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People & Places

  • Best Kept Secret

    Wabash Frisco & Pacific Railroad

    Many attractions in St. Louis are incredibly popular — sometimes so popular that it's difficult to enjoy them for all of the crowds and the pushing and the rudeness and the shouting (we're looking at you, irritated parents). That's why a trip aboard one of the Wabash Frisco & Pacific Railroad's tiny twelve-inch gauge trains is the most delightful way… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Women

    St. Louis Community College-Forest Park Dental Hygiene Clinic

    You know that cute girl you see twice a year at the dentist's office? The one who calls B.S. when you swear you floss every day? Yup, that's her — the hygienist with the pearly white smile. Well, once upon a time she was in training, and, along with fifteen of her perky young female classmates, she was in need… More >>
  • Best Place for a First Date (Not a Restaurant)

    Beale on Broadway

    If you've been on enough first dates, you know how hard it can be to really get to know the person on the other side of the table. Sure, small talk'll yield the requisite info — job, hobbies, favorite recent movie — but you need to see how your date behaves in the wild. So after dinner make a beeline… More >>
  • Best Place for a Last Date (Not a Restaurant)

    Laclede's Landing

    A week ago, you discovered his sext to the tiresome blonde you never liked but whose presence you quietly tolerated because you wanted to appear supportive of his platonic relationships with other women. Stop stewing and bring him to the ultimate locale for the inevitable breakup conversation: Laclede's Landing. You have nine blocks of cobblestone-covered road on the Mississippi riverfront… More >>
  • Best Local Website

    Belleville News-Democrat

    What do we like about the website of the Belleville News-Democrat? For starters, it has all the local news you'll find on the website of that other metro St. Louis daily (you know the one) — but in a much-easier-to-read layout. What's more, bnd.com beats the pants off the competition when it comes to reporting the news of the oft-ignored Metro… More >>
  • Best Local Blog

    UrbanReviewSTL

    The crosswalk signals are inadequate downtown (except outside Busch Stadium, of course). The new Schnucks Culinaria downtown is a welcome addition, but you have to drive to the third level to park your car. Businesses in the Old Post Office block, promoted as a 24/7 district, are still closed on weekends. Blogger Steve Patterson astutely documents and discusses these issues… More >>
  • Best E-Mail Address

    Jennifer Blome

    The punch line is "Heywood." You know where it goes.… More >>
  • Best Bus Route

    We regret due to lack of funding service to this category is suspended. (Photo.)… More >>
  • Best Public Restroom

    Third Degree Glass Factory

    Can we speak frankly for a moment? We all have to use the restroom from time to time. As much as we don't like to discuss what goes on in there, we still appreciate facilities that make us almost as comfortable as we are when we're at home. If your average portable toilet at a music festival is, say, a… More >>
  • Best Cemetery

    Mount Olive Cemetery

    Joseph Marconnot, a truck driver descended from an old French family in Carondelet, slipped off this mortal coil in 1924. In his will he stipulated that he be embalmed in the manner of King Tut (whose tomb had only been discovered two years earlier), dressed in a tuxedo and laid to rest in a mausoleum with a glass door so… More >>
  • Best Month to Leave St. Louis

    December

    The time of year that must not be named will be here sooner than you can figure out what adeste fideles means. Instead of fighting the local crowds and the unpredictable weather — and fighting with your family about how to put the lights on the tree — skip it and skip town. No matter where you wind up, you'll… More >>
  • Best Mustache

    Joel Piñeiro

    From Keith Hernandez to Al Hrabosky, the Cardinals have a star-studded history of hirsute heroes. Recently, though, only backup catcher Jason LaRue and his burly horseshoe carried on the club's proud facial-hair tradition. Sometime in June, however, a handful of superstitious Cardinals players decided to grow good-luck mustaches. Among them was historically mediocre hurler Joel Piñeiro, whose thick black 'stache… More >>
  • Best Month to Be in St. Louis

    September

    We all know how miserable St. Louis summers can be. OK, so 2009 was a bizarre departure. Usually it's three months of temperatures that would make Lucifer think twice about vacationing here, plus the pleasure of trying to breathe underwater. But when the calendar turns to September, St. Louis comes out of its heat-induced coma and shines. The temperatures drop… More >>
  • Best Hotel

    Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark

    There are these visitors who come to town twice a year, reliable as the equinoxes. For the sake of both anonymity and accuracy, let's call them the Parents. We're on journalists' salaries (print journalism, at that), so we don't exactly have a giant guest room — in fact, we don't have a guest room at all. So the Parents have… More >>
  • Best Bed & Breakfast

