Updated: Sep 16, 2019
A Summer in St. Louis: A Couples Getaway Guide
Summer is finally here! And let’s be honest, we all need a break from the hustle and bustle of a year of hard work, and if you are looking for a great place for a summer getaway, the city of St. Louis is the perfect destination for a couples getaway. With beautiful parks, and unparalleled natural beauty, the city of St. Louis does not disappoint as a summer getaway location. In this guide, we will walk you through some of our favorite locations to enjoy the city life, as well as get out in nature and enjoy the beauty that Missouri has to offer.
All growing up, my family always called Missouri the “Show me State” and honestly, St. Louis did a great job of “Showing us” why we should recommend it as your TOP vacation destination this summer. We fell more in love in St. Louis this summer, and we couldn’t wait to show you how to enjoy yourself at this amazing Mid-west City. Welcome to St. Louis!
Six Must do Things in St. Louis
There are so many museums around the country known for so many amazing things. I have a few favorites because they preserve memories and events from our countries history, some that have interactive exhibits for science learning. Few however, are as unique and creative as the City Museum in St. Louis.
Nestled in the downtown area, the City Museum is an old factory building, gutted and filled with mazes, playgrounds, slides, and so much more. Artist & engineers have come together to make this masterpiece a reality. They are always adding new things to this creation. The City Museum is by far our favorite museum we have every visited.
With endless opportunities to play and explore, the City Museum provides people of all ages the opportunity to channel their inner explorer and get to experience each level of the museum for what it brings. There is even a 10-story slide! You could probably spend a full week on each floor of the museum and never find all the possible entries and exits for each of the tunnels, it is honestly mind-blowing.
We loved the City Museum and highly recommend it to anyone who loves sliding, crawling, enjoying, and being an active participant in their environment. This is definitely one of the secret gems of the city.
Follow me to the Arch! St. Louis is full of adventure, romance, and splendor! We love exploring all of the different treasures that the city has to offer. We both keep saying that the cornerstone of this amazing city is the Gateway Arch.
You can see it from almost anywhere in the city. Standing tall as a beacon of hope and dreams for those who traveled through here hundreds of years ago looking to start a new life out west. The Gateway Arch is the perfect backdrop for every experience in town, and always serves as a reminder of hope and promise.
The Gateway Arch stands 630 feet tall, and actually is just as wide as it is tall. It serves as the gateway to the west. It took just over two years to complete and is still currently the tallest arch in the world.
There is truly nothing like visiting the Gateway Arch National Park. The best part about it is that you can actually take an elevator ride up one of the sides of the arch and see views of the city from over 600 feet above. There is an observation deck a the top with sixteen windows on each side for people to look out. We feel like kids pointing out all of the different things we can see through all of the little windows at the top.
At night, as the arch is illuminated by huge white lights, we enjoyed sitting out and taking in the beauty of the city together under the stars. St. Louis will always hold a special place in our hearts. And the Arch is what makes this city an even more special place.
Here’s a personal story from our adventure to the Arch:
His head & body were scrunched over in the cutest way, Caleb’s 6’5’’ body fit a bit tight in the little seat but the expression on his face was like a little delighted child. He held my hand as I squeezed it tight and we both said later it was as if we were going to be launched into space in a pod. The couple across from us in the fast moving elevator had sold their house in San Diego after retirement, were traveling the country & although they were in their 70s their expressions looked like little hesitant kids.
The elevator door opened & we were 630 feet higher than we’d been just 4 minutes earlier. We walked up the steps to 16 windows that overlooked St. Louis, the Mississippi River, & all the cars & people looked like ants. Caleb & I leaned out the windows together, pointed out everything that caught our eyes. I soaked in those moments where we were both in awe, falling more in love with my adventure partner.
After we were back on solid ground, we kept starring at The Gateway Arch National Park the rest of the trip. It could be seen almost anywhere we traveled in the city. In 1965 when the arch was built, it was made to celebrate St. Louis’s role as the ‘Gateway to the West.’ Thinking of all the people who traveled across this land, all the dreams in their hearts, made us think of our dreams as well.
