Last Minute Roadtrip: St. Louis Edition

I was visiting my family in Illinois a few weeks ago and decided around 11PM on a Friday night that spending the weekend in St. Louis sounded like a good idea. I reserved a rental car and grabbed a really great seat to a Saturday Cardinals game and was on the road at 8AM the next morning.

Pretty nice upgrade when they didn't have my compact available.
Pretty nice upgrade when they didn’t have my compact available.

I was meeting some friends to carpool to the game, so I met them at their house and we headed out to lunch at the Flying Saucer Draught House. I had a delicious burger and a cider. Good prices, a huge beer selection and close to the stadium. Definitely recommended if you’re in the area. I was so full from this lunch around 1230PM that I didn’t eat at all during the game (that started at 305PM).

I split up from my friends and went to check out the Old Courthouse at the Thomas Jefferson Expansion Memorial. The courthouse is packed with great information and rich history. The pivotal Dred Scott case took place in this courthouse, so there is a wealth of information about this landmark legal and civil rights showdown. There are also great exhibits about slavery in a city like St. Louis as opposed to a southern plantation and the complexities of admitting new states to the United States as pro-or-anti-slavery. There are also fascinating exhibits on westward expansion expeditions that often began in St. Louis.

Following my visit at the Old Courthouse I hit up the Cardinals game. It was a perfect day for baseball – sunny and about 80 degrees. I snagged a great seat in the very front row of my section so I could stretch out and put my feet up. My neighbors were friendly and it was easy to strike up a conversation since the woman sitting next to me and I were wearing the same CrossFit shoes. The Cardinals played a great game and pulled out a win. I got to see Yadi’s first home run of the season and took home a free jersey, the giveaway that day. After the game I made a quick stop at the Stan Musial statue and we headed back to my friends’ house for pizza and the Blues game.

Sunday morning started with my excessively hospitable friends preparing eggs cochon from scratch that was mind-blowingly delicious. After chowing down on one of the best breakfasts of my life I headed to the Gateway Arch. Construction around the Arch did make getting around look complicated, but when I asked a parking attendant for help she handed me a slip of paper with easy to follow directions around the construction and street closures. I had parked at the Lumiere Casino for free and it’s only a few blocks from pay lots at The Landing.

Growing up 3 hours from St. Louis and having a sister who lived in its suburbs for years I had seen the Arch dozens of times, but had never ventured to the top of the country’s tallest monument. I had picked a beautiful, clear, sunny day to finally take the trip and it did not disappoint. The elevator/escalator/ferris wheel contraption (seriously, it uses principles from all 3) that takes you to the top is truly strange, and the “pods” might be freaky if you’re claustrophobic, but I made friends with my pod-mates on our short 4 (up) and 3 (down) minute rides. The view from the top is great and I especially loved getting to look down into Busch Stadium.

While St. Louis has so much more to offer, I decided to wrap up my southern Illinois adventure with a hike at Cahokia Mounds which I’ll be writing about in a separate post soon as part of my 52 Hike Challenge series.

Following my time at Cahokia and before heading home I made a quick stop up the Mississippi River where it meets the Missouri River at Camp River Dubois, the official departure point for Lewis & Clark on their famous expedition. Unfortunately this museum has seen better days, but the information within is still interesting and was a fun way to wrap up a full day of history along the Mississippi!

Have you visited the St. Louis area? What’s your favorite STL attraction?

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