Schlafly and Other Local Breweries
THERE IS SO MUCH GOOD CHEAP BEER HERE. I’m from Los Angeles, so I am no stranger to local breweries, and my boyfriend is a home brewer, so trust me when I say that St. Louis is a great beer city. Whether you prefer to visit the giant (and beautiful) Anheuser-Busch brewery and drink a free beer in its beer garden or visit Alpha Brewery and sample 10 incredibly unique and delicious brews, you will enjoy the beer culture in St. Louis. Bartenders at all of the breweries are knowledgeable and super friendly. If you don’t know what you like, they’ll pour you samples to help you figure it out. Urban Chestnut is the closest local brewery, being only a short walk from the Central West End, and they have a great kitchen too. Six Row isn’t much further, and combines darts and board games with delicious specialty beers. If you are visiting the Arch, why not walk down to Morgan Street brewery and sample a few beers? If you like live music, the Schlafly tap room has bands playing most Fridays and Saturdays. There are literally too many to list here; have fun exploring the city through beer!
— Emily D., M1
If you’re still mourning the loss of recess, if you size things up based on whether you could climb them, then City Museum will feel like home. Utterly baffling from a distance, the outdoor section looks like a cross between a junkyard and those cat palaces crazy people build in their houses, with several suspended planes and an endless maze of tunnels, towers and slides. It is nothing less than the coolest playground for grown-ups ever. Highlights include a human-sized hamster wheel, a ball pit and a 10-story high slide. Be prepared for bruises, a few knocks on the head and a phenomenally good time. Just make sure you watch out for low ceilings and wear slide-y pants.
— Emily R., M1
The Gateway Arch
The Gateway Arch is a must see attraction in my book, especially for those who are not from St. Louis. Visually striking, this towering catenary is a monument to the city’s heritage as the Gateway to the West. The Arch sits on a sprawling park downtown (great for picnics) overlooking the Mississippi, the river that made St. Louis a historically important center of commerce. Enter the Arch to take an egg-shaped elevator pod to the top, where you can catch spectacular views of the Missouri and Illinois sides of the river. Take advantage of the long hours of operation to take in stunning night views of downtown. The Arch also houses a museum and multiple IMAX theaters on the ground level. Check out the free Museum of Westward Expansion to satisfy your inner history junkie, or to laugh at truly awful animatronic robots that guide you through a pivotal point in the story of our nation. For a small fee, you can watch an IMAX film about the journey of Lewis and Clark, narrated by Jeff Bridges. This is a well-produced and worthwhile movie, and probably my favorite part of the museum. You can also grab some homemade fudge at the museum’s “olde-fashioned” gift shop, which features trinkets such as out-of-print pioneer cookbooks, handmade soaps, feather quills and lots of candy. What more could you want?
— Seren G., M1
Missouri Botanical Garden
At the Missouri Botanical Garden you can find acres of flowers and trees, bright glass sculptures by Chihuly and plenty of fresh air. It is a relaxing outing and great if you have people in town who are fans of plants. This garden is over 150 years old, almost 80 acres in size and has plants from around the world. On your worldly garden travels, you can visit Chinese, Japanese, Bavarian, English and Ottoman gardens — all in an afternoon! You can also find rainforest plants in the Climatron dome and envy-inducing agricultural/residential garden demonstrations. (“Why don’t I have a fountain and luscious creeping vines in my small city garden?”.) All of this great experience is a short drive or easy bike ride from campus, and only costs $4 per person when you give them your St. Louis zip code.
— Jennifer F., M1
St. Louis Symphony
“To send light into the darkness of men’s hearts – such is the duty of the artist” –Robert Schumann. And such is the duty of the physician as well, but when you find yourself with time to take a break from the rigors of a world-class education, make sure to pay a visit to some other healers of heavy hearts: The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second-oldest symphony in the U.S. and plays at Powell Hall, an easy 10-minute drive from campus. Student tickets are heavily discounted (many are $10) and very popular among the med school crowd; professors are even spotted occasionally among the other glitterati of St. Louis. The musical selections are mostly the traditional classical variety, with a few modern pieces from more experimental composers. But don’t let anything you read online about “live vaudeville” shows in the 1920s fool you; a $2 million renovation in 1968 left this building a masterpiece of acoustics, described by the New York Times as “a hall in which it is a pleasure to listen to music.”
— Lucas T., M1
The Saint Louis Zoo
You just finished your first round of medical school exams. Now what are you going to do? Go to the zoo, of course! Forget bringing in puppies to relieve your stress, because you are now neighbors with elephants, penguins, monkeys, tigers, giraffes …. you get the picture. The Saint Louis Zoo is one of the leading zoos in the country, with 650+ species represented. Further, it is lively, clean and conveniently located right in Forest Park. And did I mention that it’s free? Not only can you enjoy the zoo during the warm seasons, but there are also special events for Halloween and the winter holidays. The zoo is just one more reason to love living in St. Louis year-round.
— Abby R., M1
Six Flags St. Louis
For all the roller coaster junkies out there, Six Flags St. Louis is the place to get your adrenaline rush. I’ve been to some other amusement parks around the country, and most are pretty mediocre compared to Six Flags St. Louis, mostly because they don’t have the best roller coaster to exist: Mr. Freeze. On this glorious ride, you are launched backwards, reaching 70 mph in four seconds, and after some loops and turns, you end up riding straight up a 200-foot tower. You pause up top for a second, then immediately drop straight down (while getting a good view of the ground since you’re sitting perpendicular) and go back the way you came, except this time facing forward. Other notable must-ride roller coasters are the Batman, Screamin’ Eagle, The Boss and Superman Tower of Power. Hurricane Harbor, Six Flags’ water park, is open during the summer and contains many slides, raft thrill rides, a lazy river and a wave pool. During the fall, Six Flags is open on the weekends for Fright Fest, where, once night falls, you’re subjected to costumed actors jumping out at you in “Scare Zones” and you can visit various haunted house attractions.
— Sonya L., M1
Fabulous Fox Theater
The Fabulous Fox Theater, located on Grand just a block away from the SLU campus, boasts the most beautiful, elaborately designed interior of any building in St. Louis (in my opinion). While it may not look like much from outside, its opulent “Siamese Byzantine” interior design definitely makes any first-time goer’s jaw drop. Once a leading movie palace from 1929 to the 1960s, the Fox was renovated and reopened in the 1980s as a premier performing arts center. It has been a venue for many famous artists, comedians, musical ensembles, dance groups, and especially national tours of Broadway plays/musicals. Some acts I have seen include Jersey Boys, Wicked, Aziz Ansari, Billy Elliot the Musical and Next to Normal. The best part is that many of these shows are cheaper than you’d expect, and some shows even offer discounted student rush tickets, which are available to students for ~$20 if you pick them up the day of the show (about two hours ahead of the start time). The Fox is a historic St. Louis landmark that deserves a visit, so be sure to check out the Fabulous Fox’s website for info on upcoming shows!
— Sonya L., M1