louis for all the other great attractions and events going on in the city!

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