6 Daytrips Worth Taking
Inevitably, you'll want to take a break from St. Louis. So, befriend someone with a car and convince them to take you on a daytrip.
Traveling to Napa Valley isn't necessary for a St. Louis college student looking to enjoy wine, good food and beautiful views. Several winery-centered small towns that are only about an hour from St. Louis make for the perfect quaint weekend getaway. The closest is Defiance, a 40-minute drive. Popular wineries and vineyards here include Defiance Ridge Vineyards (2711 South Missouri 94, 636-798-2288), Chandler Hill (596 Defiance Road, 636-798-2675) and Sugar Creek (125 Boone Country Lane, 636-987-2400). All offer different experiences and food menus.
Augusta, which may be the area's most popular wine town, is an hour away. Popular spots here include Augusta Winery (5601 High Street, 888-667-9463), Montelle Winery (201 Montelle Drive, 888-595-9463) and Balducci Vineyards (6601 South Missouri 94, 636-482-8466). Hermann is also an hour away and offers a wine trail of seven local wineries that do food-pairing events every month. Stone Hill Winery (1110 Stone Hill Highway, 573-486-2221) and Hermannhof (330 East 1st Street, 573-486-5959) are also here. Hermann offers a local trolley that can take you to all the local wineries, so driving won't be an issue.
Main Street St. Charles
St. Charles' historic Main Street is only 30 minutes from downtown St. Louis and offers a totally different vibe. On its historic brick streets, you'll feel miles from the big city. Shopping at the local boutiques and eating at the family-owned restaurants is a great way to spend an afternoon. At night, the street is a popular bar district for Lindenwood students.
Get your party on at Two Twelve Nightclub (212 North Main Street, 636-724-5225), which offers drink specials on Thursdays that include $2 wells and half-off bottle service. Friday is ladies night, with no cover for women, $2 wells and wines and $2 domestic beers.
Or try Bobby's Place (143 North Main Street, 636-949-2860), a Blues-themed sports bar with a full food menu. Happy hour during the week runs from 4 to 8 p.m. with many specials including $2 domestic drafts and $1 off shots and mixed drinks.
Finally, Quintessential Dining & Nightlife (149 North Main Street, 636-443-2211), or Q for short, is an upscale nightclub with a rooftop patio, dance floor and four separate bars. Thursday drink specials include $1 wells and $2 domestic beers.
Creve Coeur Lake Park
Creve Coeur Lake is 30 minutes from downtown St. Louis and offers many water activities, a four-mile paved bike and walking trail, hiking and more. There are canoes, kayaks and paddleboards available for rental, as well as bike rentals for the trails. The little beach along the lake is a great place to relax and get some sun, although swimming is forbidden, while more adventurous folk can try the Go Ape Treetop Adventure (13219 Streetcar Drive, Maryland Heights; 800-971-8271), a zip-line course through the park that costs $58 for adults.
If you're an outdoors type who loves hiking and mountain biking, Castlewood State Park (1401 Kiefer Creek Road, Ballwin; 636-227-4433) is the place for you. Located about 30 minutes from downtown, this state park is a mecca for mountain biking, with gorgeous hills that overlook the Meramec River. There are eight trails at Castlewood with varying lengths and terrain.
Yeah, yeah, we don't have a beach. But Missouri has a plethora of lakes that are fun for swimming, boating, tubing and more. Lake St. Louis is 40 minutes from downtown and is a great spot for a relaxing day on a boat. You can also swim here, but it can be difficult with all the boats causing waves. Lake of the Ozarks, which is a three-and-a-half-hour drive, is a favorite among St. Louisans for its party and bar scene. Mark Twain Lake is about an hour closer, but offers less to do. Table Rock is the furthest lake, about four hours, but it is also a popular boating spot. All offer scenic views and water fun.
Cool Stuff Outside
Elephants Rocks State Park (located in Belleview, about an hour and a half from the city), Meramec Caverns (in Sullivan, about an hour's drive) and Johnson Shut-Ins (two hours away, in Middle Brook) are all fun weekend trips that won't cost a lot of money and offer something new that can only be found in our area. Elephant Rocks is a great place for hiking, while Johnson Shut-Ins is known for its rock jumping and swimming. Meramec Caverns are million-year-old caves perfect for exploration.
An Intro to St. Louis's Local Pastime
St. Louis loves combining booze and trivia, and many college students quickly become partisans for our local preoccupation. With options all around the city and county, you can find a trivia challenge and drink specials every night of the week.
On Tuesday the place to be is Tin Roof (1000 Clark Avenue, 314-240-5400), which offers live music trivia from 7 to 9 p.m. A local band performs clues to all the trivia questions. Tin Roof also hosts themed trivia nights throughout the year. Tickets can be purchased online on the Tin Roof website before the event. Prizes include Cardinals, Blues and concert tickets.
Also on Tuesdays: Trivia at 7 p.m. at the Elvis Room at Blueberry Hill (6504 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-727-4444). This live-hosted 21-and-up trivia game includes prizes of money, gift certificates and free drinks.
The Central West End location of Llewellyn's (4747 McPherson Avenue, 314-361-3003) hosts trivia on Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., while Handlebar (4127 Manchester Avenue, 314-652-2212), the bicycle- themed bar in the Grove, has trivia at 8 p.m. on Thursday nights. It also offers a drink special with the game: $1.50 tallboys.
Or keep an eye out for private events: Many local charities hold trivia-night benefits. You can pitch in with a group of friends to buy a table for a good cause or (let's be honest here) just be the ringer for a group in need of your pop-culture knowledge. These events tend to have free wine and beer, so if you can just find someone in need of your trivia talents, it's a cheap night out with the occasional prize-winning payoff.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story inadvertently made note of a nightclub that's been closed for a few years now. We've since updated the story with the bar we intended to praise, Just John. We regret the error.