For Gut Check, Memorial Day will always be associated with American flag T-shirts, pork steaks and family picnics, all of which suggest the need for a great outdoor spot to enjoy the holiday. To help you out, Gut Check has assembled a list of some of the most pastoral of locations throughout the region that should make you stand up and salute.
Tower Grove Park (4256 Magnolia Avenue; 314-771-2679) Back in 1868 philanthropist Henry Shaw decided the citizens of St. Louis needed a grand, open space to grill pork steaks, play kickball and drink beer from a can kept cold in a koozie, so he donated nearly 300 acres to establish Tower Grove Park. On Memorial Day picnic blankets will litter the landscape, but the park is so spacious that there's plenty space to throw around a Frisbee. The park is also home to a number of fanciful Victorian pavilions that Shaw surely envisioned sheltering family reunions, and with more than 8,000 trees and shrubs imported from around the world, it shouldn't be difficult to find a shady spot to relax.
Missouri Botanical Garden | via Facebook (4344 Shaw Boulevard; 314-577-9400) It's true that these days St. Louis is not necessarily considered a trend setter, but back in the mid-19th century, our fine city built one of the first botanical institutions in the United States that set the template for all of our imitators. To stroll the grounds is a lesson in horticulture...and it's also very pretty. You can enter the futuristic Climatron, the Buckminster Fuller-designed geodesic dome conservatory; or contemplate existence along the reflecting pools. The Butterfly House is always a crowd pleaser, or, for a more peaceful interlude you can visit Seiwa-en -- the Japanese strolling garden. Sure, you won't be able to set up the grill, but your Memorial Day spent within this urban garden will transcend the typical.
Citygarden (801 Market Street; 314-241-3337) Downtown might not seem like the most picturesque spot to spread the picnic blanket, but Citygarden is a veritable urban oasis. Located right smack dab in the center of the city's business district, the park offers plenty of green space, not to mention two dozen sculptures. Most of the time, kids are content to run around wildly with no real purpose, but what with its fountains, Citygarden offers them the opportunity to treat the place like an urban water park. If in the chaos of getting the family ready to leave you forget the food, have no fear, the park has its own restaurant -- Joe's Chili Bowl at the Terrace View -- that offers great sandwiches, salads and -- you guessed it -- chili. Be warned, alcohol in the park is verboten, so keep your eyes peeled for the Fire & Ice Cream Truck and buy yourself an ice cream cone instead.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.