With big-city amenities and small-town charm, St. Louis might not be the first place you think of for a romantic getaway, but it should be on the list. For a fun time with your better half, check out the following restaurants, bars, and activities to enjoy together.
Open for breakfast, brunch, and lunch, the menu at Half & Half ranges from light yogurts and fresh fruit topped with whipped cream, to the heavier hashes, pancakes, and French toast. It’s hard to choose just one, so split with your sweetie to taste a variety. You’ll also find some of the best coffee in the city here. The uplifting space is always filled with light, and the small patio is perfect for people watching in Clayton – when it isn’t too humid to sit outside.
What was once a dilapidated manufacturing warehouse is now filled with life as Bowood Garden and Home, a nursery and garden gift shop that also hosts Café Osage. The produce-centric menu uses the vegetables and herbs grown either on-site or at Bowood Farms in Clarksville, Mo. Simply stepping across the threshold will transport you worlds away from the hectic Central West End neighborhood to a sunlit garden oasis where you can catch up with your better half over a quiet cup of coffee.
For a bit of nature within the city confines, make your way to the Missouri Botanical Garden in the historic Shaw neighborhood. Traverse all 79 acres to experience the intricate pavilion in the Chinese Garden; the dogwoods and babbling brook in the English Woodland Garden; the paintings, waterfalls, and beaches in the 14-acre Japanese Garden; and much more. The garden also hosts after-hours events, such as their free summer concert series on Wednesdays in May, June, and July. The Botanical Garden and its Chesterfield counterpart, the equally Instagram-worthy Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House, are popular destinations for romantic outings … as well as weddings and proposals!
Foster your inner child with your young-at-heart other half at the City Museum in downtown St. Louis. Made completely of materials reclaimed from around the city, even the 600,000 square-foot building (55,742 square meters) itself is a converted shoe factory. Climb the treehouse that extends from the first floor to the third; visit the second-floor aquarium; watch the daily circus and inscribe your heart-encased initials on the massive chalkboard on the third floor; and take in the beautiful mosaics on the fourth.
The Saint Louis Zoo is consistently voted as a top zoo by the USA Today10 Best. Admission to the Zoo is always free, though a cost might be associated with select exhibits once inside. See a huge range of animals from all over the world, from penguins and polar bears to capybaras, gorillas, and tigers. Be sure to walk through the beautiful and massive aviary that actually served as the impetus for the zoo; the aviary was only supposed to be available in St. Louis through the 1904 World’s Fair, but the city rallied to keep it, and the zoo slowly came together around it.
In St. Louis, few words are more romantic than, “Honey, do you want to go to a Cards game with me?” The locals love their team, and since Ballpark Village opened in 2014, there are plenty of restaurants, bars, and activities right around the stadium for before and after the game. Busch Stadium offers incredible city views, and after an evening winner, you can cuddle up together, and take in the fireworks.
There is a lot to do and see in Forest Park (for some perspective, it’s actually 500 acres larger than New York’s Central Park). But one of the best—and most romantic—ways to take in the sites is by peddle boat, or opt for a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddle board. Push off from the historic Boathouse, and take in the many natural sites, monuments, and museums, such as the acclaimed St. Louis Art Museum.
Enjoy a glass of wine and a meal with your loved one at this cozy spot. Food options include decadent cheese plates, sweet and savory crepes, salads, and more, all perfectly picked to accompany the large wine list. There are also a few beers and cocktails on offer, if wine isn’t your thing. The side doors open out onto the patio for unobstructed views of DeMun Park.
The Brownie Royale, a brownie sundae/banana split hybrid, is reason enough to make the trip to the dimly lit restaurant in Lafayette Square, but it’s only one of many decadent options. For real romance, opt for the Lovers’ Plate, which includes champagne sorbet, a s’mores brownie, red-wine cheesecake, and more – if you can believe it. Try one of the many chocolate-centric cocktails, or opt for sparkling wine, beer, or coffee.
The evening breeze combined with a cold drink at the Rooftop Terrace Bar at Moonrise Hotel is a nice respite from the summer humidity. In the winter, there is an enclosure, so couples can still enjoy gazing out onto the city from high above. The skyline sights, twinkling lights, and manmade moon all make for a great photo backdrop with your loved one.