Yes, St. Louis summers are hot, sweltering even. But we also have some of the coolest outdoor events of the year over the summer. Plus, who can pass up a good float trip? Here are some of the events that are most likely to get you outdoors this summer and how to enjoy them. —Rosalind Early
Most Likely Place to Ride a Ferris Wheel While Drinking
The only thing that makes City Museum (750 North 16th Street, 314-231-1009) even cooler is being there at night. On seven different evenings this summer — May 29, July 4 and 24, August 5 and 19, and September 2 and 23 — the museum's rooftop will be open for City Nights. You can dance, slide, ride the Ferris wheel and stand in the shadow of a praying mantis while getting some of the best views of the city. For more information visit citymuseum.org. —Rosalind Early
Most Likely Place to Bump into Someone from High School
No one should need an excuse to strip down, take it all out and go for a little ride around the Grove, but on Saturday, July 30, the annual World Naked Bike Ride can help the shy amongst us feel a little more comfortable in a crowd.
Or stay clothed! The event's website says this ride is "bare as you dare." Some opt to wear a costume, body paint or just some colorful chonies. "Due to legal restrictions in St. Louis, full frontal nudity is at your own risk, but many participants do go all out."
Thousands attend for more than 10 miles of rolling celebration and a massive after-party.
The World Naked Bike Ride begins in the Grove (Manchester Avenue between Sarah and Talmage, wnbrstl.org). The event starts at 4 p.m. with a costume contest. The ride starts at 6 p.m., and street festivities go on till 11 p.m. —Devin Thomas O'Shea
Most Likely Place to See a Premiere
This summer, The Muny premieres two shows it's never done before: The Color Purple and Sweeney Todd.
Big fan of sharp objects and cannibalism? Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street takes you into the bizarre life of a barber set on revenge after he was wrongfully convicted of a crime and transported for life to America so that a judge could sleep with his wife. He and his landlord hatch up a murderous plan that involves magical meat pies with a very secret ingredient.
The Color Purple is a long-awaited debut at the Muny. The original Broadway production earned 11 Tony Award nominations in 2006 and won two Tonys when it was revived in 2016. The show, based on a book of the same name by Alice Walker, follows the tough life of Celie who suffers abuse at the hands of her father and husband before finding a new path in life.
Sweeney Todd will be performed at the Muny (1 Theatre Drive, 314-361-1900, muny.org) Saturday, July 16, through Friday, July 22. The Color Purple will be performed Wednesday, August 3, through Tuesday, August 9. Shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $14 to $115. Free tickets are available. —Devin Thomas O'Shea
Most Likely Place to Create an End-of-Summer Memory
Looking for a capstone for summer 2022? Music at the Intersection is a jam-packed concert celebrating St. Louis' musical, cultural and artistic heritage. Is there anything better than the smell of food from food trucks wafting off a warm breeze and a night filled with music? No, there's not.
Music at the Intersection closes off several blocks around the Grand Center Arts District for a two-day concert event. On Saturday, September 10, Erykah Badu will headline, but other acts include The Urge, Hiatus Kaiyote, and Murphy Lee and Kyjuan of St. Lunatics.
Gary Clark Jr. headlines Sunday, September 11. "In addition to the blues, jazz and heritage genres, which were the core of our lineup last year, we have national to local acts across everything from hip-hop and R&B to indie rock, soul and funk," says Chris Hansen, executive director of Kranzberg Arts Foundation. "Between acts, attendees can wander the festival's new outdoor footprint and enjoy local food offerings, unique amusements, live-art and shopping with local vendors. An attendee may buy a ticket with a favorite like Erykah Badu, Buddy Guy or The Urge in mind, but that ticket gets them access to an incredible, dynamic urban music experience — and we hope they explore it all."
Buy a ticket for a day or get a deal on a weekend pass — VIP access to Sophie's Artist Lounge is also available for the high rollers.