    Casa Magnolia Bed & Breakfast

    The most charming B&Bs are those that are natural extensions of the neighborhoods surrounding them — and of their owners' personalities. Check and check at Casa Magnolia Bed & Breakfast, a 1906 Shaw neighborhood home that owners Lillabet Popp and Jordi Felix have spent more than a decade meticulously restoring. Perfect for out-of-towners and St. Louis staycationers alike, Casa Magnolia… More >>
  • Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests

    City Museum

    There's no shortage of splendid, tourist-ready fun to be had in St. Louis, but the hands-down best place for mind-blowing, open-jawed joy is the City Museum. The place is prime for both the kid-having and the kid-shunning, a weird and blissfully eclectic concoction of found art, archeological artifacts, a circus, caves and an aquarium full of sloths and crocodiles and… More >>
  • Best Kids' Thrill

    Stingrays at Caribbean Cove

    The only thing more thrilling than the final note of Stingray Cove's ubiquitous television commercials and their ear-wrenching version of "Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)" is actually visiting the exhibit itself. Yes, their venom-coated barbs have been trimmed, and they're pretty docile creatures to begin with, but the experience of petting a ray is still, well, thrilling. More than 30… More >>
  • Best Festival

    Cinco de Mayo on Cherokee Street

    Let's talk comfort zones. You have your couch, your bed, possibly your car. Geographically speaking, festival comfort zones in St. Louis center on a few usual suspects: downtown's green plazas and wide streets, Clayton and Forest Park. But when a festival is firmly rooted and held each year in a residential neighborhood, the atmosphere takes on a more authentic air.… More >>
  • Best Spring-Break Impersonation

    Wave Taco

    For a few weeks every March, study-weary students head south to debauched destinations such as Cabo, South Padre Island and Cocoa Beach in search of booze, bikinis and beaches. St. Louis may be 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean, but wander onto the right block of downtown on a sunny day and you'll feel like you're just a wet T-shirt… More >>
  • Best Greening Effort

    Maplewood's Reusable Green Shopping Bags

    Maplewood's civil servants seem to understand that small, simple acts just might change a big, warming planet. Just as summer got under way, St. Louis' neighboring little suburb to the southwest announced it was offering recyclable bags to shoppers at Maplewood businesses. The cost? Just a buck (the dark-green bags were also given away free at certain events). The city… More >>
  • Best Public Works Project

    Citygarden

    Citygarden was funded by the nonprofit Gateway Foundation, so some may not immediately think of it as a "public works" project. But don't forget that it was St. Louis leaders who first conspired to remake the previously forlorn green space and then picked an angel investor, so to speak, to execute a project the city couldn't afford. The result: an… More >>
  • Best Worthy Cause

    Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition

    The Foster & Adoptive Care Coalition's primary aim is to find foster and forever homes for more than 5,000 children in metro St. Louis, but you can support this amazing organization in a host of smaller but useful ways. One of the most immediate and rewarding programs is Little Wishes, which allows donors to purchase and donate fun items (toys,… More >>
  • Best New Building

    Moonrise Hotel

    Don't judge a book by its cover. Or a building, especially if it's a hotel with a rotating moon on its roof. Behind the unassuming exterior of the Moonrise Hotel — the latest project of Loop entrepreneur Joe Edwards (cf. Blueberry Hill, the Pageant, Pin-Up Bowl) — is a visually magnetic mashup of lunar pop culture and a homage to… More >>
  • Best Old Building

    The Wainwright Building

    Of all the great landmarks of St. Louis architecture (and there are many), none stands quite so high as the Wainwright Building. Designed by the great Louis Sullivan, one of the most important figures in the history of architectural design, the Wainwright Building was the first true skyscraper in the city of St. Louis and, many would argue, America. Completed… More >>
  • Best Place to Live

    Southampton

    Most people who live in St. Louis are familiar with the better-known neighborhoods. The Loop is a hipster haven. The West End: nice outdoor cafés and a smattering of high(er)brow culture. Soulard: get your debauch on and walk home! Et cetera. All great places to live. But this year we're going the neighborhood-less-traveled route. The Southhampton area (or SoHa as… More >>
  • Best Volunteer

    Missy Fish

    Missy Fish was 39 years old and volunteering at a health fair pushing the importance of mammograms on women when she took her own advice and got a test herself. With no prior family history of breast cancer or symptoms to speak of, she was shocked when the result came back positive. She was fortunate enough to catch the illness… More >>
  • Best Citizen

