Happy Sunday friends! Every time I think I’m getting back on track with blogging, something else comes up (face palm). This summer has been crazy busy. I seriously can’t wrap my head around the fact that it’s already September 1st. Most of my summer was spent working a ton of overtime at work and also working on a bunch of client projects on the side. Everything is finally winding down a little bit though and I am slowly getting around to playing catch up. I am honestly so happy Fall is pretty much here and all things pumpkin spice are in season.
Obviously I am way behind on posting, but I did want to share about a trip we took over Easter (see, very behind lol) to St. Louis with Mike’s parents and his son, Eli. His dad recently finished up chemo and it’s not often we are all able to get away so it was nice to do so for a few days. We got to spend 3 days in St. Louis and did a lot of fun things while we were there. Even though it’s a late post, I still wanted to share what we did to give you guys ideas of things to do if you visit STL – lots of good food, good drinks and fun were had!
As with many of our trips to St. Louis, our first stop was Mission Taco Joint. They have several locations around St. Louis (and in KCMO too!), but we always find ourselves at the Soulard location. This place is definitely one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. The atmosphere is great, the food is awesome and it’s also very reasonably priced. Plus, they have late night specials from 10 pm – close with $2 tacos and tequila shots.
Every time we go to Mission Taco, I always order the South Beach Burrito (see below!). It is SO good! It is a grilled chicken burrito with cilantro rice, smashed black beans, Chihuahua cheese and chipotle aioli, topped with guacamole. I can’t recommend it enough! Mike always orders several of their tacos and says they’re phenomenal. We also tried their Queso con Chorizo with chips for an appetizer and it was so good, we ended up ordering a second order of it. We will definitely be getting that on all future visits as well!
It was already getting to be late afternoon by the time we were done with lunch so we went ahead and checked into our hotel. We stayed at the Drury Plaza Hotel St. Louis at the Arch. It was game day for the Cardinals and they were playing in town + it was a holiday weekend so it was a busy weekend to be in the city and there were a lot of guests staying at our hotel. However, it didn’t take long at all to get checked in and overall we were very happy with our stay!
I think this was the first time I’ve ever stayed at a Drury Hotel, but we were really happy with it. The rooms were really nice, spacious and clean. Mike’s parents had their own spacious room and then we stayed in a separate suite down the hall. Eli got the living room pullout couch which he was all excited about. He of course made himself right at home there and couldn’t stop talking about how cool it was. The only thing we didn’t love was that the window we had in our room looked out into the inside of the hotel at other guests’ rooms rather than actually looking out at the city. However, we didn’t really spend all that much time in the room anyway so it didn’t really matter to us.
The hotel has a really nice upper level rooftop outdoor area with an awesome view of The Arch as well as the city in general. It’s right downtown so very convenient to a lot of restaurants, Ballpark Village and the stadium, etc. They also have 2 restaurants connected to the hotel. There is Angelo’s Taverna which is a little hole in the wall style Italian restaurant and then also Carmine’s Steak House for a more upscale dining experience. They do have a parking garage under the hotel with a daily parking fee that’s pretty reasonable as well.
The hotel offers free breakfast, free wi-fi and a 24 hour fitness center – lots of perks here! One of the best perks of the hotel was that they also have a nightly happy hour. Any guest over 21 gets 3 drink vouchers per night while they are staying there. So after we got unpacked and cleaned up, we headed downstairs for that in the lobby. Horse-drawn carriage rides are another fun activity in STL – they were often parked right out front of our hotel. We didn’t get a chance to do this, but I definitely want to on another trip there.
It was 7ish at this point so we decided to walk over to Ballpark Village for dinner. If you aren’t familiar with BPV, it’s basically a massive 2-story dining, bar and entertainment complex right by Busch Stadium, home to The St. Louis Cardinals. A lot of people gather here to watch games and just hang out. It’s usually pretty busy no matter what time of year it is, but it’s a lot of fun and great energy. One of the bars also has a mechanical bull you can ride if you’re looking to turn the fun up a notch.
We didn’t really have a plan in mind, but ended up eating at Budweiser Brew House which is located inside Ballpark Village. They have more of a casual bar and grill style menu. I settled on a pulled pork sandwich with fries and beer. Nothing fancy, but it was good!
Also – unrelated side note, but during this trip, I saw that a brand new Loews Hotel is being built right next to Busch Stadium and Ballpark Village. Last year during a trip to Chicago, we stayed at the Loews Downtown Hotel and it was truly amazing. Hands down one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at (wrote a whole blog post about it if you want to check it out!). So I am so excited to see they are opening one a little closer to home in a city we visit way more often (Spring 2020). We will definitely be staying there and I can’t wait!
