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.
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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 comedy Twelfth Night. Bring some friends, pack a picnic and arrive any day but Tuesday from May 24 to June 16.
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 make a whirlpool by running around an in-ground pool.
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 place to be.
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 from the city heat. (801 Market Street; 314-241-7070)
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 awe-inspiring as the natural chutes, eddies and waterfalls found a mere two hours south of St. Louis at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park. (Near the intersection of MO-N and MO-mm, Lesterville; 573-546-2450)
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; it's whether you're going to put on the good' pair." Obviously, Esquire's fashionistas did not visit St. Louis in the summer. Had they, they'd have witnessed jean cutoffs in the place of sweatpants. And while we're at it, what's up with men in matching plaid shorts and shirts in St. Louis? FYI: It looks like you're wearing pajamas.
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 vendors are only too happy to sell you a stockpile that could rival the military firepower of, say, Paraguay. USA! USA! USA!
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 nearest field for a friendly (and at times competitive) game of ball. And we're not just talking softball. These days adult kickball leagues threaten to boot softball from its perch.
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 Drewes. Yes, the lines are long, but they go quickly, and the payoff is a dessert that's hard to beat. What Ted himself says is gospel: "It really is good guys." (6726 Chippewa Street; 314-481-2652 and 4224 Grand Boulevard; 314-352-7376)
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. Genevieve and Hermann all within a two-hour drive.