One of the most popular questions I get from prospective students and visitors to St. Louis is “What should I do when I’m in town?” After all, St. Louis is a good sized city, but it is no New York or Chicago. But fear not, there are plenty of things to do in St. Louis, so I put together this weekend guide to STL to help you out when you visit the city! I’ve also included a map to help orient you with the places I’m talking about (props to Kailey and our good friends at Google for putting the map together).
Where to Stay
The Moonrise- This is my top suggestion for lodging. The rooms run in the $130 range, but it is a very nice hotel with a unique vibe. It is located on the Delmar Loop and is a very short drive from campus. There are a lot of places to eat and drink along the Loop, which would make this a convenient place to stay.
Clayton Sheraton- This hotel is a little farther from campus, but it is also cheaper than the Moonrise. It is a good hotel and is located in the nearby suburb of Clayton, which is a fantastic area. The hotel also supposedly has a shuttle service that can help get you around town.
Dinner: Cicero’s- It’s Thursday night. You just got into town, and you’re looking for a quick place to grab a bite to eat. If you’re at the Moonrise, it’s just a short walk (or a short drive from the Sheridan) to a great restaurant/bar called Cicero’s. Cicero’s is a Wash U Law hotspot for food and drinks, as they have over 200 beers (including a great tap selection) and some of the best pizza and wings in town.
Drinks: Bar Review- Every Thursday night, Wash U Law students have Bar Review at a different bar in town. There are usually good drink specials and a lot of law students show up every week. If you can find out where it is being hosted, this would be a great way to meet some current students and get their take on the school.
During the Day: Visit- This is, of course, your most important part of the trip! If you are here for an Admitted Students Weekend, the Admissions Office is sure to have a full day planned with a tour, a class to observe, student and faculty panels, lunch, and a reception. If you are just here visiting on your own, definitely be sure to schedule a tour and sit in on a class. Try to talk to some current students to get their perspective on things like jobs, student life, and classes. And take some time to walk around campus, because it is downright beautiful.
Dinner: Pi Pizza- After a long day of meeting people and hearing about Wash U, you’re probably hungry and ready for a beer. I recommend you round up the gang and head on over to Pi Pizza. Pi is located in both Central West End and the Loop, but I recommend trying the Loop location because it is so close to campus (and it is right across the street from the Moonrise). Pi has a great beer selection and their pizza is absolutely outstanding. The thick crust is delicious and it is the closest thing to Chicago deep dish you’ll find in St. Louis. Ugh… just writing about Pi is making me want Pi! (Stupid low carb diet…)
Drinks: Blueberry Hill- One of the best parts about attending an ASW is meeting people and having fun with potential classmates. I met people last March at the ASW that I am still friends with, including people who wound up attending WUSTL and even some who didn’t. After spending the day at school, we got together and had an absolute blast at Blueberry Hill, so this is where I recommend you head on Friday night. Blueberry Hill is a large bar in the heart of the Loop with great food served all night and a pretty good beer selection. My favorite part of Blueberry Hill is the dart room. Having a few brews and playing a few games of darts would be a good way to finish up your Friday. And if you get the late night munchies, try the toasted raviolis! They’re a St. Louis delicacy.
Morning: STL Zoo-Now that you’ve seen the school, it is time to get out and see the city! The St. Louis Zoo is one of the top zoos in the country and the admission is free. It opens at 9:00 A.M., so you can go there in the morning and leave plenty of time to explore other parts of St. Louis in the afternoon. The zoo is in the middle of Forest Park, so it isn’t too far from WUSTL’s campus.
Lunch: Pappy’s Smokehouse- A lot of cities boast great barbecue, but few can hold their own with a good St. Louis style BBQ. Here in St. Louis, Pappy’s is the best of the best. It has gotten a lot of hype after being featured on Man vs. Food, and it lives up to it. The place only makes so much food on any given day and they close up shop once they sell out of food. The lines are probably going to be long on a Saturday, but take it from a man who loves his food: it is well worth the wait.