"Every year, our aim is to make this festival more accessible, diverse and multi-dimensional," Hansen says. The Kranzberg Arts Foundation is a major sponsor as well as the Regional Arts Center and the Steward Family Foundation. Music at the Intersection tickets run $79 to $650. —Devin Thomas O'Shea
Most Likely to Be Worth a Road Trip
In the mood for a road trip? Kansas City's Dancefestopia is a top-five festival for new festival goers according to the good folks at edm.com. Catch a ride west down Highway 70 across the breadth of the great state of Missouri for a six-day camping and concert festival featuring 150 artists and five stages pumping beats all day — culminating in deadmau5 on the final night.
Camping is available with a pass, and there are a bunch of ticket options including three-day special packs. Want an aerial view of the show? Glide along the Flying Monkey zipline or climb the rock wall. Danced out and want to take in the nature around Emerald Pond? Rent a canoe or join one of the wicked pool parties happening all festival long.
Dancefestopia promises bangers, trance music, rave bunnies, pyrotechnics, fashion and fun. Don't get ripped off in the parking lot — bring your own glow sticks and remember to hydrate. For every beat drop you should drink about half a bottle of H20.
Dancefestopia is at the Wildwood Outdoor Education Center (7095 West 399th Street, La Cygne, Kansas, 913-735-0801, dancefestopia.com) from Monday, September 6, through Sunday, September 11. Tickets start at $199. —Devin Thomas O'Shea
Most Likely Place You'll Find All of St. Louis
For four decades, Pride has been taking over St. Louis in June. Thousands attend PrideFest and the Grand Pride Parade every year, with the Arch as a backdrop (300,000 in 2018!). Party with your friends, neighbors, favorite drag stars, LGBTQIA-friendly businesses, rainbow community groups and much more.
The Grand Pride Parade is Sunday, June 26, at 11 a.m. The parade runs down Market Street, starting at 10th and Market and ending at 18th and Market. PrideFest is in downtown St. Louis on Tucker Boulevard between Market and Olive streets. PrideFest includes local, national and regional performers — and hundreds of different vendors. Visit pridestl.org for more info. —Devin Thomas O'Shea
Most Likely Place to Get a Sidecar
The Central West End Cocktail Party is back for its fourth year running. And the CWE seems the perfect spot to host such a shindig. According to hearsay, the very first cocktail party on record may have happened over 100 years ago at 4510 Lindell Boulevard, hosted in 1917 by Mrs. Julius S. Walsh Jr.
Come pay tribute to the tradition of booze in the open air along the tree-lined CWE streets, a brightly colored spirit in hand. Dance to live music, sample and sip, but be aware of the fire dancers and unicyclists. Booze not your thing? How about a virgin daiquiri or a fist full of cotton candy? Cram into a photo booth with 10 of your best friends, and make it a day to remember.
Don't miss the CWE Cocktail Competition, featuring bartenders across the neighborhood competing in front of judges. The grand prize sports the debatable name of "Best Bartender in the City."
The Central West End Cocktail Party is Saturday, June 11, from 5 to 10 p.m. The event will take place along Euclid Avenue between Maryland and McPherson. Admission is free. For more information visit cwescene.com/cwe-cocktail-party-2. —Devin Thomas O'Shea
Most Reliable Summer Hang
Every Saturday, all summer long, you can roll out of bed and head for the Tower Grove Farmers' Market (just west of Center Cross Drive in Tower Grove Park, https://tgfarmersmarket.com/markets/tgfm-saturday-market). From 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., shop for incense while sipping a tart kombucha, get your knives sharpened at the knife-sharpening tent, and resist the urge to haggle with the kind Mennonite man selling cabbage. Fill a bag with mushrooms fresh from Ozark Forest Mushrooms — don't forget the truffle butter — and do yourself a favor with a breakfast biscuit from Honey Bee's.
