Ol’ St. Lou


View at a Cardinals game, May 14.

A mere three readers said they wanted to hear more about my vacation, and I can’t blame the rest of you, so I’ll limit this to my blog. St. Louis, the nearest big city when I was growing up, has a certain mystique for me, but it’s not a city too many Californians would choose as a vacation destination.

As with any big city, there are interesting things to see and do, and St. Louis is old enough (founded 1764) that some of them are quite old. This visit, in fact, I visited Cahokia Mounds, an Indian site that is thousands of years old. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a village that at its heyday, around 1250 AD, had a population of roughly 20,000, comparable in size to London or Paris of that era. (The traffic must have been terrible.) It’s also got the largest manmade earthen mound north of Mexico.

Other activities this time were more modern, at least relatively. Ted Drewes frozen custard (since 1930) and Carl’s Drive-In (since 1959) are reliably great. The Delmar Loop has been named one of America’s 10 Great Streets. And the Public Library, after a recent $70 million renovation, has been restored to its 1912 Beaux Arts glory while updated where appropriate. It may be more impressive than L.A.’s Central Library.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg that is St. Louis. Every visit I do a few new things and a few old favorites. Sometimes the new things become old favorites. There are plenty of intriguing-sounding places I still haven’t been despite numerous visits. For one, U.S. Grant’s home. Or places I want to return to, like Crown Candy Kitchen, where the 14-slice BLT has become nationally famous since my last visit; I go for the ice cream.

The moral is that you can go to almost any city of size, not just the obvious ones, and find beautiful, inspiring, tasty, fun things to do.

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  • Ramona

    I once had a two-hour layover at an airport in St. Louis many years ago. If it happens again, this time I’ll leave the airport. Is two hours long enough to get a 14-slice BLT?

    • davidallen909

      You might have to get it to go, delivered to your waiting cab!

  • kevinlahey

    The City Museum in St. Louis is one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been.

    • davidallen909

      Yeah, me too! Went there on an earlier visit. It’s an old multistory factory turned into a crazy repository of detritus from other old demolished buildings. Has to be seen to be believed.

  • Doug Evans

    Enjoyed reading about your trip and following the links you posted… Kind of intrigued that the St. Louis Public Library Virtual Tour site has an “it’s/its” error right on the front page! (“…it’s importance to the community…”) Not so much that the error was made, but that no one has pointed it out to them since what looks like December… Grammar nerd that I am, I went ahead and emailed them. And internet nerd that I am, I’ll probably be refreshing every 15 minutes checking to see if they’ve fixed it!

    • davidallen909

      Hey, glad to hear you followed the links, which is certainly above and beyond for someone who (to my knowledge) hasn’t been to STL and (ditto) is unlikely to be traveling there. If time permits between hitting “refresh” on the Library page, feel free to look up City Museum, mentioned in comments below; it’ll blow your mind.