Early Afternoon: The Arch- The Arch is both an American and St. Louis icon. For $10, you can go up in the Arch and get a nice view of the city and the great state of Illinois. It isn’t the most exciting activity on the list, but it is something that anyone living in St. Louis should do at least once.
Late Afternoon: Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour- Now we’re talkin’. You know that beer you had at the bar last night? Well the AB Brewery is where all the magic begins. Anheuser-Busch is another iconic and proud symbol of St. Louis, and it is definitely worth a trip for anyone coming from out of town. The brewery is full of interesting history, and the sheer size and volume of the place is amazing. The tour is free and you get some samples of beer at the end. The brewery is located near the Soulard area of town and is not too far of a drive from the Arch, but hurry over there because the last tour is at 4:00.
Dinner: The Hill- The Hill is not just one restaurant, but a whole neighborhood full of incredible Italian restaurants and bakeries. I suggest “The Hill” because I couldn’t narrow it down to just one place, and any of the dozens of restaurants would be a fine choice. Charlie Gitto’s is quite possibly the best Italian I’ve ever had, but it is pricey. If you want some awesome Italian chow at a reasonable price, I’d try Zia’s. You’ll definitely need a reservation on a Saturday, though.
Drinks: Bar Louie- If you aren’t completely worn out from all the food and drinks I’ve led you to already, you should head on over to Bar Louie in the Central West End. Bar Louie is a popular hangout for many law students and it is located in one of the most popular residential areas for Wash U students (many of my friends live in CWE).
Brunch: Wildflower- I have not yet eaten here for brunch, but I’ve heard good things. I’ve been here for drinks and for lunch, and I enjoyed it both times I visited. Wildflower is located in Central West End.
Before You Leave: If you have time to drive around and visit some neighborhoods, I’d recommend checking out the Loop, CWE, and Clayton. These are popular places for students to live, and you should try to check out a few areas before you head out of town just to get a feel for the different parts of the city.
Obviously there is much to do in St. Louis and only so little time during the weekend to do it. If you want to do other things while you’re in town or you’re coming back for “seconds” in the future, here are a few more suggestions!
Ted Drewes- The only reason Ted Drewes didn’t make the guide is because I didn’t know where to squeeze it in. It is a little out of the way, but this place has the best custard anywhere and is well worth the drive.
Cardinals/Blues Game- If you are visiting St. Louis while the Blues or Cardinals are in season, you should try to catch a game. Hockey games are fun even if you aren’t a fan of hockey (and I’m not) and Blues fans are pretty rabid. And while I am admittedly biased, I can honestly say that there is no better baseball city in America than St. Louis. The Cardinals are almost a religion to some here in St. Louis.
City Museum- I love my parents, but the one lasting grudge I hold against them is that they didn’t take me to the City Museum when I was younger. Nonetheless, I still find the City Museum to be an awesome time as an adult. The facility features a 10-story slide, a network of caves to climb around in, and tunnels that hang high above the ground. I don’t fit into the tunnels and nooks quite as well as I would have when I was 10, but this place is worth seeing even as a grown-up. And here’s a little fun fact: the City Museum is housed in the old International Shoe Company building, and International Shoe is one of the most important cases you’ll read in Civil Procedure. Take that, law school!
Fitz’s- This place has the best root beer I’ve ever had and features a delicious assortment of American classics. It is located on the Delmar Loop right across from Blueberry Hill. Their root beer float is epic.
The Pageant- The Pageant is one of the coolest venues to see a show that I’ve ever been to. It is big enough to bring in some quality shows, but small enough to maintain a close, intimate atmosphere. It is located on The Loop and is right next door to the Eclipse and the Moonrise Hotel. If there are any good shows in town during your trip, I doubt you could find a more fun and convenient thing to do.
Museums- One of the best things about the city of St. Louis is that most of the museums (as well as the zoo, as mentioned above) are free! Most of them are located in and around Forest Park, so if you want to spend an afternoon visiting them all, you can easily do that. I am especially big on the science museum, but I’m quite a nerd.
I hope this is helpful to those of you who are coming to check out the school. If you have any questions, feel free to post your comments below!