Then, around 11 a.m., head over to the Schlafly Beer and Cocktail Garden (in Tower Grove Park near the ruins) to reward yourself for all the arugula sticking out of that canvas bag. Bring the dogs, bring the kids, bring your cat in a transportable cat backpack. The Schlafly Beer and Cocktail Garden is open Fridays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. now through October 29. —Devin Thomas O'Shea
Most Likely to Be on Everyone's 'To-Do' List This Summer
There's almost nothing that embodies a Missouri summer more than a float trip. Gliding down the river in an innertube with your friends, maybe you have a beer in your hand, maybe there's some music playing from someone's kayak — it's nearly heaven.
Luckily, there are plenty of rivers to float on in the Show-Me State. But if you're not looking to go very far, you don't even have to leave St. Louis County. Brookdale Farms Float Trips (8004 Twin River Road, 636-938-1005, brookdalefarmsinc.com) located in Eureka, Missouri, is about a 30-minute drive from the city. Canoes, kayaks, innertubes and rafts all await on their stretch of the Meramec River.
"We are at least amongst the closest float trips," says Jared Ribley, an employee at Brookdale Farms. "A lot of times that's why people choose us. You don't have to necessarily plan if you just have to drive to Eureka."
Brookdale Farms Float Trips have two routes: A nine-mile route for canoes and kayaks that takes approximately 3 1/2 hours, and a four-mile route for rafts and tubes that takes about three hours. However, Ribley and employees Jessica Cagle and Joey Stocker point out that the float can go on for longer — with gravel bars, swimming holes and other stopping points for floaters. Plus, the farm puts on a balloon-glow event in July, a sunflower maze in August and other private events.
To have a successful float trip, the team has a list of do's and don'ts:
- Do: make sure you bring food and water. (Check out out Most St. Louis Stocked Cooler for ideas.)
- Don't: bring Styrofoam or glass.
- Do: bring a waterproof speaker, dry bag, trash bags and sunscreen.
- Don't: be late booking in. Arrive early with your whole party.
- Do: wear a life jacket if you aren't a good swimmer.
For Cagle, Ribley and Stocker, the float trips are the best way to celebrate the summer — or a birthday, anniversary or any kind of special occasion. Some of their favorite float-trip memories, however, are the yearly company float trips where they tie together their innertubes, play their music and just mosey down the river. —Jenna Jones
Most Likely to Help You Get Your Thrills
Acting like you're training for American Ninja Warrior can be easy this summer. If you're looking for something different to do outdoors other than ride a bike or float on the river, Go Ape! (13219 Streetcar Drive, Maryland Heights; 800-971-8271, goape.com) in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park allows you to take to the trees, approximately 45 feet in the air, on a ziplining course. The longest zipline is 500 feet, and there are different courses you can challenge yourself with. Swing through the Treetop Journey like Tarzan and navigate suspended bridges and obstacles. Obstacle-course tickets vary in price, and some courses have age limitations. Courses can last one to three hours. —Jenna Jones
Most Likely to Go Bump in the Night, Sort Of
Exercise your body while exploring St. Louis at night with the Moonlight Ramble bike ride (the Grove neighborhood, moonlightramble.com) on Saturday, August 13. The leisurely ride isn't a race, just a way to enjoy largely closed-off streets of the city. The event allows riders to choose between a short distance — seven to eight miles — or a longer one at 15 to 16 miles. The event starts at 7 p.m. with a Moonlight Festival that includes vendor tents, bike mechanics and more. The ride starts at 10 p.m. The event ends with an after-party, complete with live music, drinks and snacks. Tickets are $35 to $130. There is also a virtual-rider option that costs $20. —Jenna Jones
Most Likely to Have Dinner with a Movie
Art Hill may be a popular sledding destination in the winter, but in the summer, it's a prime picnic zone. Not to mention, this summer sees the return of the free Forest Park Art Hill Film Series on Friday evenings in July, thanks to the Saint Louis Art Museum (1 Fine Arts Drive). This year's series theme is Game On! and films include A League of Their Own (July 8), Love and Basketball (July 15), Bend it Like Beckham (July 22) and The Sandlot (July 29). All films start at 8 p.m., but Art Hill opens for the films at 6 p.m. Bring dinner and enjoy a summer evening. —Jenna Jones