If you enjoy visiting a city frequently, it’s inevitable that you will eventually start looking for alternative things to do. Perhaps you have already experienced the mainstream tourist attractions and you are ready to head off the beaten path and explore some of the lesser-known reasons to visit the destination. This is exactly how we feel when we visit St Louis. During our recent weekend in St Louis, we decided to adopt a very different approach and enjoy what we would like to coin “an alternative weekend getaway.”
What do we mean by an “alternative weekend getaway?” Rather than staying in a typical chain hotel, we decided to stay somewhere unique and full of character. Our cuisine choices followed this same approach as did the attractions we chose to visit. Hopefully, you will be inspired to enjoy a similar weekend in St Louis after reading this post.
Alternative Weekend in St Louis
St Louis is a city that epitomizes vibrancy with a plethora of cultural neighborhoods waiting to be discovered. Whether you are intrigued by the popular trendy vibe of the Delmar Loop or perhaps you want to sample some fine, local Italian cuisine on The Hill, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the heart of Missouri.
After reading about everything we experienced, I think it’s fair to say that you will realize exactly why we had such an amazing weekend in St Louis recently given that the theme was very close to our hearts.
We want to share a possible “alternative” itinerary that will perhaps entice you to explore St Louis particularly if you prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of tourist hotspots.
Stay at The Cheshire Inn St Louis
Are you ready for an experience, unlike anything you will have encountered before? Welcome to The Cheshire Inn St Louis!
For those of you familiar with the black and white architecture typical of the Chester Rows in England, the sight of The Cheshire Hotel will bring back fond memories. This certainly did for myself as for the first 23 years of my life, I was only about 40 miles from Chester’s iconic architectural design.
The Cheshire’s exterior is appealing in more ways that one. The distinctive architecture makes this an attractive option for visitors that want to experience something “different”.
As you walk around the outside, the life-size chess board is a unique characteristic while the outdoor patio furniture offers the perfect environment to relax with your favorite beverage.
The real experience doesn’t begin until you step through the entrance. British flair and elegance can be seen throughout the decor with the finest, intricate details not being left untouched.
The lobby serves as both the entrance to the hotel and also a breakfast nook while the dining area is also a lounge where visitors can relax in front of the fireplace while listening to traditional music.
It’s the perfect setting to whisk you away into a typical British style residence.
All of the hotel rooms inside The Cheshire Hotel are associated with a British author, playwright or poet. As you wander along the hallways, you will notice that every room has a plaque with the name of a historic British literary figure.
From Charles Dickens to TS Eliot, you can pretty much guarantee that there is a room with your favorite British author associated with it.
Inside the rooms is directly related to the theme of your author. Pictures, quotes and a novel of the author/poet can be found and it’s a really cool experience as you are taken on a literary adventure around your hotel room.
We were fortunate to stay in Jonathan Swift’s room, a 17th-century author famous for Gulliver’s Travels. I think this was the perfect experience for us given that we are such avid travelers!
6300 Clayton Rd,
St Louis, MO 63117
Tel: (314) 647-7300
***We will be publishing a detailed review of our experience at The Cheshire Hotel but if you are already sold on this British themed accommodation option in St Louis and ready to book your stay, check out The Cheshire St Louis website here.***
Where to Eat in St Louis
St Louis offers an eclectic blend of cuisine options depending on your personal taste. Whether you are looking for a delicious Italian masterpiece or perhaps some traditional Southern fare, you can be assured that there will be something around St Louis to satisfy your palate.
Given that we opted to stay at a British style hotel, we figured it was only appropriate to dine at a typical British style pub. Let’s take a look at what we experienced along with the best place in St Louis to enjoy dessert!
Three Kings Public House
Located in the heart of the energetic Delmar Loop neighborhood of St Louis, the Three Kings Public House is a historic bar/restaurant that offers a vast range of beers along with an appetizing menu selection. Renowned as offering “upscale global pub food,” there is a real blend of flavors from across the world, in other words, the perfect spot to enjoy lunch or dinner for the seasoned traveler.
Featuring over 30 beers on tap and 40 craft beers by the bottle, it’s no surprise to hear in 2016 Three Kings Pub was voted as having the “Best Happy Hour in St Louis.”
However, it’s the cuisine that we were particularly interested in as we visited on a busy Saturday night hoping to leave with our appetites satisfied. We didn’t leave disappointed!
An appetizer consisting of house made russet potato chips combined with Queso Blanco was the perfect way to start our dining experience. The Irish cheddar rarebit was an appealing alternative to the queso but as far as light snacks go, this was a great way to start our meal.
Anytime I visit a pub, I look for the traditional experience! So it’s no surprise to hear that I opted for the fish and chips.
Heather was a little more adventurous and took our waiter’s advice to sample the Cuban sliders. The service was quick, our entrees were delicious and the whole experience was everything we hoped for and more.
For those of you that want to enjoy a typical British style pub on American soil, we strongly encourage paying Three Kings Public House a visit when you are next in St Louis.
6307 Delmar Blvd,
University City, MO 63130
Tel: (314) 721-3388
***Visit Three Kings Public House website for details on alternative menu options and the wide variety of brews available.***
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
Did you know that St Louis was home to the top-rated ice cream establishment in the world? Ted Drewes Frozen Custard can lay claim to that award in 2016 so I think it’s fair to say it comes with a pretty high reputation.
Ted Drewes has been selling frozen custard for over 80 years (and Christmas trees for 50+ years) and certainly has set the standard for custard throughout St Louis.
It really is good, guys… and gals!