    Teodora Petrova

    On November 7, 2008, Teodora Petrova, a Bulgarian immigrant who spoke little English and had been in the country for less than two months, started a new $8-per-hour job at the MERS Goodwill in Glen Carbon, Illinois. As Petrova was sorting through donated clothes and shoes, she discovered a shoebox full of cash. She alerted her manager to the find,… More >>
  • Best Gadfly

    Bill Hannegan

    Few local issues have raised a stink as big as the looming bans that would prohibit lighting up in public places such as restaurants and bars. While national trends suggest that most major cities will go smoke-free in the next decade, cadres of smokers refuse to let their liberty get stubbed out. Believing that smoking in public is a basic… More >>
  • Best Geezer

    Lewis Greenberg

    One of the key pages of the geezer playbook is the ability to growl "Get the hell off my lawn" convincingly enough to send interlopers scurrying. Traditionally — as in Dennis the Menace cartoons — the interlopers are small children. Lewis Greenberg, 65, is that much more badass, because he's been growling at the City of Ballwin. For the past… More >>
  • Best Pothead

    Mark Pedersen

    While you're sitting on the couch stoned, munching Cheez Doodles and watching Harold and Kumar, Mark Pedersen is traveling the nation, seeking out the life stories of people who smoke chronic to treat their chronic illnesses. The St. Louisan is the founder of the Cannabis Patient Network, a website that broadcasts interviews with users of medical marijuana and offers painfully… More >>
  • Best Bureaucrat

    Les Sterman

    Les Sterman retired from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments this past July, after 26 years as head of the region's planning and transportation agency. During his tenure at East-West Gateway, Sterman served as a chaperone of sorts, goading elected officials in Missouri and Illinois into sharing the sandbox we call "metro St. Louis." Sterman's influence helped spur the building… More >>
  • Best Lawyer

    Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith

    Hardly did a law-and-order scandal break these past twelve months where Assistant U.S. Attorney Hal Goldsmith didn't find himself smack in the crosshairs. Exhibit A: Bobby Lee Garrett, Vincent Carr and Leo Liston, three former St. Louis police officers, will soon be sentenced for stealing cash from criminals they apprehended. Exhibit B: Bill Jakob, the fake "federal agent" who took… More >>
  • Best Place to Vent

    Wolf Howl

    Sometimes life in the city/suburbs/exurbs can really get to you. The traffic. (Specifically, the red lights everywhere you want to go, in every direction.) The crowds. The people. Their children. Sometimes it all just makes you want to scream! Here's a better idea: Call up the Wild Canid Survival and Research Center in Eureka and make a reservation for an… More >>
  • Best Local Politician

    St. Charles County Councilman Paul Wynn

    Paul Wynn does not smoke, and nary a drop of drink doth touch his lips. If Wynn has a vice, it's a three-letter word: war. The West Point grad did a tour in Saudi Arabia with the U.S. Army during the Gulf War, and when the War on Terror commenced, the self-described unabashed conservative joined up for another swing through… More >>
  • Best Mayor

    Linda Goldstein

    Early this year the mayors of five municipalities (Clayton, University City, Olivette, Creve Coeur and Overland) joined together to ask that the St. Louis County Council pass a smoking ban. And while the county council debated the matter ad nauseam and eventually punted the issue — asking voters to decide the matter — one of those municipal mayors decided the… More >>
  • Best Mayoral Dis

    "See N Say"

    "Leadership is not in your position but in your actions," goes half the hook to Rockwell Knuckles' vitriolic attack on St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. "See N Say," released earlier this year on the local rapper's sophomore album, The Glow Mixtape, came with the not-too-subtle parenthetical title of "Mayor Slay Diss." Listen closely to Rocky's rapid-fire lyrics and you'll hear… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Made Good

    Jon Hamm

    As Don Draper, the brilliant, troubled 1960s ad exec at the heart of AMC's critically lauded TV series Mad Men, St. Louis native Jon Hamm has achieved the rare actor's trifecta: He's an icon to men, a sex symbol to women and a flat-out brilliant performer. An alumnus of John Burroughs School — a former drama teacher there, too —… More >>
  • Best Local Boy Gone Bad

    Jeff Smith

    When Jeff Smith threw his hat into the ring for the U.S. congressional seat vacated by Dick Gephardt in 2004, many considered the neophyte pol to be a naive, earnest twerp with no chance of surviving the jaws of politics, let alone giving rival Russ Carnahan a run for his money. Smith did lose that race, but not by the… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Made Good

