St. Louis is a city on the rise. While working here you'll be witness to the repurposing of spaces by local businesses who have found strong support in the community, so visit them for some beer, BBQ, and more. Then journey out into the gorgeous countryside as well and enjoy all that the lush state of Missouri has to offer: rolling hills, streams, and a wine country you'll write home about.
This historic city is full of them, but here are two standouts well worth a day off trip, either alone or with your cast.
The City Museum
I promise you The City Museum is unlike anything you have ever experienced before. Located in the mammoth, 600,000 square-foot former St. Louis International Shoe Company, it is a labyrinth of themed playgrounds including jewel-encrusted caves, forest bungalows, and an intricacy of circus funhouses. Each maze is made entirely out of recycled, found objects, and the museum brags that it has been crafted from the "very stuff of the city." Old, salvaged chimneys, bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, and even two abandoned planes are used to create this grand achievement of imagination and heart. With a 10-story slide hidden at its core and a ferris wheel (and bar!) on its rooftop, wear your comfy clothes, bring your cast, and experience this museum at least once while working in St. Louis.
750 N 16th St, St. Louis, MO 63103 HOURS: Mon- Tues CLOSED Wed- Thurs 9AM- 5PM Fri- Sat 9AM-12AM Sun 11AM- 5PM Tickets at $14. Parking is $10 cash. * Children under 2 admitted free. citymuseum.org
St. Louis Art Museum
Located in beautiful and historic Forest Park, The St. Louis Art Museum has been a crown jewel of the city since it was built in 1879. This carefully manicured museum will invite you to breath deep and take your time. With over 160 paintings and sculptures, the impressive list of artists on display includes Monet, Van Gogh, and Picasso, as well as a large, permanent gallery at its center, devoted to the work of Max Beckmann. Full of intense sunlight (it is perched atop a high hill in the park) this will be a soul-enriching stop while working in St. Louis.
1 Fine Arts Dr, St. Louis, MO 63110 HOURS: Mon CLOSED Tues-Sun 10AM- 5PM * Fri 10AM to 9PM Admission is FREE. slam.org
St. Louis' BBQ is world famous, and you will find impassioned BBQ enthusiasts all over this town swearing that they have the best anywhere in America, so why not try to let them convince you?
If you ask for St. Louis food recommendations from almost anyone, they will tell you about Pappy's Smokehouse, but did you realize that midway through your meal there, Pappy will come by your table to ask if everything's alright? That kind of care and attention is what has kept this not-so-secret BBQ mecca from losing its quality over the years. Expect a long line always, but they know how to keep the line moving here. Ribs are their specialty so you must give them a try, but, with meat that smokes for over 14 hours on top of apple and maple wood, nothing that you get here will be sub-par.
Missouri is a stunning state. There's just no question about it, and, on days off, use your free time to get out into the countryside. From wine country to historic small towns to famous trails, it will be revitalizing. I promise.
Yes. Missouri has a wine country. And yes. You need to make time to go. Wait for a Monday once your show has opened and go with your cast. Whoever is the designated driver will have a treat as well. The views and vistas and live music these venues offer are worth the trip even sans the tastings.
Cedar Lake Cellars
Cedar Lake Cellars is only open on weekends, but it is as stunning in the evening as it is in the daytime, so let it remain an option for a Friday or Saturday evening post-rehearsal rendezvous or a Sunday off. It boasts a gorgeous layout with a swan pond, fire pits overlooking a lake, and benches and tables spotting the grounds. The fact that it also has wonderful wines is a bonus. Offering local Missouri varietals as well as California wines, you have the chance to sample some new flavors or indulge in some top notch Sonoma and Napa grapes. The best part: tastings are free!
11008 Schreckengast Rd, Wright City, MO 63390 HOURS: Fri- Sat 10AM -9PM Sun 10AM- 6PM cedarlakecellars.com **About an Hour Drive from St. Louis Rep**
Chandler Hill Winery
Chandler Hill Winery is all about the red wines and the view. The deck outside of Chandler Hill boasts a view of the lush, green Missouri landscape that is not to be missed. That being said, the interior here with bright, polished wood, a soaring ceiling, and candles and fireplaces all around has a very romantic draw as well. Now, let me introduce you to the Norton grape. There will be some discussion in the various wineries you visit as to whether the Norton grape is native to Missouri or whether it was brought to the countryside from Virginia, but the most important thing is that it is now the state grape of Missouri, and a rich, potent delicious red varietal. Try a Norton at every Winery you visit in Missouri but know that the one at Chandler Hill will be one of the best. (Worth mentioning: all of their Missouri reds are worth tasting.)
