In looking at our itinerary for this epic baseball tour week, I was definitely the most intrigued by St. Louis. I’ve known quite a few Cardinals fans in my lifetime and all of them are diehard… and understandably so. The Cardinals are a legendary team, with eleven World Series championships under their belt!
I have so many memories of watching them on TV, especially against the Red Sox. From what I’ve been told, the city of St. Louis revolves around its baseball team. It is not uncommon for midday games to be sold out during the work week. Baseball is at the heart of St. Louis.
We arrived in town about an hour before the game’s start and the streets were already swarming with fans decked out in Cardinals gear. The walk through Ballpark Village into the stadium was a cool approach, with bars and shops all around. Busch Stadium itself is pretty new, rebuilt back in 2006.
I didn’t expect to react this way, but as I entered the stadium, I felt simultaneously humbled and excited. It was truly surreal to be at Busch Stadium. I don’t think the feeling was out of place either; there was a sense of gravitas throughout the stadium.
To get more specific, the fans were actually quieter than I expected. The stadium was full, but there was an intense focus and even a reverence about the fans that was really interesting. They certainly cheered when there it was time to cheer, but they also watched in a hushed manner while the plays were happening.
Aesthetically, Busch Stadium was one of my favorites. There was a great dynamic of high and low areas, which made the stadium feel like an incorporated piece of St. Louis. You can even see the stadium and watch the game from some bars across the street. The majestic Arch in the background made the scene all the more impressive.
The food offerings included all of the standard ballpark fare along with some fun twists, such as artisanal pizza (e.g. spinach and artichoke, BBQ chicken, etc.) and nacho tots!
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark & Three Sixty
We love our Hilton points and after looking at the different hotels in St. Louis, we landed on the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. Described as the “contemporary” Hilton option in the city, the hotel is located directly across from Ballpark Village and we were able to book a room that actually overlooked the stadium! It was perfect for our baseball-centric trip.
Chris and I also can’t say “no” to a good rooftop. Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark has a great bar, Three Sixty, on the 26th floor that boasts a fantastic view of The Arch and surrounding city.
Ballpark Village is the name of the area adjacent to Busch Stadium with shops, bars, restaurants, office space, and event venues. With the Women’s World Cup final game on Sunday evening, we headed to Busch-II-Infield, a lawn area laid on the same lines as the old stadium’s baseball diamond, to watch the game on a giant screen with a sizeable crowd.
It was so much fun! We wandered through a few other bar areas, such as FOX Sports Midwest Live!, following the U.S. victory and enjoyed the celebratory scenes. Ballpark Village is a fun place.
Charlie Gitto’s Italian
We gathered restaurant recommendations from a few friends before our trip and after two mentioned Charlie Gitto’s, we knew we had to check it out. Apparently St. Louis also has some great barbecue places, but we were quickly getting to the point in our trip where we needed a break from All-American food!
We went to Charlie Gitto’s location on The Hill, which is the Italian district. We were excited to get a table on the gorgeous enclosed patio and enjoyed a late dinner al fresco. We started with glasses of “Super Tuscan” Italian wine. Chris had a caprese salad and I ordered a mixed green salad.
For our entrees, Chris ate their deliciously rich tortellini alla panna with meat-filled tortellini, mushrooms, peas, and prosciutto in a Parmesan cream sauce. I was craving a somewhat nutritious pasta dish, so I put together my own order of multigrain pasta, seasonal vegetables, and marinara sauce.
Our last meal in St. Louis was lunch at a somewhat random find, The Mudhouse on Cherokee Street. This is the kind of place that I would definitely frequent often if I lived in St. Louis. The Mudhouse is essentially an artsy coffee shop that, much to my delight, also serves breakfast all day! There is a lunch menu too and you can get an egg on any of the sandwiches. I just love it.
We arrived just in time to take shelter from a massive rainstorm that blew through the area. Surrounded by individuals on their laptops, we watched the rain by the window while sipping on a lavender mocha and a lavender lemonade. We split the The Breslin breakfast dish (curried French lentils, Greek yogurt, cilantro, chili flakes, two poached eggs, & grilled bread) and The Goat sandwich (goat cheese spread, greens, cucumbers, & apricot chutney on toasted wheat). Delicious all around.
We walked by The Arch, though did not ride up to the top. The line was long and I was a bit nervous after hearing that it can be tough for people who are afraid of heights (potentially me) and those who get easily claustrophobic (definitely me).
We also stopped by Union Station, a place that Chris remembered as being pretty cool over ten years ago – though unfortunately it didn’t seem to have the same luster this time around. We then finished out our tour driving by Anheuser Busch brewery, Forest Park (home to their zoo, art museum, and more), Washington University’s campus, the Delmar Loop neighborhood, and Covenant Seminary.
I definitely felt like an item on my life bucket list was checked off after visiting St. Louis. It’s great to have context now for so many who have connections to this neat city. Getting to see a game at Busch Stadium is an experience that I hope to have the chance to repeat someday too!