750 N. 16th St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
St. Louis’s City Museum is a giant indoor and outdoor playground for young adults. Made entirely from repurposed materials, it includes four stories of amazement. Its crazy spaces seem to have come from the dark imaginings of Willy Wonka or perhaps Roald Dahl. Spiraling staircases and dark caverns invite climbing. On the roof, you can climb ever upward inside spiraling tunnels like a death-defying hamster. The Museum features unusual exhibits, like Beatnik Bob’s tongue-in-cheek tribute to the carnival sideshow (featuring the world’s largest underwear). You can enjoy a beer or other tasty adult beverage indoors or out at one of several watering holes on the premises, and the whole shebang is open until 1 a.m. on weekends.
Upper Limits Climbing Gym
326 S. 21st St.
St. Louis, MO 63103
If you’re into rock climbing at all, or are rock-curious, Upper Limits is the place for you in the Lou. The whole shebang is housed in a historic railroad factory and offers cavernous spaces to explore. Beginners will enjoy rental equipment and group or individual lessons from experienced staff. Advanced climbers will enjoy the seven autobelay stations, 35′ tall climbing space with bouldering throughout (including a cave) and two massive arches. Showers and lockers are available, parking is free, and St. Louis’s Union Station is right next door, so you’re sure to find a bar or restaurant handy for your after-climbing celebration.
U City Loop
6504 Delmar Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63130
The stretch of Delmar Boulevard in University City known as the U City Loop is where Washington University students come to play on weekends. You can play some serious darts, enjoy some burgers or a pitcher of beer, or catch a live show at Blueberry Hill (Chuck Berry even plays here from time to time). The Tivoli theater shows art films and independent films, or you could catch a live show at the Pageant, the STL’s coolest concert nightclub. The entire street is lined with secondhand shops, galleries, ethnic restaurants, clubs and more and street artists fill the sidewalk with live music.
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1000 Cherokee St.
St. Louis, MO 63118
Cherokee Street is where St. Louis’s young hipsters and artists spend their time. Part of the street houses St. Louis’s Little Mexico neighborhood, and is a haven of taquerias and Mexican grocery stores. Neighboring that is a section of galleries, restaurants and venues. 2720 is a club (at 2720 Cherokee Street, natch) that brings all sorts of live music, art events, and shows and parties to the neighborhood. Foam, which serves coffee by day and beer at night, also offers live music and open mike nights. The PhD art gallery often has art shows on weekends and houses exhibits you won’t find everywhere (the current exhibit is A History of Queer). Have a drink at the Fortune Teller bar, lunch at the Mud House or Benton Cafe, and enjoy a sustainable, local, organic breakfast at the worker-owned Black Bear Bakery.
Central West End
St. Louis, MO 63141
If you’re looking for a more upscale experience, the city’s Central West End offers restaurant and nightlife options that pour out onto the sidewalks. On Friday and Saturday nights, the streets are filled with revelers. The restaurants here are usually packed, so reservations are a good idea. Bar Italia is a popular choice, offering a tasty menu, and often hosts events like International Nights, Carnivale parties or Bollywood dances in its Luna Lounge on weekends. Bar Louie across the street is a very popular hangout for young adults who want to mix and mingle. The whole neighborhood is brimming with bars and restaurants, so you are sure to find someplace you’ll enjoy every night of your break.
Lauren Haas was the founder and publisher of The St. Louis Area Family Gazette magazine, and editor-in-chief of Marketplace Magazine. Now, Lauren is a full-time freelance writer who travels the world, using St. Louis as her base. Contact her at Lauren@LaurenHaas.com