This year has been all about saving money and paying off debt for me. As someone who LOVES to travel, it’s been kind of hard for me to put my travel plans on hold and re-focus, but it was so necessary. Just since March, I’ve been able to pay off over $4600 in debt. I have quite a ways to go still (I will eventually share my debt and how I got out of it story with you), but the progress I’ve made has totally been worth it. My travel bucket list continues to grow and I definitely plan to travel more next year, but this year I’ve been trying to be content with a few quick trips closer to home while I work to get myself on track financially. (You may be wondering what this has to do with our anniversary – keep reading!)
Anyway, the reason I mention all of that is to say while I would have loved to take some extravagant beachy vacation for our 3 year anniversary back in May, we opted for something short and sweet and close to home without the expensive price tag. I know the last few travel posts I’ve written have been about St. Louis so brace yourselves – so is this one lol. BUT I am loving that each time we go, we’ve been able to experience some new things which means I get to share new things/recommendations with you as well. We didn’t do a whole lot this trip, but I did want to share bc we checked out some great places that I thought you should know about!
Our anniversary is on May 28th and usually falls on or around Memorial Day Weekend. It was on a Tuesday this year so we decided to go to STL on Monday for the night. This was a very last-minute trip. We weren’t even going to go, but changed our minds 2 days before. We both were feeling kind of burnt out from work and it was much needed to get away.
It’s crazy to think we’ve already been together for over 3 years! The time has really flown by. It’s definitely not always been easy, but we’ve made it work. I wrote a pretty in-depth post about one of our biggest early-on struggles – dealing with being in an interracial relationship and having a family that doesn’t approve of that – if you would like read more about that. I’m really glad that the closed-mindedness of others did not deter us from pursuing a relationship. We’ve had a lot of laughs and a lot of great times together over the last few years and I am forever grateful for that. Doing life with your best friend is the best 🙂
I looked around at several hotels when making our travel plans, but everything I was finding was way too expensive. I love booking through Priceline’s Express Deals feature so I tried going that route instead. I’ve used them several times now and have yet to be disappointed. Not only do you get a really great rate on a hotel room, but it’s also kind of fun not knowing where you’re going to be staying until you book it. While they don’t tell you where you’re staying until you pay, you can generally figure it out based on the location, star rating, etc. This time, I was able to land a $67 rate at The Magnolia Hotel St. Louis which was extremely cheap!
I was super excited about this since I’ve been wanting to stay there for quite some time now. It’s located just one block from Washington Ave which has a ton of fun bars, eateries and things to do. The Magnolia is just stunning on the inside in my opinion. While it’s undoubtedly an older building, it has been beautifully remodeled and feels/looks very glamorous and elegant. We didn’t get a chance to go, but they do have a bar/restaurant in the hotel (Robie’s) that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have Happy Hour daily from 4:30 – 6:30 with discounted food and drink specials. You can also get food delivered to your room if you’re in the mood for room service. Parking is available pretty close by. We actually found a parking garage right down the block that didn’t charge for parking so that was an unexpected pleasant surprise since you do usually have to pay for parking in the city.
Our room was really nice as well. You walk into a spacious living room area that’s separated from the bedroom by French doors. Modern, chic and cozy best describes The Magnolia for sure. I completely forgot to grab photos of the bathroom area. It wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it was clean and overall, we were really happy with our stay and would absolutely stay there again. They are also pet friendly, have free wi-fi and have a 24-hour fitness center available for hotel guests.
The St. Louis Blues were playing in the Stanley Cup that weekend and with no real plan in mind, we rode our fave Bird scooters across town to Ballpark Village to have some beers and watch the game. The place was absolutely packed with fans. I’m not all that into hockey, but it’s definitely growing on me and it was a great time being there with such high energy and excitement. While we were there, we also found one of those cute greenery walls with a neon I Love You sign. Obviously had to snap an anniversary pic there.
We wanted to try new restaurants this trip so this time we had a late night dinner at Gringo. It is the cutest little Mexican restaurant (they also have burgers) on Washington Ave, just a block or so from our hotel. The food was truly beyond excellent. We shared bottomless chips and salsa for an app and got margaritas of course. I can’t remember which one, but they have a pretty extensive marg menu and I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them. I also had the Pollo Loco Burrito (highly recommend) which has chicken tinga, mexican rice, refried black beans, fundido cheese, crema and topped with guac and pico. Honestly, we eat a lot of Mexican food and this was definitely one of the best places we’ve been to yet. Plus, the eatery itself is totally Instagram-worthy if restaurant aesthetic is your thing. Overall, this place is a must if you are in St. Louis!
By this time, it was like 11ish and we weren’t quite ready to go back to the hotel yet. So we decided to take our scooters back across town to Three Sixty, the rooftop bar at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark Hotel. This has definitely become one of our fave places to go when visiting the city. If you are looking for an upscale (but not overly expensive) place with great views, food and drinks, this is the place to go! Also, I am pretty sure the only reason Mike wanted to go to St. Louis was to ride scooters – he is obsessed lol (see below).
When we finally got back to the hotel that night, we had a sweet little surprise waiting for us in our room. They left us THE best chocolate cake and a bottle of wine. We really appreciated the thoughtfulness of the hotel staff for gifting us that. Perfect ending to a great day 🙂
The next morning, we slept in a bit. Last time we went to St. Louis, we really wanted to go to Half & Half for breakfast, but there was a long wait so we didn’t get to. Knowing better this time, we put our name in early to make sure we could go (def do this if you plan to eat there – it’s a popular spot apparently!). We ended up getting brunch there and it was phenomenal. So glad we came back here. They are located in Clayton (they also have a Webster Groves location) which is kind of on the outskirts of the city, but well worth the extra few minutes to drive there.
Half & Half has a great outdoor dining area complete with string lights and a whitewashed brick exterior. They have a really good selection on their menu so it wasn’t easy to decide. I ended up getting the blueberry pancakes with a side of potatoes and fresh squeezed OJ. Mine was excellent and the pancakes were huge – I ended up taking half home. Mike got their biscuits and gravy and I am not exaggerating when I say that was some of the best biscuits and gravy I’ve ever had in my life. Idk what they’re putting in that gravy, but it is just wow – no words. A must-try! Definitely looking forward to our next visit to Half & Half!
Before heading home, we of course had to make a stop at St. Louis Motorcars, a luxury/exotic car dealership bc a little daydreaming never hurt anyone right? Not really a tourist activity lol but figured I would share that we went there anyway. It was cool to see so many beautiful cars. Maybe someday 😉
I’m finally caught up on travel posts (for now). I do have a fun trip coming up next month – I promise it’s not St. Louis again lol. I’m really looking forward to sharing it with you guys so stay tuned for that. In the meantime, if you want more suggestions for things to do in St. Louis, check out my blog post 3 Days in St. Louis: Where to Eat, Sleep + Play.
Also, if you want to read how we spent our 2 year anniversary in LA last year, check out my LA Travel Guide. Lots of good recommendations there if you are planning a trip to Los Angeles!
Have a great week, y’all!