28 Hours in St. Louis Part 2
Although we would all love the opportunity to take big trips to exotic places, life gets busy and it just isn’t possible. Sometimes you just need to work with what time you have, pack a bag, hop in the car and drive. For me, that meant a quick trip to visit some friends in St. Louis, MO. Despite a8 hour time-crunch, we packed our time chock full of the best places the city can offer. We actually packed it so full that I had to split this into two blog posts!
So make sure to check out part one here! Whether you’re planning a trip yourself or just looking for inspiration to get out of your city, here are some top destinations you don’t want to miss.
Day Two: Sunday
We started the day at The Mud House for brunch. The café was crazy busy so it was difficult to find a seat, but once we did it was well worth it. The food was great, as was the coffee, but like most brunch spots the décor is what sold me. The walls were a collage of different textures, signs, pictures, animals, and anything else you could imagine. This even included a color organized bookcase on one wall. Sadly, people were standing in front of it so I never got a chance to figure out if it was just for decoration or actual books to borrow.
Cherokee Street is lined with some of the most interesting shops all within walking distance of one another. Some of the shops were closed since we decided to go on a Sunday. Even so, we had the chance to explore some fun antique shops like the Purple Cow. This was my favorite antique shop, cluttered with signs, scraps and one of a kind pieces that I so wanted to take home. The first thing we stopped to look at was a file cabinet drawer filled with old postcards dating as far back as 1909. Each told a different story and we stood searching through them for a good ten or fifteen minutes, mesmerized by the pictures and handwritten notes from the past.
Entering the main rooms of the shop, the first things I noticed were the large paintings and advertisements hung on the walls. As we walked through there were tons of trinkets and large pieces to admire, but the most interesting part was the backyard. The yard felt like a smaller scale, less interactive version of The City Museum, located just a few miles down the road.
Built into the yard was a garden of junk. Complete with a bridge and what looks like it could be a little stream during the warmer months, the miniature park was a piece of artwork, a collage of memories from past decades. Although we didn’t have a chance to explore many of the other shops I would highly suggest spending some time walking around this area if you have the chance. I noticed lots of other cute shops selling new and vintage clothing, art galleries, a record store, and several restaurants and bars down the road.
Our next stop was Diana’s Bakery down the street. This was a classic Mexican bakery stuffed to the brim with tasty, and often flaky, sweet treats. Diana’s is an absolute hazard for those of us who lack self-control. You grab a tray and tongs at the entrance and pick and choose whatever you want for yourself. As if that wasn’t tempting enough, the treats are cheap, mostly under one dollar each! In the end, I got about five treats for $9 including flan, concha (sweet bread), a flaky custard-filled dessert that tasted like an éclair, cookie, and a donut. Everything I tried was as good as it looked.
For a taste of the local culture, we went to the mural mile. It one-mile of murals painted by local artists. The wall’s primary purpose is to prevent the river from overflowing and flooding the city. By design, this wall changes all the time, with artists constantly painting over the current designs. It is obvious that the pieces take days if not weeks to finish so I couldn’t even imagine the pain of seeing your masterpiece covered up. It only took us about a half hour to drive past as much as we wanted to see, and this was the perfect stop before heading on to the National Park and Arch.
Gateway Arch National Park:
Not to be confused with Arches National Park in Utah, the St. Louis arch only takes a few hours. It was too chilly for us to spend much time outside walking down by the river so we took our pictures quickly and skedaddled on inside the museum. The government recently renovated the indoor exhibition so it was different than the last time I went to visit. The interactive exhibit guided you through the evolution of the city of St. Louis, from the Lewis and Clark expedition and the French colonial times to the building of the arch for the World’s Fair. This section gave you a greater insight into how they chose the design of the arch, who designed it, and what the other possible designs were for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. If we had more time, I would have liked to explore the Courthouse across the street which is also a part of the national park. But by this point, I was ready to pack up my gear and make the five-hour trek back to Nashville.