Gavin DeGraw shows you around St. Louis (Source: @anantha_nv)
Gavin DeGraw explores

St. Louis in 48 hours

Day 1

A.M.

It’s hard to think of St. Louis without thinking about The Arch, but to get a real feel for the city, grab a fork and bring your appetite for a great Midwestern time. I prefer to fuel up for the day with a St. Louis omelet at the Station Grille in The St. Louis Union Station Hotel, from Curio Collection by Hilton.

Laumeier Sculpture Park. Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center Whitaker Foundation Gallery. Photo by Sam Fentress
Laumeier Sculpture Park. Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center Whitaker Foundation Gallery (Photo by: Sam Fentress)

P.M.

From there I head over to the perfect spot to get away from a busy tour schedule: Laumeier Sculpture Park. Just outside the city, it’s peaceful and quiet, with walking trails linking more than 60 large-scale contemporary sculptures. There’s no place quite like it.

It’s a little-known fact that hats are kind of my thing. So, I always try to visit a true local shop: Levine Hat Company. In business since 1903, it’s the largest retail hat store in the world. No matter what your style, they’ve got it here.

Evening              

I recommend exploring Union Station before heading out for the night. The tall, Grand Hall lobby is itself a work of art, with mosaics, archways, stained glass windows and a killer 3D lightshow. I like to take it all in—cocktail in hand—from a seat in the Grand Hall’s extravagant lounge.

Warning: If you go to St. Louis and don’t try the barbeque, then you didn’t go to St. Louis. Sugarfire Smoke House is the best, with its traditional smoked meats plus unexpected treats. How about pork belly hush puppies with an adults-only Chocolate Peanut Butter Bourbon Shake? Yeah, I thought so.

Day 2

City Garden
City Garden

A.M.

A good way to start the day is a refreshing dip in The St. Louis Union Station Hotel’s seasonal outdoor pool, or by pumping iron in the state-of-the-art fitness center. All of that, so you can justify taking in the “best breakfast in Missouri” atRooster. Pretty impressive; it’s a big state.

If you still need a nature fix after yesterday, kill a few hours at Citygarden. This downtown oasis has the coolest outdoor art and fountains you’ll find anywhere. And on hot days, unleash your inner kid and jump into its popular “spray plaza.”

City Museum
City Museum

P.M.

Speaking of your inner kid, check out City Museum, a playground of found objects turned into art. Where else will you see—and be encouraged to touch—abandoned safety deposit boxes, vintage shoelace machines, and even something described as “the world’s largest underwear?” Not to mention the outdoor “play area” complete with a salvaged airplane and rooftop carrousel—for daredevils. Don’t ask, just go.

St. Louis has a world-renowned beer history, and is home to one of the largest breweries. But there are some cool smaller breweries, too, like Square One Brewery & Distillery. The tour is free, and the beverages are plentiful and flowing – from craft beers to Missouri malt whiskey.

Evening

Benton Park is a historic St. Louis neighborhood, but one of its best restaurants here is only a decade old. Sidney Street Café takes New American cuisine and blends in Midwestern and Southern recipes. They even grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs in the restaurant’s 100-yard organic urban garden.

Take it from me, you want to end your stay in St. Louis where the beer’s cheap, the tunes are hot and the doors stay open ’til 3 a.m. Beale On Broadway is one of the best live-music joints for R&B, jazz and the blues.