By now, you probably know that I have a love-hate relationship with Chicago. I LOVE the plethora of brunch spots and cupcakeries. I HATE the weather and being so far from my family and friends.
And sometimes, the Windy City can just be too city for me. Too much concrete. Too many tall buildings. Too much congestion.
Even though I worked in downtown Baltimore at my last job, I lived in the suburbs (…at home with my parents… #JournalistProblems). I like the relative “peace and quiet,” being able to look up and actually see the stars at night, as well as bunnies in my backyard.
So when a college friend of mine suggested I come down to visit her in St. Louis, I jumped at the opportunity! Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Yo, LT, St. Louis is a city, too!” Duh, I may not be the best at Midwest geography (okay, geography in general), but I know that.
But it’s not a “city” city. I’ll explain…
When Jeff and I got there (after a 5.5-hour trip on the MegaBus), I was in awe of two things: 1) The weather. Sure, Chicago may have been in the 60s on Saturday (for once this season!), but St. Louis was a welcoming 77. YES, finally! The Sun!!! 2) So. Much. Green. Space. Sure Chicago has Lincoln Park and a so-called beach (it’s a lake!!). But I absolutely adored the long stretch of grass in between The Arch and the old courthouse in downtown St. Louis, followed by Forest Park near the city’s zoo. I could have stayed there forrreverrr…
So, what did we do in our 24 hours in Nelly’s city? A few things, actually…
1. Visit The Arch. I love being a tourist and doing touristy-things, so a trip to the top of The Arch (679 feet tall, no less) was at the top of my must-do list. Jeff, my friend, Teena, another couple and I squeezed into a 4×4 pod (yes, a pod) and made our way to the top of St. Louis. Granted, the view is not as spectacular as that from atop the Sears Tower, but it was still fun nonetheless. I can officially scratch this one of my bucket list.
2. Eat. We went to Fitz’s Root Beer on Saturday for some old-fashioned pop (ugh, soda people, it’s so-da!). Then Pappy’s Smokehouse for a BBQ “brunch” on Sunday. These were quite possibly the best ribs I’ve ever had and well worth the wait! My advice: get there early as there’s guaranteed to be a loooong line and they’ve been known to run out of food early!
3. City Museum: In one word? Insane. At the City Museum, there are hidden entrances/exits/slides (including a 10-story one) EVERYWHERE you look! Fun tip: Bring kneepads (if you forget or don’t feel like packing them, you can buy them in the gift shop for $4) and wear yoga pants and sneakers. I had on flats and jeans and regretted every step along the way. Regular admission is $12, but if you go after 5 p.m. on Friday or Saturday, it’s $10 and they’re open until midnight. Plus there’s alcohol, if you want to partake in an adult beverage.
4. Saint Luis Zoo: So this may be one of the best zoos I’ve ever been to (and Jeff and I have been to a LOT). It’s also rather large, so plan on doing a lot of walking (read: wear sneakers) and be sure to apply sunscreen if it’s sunny as there isn’t a ton of shade. Bring a water bottle, too, unless you don’t mind spending $3.50 for a regular-sized bottle. There’s a refill station located at the entrance and a water fountain near the stingray exhibit. Note: the penguin exhibit is under construction. Boo!
5. Cupcakes, of course: No trip to a new city is complete without cupcakes, which is why Teena took us to Jilly’s Cupcake Bar. I opted for the 24-Karat Carrot Cake…it was pretty tasty, but wayyy too much for one person to handle!
All in all, it was a very fun (and quite delicious) trip! I can’t wait to go back!! 🙂