Treat your pooch to a dog-friendly trip to St. Louis, Missouri!
It’s no secret that I’m obsessed with my dog. My boyfriend, Kyle, and I adopted our dog, Gunther, in January, and since then, we’ve taken him on many dog-friendly vacations, including a visit to Charleston, West Virginia and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We recently took him on a dog-friendly trip to St. Louis, Missouri, and we were pleasantly surprised by how dog-friendly the area is.
Italicized businesses are dog-friendly.
Things to do:
* Ellen Clark Sculpture Park
* Delmar Loop (only 3 dog-friendly stores)
* City Museum
* Anheuser-Busch brewery tour
* St. Louis Zoo
* Gateway Arch
Places to eat:
* Retreat Gastropub
* Half & Half
* Broadway Oyster Bar
* Peacemaker Lobster & Crab
* Crispy Edge
* The Watering Bowl
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
It was a six-hour drive to St. Louis, and I saved a few episodes of my favorite podcast, Wine and Crime, so we could listen to it on the way. If y’all haven’t listened to Wine and Crime, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. It’s a hilarious true crime podcast run by three best friends from Minnesota. Plus, it involves wine. But I digress.
For a dog-friendly place to stay, we found a place on AirBnB. There are plenty of hosts in the area that are pet-friendly on AirBnb, plus a couple hotels as well. Our AirBnb was located in the Shaw neighborhood, which was close to many of the things we wanted to do.
After unloading the car and doing a quick refresh, we fed Gunther and brought him to the Ellen Clark Sculpture Park located on the Saint Louis University campus. It’s not technically a dog park, but people treat it as such. It’s fenced in, and there is a place for your dogs to get water. It’s a sculpture park, so of course, there are large pieces of art everywhere. At night, it’s lit up. The only thing I didn’t like was that there were a few potholes that had water in it, so it made some muddy puddles that other dog owners were constantly trying to keep their dogs out of. Other than that, I loved it. It’s a nice size, and I liked that we could enjoy some art while letting Gunther spread his little legs.
For dinner, we went to Retreat Gastropub. They are super dog-friendly and offered to bring out some water for Gunther. I love a restaurant that has a variety of good appetizers and small plates because it gives me the opportunity to sample a lot of different things on the menu. They have a lot of different sophisticated cocktails to choose from. I went for old faithful and got a Moscow Mule. It was super lime-y and didn’t have enough ginger in it for my taste, but I still enjoyed it. For dinner, we shared some fried risotto balls, rosemary-truffle fries, the dry rub chicken wings, and smoked trout dip. It was an amazing first meal in St. Louis. Literally everything was incredible. My favorite was definitely the smoked trout dip.
We were pretty tired after six hours on the road, so we headed back to our AirBnB and watched a movie on Netflix before heading to bed and resting up for the next day.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
For Saturday, we were making plans to do some sight-seeing that wasn’t dog-friendly, so we made an appointment for a sniff around at a doggy daycare called The Watering Bowl. They have multiple locations in St. Louis, and we went to the Grove location. Everyone there was so nice, and they thoroughly explained all of their services and gave us a tour. Even though the place was huge and there were over 100 dogs there, we felt so comfortable leaving Gunther there.
Once we were done with the sniff around, we went to breakfast at Half & Half. They have a small patio area that is dog-friendly, and our server brought out a water bowl for Gunther. As a starter, we shared some donuts. They’re served with chocolate, and they tasted good both with and without the chocolate. To eat, I had the salmon hash. It wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. I love lots of flavor and lots of salt, and I had to add a ton of salt to the entire dish in order for me to enjoy it more. Kyle had the chorizo & guacamole benedict, and it was pretty tasty.
After breakfast, we went to the Oktoberfest at Urban Chestnut’s Downtown Brewery & Biergarten. Sadly, it ended up being kind of dud. My theory is that since it was the middle of the day on Friday, most people were working. Plus, it was pretty hot out. I’m sure it was more hoppin’ the rest of the weekend, but there wasn’t much going on while we were there. Kyle and I each had a drink, and we watched the band that was playing. We walked around with Gunther a little bit, but there wasn’t much going on.
We wanted to go to The Boathouse because you can rent paddleboats and paddle around with your dog, but unfortunately, they had had a power outage, so they shut it down for the day. Instead, we ended up walking around Delmar Loop. They have a system where if a business has a green paw print on the door, that means it’s dog-friendly. A lot of the restaurants on Delmar Loop have a patio, and dogs are welcome on the patio, but they don’t have green paw prints on the doors, just FYI. We thought that since there was a system in place for dog-friendly businesses, there would be more of them, but we only found three businesses that had a green paw print on them. We took Gunther to walk around The Wizard’s Wagon, which is a comic book store, and a bookstore called Subterranean Books.
Gunther was getting a little tuckered after all of the festivities (he’s used to just sleeping all day), so we dropped him off at the AirBnB. As mentioned, we were staying in the Shaw neighborhood, and right down the road was a wine bar called Sasha’s, so we walked over. We had some drinks and shared the French Tickler cheese plate while we waited for our friend, Blaine to meet us. Kyle and I met Blaine while we were living in Louisiana, and he currently lives in Kansas. St. Louis is right in the middle for us, and none of us had ever been there, so it was the perfect meet-up spot. We hadn’t met up since all of us moved away from Louisiana a little over a year ago, and we were super excited for a little reunion.
