St. Louis, Missouri
Go for the renowned blues scene, stay for the curious squeaky cheese
Why go: If there are two things St. Louis is known for on a national level, it’s the Gateway Arch and Budweiser. But its flourishing dining and culture scenes are reason enough for a visit to this rivertown metropolis. The buzziest restaurant in town is the vegetable-centric Vicia, opened by two expats of the acclaimed Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, but other great picks include Bosnian favorite Lemmons by Grbic (St. Louis has the largest population of Bosnians outside of their home country) and food truck graduate Guerrilla Street Food.
Must eat/drink: Local favorite Melo’s Pizzeria offers wood oven-fired classics, but its unique specialty pies are where the real fun begins. Keep your eyes peeled for the Sloppy Louie, a take on St. Louis-style pizza, appropriately topped with sausage, pepperoni and the city’s signature Provel cheese, a curious, melty fusion of provolone, Swiss and white cheddar. And hey, while you’re here, might as well drink some beer, right? For a taste of history, Square One Brewery is housed in a century-old former Anheuser-Busch tavern, while Bridge Tap House and Wine Bar provides a thorough introduction to the local scene with 55 beers on tap out of more than 200 total brews to sample.
Weekend highlights: Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks nationwide clocks in at almost twice the size of Central Park, and it’s a scenic, lagoon-dotted eden and also home to many of the city’s best cultural attractions. Here, you’ll find the free Saint Louis Art Museum, renowned for its modern collection and pre-Columbian art, and the Saint Louis Zoo, where a pack of eight cheetah cubs recently turned one year old. Wrap up your night with a visit to the snazzy, jazzy club The Dark Room at The Grandel or the laidback BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups.
Don’t leave without: Strolling down Cherokee Street, a vibrant district anchored by antique shops like The Purple Cow and Mesa Home, art galleries and Latinx-owned bakeries.