June 07, 2013 Slideshows

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25 Reasons to Love Summer in St. Louis 

People may gripe about the heat and humidity of St. Louis in the summer. But ask someone to share his or her favorite memory about this town, and chances are you're going to hear a story about something that happened between May and September.

Why? Because summer is when we get together with friends and share. When we slow down just long enough to appreciate all that is here for the taking. And as RFT discovered when we sat down to brainstorm what we love about summer in St. Louis, the reasons could be infinite. Here, though, are 25 places to begin. By RFTStaff.
25. Shakespeare in the Park.

For three weeks each summer Forest Park hosts a free Shakespeare play under the trees just east of Art Hill. This year's play is the bard's comed
24. Above-ground pools.

Is there anything more St. Louis than a big metal tub in the back yard? What these pools lack in modern amenities (diving boards, chlorine) they make up for in good, old-fashioned fun. Try as you might, you'll never
23. Fair Saint Louis.

Big-name musical acts, daily air shows and nightly fireworks. Oh, and did we mention it's all free? The weekend of July 4th, the downtown riverfront is the p
22. Citygarden fountains.

If Johnson's Shut-Ins is too far, hop on the MetroLink and head downtown to Citygarden where the dancing fountain and wading pool offer a welcome respite
21. Johnson's Shut-Ins.

The manmade waterworks at Raging Rivers and Six Flag's Hurricane Harbor are a lot of fun, but they're not nearly as cool and
20. St. Louis fashion.

A few years ago Esquire magazine ranked St. Louis as one of the least fashionable cities in America, noting: "In a city that conflates fashion and fandom, the question isn't whether you're going to put on sweatpants;
19. Fireworks stands.

Ordinances prohibit the sale of fireworks in St. Louis County. The same cannot be said of St. Charles, Jefferson or Franklin counties where local officials are a bit more lax about pyrotechnics, and colorful roadside
18. Beer leagues.

Perhaps it's that we all look so fantastic in short shorts and knee-high socks. But there's something about summer in St. Louis that has us all -- regardless of gender -- wanting to haul a cooler full of beer to the neare
17. Ted Drewes.

With apologies to the other fine frozen-custard shops in town (there are a few), no summertime trip to St. Louis is complete without a stop by Ted Dre
16. Winery trips.

Missouri's wineries have made great strides over the years, producing some truly stellar varietals. And St. Louis lies within striking distance of some of the best and most beautiful of these wineries with Augusta, Ste. G
15. Paddle boats at Forest Park.

If you're like us, you don't know your aft from your ass, your stern from your sternum. No problem. You hardly have to be Cap
14. Farmers' markets.

It seems everywhere you turn these days -- Tower Grove (photo above), Clayton, Maplewood, Ferguson -- there's a farmers' market offering locally sourced produce and meats. But more than just a place to grocery shop, m
13. Outdoor movies.

IMAX and 3-D films at the multiplex are nice, but if you want the ultimate movie experience, try spreading out a blanket on the lawn and catching a picture in the great outdoors.
10. Riverboat cruises.

Few St. Louisans have any connection to the Mississippi River anymore. But that doesn't mean you can't experience Ol' Man River in the fashion of Mark Twain. Each day
9. Fast Eddie's Bon Air.

It's always a party at Fast Eddie's Bon Air in Alton. This iconic watering hole initially founded by the Busch family
8. The Muny.

Who has America's oldest and largest outdoor musical theater? We do! Catching a show at the Muny is always cool, and this summer it will be even cooler -- literally -- as the
7. Patio cocktails.

St. Louis bars and restaurants have fully embraced alfresco dining -- and imbibing! -- in recent years with damn near every establishment offering some kind of outdoor seating. So grab a friend or a book or -- dare we s
6. Float trips.

While authorities have cracked down in recent years by banning beer bongs, Jell-O shots and Mardi Gras beads on some of the state's rowdiest rivers, float trips remain a damn good time and something of a summertime rite of
5. Free concerts.

From the mega stages of Fair Saint Louis to weekly concerts at the Missouri Botanical Garden and downtown Kirkwood to the monthly shows at municipal parks like Maplewood's Ryan Hummert, it might just be possible to experi
4. Washers.

Bags (a.k.a. "cornhole") may be all the rage these days, but washers remains the official lawn game of St. Louis. While its origins remain a mystery, it was likely created when one southsider said to another, "Bet I can throw t
3. Circus Flora.

Circus the way circus was meant to be. This magical big top sets up shop each summer in midtown, offering its fans an intimate and upclose view of perennial favorit
2. Pork steaks.

They're a St. Louis delicacy, these sliced strips of pork shoulder. Pro tip: Cook these babies on a low heat for 90 minutes and brush with another St. Louis original -- Maull's barbecue sauce.
1. Mike Shannon.

With his references to "high hard ones," his catch phrase "get up, baby!" and his near-constant cackling, you'd be forgiven for thinking you've stumbled upon the rants of a ham radio operator or a senile Viagra pitchman. No
25. Shakespeare in the Park.

For three weeks each summer Forest Park hosts a free Shakespeare play under the trees just east of Art Hill. This year's play is the bard's comed

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