Don’t let the first half of it’s name trick you, Saint Louis is for sinners. 3 a.m. last calls (or even later in East St. Louis). Gambling. Smoking indoors. Unhealthy food and booze. Saint Louis is like Vegas, but 1/8th the price and the people are quadruple as nice. When you come visit for SND St. Louis, here are some options to get your seven deadly sins on:
Well, I was going to suggest a Cardinals baseball game, but they finish up their last home series on Sunday, Sept. 25 versus their arch-rival Chicago Cubs, so if you’ve got an inking to come a week early to St. Louis, definitely get tickets. The series runs Friday-Sunday and is always fun to watch. The next bet for pride is the St. Louis Rams game at Edward James Dome on Sunday, Oct. 2 the day after SND STL closes versus the Washington Redskins. Pride may be a streatch when talking about the Rams, but they weren’t completely terrible last year! In fact they almost made the playoffs (more a sign of how terrible their division is) but vs. the Redskins, you can don your ‘Ramzena‘ uniform and flaunt your Rams pride.
There’s no place better to bask in St. Louis-style gluttony than Crown Candy, the classic candy-shop diner a jog north of SND STL’s downtown location, where Adam Richman from Man vs. Food took on their five-milkshake challenge. C-squared won that battle of gluttony. Looking for something closer to the hotel? Try another St. Louis legend — The Gooey Butter Cake — a soft, super-sweet and chewy heart attack covered in powdered sugar that originated in St. Louis. It’s closer to a hybrid of a brownie and custard, than a traditional cake. The best place close to the hotel to “get your goo’ on” is at Park Avenue Coffee located on …wait for it… 10th Ave. (The original location is about two miles away on Park Ave.) Park Avenue offers an amazing assortment of flavors each day for sale by the individual piece and full cake pans, with a catalog of more than 76 varieties. They also make a good gift to bring home to share a slice of St. Louis sin with your loved ones who couldn’t make it.
For envy, you should hit up the Washington Ave nightclubs between Tucker and 14th Ave, especially on Saturday night, where a Lamborghini parked outside is not a rare site and all the fancy pants “GTL” folks will be out in their bling, sipping on the ‘Cris’ and then eating the late-night street meat at the local brat cart after the bars close.
For your lusty sinful desires, *I’ve heard* you’ll need to look East. To East St. Louis. Where rumor has it that certain establishments across the river offer all sorts of clothing optional dress codes and are, allegedly, open until the sun comes up.
After a long night of drinking when it’s finally time to pay the tab, you’ll find yourself boiling with rage once you get the bill at any of the local water holes or dive bars (such as this author’s downtown favorite: Hair of the Dog). Not because it’s so high, but because it’s so low and you can’t believe that you don’t live here in this amazingly affordable, yet sin-filled city!
If you have luck like Bill Gaspard, you should get your greed on by and turning up a couple royal flushes at the poker table inside one of St. Louis’ casinos. Don’t get greedy though, take that money and walk away. The closest casino to the SND STL conference hotel is Lumiere Place, located about 8 blocks east toward the river (Btw: Don’t believe Google Maps, the nearby President Casino closed in 2010 due to Mississippi River flood damage). Another gambling option is just a quick swim* across the Mississippi River in East St. Louis where the Casino Queen Casino touts it’s ‘Loosest slots in the Country.”
[* = DO NOT try to swim across the Mississippi River. Seriously. It has crazy undertow and whale-sized, blood-thirsty, radioactive catfish. It will kill you.]
After your long night of sinning, there’s no better place than the gargantuan Forest Park to relax in the late summer sun and sloth around like nobody’s business. After you’re rested up, don’t forget to attend the SND STL conference.
- Looking for something more saintly to do in St. Louis with the family? Check out the Saint’s guide to Saint Louis below
7(+) St. Louis saintly and family-friendly stuff to do for SND STL
St. Louis is a fantastic place for families, so when you come visit for SND STL, you should definitely consider bringing them and making a memorable vacation out of it. Here’s a quick rundown of more than seven unique Saint Louis options that will help you with your plans:
This is going to be difficult to keep to a list of *only* seven family-friendly activities in St. Louis, luckily one of the favorites for both kids and adults is The City Museum, which you should probably already know about because we’re holding the epic SND STL opening reception there. It’s hard to describe the City Museum to someone who hasn’t been there, but it’s kind of like all of Tim Burton’s movies + Pee Wee’s Playhouse + a junkyard of industrial equipment + a few thousand gallons of cement and paint, shaken vigorously.
By day, it’s a fanciful playground for kids and teens to explore their imagination, by night, it’s a fanciful playground for teens and adults to explore their imaginations.
#1(+) – The St. Louis Zoo, Forest Park, Art Museum and St. Louis Science Center Super STL Power Pack
Forest Park is a brobdingnagian plot of land in the heart of St. Louis that has been filled with things to do since the 1904 World’s Fair was hosted here. One of the largest urban parks in the country, it eclipses New York’s Central Park in size and features, including family-friendly opportunities such as the St. Louis Zoo offering more than 700 unique species in one of the nation’s highest ranked zoos — oh and it’s free too, the St. Louis Art Museum, also free with a prolific collection, and the St. Louis Science Center, filled with lots of fun, interactive and informative exhibits. In Forest Park there’s also plenty of playgrounds, gardens, pavilions and other outdoor features.
The Missouri Botanical Gardens offer a beautiful and historic voyage through an 80-acre oasis in the city, including the unique glass-domed Climatron conservatory, beautiful Japanese gardens and a dedicated Children’s garden with hands-on games and educational activities.
#3- The Magic House
Especially if you have small children, The Magic House is a very popular destination. Filled with all sorts of interactive science, magic, puzzles and exhibits, it’s sure to please your toddler or small child.
#4- Grant’s Farm
One time home of Ulysses S. Grant, Grant’s Farm is now owned by the Anheuser-Busch empire offers a plethora of animals on the farm from Black Buck Antelopes to Zebras. According to their website, this sprawling landscape was “ranked overall seventh-best family attraction nationwide” by a Zagat and Parenting magazine survey.
You make think this is crazy, but Anheuser-Busch actually runs a very family-friendly, free 30-40 minute tour, with Clydesdales, a trolly ride, all sorts of interesting machinery, interactive displays and unlimited free soda (::cough and two free beers::) at the end. Parents will enjoy this along with the kids! Just keep telling yourself that and just have a good time.
#6- The Arch & Citygarden
Ok, this is going to be another combo pack / cheat because they’re both close to each other and remarkably awesome. The Arch obviously is one of the most unique things about St. Louis and a huge point of pride that draws much interest, fame and fortune to the area. It’s why the American Mustache Institute set up their headquarters in the River City, because the Arch provides the “world’s largest moustache” to the metropolis. Take your family to marvel at the massive modern parabola from the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial” grounds and the trek to the top of the arch in the train with the little egg-shaped cars. It’s straight out of the ’70s. Afterwards, do as the settlers did and head west, a couple blocks to Citygarden, an outdoor sculpture and art garden with dozens of unique pieces, including spray plaza that is a great place for kids to play in the water and cool off.
You can’t have a ‘saintly’ list without this bad mama-jama on the list with it’s amazing and emaculate design. Bonus: you can ask for forgiveness for all your St. Louis Sins.
Ok, I couldn’t keep it to just 7(ish), but the St. Louis Six Flags is awesome with rides for all ages and a seasonal water park. Technically it’s not in St. Louis City, so hopefully you’ll let it slide. Get it? Slide?