    Raechel Holtgrave

    Raechel (yes, that's Raechel — as in Rachel plus Raquel) Holtgrave graduated from the University of Missouri in May with majors in math and actuarial science. But instead of landing a job with an insurance firm or some other corporation, Holtgrave will spend the next year serving as Hooters' official spokeswoman. That's because in June the 23-year-old Highland, Illinois, native… More >>
  • Best Local Girl Gone Bad

    Judy Pickens

    The crime is so heart-wrenching, it's difficult to comprehend. In the fall of 2004 a St. Louis mother of two takes her extremely sick children to the hospital with a mysterious illness. The doctors try everything but nothing seems to work. The mother's four-year-old boy dies at the hospital after days of unrelenting vomiting. Meanwhile, all does not seem quite… More >>
  • Best Villain

    Christopher Coleman

    Prosecutors have led us to believe they'll go for the jugular in the case against Christopher Coleman. But Illinois has a moratorium on the death penalty. So as it stands, the best prosecutors can hope for is to put away Coleman and let the ghosts of his wife and two young sons haunt him for as long as he lives.… More >>
  • Best PR Snafu

    Congressman William "Lacy" Clay's Divorce

    She said she found out her husband was divorcing her by reading it in the newspaper. He said his filing was no surprise. Surely the truth lies somewhere in between. But who cares? William "Lacy" Clay married Ivie Clay, the flack for the St. Louis Development Corp., seventeen years ago. They had two kids, whom she raised for all practical… More >>
  • Best Thing to Happen to St. Louis This Year

    2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

    Such a rhapsody of self-celebration it was, such a mighty toot from our own horn. For an entire head-swelling week, we managed to push aside all semblance of that pesky inferiority complex to play hostess-with-the-mostest of the midsummer classic. And there we posed on a cool(-ish), (mostly) humidity-free July evening like proud peacocks. Why, we were a damn wash-day miracle,… More >>
  • Best Place to People-Watch

    Busch Stadium

    Face it. The "Best Fans in Baseball" trope aside, Busch Stadium is not reserved for real baseball fans. True adherents of the national pastime can be found at home following the game on TV, radio or the Internets. Why's that? Because there are just too damn many distractions at Busch — from that annoying "Cha Cha Slide" song (you know:… More >>
  • Best Cheap Thrill

    Temporary Weightlessness

    The country road ahead: fairly straight and tree-lined, the wildlife area in your rear-view mirror. You know what lies ahead, but the kids in back don't. Nudge the gas a little more toward the floor — 55, 60, 65, don't want the tires to actually leave the ground. The road falls away and the wheels follow, the car floating on… More >>
  • Best Mile of St. Louis

    South Grand Boulevard from Shaw Boulevard to Utah Place

    If you decided one day you wanted to see the very best of St. Louis and all that entails, you would need only to take a short jaunt along Grand Boulevard from Shaw Boulevard south to Utah Place. Those nineteen short blocks embody everything that makes our city a magnificent place to live. You'll find not one, but two parks… More >>
  • Best View of Downtown

    Sightseeing Riverboat Cruise

    We all have our own favorite spot from which to admire downtown. Could be your roof, or a certain point on the highway, or out the window on a flight home. As much as we Arch-gaze, however, it's easy to lose sight of our city's storied history (and let's be honest, how much of said history do you know in the… More >>
  • Best View of Someplace Other than Downtown

    Riverview Park

    This charming site atop the bluffs north of Alton provides sweeping views of the Mississippi River rolling slowly along some 100 feet below. On clear days, you can even see the Gateway Arch off in the distance to the south. Better, though, is to arrive just before dusk to catch the sun setting over Old Man River.… More >>
  • Best View of the Mississippi

    Cliff Cave County Park

    "The Mississippi River is laden with the burdens of a nation," writes homegrown author Eddy L. Harris. It carries not just grain and coal barges, Harris suggests, but also "sins and salvation, dreams and adventure and destiny." It's your river. Respect it. Gaze upon it from the bluff at Cliff Cave County Park in Oakville. Turning off Telegraph Road and… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet Single Men

    Central West End Dog Park

    Every summer at the Sonoma-Marin Fair in Petaluma, California, a panel of qualified judges anoints one very special canine the World's Ugliest Dog. This year's winner was Pabst, a boxer mix with a wicked underbite. Despite his unfortunate title, when you look at Pabst's victory photos, you feel an almost insurmountable urge to smooth his bulging brow and scratch behind… More >>
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