10. City Museum
City Museum was emblematic of what makes St. Louis a prime staycation spot for people who live there. The architectural oddity is really more of a playground—and a monument to architectural surrealism. The "museum" aspect comes from the fact that it's made of reclaimed materials found throughout the city—chimneys, bridges, and even an abandoned plane or two make up this fantastically bizarre structure.
9. Diving at Bonne Terre Mine
The world is full of things that look otherworldly, and you find most of them in caves or underwater, which is part of what makes cave diving so unique. But while cave diving is insanely dangerous to do alone, the folks at Bonne Terre Mine have created a much safer "fresh water dive resort" that lets you experience this unique activity in guided tours among the stairways, slurry pipes, and elevator shaft of a disused mine.
(image via Bonne Terre Mine)
8. Danny Edwards Boulevard Barbecue
Danny Edwards Boulevard Barbecue is a local legend for lots of reasons. Chief among them is "Ol Smoky," a sandwich with just the burnt ends of the brisket. It's basically the sandwich equivalent of those brownie trays that only make edge and corner pieces. You can also get beef, pork, and even turkey (a rarity for barbecue) by the pound. Danny Edwards starting cooking barbecue back in 1938, and his son Jake, who now owns the place, has been doing the same since 1980. This family knows what they're doing when it comes to smoking meat.
(image via _jon_williams, CC)
7. The City of Hannibal
Samuel Clemens loved to travel as much as he loved crafting aphorisms that masked sarcasm under folksy wisdom, so it's not hard to find monuments to the man across the country. But the city of Hannibal is where the boy who would become Mark Twain spent his formative years from age 4 to 12. It was here that he fell in love with the river, as well as became aware of the injustices he would decry in his work. The town still maintains his boyhood home along with a museum dedicated to the man and a statue of Tom and Huck.
(image via ladylakeview)
6. Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has been a fixture since the 1930s. It originally would have been two museums—a publisher and a schoolteacher both left trusts to establish art galleries for the public—but the trustees decided they could do more if they combined their resources. The museum is free to all and includes paintings by Caravaggio and Monet, an extensive collection of Asian art with a particular focus on antique Chinese furniture, and a photographic collection of Hallmark Cards designs—some $65 million worth of photographs dating from 1839 to the present day.
(image via Americasroof, CC)
5. Leaky Roof Meadery
Craft beer is already a big deal across America. Millenials are drinking so much wine we're changing how it's sold, and cider—drink of the Founding Fathers—is coming back in a big way. But for something cool and different, check out Leaky Roof Meadery. Just as beer is made with wheat and cider is made from apples, mead is made with honey. In addition to their standby beverages like "High, Dry and Dusty," they have a rotating selection of specialty meads, so it's worth coming back to see what's new.
(image via amandaleahdewit)
Sweetology is a bakery with a DIY twist. The shop has cakes, cookies, and cupcakes that you can decorate yourself using candy, icing, and a dizzying array of other toppings. It's somewhere between a by-the-ounce yogurt place and Build-a-Bear Workshop. There's also a "drinkery" where you can relax with a warm beverage while the kids enjoy decorating.
(image via Sweetology)
3. Pythian Castle
This castle was originally constructed as a meeting lodge for the Knights a Pythias, a fraternal order based around friendship, loyalty, honor, and swords. The castle was commandeered by the military during World War II and, today, is privately owned and open for history tours, ghost tours, murder mysteries, and can even be rented out for weddings.
2. Main Street of Historic Downtown St. Charles
St. Charles has been around since 1769. Here, Lewis and Clark first met to embark on their famous expedition, and Daniel Boone also made his home here back when it was still part of Spanish Louisiana. The town celebrates its history with a well-preserved downtown, complete with brick streets, unique shopping, and a slew of charming Midwestern wineries.
(image via marcuswade5)
1. Desserts from Peggy Jean's Pies
Peggy Jean's Pies is serious about pies. They have no fewer than 14 pies available daily—including both American and Dutch apple pies—and three pies that rotate based on the day of the week. Of course, they're happy to bake any pie, any day, if you call the day before with notice, or you can always order pies online.
(image via Peggy Jean's Pies)