Anyway, after dinner, we went back to the hotel to wind down a little bit. Eli wanted to swim so we took him to the pool and he had a blast. Other than that, it was kind of an early night for us. We had a lot planned for the next day so a chill night in our hotel room was perfect.
Saturday morning we slept in a bit then got up and got ready to hit City Museum. (Sorry, nothing exciting to share for breakfast or lunch – just soup from Panera lol). City Museum is definitely a must (for kids and adults alike!) if you visit STL. It is a massive museum built in an old shoe factory building. Everything in it is made up of repurposed pieces of the city (stones, tiles, beams, even an old school bus). It’s such a unique concept because it’s more of a giant playground than it is a museum. You’ll definitely want to wear comfy clothes. I would recommend tennis shoes for this as well because you’ll be doing a lot of crawling, climbing, sliding, etc. We spent a good portion of the day here and still didn’t manage to see it all.
By the time we got out of there, it was late afternoon and we were all hungry. If you read my post from February about our last trip to St. Louis, then you know we went to Salt + Smoke while we were there (really good bbq place). Well, we loved it so much that we wanted to take Mike’s parents there for dinner on this trip too. They were out of my fave Assalted Caramel Pecan Ale this time, but I did try Brick River Cider and it was really good too. As far as food goes, I ordered the Bestie Combo. I got pulled pork and pulled chicken, pit beans with smoked bacon, creamed corn and a popover. I am telling you guys… this is the place to go if you want some phenomenal bbq.
Eli’s allergies really started kicking in at dinner and he was absolutely miserable for most of the rest of our trip which was a bummer. Union Station has a water and light show each night that we planned to go to, but since he wasn’t feeling well, we just ended up going back to the hotel. Union Station is actually building an aquarium that’s set to open this December so we will definitely be back to check that out.
Even though we were out of town, I still wanted to make Easter special for Eli so I had brought a bunch of Easter eggs with us. Poor kid was not feeling well at all and fell asleep early so we spent the evening filling the eggs with his favorite candies and a little money and hid them around our hotel room. Since it was still early, we decided to venture out for a bit. Mike had never been to Three Sixty, a rooftop bar and eatery that overlooks the city with stunning 360 degree views. It’s located on the 26th floor of the Hilton at the Ballpark Hotel and overlooks Busch Stadium as well. Great drinks, awesome views and vibes – totally recommend.
During this trip, we also discovered Bird scooters. Our hometown isn’t big enough for these, but these are so much fun to explore with in a bigger city like St. Louis. In short, they are electric scooters left all over the city (they do this in a lot of big metropolitan areas). You scan the code on them with your phone and pay a little fee to ride around town. Cheaper than an Uber or paying extra for parking and it’s also something fun to do. We had so much fun that night scooting around town being tourists. Mike couldn’t wait to come back just to ride around on them again.
Sunday morning, Eli was too excited when he saw his note from the Easter Bunny and got to hunt for eggs around our hotel room. Definitely a highlight of the trip to see his face light up over that. I remember how much fun I had as a kid hunting for Easter eggs so I wanted to make sure he got to this year. I know someday soon he’ll outgrow that so for now, we enjoy these little moments.
We were going to go to Half and Half for brunch, but we got there and it was about an hour wait. So FYI – if you plan on going there (which you absolutely should), definitely put your name on the waitlist ahead of time. Since we didn’t have time to wait around for that, we walked down the street to Five Star Burgers. Although not the brunch we had in mind, it was definitely a winner too. I got a margarita (Mike got the best Bloody Mary) and The Gateway Burger. This burger had smoked bacon, cheddar, onion rings and bbq sauce – highly recommend it!
Our plan was to go to the St. Louis Zoo for a little while before heading back home. We were there for all of about 15 minutes before Eli’s allergies were acting up so bad again that he was ready to go. He went ahead and went home with Mike’s parents. Since we had literally just gotten there and paid for parking, we decided to stay a while. Admission here is free, but there are some things that they do charge a small fee for like feeding the stingrays, safari tours, etc. We always love coming here when we get a chance.
Overall, we had a really great time on this trip! We got to see and do a few new things and visit some of our favorites. We have since taken another trip to St. Louis which will be up on the blog soon as well, but I wanted to get this trip posted for now. A few more recommendations if you’re visiting STL…
- The Magic House (children’s interactive museum)
- St. Louis Science Center
- Six Flags St. Louis
- Budweiser Brewery Tour
- Go to the top of The Arch
- Cardinals game at Busch Stadium
- Try your luck at the casino inside the Lumière Place Hotel
- Missouri Botanical Garden
- Grant’s Farm (wildlife park)
I know I am forgetting a lot I’m sure, but I’ll update this list as I think of more. Hope you all are enjoying your Labor Day Weekend!