Legacy Tasting (includes 5 tastes) $5 per guest
Proprietor Tasting (includes 5 tastes & a souvenir logo glass) $10 per guest
Reserve Tasting (includes 3 tastes of our reserve wines on a flight board) $18 per guest
596 Defiance Rd, Defiance, MO 63341 HOURS: Mon-Sun 11AM - 5PM Wed-Thurs open til 9PM chandlerhillvineyards.com **About a 40-Minute Drive from St. Louis Rep**
Montelle Winery is a stunning escape. On high ground surrounded by dark tree cover, the wrap around deck outside the winery is cool and shady and offers stunning views all around. As with all wineries in Missouri, take your drink outside and stay as long as you want. Casual and easy is the core of Missouri wine country, and this rich outdoor atmosphere deserves some soaking in. This spot accells at their reds as well- definitely try their Norton. Tastings are $5 for 5 Non-Premium Wines and $8 for 5 Premium, and this staff is particularly great with questions and finding the perfect tasting flight for you.
201 Montelle Dr, Augusta, MO 63332 HOURS: Mon- Sun 10AM - 5:30PM * May- Sept (open Fri til 9PM and Sun til 10PM) montelle.com **About a 50 Minute Drive from St. Louis Rep**
Mount Pleasant Winery
Mount Pleasant Winery takes the prize for location. These grounds host their fare share of events and weddings with a sweeping hillside location and rolling green as far as the eye can see. The winery actually begs walking as opposed to sitting. But the porch and gazebos scattered across it blend effortlessly into the sweeping atmosphere. Grab a glass of white here, the Vignoles or the Villagio are particularly good. Free tastings combined with a highly relaxed, knowledgable staff will encourage you to take your time and enjoy.
5634 High St, Augusta, MO 63332 HOURS: Nov- March: Daily 12PM- 3:30PM April- October: Daily 11AM- 5PM mountpleasant.com **About a 55 Minute Drive from St. Louis Rep**
Balducci Vineyards is constantly winning local awards, and it is one of the most welcoming wineries one can imagine. An old family business, staff here all seem like they are at a blissful summer retreat sharing their wines, grown on the property, with enthusiasm and expertise. More great news: tastings here are free! The Norton and the Chambercin are particular stand-outs here, but all the wines at this estate are marked by their boldness of flavor.
6601 S Missouri 94, Augusta, MO 63332 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 11AM - 5:30PM Fri 11AM- 9PM Sat 11AM- 7PM Sun 11AM- 6PM balduccivineyards.com **About a 52 Minute Drive from St. Louis Rep**
Ninety minutes outside of St. Louis by train, this adorable old German hamlet is the perfect day-off escape from the city.
Missouri River Runner
Missouri River Runner does two trips twice a day between St. Louis and Kansas City that stop in Hermann along the way. Use the train so that you can relax and imbibe safely with the cast or as a personal getaway.
Hermannof VineyardsTasting Room is located in downtown Hermann. In an intimate, historic stone building, the cozy and welcoming atmosphere here is the perfect way to start your afternoon. Free wine tastings with expert staff members will easily guide you through a history of the vineyards, the town, and Missouri wines in general. You can wander down into the stone cellars that are still utilized for wine production or snag a seat next to the fireplace in the winter.
Stone Hill Winery is a stunning winery with a long, impressive history. Established in 1847, it is Missouri's oldest winery, and it has won awards on an international level throughout its long history. A beautiful 160-year-old mansion still houses the tasting rooms and is available for tours as well. Tastings are $5 for six samples. Their Norton is a must (as it is a consistent award winner), and I want to recommend their dessert wines as well which are absolutely exquisite- in particular their Sherry.
1110 Stone Hill Hwy, Hermann, MO 65041 HOURS: Mon- Fri 10AM - 4:30PM Sun 11AM- 4PM Sat (May- Oct) 10AM- 6PM Sat (Nov-April) 10AM- 5PM * last tour and tasting start an hour before closing. http://stonehillwinery.com
Tin Mill Brewery
Tin Mill Brewery also located inside a historic, century-old building, offers local, German brews in an open, friendly atmosphere. With 20 taps that change seasonally, head here to sample a flight and partake in the fresh, brick-oven pizza that's absolutely delicious.
114 Gutenberg St, Hermann, MO 65041 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 11AM- 5PM Fri- Sat 11AM- 7:30PM Sat 12PM - 5PM tinmillbrewery.com
Missouri's large German heritage has left its mark all over the state, including the state's love of good--- no great beer. An absolute must when visiting this great state is a visit to some local microbreweries and what they each have to offer.
