Don't let cold weather put a chill on travel plans. Plan a winter weekend trip to St. Louis where you'll find an inviting place to stay, great food and plenty of opportunities to play.
Surround yourself with color at the Angad Arts Hotel. It's the first hotel in the world where you can reserve luxury accommodations based on the colors of the rainbow. Located in the heart of St. Louis' Grand Center Arts District, the hotel offers rooms bathed in color – choose from Passionate Red, Tranquility Blue, Happy Yellow or Green Rejuvenation. The 12th-floor sky lobby features a giant Chameleon Lamp that provides a 360-degree video art experience.
Stained glass windows and canopy beds create an English country house feel at The Cheshire. Richly colored décor and a wood-burning fireplace in the lobby contribute to the cozy atmosphere at the European-style boutique where the guest rooms are named after famous authors.
Steeped in St. Louis history, The Last Hotel is located in the former International Shoe Company building in the heart of the city's Garment District. Originally opened in 1909, the iconic building boasts elaborate stone carvings, ornate metalwork and terrazzo floors in Neoclassical and Art Deco styles. Inside, the surroundings celebrate the art and vibe of a bygone era.
Wintertime calls for comfort food, and St. Louis is famous for indulgent dishes such as toasted ravioli, barbecue and gooey butter cake. You can find these signature dishes and more at restaurants across the city.
Rigazzi's has been serving authentic Italian food in The Hill neighborhood since 1957. The menu offers more than two dozen classic pasta dishes, veal parmiciano and other Italian specialties as well steaks, chicken, pizza, soups, salads and a variety of sandwiches. For dessert, try the house-made cannoli, tiramisu or salted caramel gelato.
Vicia celebrates what grows above and below the soil with plant-based cuisine. Vegetables are the star of the menu, but you'll also find sustainably raised meat dishes. Lunch offerings include beet salad and sweet potato soup. For dinner, try the mixed grain stir fry or pasture-raised chicken with squash mole.
Hi-Pointe Drive-In serves burgers, sandwiches and salads with a focus on sustainability. The restaurant itself was built with reclaimed shipping containers. They source their beef and other ingredients from Missouri farmers and serve locally made bread, ice cream and beer. Try the Arch D-Lux, a double burger with pepper bacon – $1 of the cost is donated to the Gateway Arch Foundation to help preserve the St. Louis icon.
Pappy's Smokehouse is a popular spot to try some of Missouri's famous barbecue. The restaurant specializes in ribs – dry-rubbed and slow-smoked over apple and cherry wood. You'll also find beef brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken, turkey, sausage, burnt ends and a variety of side dishes.
Don't let the name fool you – City Museum is more whimsical playground than traditional museum. Located in a 100-year-old warehouse in St. Louis, the 600,000-square-foot attraction appeals to the kid in everyone. Explore the world's largest jungle gym, a network of tunnels and secret passages, and a 10-story spiral slide – much of it created with salvaged materials.
Inside and out, Forest Park can't be beat for wintertime fun. The Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum, the Saint Louis Science Center and James S. McDonnell Planetarium are open throughout the year. In the winter, take a spin on the ice at the Steinberg Ice Rink or, if there's snow on the ground, a sled ride down Art Hill.
The Gateway Arch is now a National Park. The grounds have been completely revamped, and the museum below the iconic structure was renovated to better tell the story of westward expansion and now includes an exhibit on how the Arch was built. A tram will take you to the top of the arch for an amazing view of the city and the Mississippi River.
The historic St. Louis Union Station is home to several new attractions including the St. Louis Aquarium, featuring six galleries, 13,000 animals and a 250,000 gallon shark tank. Just outside the aquarium take a spin on The St. Louis Wheel – a 200-foot observation wheel with 42 fully enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas. Other new attractions at Union Station include a classic carousel, ropes course and mini golf.
Written by Liz Coleman