We sat on our bed at night holding hands and starring at the well lit arch close by. Dreaming, adventuring, going after the unknown is something that Caleb & I are in the midst of doing together. Like the couple going after their dreams, us going after ours and so many others in America. St. Louis was the perfect place to feel like dreams can become a reality, anything outside of our comfort zone can be scary, but it can also be thrilling and so worth it!
We love parks! Forest park in St. Louis has everything that you could ever want in one place.
It has so many gardens full of flowers, trees, and plants that make a beautiful landscape everywhere in th park. They have a zoo, which has free admission, and this zoo puts almost any other Zoo to shame. The zoo could honestly serve as a botanical garden itself, with lush greenery all around and many beautiful buildings with a wide variety of wildlife.
A personal favorite of ours was the many bridges that the park has all over. Whether over a stream, or a man-made lake, the park has beautiful bridges that make you feel like you are at a French estate, or an Italian Villa. We both want to take pictures at each bridge as each one trumps the one before in beauty and creativity.
We have so much fun running from one place to another, getting excited like kids as we find one beautiful thing after another throughout the park.
Forest park is yet another jewel in the crown of what makes St. Louis the crowned prince of cities to explore this summer.
A Personal Story From The Park:
The time in St. Louis has been magical! Being able to @explorestlouis #explorestlouis is a dream together!
At night, we caught a majestic sunset at Forest Park and we ran through the grass chasing each other like kids. Playing tag while Honey Bear chased from close behind. This was a moment we will both cherish forever. A moment where no cares or burdens of daily life/work held us back. We were totally present & it reminded us of when we first fell in love.
We were blown away not only the beauty of St. Louis, but by the way it made us feel at home together. We’ve seen so many amazing sites, both man-made and natural during our stay. We loved meeting locals to hear the inside scoop of all things St. Louis. It was so fun to watched kids run around the park, and so many people wanted to meet Honey Bear.
Forest Park was the top highlight from our trip thanks to that special moment together. One of the biggest parks in the US
We said so many times that we would love to settle down in a place like this. We can’t say enough about how special our time has been, and how we can’t wait to make it back to the gateway city!
St. Louis Zoo
Animals are our favorite! We love a good zoo, and when we walked through the gates of the St. Louis Zoo, we knew that we were in for a good time. Admission is free to the zoo, you can park for free around Forest Park, or in the Zoo parking lot that charges $15. There are so many options at the Zoo. Living in California, we are so used to everything being crammed together, but the zoo was laid out like a botanical gardens with plenty of room to run around and find your favorite animals! So much green and beauty all around us!
Tigers are my (Caleb) personal favorite animal, and given that they have a “Big Cats” area at the zoo, it gave me the perfect opportunity to have a great view of the Tiger. I felt like I was right on top of it as it roamed around the cage, it was amazing to have such a close-up view of the Big Cat.
Another great part of the Zoo was the variety of animals that they had there, with so many options and creatures to see, you could get lost there for hours enjoying all that the zoo has to offer. This was one of our favorite parts of Forest Park.
The Loop on Del Mar
We loved the Loop on Del Mar. This was an “Old Town” type area near Washington University with the St. Louis walk of fame. With Stars in the concrete just like Hollywood’s version. This was a vibrant area of town with many options for food, drink, shopping, and lodging. We stopped in at St. Louis favorite Pi Pizzeria because a friend on our plane recommended it to us and it definitely did not disappoint. There was artwork up and down the street demonstrating the creativity of the artists of St. Louis, it was a joy to see all the works of art and get a good sense of the culture of the area. The Loop gave us feelings of home, and the energy of the place really made a great experience for those who enjoy night-life and an energetic place to walk around and take in.
Missouri Botanical Gardens
The Missouri Botanical Gardens are a MUST SEE in St. Louis. These gardens feature some of the greatest collections of plants, flowers, and unique design that we have ever seen. We loved the lay-out of the gardens, walking you through a variety of different scenery that each blew your mind more than the one before.
