Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Travel Advice: Meet Me in St. Louis

My dear friend Annie is a world-class traveler and blogs about reading and writing at Book Hunger. She and her husband spent a year in Spain teaching English, and they just moved from Maryland to California, driving cross-country to get there.

When traveling, one of my best pieces of advice is this: talk to the locals! I was amazed at how friendly people were all over the United States and how eager they were to let me know the best places to eat and sightsee.

In St. Louis, Missouri, the husband and I stopped in Jazz, Blues and Soups, a local bar that hosts great blues bands every night of the week starting at 9pm (unless the Cardinals game runs over). We came in for some great barbecue and to see what St. Louis had to offer.

It was a weeknight, so the bar wasn’t crowded at all—just the lone bartender (his co-worker decided to go to the game) and an older couple sitting on stools beside us.

It doesn’t take long for people to notice we’re not from around here (“what exactly are hush puppies?”) so the bartender started to ask us about why we were visiting. Between the bartender and the couple beside us, we got the low down on how to make the most out of our stay.

“If there’s two things you do here in St. Louis, go to the Arch and the City Museum.”

Of course, we went up the Arch—it’s one of those things you have to do in your lifetime. While the ride up the top is not good for the claustrophobic, the views of the city are amazing!

I hadn’t seen much on the City Museum while I was searching online. I had expected we would just go to an art museum or something. Actually, it’s more like an adult playground, filled with art, d├ęcor, and animals! During the day, there are a lot of kids running around, but in the evening, there are more adults and a nice bar on the rooftop.

When traveling abroad, try to talk to locals as well. In big cities, you should be able to find people who speak English. It was our experience that the pharmacists usually knew a bit of English (good to know when you’re lost in the city!) But if you’re not traveling and sticking to a strict schedule, bumping into new finds is—in my opinion—the best way to travel!


  1. That is sooo true Annie. I've been to Chicago twice - the first time I had everything planned out from what to eat to see. The second time it was partially planned and decided to ask locals and boy was I glad. It was a whole new Chi-Town.

  2. Great traveling advice, Annie!

  3. Looks like a wonderful place to visit! Loved your pics!



  4. my sister went to college in St. Louis... such a great city!

  5. Good advice! In our travels, anywhere, the locals are usually pretty proud of their city and only too happy to help out. St. Louis looks beautiful!

  6. I love my city. Great photo of the arch!!



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