ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – August. The so-called “dog days” of summer. School is right around the corner – and so is the fall routine. There isn’t time to plan a vacation to get away? Not to worry! Here are some “outside the box” suggestions of things you can do that are right here in town:
1) Go kayaking on Creve Coeur Lake. Head to any one of approximately 150 city, county or state parks in the St. Louis area and you might be surprised what you find, even in Forest Park – which ranks among the best city parks in America. I prefer parks with lakes, so I can fish (with a valid license) if I feel like it. (I do keep a fishing rod in my Jeep for those moments.) Recently, I checked out Simpson Lake, a 72-acre lake in Valley Park. I was one of the only people throwing a line in the water. Rather peaceful. For more activity, check out 320-acre Creve Coeur Lake, where you can rent a kayak, canoe or paddle board in minutes. We took our girls out on two double kayaks ($15/hour) and explored the south and west shores for wildlife. After getting some good morning sun, we sat outside at the Lakehouse and had a great lunch. There’s Sailboat Cove, zip lines, swings, bike trails…I mean, it’s really impressive what they’ve done in Creve Coeur.
2) Take a new car for a test drive. This summer, I won a “Weekend with a Model S” at the National Kidney Foundation golf tournament. No, not a model. A Tesla Model S, which is an all-electric full-size sedan with all-wheel drive. It is lightning-quick (0-to-60 in about three seconds) and easily the fastest car I’ve ever driven. It feels like you’re the behind the wheel of a computer at times, with its massive touchscreen operating most of the vehicle’s functions. The screen is easy to navigate and the Tesla Model S is totally fun to drive. But by all means, pick the car you’ve always wanted to check out and visit your local dealer. Then drive up the Great River Road to Grafton and back. It’s a great break from the routine, even if you love your current ride.
3) Stay at a downtown hotel. The city is alive when the Cardinals are in town, but even when they’re not…being a tourist in your own city is really great. We recently did a “staycation” at the Four Seasons St. Louis. Absolutely phenomenal. The pool was excellent, food and drink outstanding. We never left the property (including Lumiere Place), but could have easily taken an Uber to a restaurant or bar nearby. St. Louis is filled with interesting museums, great music venues and locally-owned eateries. Get out and experience some of it and share your findings with friends. (Ever been to Ernesto’s Wine Bar?)
4) Tour the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. The best time to go: Sunday when the Cardinals are on the road. Start your day with brunch at Cardinals Nation restaurant, complete with one of the best Bloody Mary bars anywhere (Herbie’s in the Central West End has the other one). Then, after you’ve filled up on pancakes, omelets and Cuban pork, visit the best collection of baseball memorabilia and interactive exhibits outside of Cooperstown. You’ll have the place virtually to yourself. By the time you’re finished, you can watch the Cards play on any of Ballpark Village’s flatscreens. Or maybe you’ll go big and view the massive TV’s inside Fox Sports Midwest Live. Sit out on the deck overlooking Busch Stadium and take a family photo.
5) Take a sunset ride up the Arch. Yes, the Gateway Arch is open at night…and I wouldn’t have discovered this if it wasn’t for my 5-year-old, Audrey, pushing me to go. The two of us were at dinner one Sunday night (Chuck E. Cheese) having a good time, when she asked if we could go. I looked it up and sure enough, they closed at 10:00 PM. We bought tickets at the Old Courthouse, walked through some of the new Arch grounds and went right in line (very short). Audrey had a lot of questions. I answered them, but in looking a few things up about the construction (50 years ago) I always learn something new. The best part of the 7:50 PM ride: we arrived at the top while the sun was setting behind the downtown skyline. Seriously, an orange-pinkish sky behind the buildings. I looked at Audrey, who pointed out the sunset and smiled, staring out of the rectangular window. I rewarded her with some Ted Drewes on the way home.
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