Bringing your student to campus is an exciting time. While you’re in St. Louis, you may need a recommendation for a restaurant or family activity. Here are a few of my favorite places, all within walking or 10-20 minute driving distance.
Bar Les Freres (French) 7637 Wydown Blvd, Clayton, MO 63105
This will be as close to Paris as you will get in St. Louis. It used to be tiny, but I heard they expanded. Good food, wine, but no coffee (blame Starbucks next door).
Brasserie by Niche (French) 4580 Laclede Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
Another taste of France in St. Louis. Go because of Gerard Craft. He has brought new life to the St. Louis restaurant scene. Brasserie offers great food, wine, drinks and people watching.
Charlie Gitto’s (Italian) 5226 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
A St. Louis tradition. Charlie has two restaurants, one downtown and one on the Hill. Go to the one on the Hill (5226 Shaw). St. Louis Italian food including toasted ravioli and some other St. Louis staples. Gitto’s is a little more expensive than you typical restaurant on the Hill.
There are lots of other cheaper choices on the Hill, including:
Guido’s (5046 Shaw) The owner is from Madrid and has Spanish and Italian dishes.
Cunetto’s House of Pasta (5453 Magnolia Ave. St.)
Adriana’s (5101 Shaw) Only open for lunch, Monday through Saturday, 10:30 am – 3:00 pm. Huge sandwiches. Make sure you know what you want because you don’t want to hold up the line. There are lots of other places on the Hill and they are all good.
Cielo at the Four Seasons (Italian) 999 N. 2nd Street, St. Louis, MO 63102
The restaurant at the Four Seasons downtown has excellent food and a beautiful outdoor patio where you can eat or just have drinks. Gorgeous views of the Arch.
Pastaria (Italian) 7734 Forsyth Blvd, Clayton, MO 63105
Homemade fresh pasta and kid friendly. Another Gerard Craft spot. No reservations.
Sidney Street Café (New American) 2000 Sidney Street, St. Louis, MO 63118
A cool place that has been around forever. A great place for a nice couple’s dinner in the up and coming Benton Park neighborhood.
Tony’s (Steak, Seafood, Italian) 410 Market Street, St. Louis, MO 63102
Another place that has been around forever and one of the best restaurants in St. Louis. Expensive – but St. Louis expensive, not New York expensive. Vince Bommarito is in his 80s and is still there most nights. If you meet him, call him “Colonel.” He was on the St. Louis Police Board of Commissioners. This is where St. Louisians would go to celebrate a special anniversary or similar event.
Broadway Oyster Bar (Cajun Creole) 736 S. Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102
One of my favorite places to go. It feels like you are in New Orleans. Has great food, drinks and music. Don’t go when the Cardinals are in town. It will be too crowded. The building looks like a strong wind will blow it down, but as they say, “Leave your attitude at home.” If The Funky Butt Brass Band or Soulard Blues Band is playing, you must stay for the music.
Café Napoli (Italian) 7754 Forsyth Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63105
Good Italian food – close by, located in downtown Clayton.
Llywelyn’s (Pub Fare) 4747 McPherson Ave, St. Louis, MO 63108
Great burgers, fries and beer!
Sweetie Pie’s 3643 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63110
I haven‘t been here yet but everyone raves about it. A family restaurant. Famous for their food and the “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” TV show that airs on Saturdays on the OWN network. Enjoy great soul food that Miss Robbie’s mother taught her to make from scratch as a little girl. Their second location is: At The Grove, 4270 Manchester, St. Louis, MO 63110. Sweetie Pie’s restaurants have become St. Louis landmarks. Great comfort food and the desserts are to die for.
Blueberry Hill (American) 6504 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63130
In the Delmar Loop and part of the Joe Edwards’ empire. Hanging on the wall is great nostalgic memorabilia from the 50s, 60s and 70s. Good for families. Great burgers and hippie bar food. Chuck Berry still plays here once month. Joe is the genius behind the Loop revival and started it all here.
