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One day in St. Louis

St. Louis Arch and fall foliage

Do you have a city you’ve been to a few times that you know has more to offer than you’ve actually seen? That was me and St. Louis until recently. I’d visited the city for sporting events, seeing friends and a college campus tour way back when, but had never quite found areas of St. Louis that I loved. That changed when I added one day in St. Louis to the itinerary for our moving road trip in November!

St. Louis, Missouri
November, 2018

GETTING TO ST. LOUIS

After a day Indianapolis, we continued by car to St. Louis, which took about 3:40. 

St. Louis skyline

ST. LOUIS ACCOMMODATIONS

We kept up the Curio Collection trend that we started in Lexington and stayed at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. I’m really into Curio hotels (here‘s another one for proof) and Jake is really into trains, making the Union Station perfect for us; it used to be an old train station! You can read more about its history here, but in short, it underwent a $150 million renovation after ending its time as a station, which lasted from 1894 to 1978. 

While the building is historic, the in-room furnishings are totally modern and beautiful. Some of the decor also reflect the train theme, but in a classy way!

St. Louis Union Station Hotel ceiling
St. Louis Union Station Hotel lobby
St. Louis Union Station Hotel bed
St. Louis Union Station Hotel room
St. Louis Union Station Hotel desk

ST. LOUIS FOOD

We really hit the jackpot on restaurants in St. Louis thanks to some great recommendations from a friend. For lunch, we went to Israeli restaurant Olio, and I still regularly dream of the cheesy broccoli dish I had there. For dinner, we went to vegetable-focused Vicia, which had a more upscale vibe but equally excellent food.

Olio restaurant interior
Olio broccoli dish
Olio hummus
Vicia restaurant interior

ST. LOUIS DRINKS

A friend of mine introduced us to Kaldi’s Coffee, and we liked it so much we went back the next day to another location (which was differently decorated but just as pretty). I also bought a scone to take in the car and it was probably the best thing I’ve ever eaten. (If you are one of those people who doesn’t like scones, we are just never going to understand each other.)

THINGS TO DO IN ST. LOUIS

Even though it was cold outside, we really enjoyed walking around Forest Park with my friend and her adorable dog. The park is huge, containing multiple museums, the zoo and more, and it was lit up with gorgeous fall colors. We also walked through am more wooded area of the park that was less manicured but just as beautiful!

Later in the day, we played the ultimate tourist card and went up inside the Gateway Arch (a work from Eero Saarinen, whom I learned all about on this trip!). It’s definitely worth doing once if you’ve never done it before (or if you have but completely forgot your first experience like I did). Warning that the rides up and down are pretty claustrophobic, if that’s something that doesn’t sit well with you. But the views from the top are neat!

We also walked around nearby for a while to take pictures of the arch itself. There’s a nice park around there with great views of the city and the Mississippi River, which I not-so-secretly really love. 

Our last activity was a movie at the Chase Park Plaza Cinemas, a little theater inside a historic hotel. 

St. Louis art museum exterior
Dog in Forest Park
Forest Park bridge
Forest Park fountains
Forest Park buds
Forest Park plants
St. Louis Gateway Arch from the side
Mississippi River near St. Louis
St. Louis Gateway Arch
City view from the St. Louis Gateway Arch
Laclede's Landing
St. Louis Gateway Arch wide view

NEXT TIME

I wish I could have eaten two dinners the day we were in St. Louis so that we could have tried Nixta, a Mexican restaurant that looks outstanding. The St. Louis Union Station Hotel also apparently has a 3D light show, which its website describes as “breathtaking” event featuring a 100 ft. waterfall and “dazzling lights and flames shot into the air, set to music to create a spectacular experience.” Sounds pretty can’t-miss to me ๐Ÿ˜‰

MILES MATH

One night at the St. Louis Union Station hotel set us back 40,000 Hilton Honors points, which felt totally reasonable. Of all the hotels we visited on this road trip, this one also had some of the best perks for Hilton Honors Diamond members (like me, thanks to the Hilton Honors Aspire card). We got free valet parking, which was clutch, as we were on a road trip with a car full of our belongings. We ended up dishing out a lot on hotel valet fees since that was safer than parking on the street and easier than emptying the car of our valuables each night. The Union Station also gave us a pair of welcome drink vouchers to use at the hotel bar.

At the movies, I paid with my Citi ThankYou Premier card to earn a 2x bonus on entertainment purchases. 

For more on earning and using points and miles to travel for free, visit the 52 Cities free resource library or register to join me on my next live masterclass. And for more on my cross-country road trip, check out this post, which has links to posts from every stop!

Hope you enjoyed this mini-guide to one day in St. Louis! Have you been to St. Louis? What should I add to my list for next time? Let me know in the comments! >>

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Carly

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5 Comments

  1. Reply

    Emily

    December 2, 2019

    I just found your blog and I absolutely love this concept! Iโ€™m a St. Louis local so I always love seeing posts about the city because itโ€™s such a good destination that stays under most peoples radar. And I donโ€™t know if youโ€™ve heard but there have been so many changes to Union Station just since you were here. More restaurants and a Ferris wheel! Anyway it looks like you had a great time!
    -Emily

    • Reply

      Carly

      December 2, 2019

      Aw thank you so much, Emily! I agree – St. Louis is totally underrated. I hadn’t heard about the changes, but that sounds so cool!! I’ve been wanting to plan a return trip and this sounds like the perfect excuse ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Reply

    Rhyniqua King

    July 15, 2020

    Hey! I loooove this post. Also what camera did you use to take these photos?!

    • Reply

      Carly

      July 22, 2020

      Thanks so much, Rhyniqua! I use a Canon EOS 5DSR.

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