Mixing Business and Pleasure: Quick Escapes in St. Louis

by  Darren Murph | Feb 7, 2013
St. Louis
St. Louis / f11photo/iStock

St. Louis is a staple of Americana, with the Gateway Arch standing as an appropriate monument that ushers weary travelers from east to west. Granted, we aren't exactly in the Oregon Trail days any longer, but there's still something magical about standing beneath the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Though the weather may be chilly this time of year, there's a lot of heart in St. Louis to keep those passing through on business plenty warm. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into an exploratory mindset, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

So, you want local? Coming right up. Just a few blocks northeast of the America’s Center Convention Complex sits Al's Restaurant. Though simple in name, it has become a beacon of fine dining in the city. It's actually owned and operated by three generations of a single St. Louis family, so it goes without saying that every single meal is served with the knowledge that their reputation is on the line. The steaks and seafood are world-class, and while it's a pricey dinner, you can rest assured that any clients you bring along will leave satisfied.

While we're on the subject, Rooster is an outstanding bet for those with a taste for breakfast. This place sources as much as it can from local farmers, and you'll find a wealth of organic items as well. They're usually open until 3:00PM or so, giving those who'd prefer breakfast for lunch a great excuse to visit. It's also designed to be quick (without sacrificing quality), but try to hit it between peak hours if you're looking for a brief queue.

It's cliche, sure, but no visit to St. Louis is truly complete without a jaunt to Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Home to the Gateway Arch, the park rests along the Mississippi River and maintains much of its old charm. If you're looking to simply escape the madness of conventional halls for an hour or two, there are plenty of walking trails throughout the 91 acres.

If you're unsure when you'll be back, it may be worth a brewery tour should you find yourself with a free evening. St. Louis has a long and storied history when it comes to crafting beers, and connoisseurs of that kind of thing could tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. (Though, we'd recommend touring Schlafly Bottleworks for a more local take on things.) Even if you're not too keen on alcohol, there's plenty of history to soak up.

Before heading out, it's worth a stop by the Bridge Tap House & Wine Bar to end your week. There's more beer and wine in store than any mere mortal could ever drink with any sense of dignity, but you'll be hard-pressed to leave without finding something that suits your taste buds. The food selection is fairly limited, as the menu is designed to complement the alcohols on tap, but it's an excellent place to wind down before facing the TSA gauntlet on your way home.

This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?

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