Fitz’s (American) 6605 Delmar Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63130
This is also located in the Delmar Loop and great for families. Watch the root beer bottling line while you enjoy great burgers, sandwiches, salad, and bottomless mugs of root beer.
Pappy’s Smokehouse (BBQ) 3106 Olive St, St. Louis, MO 63103
Great Bar-B-Q. Just for lunch. The line is long, but it moves quickly. When they run out, they close, so don’t get there too late.
Pizza-A-Go-Go (Pizza) 6703 Scanlan Ave, St. Louis, MO 63139
This is my favorite place to go to with my kids. Be warned: Pizza-A-Go-Go has only two things: (1) Pizza and (2) soda. Nothing else! No breadsticks; no salad; no sandwiches; no beer or wine; nothing. But, you can bring your own beer or wine, or salad. They are fine with it. The owner’s son just started college too (unfortunately not at Wash-U). The pizza is hand tossed and is not St. Louis style. (If you want that, go to Imo’s, but be warned: it is an acquired taste.)
Crown Candy Kitchen 1401 St. Louis Avenue
Take a trip back in time. Enjoy home-made candy and great malts. Order a chocolate banana malt and BLT. Carve out time for a post lunch, two hour nap. Go late – after 1:30 so you won’t stand in the line as long.
Steve’s Hot Dogs 2131 Marconi (on the Hill).
I haven’t been here, but my teenage sons swear by it. (They insist Fridays, hot dogs are half off.) Hot dogs topped with everything from chili to mac and cheese and everything in between.
750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO 63103
Truly one-of-a-kind! Think a kids’ playground as a performance art piece. Kids 5-25 will love it and adults will marvel as well. If you don’t want to do anything, you can let your kids run wild and you can have a coffee or a drink.
5595 Grand Dr. St. Louis, MO 63112 (immediately east of WUSTL’s campus)
50% larger than NY’s Central Park, Forest Park contains many free activities such as the Missouri History Museum (free), the St. Louis Art Museum (free), and the St. Louis Zoo (free).
520 N. Grand Ave, St. Louis, MO 63103
The Grand Center is the home of many St. Louis theatres and attractions. Catch a show at the Fox Theatre, the St. Louis Symphony, the Sheldon, Kranzberg Art Center, and more.
Laumeier Sculpture Park
12580 Rott Road, St. Louis, MO 63127
Contemporary art abounds in this beautiful park. No admission to explore it either!
Missouri Botanical Gardens
4344 Shaw Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63110
Founded in 1859, the 79-acre Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and an oasis in the city of St. Louis.
Areas to Explore
Central West End
Built in preparation for the 1904 World’s Fair, this neighborhood boosts grand architecture, boutiques, and a wide array of restaurants and bars.
Probably the most eclectic area in St. Louis, Cherokee Street offers antique stores, art galleries, a Hispanic business district, and a hipster haven. Go to Sump Coffee, 3700 S. Jefferson which is nearby. The staff embrace the spirit of the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. The coffee is great, but they will only make “real” coffee drinks. They will happily refuse your requested drink if they don’t think it is appropriate. Also, they don’t have sugar and will give you dirty looks if you try to sneak it in. The hours are incredibly impractical and they take forever. It is the best! The owner is a recovering lawyer, and has a great back story.
This neighborhood is famous for its “painted ladies”. Walk through Lafayette Square Park, check out the gift shops, or choose one of the nearby restaurants for a bite to eat.
Immediately north of campus, the Loop is a hot spot for WUSTL students.
The old French quarter of St. Louis, Soulard has the oldest farmers market west of the Mississippi and lots of great restaurants and bars.
The commercial district of South Grand is just south of the Botanical Gardens and Tower Grove Park and is known for its international cuisine.
I hope you have a wonderful time in St. Louis and welcome to Washington University in St. Louis!