23 Aug A Family Weekend In St. Louis
At Two Bits our summers are very busy but occasionally we get a chance to sneak away to our second favorite city, St. Louis. John’s parents were both born and raised in the city and my dad’s family moved all over the midwest growing up so we love showing our boys their Missouri roots.
Our weekend getaways in St. Louis are normally packed with old favorites and sprinkled with new adventures and this time was no different!Here’s our guide for how we do our home away from home with 2 littles in tow.
Our hotel of choice this time was the newly renovated St. Louis Union Station Hotel which we adored. Housed in a 120 year old train depot in downtown, the entire building has train theming, making it perfect for train obsessed toddlers like ours. The Grand Hall features laser light shows every night and you cannot beat the proximity to most of downtown St. Louis. Rumor has it the empty portion of Union Station will be turned into a national aquarium in 2019 so we will definetly be back.
After being trapped in the car with 2 toddlers and no electronics because we forgot the charger, we decided to let our little troublemakers run off some energy with a million other hooligans at St. Louis Magic House. This place blew us away with everything it had to offer and the boys had so much fun. There were fits thrown to avoid leaving which is always a good sign.
Dinner on Friday night was Sauce on the Side. The waitress said they had been open downtown for 2 years which just shows how hip we are to finding new places since we had never heard of it. They only serve calzones and craft beer so we were obviously on board. The boys split their cheese only variety which meant Baby Tate got his first bite of provel, a St. Louis delicacy of what is basically a blend of processed cheese. Don’t find copy cat recipes and don’t try to buy it outside of St. Louis as you will be sorely disappointed. I speak from experience.
On Saturday we woke up early (if you still believe the myth kids sleep more on vacation, abandon that hope) in hopes of catching a glimpse of the 4th of July parade we heard was going to be downtown. To our shock, it ran directly in front of our hotel and the boys got a front row seat. Candy was thrown and freedom rang. Of course the boys were clad in Two Bits Design Co. wearing our sweet puppy dog shirts. They are the perfect patriotic addition to any summer event.
Next came lunch at Sugarfire, a BBQ joint that came highly recommended from family and friends. Being native Memphians we cut our teeth on world class ribs and John learned how to mop butts before he could wipe his own. Naturally, we scoffed at the suggestion good barbecue existed outside the comfy confines of the Bluff City but we were pleasantly surprised. Being a Saturday afternoon the place was packed but service was friendly and fast and the food was better. My personal favorite was the pork belly hushpuppies that they had the genius to pair with homemade pepper jelly. Amazing.
Given that we were silly enough to drag 2 boys under 4 to a nighttime Cardinals game, everyone napped in preparation. John’s obsession with the Cardinals started the actual day he was born, during Game 7 of the 1987 World Series. An away loss to the Minnesota Twins that he still has problems discussing even though he was only a few hours old. The Cards returned to greatness 2 years before we started dating and our first vacation together was to a game. Both boys have game used balls from the day they were born and we have one from our wedding day. To say our family bleeds Cardinal red is a gross understatement.
If you too are crazy enough to take toddlers to a MLB game, heed my advice. Spring for indoor seats. At Busch Stadium this means Champion’s Club tickets that give you an indoor and outdoor seat, food and drink plus a waitress and private bathrooms. The cost seems high until you factor in kids asking for snacks, daddy asking for beers and 20 trips to the
bathroom with a toddler. From here on out it is the only way we will take the kids to a game. The ease of being able to go inside and let them cool off while still being able to watch the game was a Godsend. The Cardinals also do amazing offers for these seats if the game is not sold out, which we have taken advantage of many times.
The boys lasted the entire game and crashed on the walk back to the hotel. Sidenote: If you haven’t worn a sleeping 40 pound 3 year old in a carrier in the July heat, you haven’t lived.
It occurred to us while planning for an amazing Disney World vacation in September that our kids might freak out and we should maybe try to expose them to a theme park beforehand so off we went to Six Flags on Sunday. We got there as the park opened and it was empty. We got to ride several rides before the crowds and heat arrived. To my surprise, Jack was all about riding rides and was a little heartbroken when he wasn’t tall enough for a few. We spent all day zig zagging the park and enjoying family time. We ended the night and our trip with our favorite St. Louis staple, Imo’s Pizza.