25 Reasons to Love Summer in St. Louis

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11. Grant's Farm. Sure, you have to endure polka music blaring in the background, but that's a small price to pay for the free beer that awaits in the beautiful and historic "bauernhof" courtyard inside Grant's Farm. (10501 Gravois Road, Affton; 314-843-1700)

12. Carny food. Funnel cake. Corn dogs. Kettle corn. Cotton candy. Turkey legs. These are the flavors of summer found at multiple festivals over the next few months. But for a truly exotic take on carnival food, don't miss Festival of Nations this August in Tower Grove Park where the food -- featuring fare from dozens of countries -- is the main attraction.

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. Frontyard Features offers free showings of classic films at municipal parks across St. Louis -- including those in Lafayette Square, the Central West End and University City. (Various locations; www.facebook.com/fyfstl)

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, many of these markets also provide great live music and a chance to socialize with like-minded foodies.

click to enlarge 25 Reasons to Love Summer in St. Louis
Photo: Crystal Rolfe

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 Captain Ahab to pilot your way through the lagoons of Forest Park on board a paddle boat available at the Boathouse. These miniature ships are a great way to take in the views of St. Louis' crown jewel. They also provide a hell of a workout. (6101 Government Drive; 314-367-2224)

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