Urban Chestnut is a local brewery with a deservedly strong reputation. Using a brewing philosophy called Beer Divergency, a ‘new world meets old world’ brewing approach, Urban Chestnut strives to create new, innovative American beers alongside classically crafted European styles. Given the rich diversity of its selection, use flights to sample away at either of their two locations. Board games litter the walls to encourage everyone to stay, sip, and enjoy themselves, and go for the snacks, too, especially the warm pretzels.
Midtown Brewery and Biergarten 3229 Washington Ave, St. Louis, MO 63103 HOURS: Mon 11AM- 10PM Tues- Thurs 11AM- 11PM Fri - Sat 11AM- 1AM Sun 11AM- 9PM **20 Minutes from St. Louis Rep**
Grove Brewery and Beirhall 4465 Manchester Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110 HOURS: Mon 11AM- 10PM Tues- Thurs 11AM- 11PM Fri - Sat 11AM- 1AM Sun 11AM- 9PM **14 Minutes from St.Louis Rep** urbanchestnut.com
The Schlafly Tap Room
The Schlafly Tap Room is possibly the most well-known craft brewery in St. Louis. It is also the Missouri craft brewery you'll see most often in your favorite Brooklyn beer store, but it has lost no quality on the road to national distribution and fame. In their St. Louis Tap Room, lots of seasonal specialities will mean tasty new flavors alongside classic Pale Ales and IPAS, so I recommend a flight (or two!) so that you can get the most out of your visit. This staff is as friendly and knowledgable as they come so learn about beer-making as you work your way round the circle. It'll be a treat for new and old beer-lovers alike.
2100 Locust St, St. Louis, MO 63103 HOURS: Mon- Wed 11AM - 11PM Thurs 11AM - 12AM Fri- Sat 11AM - 1AM Sun 11AM- 10PM schlafly.com **20 Minutes from St. Louis Rep**
Heavy Riff Brewing Company
Heavy Riff Brewing Company was recommended by a friend specifically for its Vanilla Porter, but it ended up feeling like a bit of a find overall. In dark, cool digs, it has a distinctly different ambiance than the other craft breweries in town, recalling the vibe of a well-worn, well loved bar from New York City in the 1980's. This is a spot that encourages lingering, so try a tasting flight followed by one or two rounds of everyone's favorites. House-smoked BBQ, shuffleboard, and a fantastic playlist make this place an ideal spot for long group hangouts.
6413 Clayton Ave, St. Louis, MO 63139 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 4PM- 11PM Fri- Sat 12PM to 12AM Sun CLOSED heavyriffbrewing.com **14 Minutes from St. Louis Rep**
4 Hands Brewing Company
4 Hands Brewing Co was closed for renovations when we tried to visit, but the owner was inside and gifted us two free cases of beer for the inconvenience while also taking the time to tell us enthusiastically about their renovations. And thus, my heart was won- didn't hurt that the beer was also completely delicious. 4 Hands is a true St. Louis labor of love, and you can feel it from the moment you drive up. Located in a warehouse-filled, non-residential part of town, this local spot has garnered national acclaim and is worth a visit. I double-checked: they're now open with all renovations completed, so swing by!
1220 S 8th St, St. Louis, MO 63104 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 12PM- 10PM Fri- Sat 12PM- 12AM Sun CLOSED http://4handsbrewery.com **20 Minutes from St. Louis Rep**
Augusta Brew Haus and Bier Garden
Augusta Brew Haus and Bier Garden in beautiful Augusta, MO, is a brewery of the country, not the city. With an open patio area, lights strung up around tables outside, and a healthy dose of locals, this brewery is a place to spend a perfect afternoon when the weather is fine. In addition, they offer snacks, including excellent BBQ, as well as live music in the evenings. With incredible beers and its casual atmosphere, it's a special spot in the heart of an adorable little town.
5521 Water St, Augusta, MO 63332 HOURS: Mon 11AM to 6PM Tues CLOSED Wed- Thurs 11AM- 6PM Fri - Sat 11AM- 9PM Sun 11AM- 6PM * Double check as hours vary by the season. augustabrewing.com **1 Hour from St. Louis Rep**
KATY TRAIL STATE PARK...
This beautiful, 240-mile park was built on the former corridor of the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. The longest trail of its kind in the country, the Katy Trail is great for hikers and ideal for bikers. The natural landscape along the way is second- to-none as it closely follows the winding Missouri river, and, with 26 trailheads throughout, it connects to various towns along the way for pit stops.