When Blaine got to the AirBnB, we left Gunther at home (he was passed out), and we went to Broadway Oyster Bar for dinner. Blaine is from New Orleans, and I lived in Shreveport for about 12 years, so both of us were craving some Cajun food. Broadway Oyster Bar delivered. All I wanted was some crawfish, and even though it wasn’t as good as Louisiana crawfish, it still did the trick. Kyle and I also had a few oyster shooters, which we both love. They were so tasty. We all had some drinks, and the boys ordered some more food, and we all chatted while having a much needed catch-up.
We ended the night at City Museum, which is kind of indescribable. It’s pretty much a playground. It’s multiple floors of rooms with different themes, and you can crawl and climb and play on everything. There’s a 10-foot slide, a ball pit, and several tunnels and secret passages everywhere. You can pay extra to go on the rooftop, which is definitely worth it. There are multiple slides, some hammocks, a ferris wheel, a bar, and lots of other things. The only thing I didn’t like about it is that I don’t understand the museum part of it. I wish there was something to tell me a little bit more about the building and its history, because it’s such a cool place.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 28
In the morning, we dropped Gunther off at doggy daycare at The Watering Bowl. One thing I love is that they take photos of the dogs while they’re playing, and they took an adorable picture of Gunther while he was there.
For brunch, we went to Rooster. They have two locations, and we went to the South Grand location. To drink, I had some hot chocolate made with almond milk. It was so creamy and good and perfect for the weather because it was a little cooler (of course, it warmed up a lot throughout the day). To eat, I had the bacon & blue savory crepe. I thought it had a little bit too much blue cheese, but it was still really good.
You can’t go to St. Louis without going to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. I had actually gone to another one of their brewery locations in Jacksonville, Florida, but I didn’t get to do a proper tour, so I was excited about the prospect of doing one this go-round. We headed there to see if we could get on one of the free tours. If you’re planning on going on a brewery tour, get there early to make sure you get a spot. We went a little after 11 am, and the next available tour was at 3:15 pm. They sell out often, especially on Saturdays. They have tons of different tours that you can pay for, but they also have the free one, which is the one we opted to do. It was a 45-minute tour, and it was so neat and even included samples. We got to see the Clydesdales and learn about the beer-making process while walking around the entire brewery, which is huge. If we had more time, I would have loved to hang out in the biergarten, but it was hoppin’, so we weren’t able to snag a seat.
Before we went on our brewery tour, we had an amazing afternoon at the zoo. The St. Louis zoo is free, which is insane because it’s one of the best zoos I’ve ever been to. The zoo is huge, and it has all the animals you want and expect to see at a zoo, plus more. My favorites were seeing all of the penguins in their little cold building and seeing all of the bears. The grizzly bear was eating and accidentally dropped his meat into the water, so he dove in to get it, and the polar bear was swimming back and forth so close to the glass. He was definitely putting on a show.
One of my favorite meals of the trip was dinner at Peacemaker Lobster & Crab. I love seafood, and Peacemaker delivered. I love raw oysters, and they made a special garlic sauce that tasted so good with them. I also had a cup of the clam chowder, and we shared some lobster buns, which were absolutely delish. Kyle had blue crab boil, and even though it was a lot of work to get to the meat, it was so, so good. For dessert, we all shared a caramel apple pie and a whoopie pie. I 10/10 recommend saving room for dessert.
After dinner, we went to the Saint Charles Oktoberfest, which was so freaking huge. It seemed like every person in the area was there. There were lots of different stages with different bands playing throughout the night, and there were lots of different vendors selling all sorts of unique things. We had fun dancing to different bands and enjoying some drinks. Saint Charles knows how to celebrate Oktoberfest, that’s for sure.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
After packing up our cars and checking out of the AirBnB, we went to Crispy Edge for their Sunday brunch. This place was super dog-friendly, and they even brought us out a water bowl and a treat for Gunther. Crispy Edge is a restaurant that serves a variety of potstickers. As someone who loves potstickers, the concept of this restaurant made me so excited to go there. I was fascinated by how many different ways they made potstickers, and they even had a brunch menu with some breakfast potstickers. We ended up having three rounds of potstickers, trying nine in total. I wish there was a restaurant like this in Dayton because I would eat there literally all the time. To drink, I had the Bubbly Peach, which is made with prosecco and peach puree. It was amazing. Some of my favorite potstickers were the edamame shrimp, tikka masala, and the Cajun andouille.
Of course, you can’t go to St. Louis without going to the Gateway Arch, so that was our last stop before we went home. It was so cool to visit the arch, and we took some great pictures. You can actually ride to the top, but we opted out of doing that. We walked around the park, read up on some of the history, and admired how beautiful the Old Cathedral looked from the outside.
I didn’t think I would like St. Louis as much as I did, and I’m so glad we took the time to explore the city and cross Missouri off of our travel list. I also love that Gunther got to do so much with us. St. Louis is definitely a great dog-friendly destination, and there’s even more that we didn’t get a chance to do on our first visit.
Have you ever been to St. Louis?