We highly recommend going to the lake-side area and the Japanese garden. We really enjoyed how beautiful the lake was (it might be more of a large pond) and the uniqueness of the Japanese design in that area really stood out. We enjoyed all of the greenhouses which did not have your typical hot-and-steamy feel, we were more enthralled with the greenery than being impacted by the temperature, which actually was perfect!
We really enjoyed the botanical gardens and can’t wait to go back and explore more of the grounds.
Our Favorite Food
SugarFire barbecue was a great look into St. Louis style barbecue. Their brisket cheesesteak was one of the best dishes that I have ever had in my life. The flavor was full and amazing, and was everything and more than expected. It is a buffet style eatery where you say what you want and they put it on a tray for you. With many barbecue options including pork, steak, salmon, we were able to customize exactly what we wanted. They were very accommodating to Stefanie’s allergies, and even had the manager come out and make sure that we were okay. IF you are in the down town area, this place is a MUST for a great barbecue meal.
While on the airplane to St. Louis we met a very nice woman who had grown up in the St. Louis area, and she gave us some insight as to what to expect and what places we should definitely try out. One of the places was Pi Pizzeria.
So while out at the Loop at Del Mar, we decided to stop in at Pi Pizzeria for a couple of pies. They had gluten free options for Stefanie, and she said their pizza was the best GF she has ever had. Get their wings as an appetizer, and it serves as the perfect Segway to their amazing signature deep-dish pizzas. I thoroughly enjoyed mine, and would definitely recommend stopping in to Pi Pizzeria if you are in town.
Ted Drewes Frozen Custard
We love visiting Mom-and-Pop like places whenever we are traveling, so when we were recommended to try out Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, we jumped on the opportunity. They had the whole experience down to a science, we jumped in one of their many lines, and the person at the window was so helpful and also accommodating for Stefanie. He was able to tell us the ingredients to the different custard options, and we both got to enjoy something that we really wanted. I (Caleb) was able to try out one of their Custard and Reeses mixes, and Stefanie had a custard bowl with caramel and chocolate drizzle. Both were amazing.
When we drove up to the parking lot, we saw many people sitting out in the back of their trucks, in their trunks, or in the back of their SUV’s, so when we got our custard, we did the same so that we could really enjoy the whole experience. There were many people there enjoying the family-like experience of all ages which truly made for a great way to enjoy our evening with feelings of home.
TIP: Don’t be afraid of the amount of people, they are extremely good at moving people through the lines, we didn’t even wait 5 minutes for our custard, it was great! This is well-worth the visit!
Where to Stay : check out more HERE!
While we were in town, we got the great opportunity to partner with the Four Seasons Hotel and Spa. The Hotel features many floors of opportunities and amenities for guests. They had Valet out front for people that would like that service, and also free public parking at the casino adjacent for those who do not want Valet service.
They had a full-service spa for people looking to relax and rejuvenate with a massage or many other options for spa-like treatment. They had a pool deck for guests to enjoy, with private cabana’s available to reserve for the day. We got to enjoy one of the cabana’s on our stay, and we were given excellent service, and our view of the pool and the arch were second to none.
They have a restaurant on the 8th floor called the Cinder House where guests can enjoy excellent dining options with spectacular views of the city and Gateway Arch just right out the window or out-side by their beautiful fountains.
We had a Luxury Arch-View room on the 16th floor. They even provided a bed and dishes for HoneyBear as she was able to accompany us on this excursion. All of the amenities in our room were top-notch and the views of the city at night with the Arch Illuminated were breath-taking!
We Loved partnering with the Four Seasons on this trip and really enjoyed being able to stay here. If you are looking for a luxury option on your getaway to St. Louis, we highly recommend the Four Seasons as our top-hotel to stay at in St. Louis.
Disclaimer: This is a collaboration with the Explore St. Louis & the Four Season, All thoughts are are own.