We headed to Ted Drewes and immediately realized it was going to be an awesome experience. This is an incredibly popular spot among locals and there is always a line outside, regardless of the weather.
A variety of menu items are available ranging from specialty concretes (the St. Louis Blues concrete is awesome – a lemon, blueberry flavor with a hint of graham cracker) to malts and shakes. If you have a sweet tooth, you can’t help but fall in love with Ted Drewes!
6726 Chippewa St,
St. Louis, MO 63109
Tel: (314) 481-2652
***Visit Ted Drewes Frozen Custard website if you need a little more inspiration and want to pick out your favorite flavors before visiting St Louis***
Alternative Things to Do in St Louis
We have been fortunate to visit St Louis and experience everything iconic to the city.
From the Gateway Arch which is possibly the most significant landmark throughout the city to visiting Busch Stadium, home of the St Louis Cardinals we have enjoyed exploring many of the top attractions in the downtown area.
But what about some of the lesser known spots downtown? What about some of those neighborhoods that locals tend to congregate while the tourists stick to downtown? Let’s take a look at some of the best things to do in St Louis that perhaps you wouldn’t immediately think about.
Schlafly Saint Louis Brewery
Did you also know that St Louis was home to 50+ craft breweries? Yes, we have taken the free Anheuser-Busch tour but we wanted to experience a “local” craft brewery! We ventured to the Schlafly Bottleworks to sample the free guided tours that are offered throughout the weekend.
I have to admit, neither of us had any idea what to expect especially after we enjoyed the Anheuser-Busch tour so much and didn’t figure a local brewery would be comparable. It wasn’t….it was BETTER!! The Schlafly brand is significant in this part of Missouri because it was the first craft brewery to open since Prohibition.
The tour started at 11:00 AM and lasted almost 90 minutes, with a knowledgeable tour guide leading us through the brewhouse and providing a detailed breakdown of the various processes that go into brewing the wonderfully named Schlafly craft beer.
When we opened in 1991, we had no business plan beyond wanting to make great beer and food in a fun atmosphere and enjoy it with our community. To this day, our goals remain unchanged. (Schlafly.com)
However, the best part was at the very end when we headed into the special events room and had the opportunity to sample a variety of craft beers from the Schlafly brand.
Whether you prefer a pale ale, IPA, white lager or a German-inspired Kölsch style of beer, Schlafly has a distinctive variety waiting for you to enjoy.
It may not be a brand that immediately slips off the tip of your tongue but for those familiar with this in St Louis, it’s no surprise that it’s a popular choice. I enjoyed the pale ale and Kölsch, while Heather was particularly fond of the summer lager.
This was a great way to start our adventure exploring a very different side of St Louis as we hoped to gain a better understanding to why locals truly appreciate this beautiful city.
7260 Southwest Ave,
St Louis, MO 63143
Tel: (314) 241-2337
***Visit Schlafly’s website for details on the tours and the unique beer selection available throughout the year.***
Other St Louis Craft Breweries
For the craft beer connoisseurs out there, St Louis is a brew haven waiting to be explored. Although Schlafly was our chosen craft brewery, there are plenty others that offer guided tours and sampling experiences.
Alpha Brewing Company is a great spot to grab a quick local beer, especially if you just visited the infamous City Museum. It is perfectly located downtown St Louis which gives you easy walking access to a plethora of other iconic attractions in the area.
Modern Brewery is another viable option but offers a slightly different experience. All of the beers are named after superheroes or other weird and wonderful names that the co-owners dream of. Inspired by a fresh perspective on global flavors, many of these brews are unique to Modern Brewery and unlike anywhere else in the world.
If you are looking to experience a relatively new brewery, head over to Lafayette Square to enjoy the Square One Brewery and Distillery. Since 2008, this brand has been brewing craft beers and distilled liquors. Be sure to sample the iconic IPA at Square One as it’s the popular choice among locals here.
Explore Street Art
There is something quite spectacular and entertaining about exploring street art around a city.
After enjoying our adventure exploring the concept of street art versus graffiti in Memphis and then finding some of the best street art locations in Atlanta, we were ready to see what St Louis had to offer. There is a very fine line in the argument of “graffiti vs street art” but we will save that for another day.
Believe us when we say that if you are looking for an awesome street art spot, head to the Kosciusko Graffiti Wall along the Mississippi Riverfront near downtown St Louis.
We were astounded by how much amazing art can be found here and the wall literally seems to go on for miles (it’s actually approximately one mile long but it takes a while to experience all of it).
It’s one of those locations in a city that you could easily spend several hours admiring the creativity and trying to understand the underlying stories behind the various works of art. Sure, there are spots that we would classify as graffiti but for the most, this is the epitome of street art in my opinion.
The Gateway Arch can be seen in several depictions while the iconic St Louis ‘cardinal’ bird is never too far away from the minds of artists.
Chouteau Ave & S Leonor K Sullivan Blvd,
St Louis, MO 63102
St Louis offers a vibrant blend of experiences regardless of your personal taste. We have visited this beautiful city on several occasions and enjoyed something unique each time. Our recent weekend in St Louis was no different and I love the British style theme we adopted throughout the 48 hours we spent in the Gateway City.
Many of the spots we visited are unlikely to be at the top of most tourist attraction lists in St Louis but that shouldn’t take anything away from the value in experiencing them.
In fact, we encourage you to always look outside the box and consider visiting some of the more locally renowned attractions. You never know what gems you may stumble across next!
Disclaimer – We would like to thank The Cheshire Inn for hosting us for two nights at their hotel. These are solely our personal opinions/experiences and we were not financially compensated for this post.