Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to our one day in St Louis itinerary featuring Delmar Loop! It is not often that I direct you to spend most of your day perusing one street. And if I do, I’m sure you would trust that this one street would be pretty ding dang special, like the Champs-Elysees, or Main Street in Disney World.
But though the Delmar Loop in St. Louis, Missouri might not be as famous as those other streets, it is still worth a visit in its own right. And it’s the perfect place to start a one day in St Louis itinerary.
According to the Delmar Loop’s website, the American Planning Association calls it one of the 10 great streets in America. I don’t know what the American Planning Association is, but any street that knows how to put together its own website is pretty special in my eyes. Spend a one day in St Louis itinerary with me in the Delmar Loop, and I’m sure you’ll agree!
One Day in St Louis Itinerary
Where to Stay?
St Louis is an incredibly spread-out city, so no matter where you stay for your One Day in St Louis Itinerary, you’ll need a car or a rideshare to get around to places like the Delmar Loop. But it’s still nice to stay in Downtown St Louis where you will be within walking distance of the famous Gateway Arch.
I really enjoyed my stay at the Missouri Athletic Club. It had a charming old-school vibe, comfortable rooms, and a friendly staff. Plus staying at an athletic club made me feel like Phileas Fogg from Around the World in 80 Days, which is very appropriate considering he helped inspire my blog. Breakfast is not included, but there’s free coffee in the room. And considering how many food tours we are taking on this One Day in St Louis Itinerary, you won’t want breakfast anyway.
One Day in St Louis Itinerary
What to Pack?
You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.
If the weather is rainy or snowy, which happens sometimes in St Louis, I recommend the Asgard Rain Boots. They are comfy/cozy and keep my feet dry all day. Plus they’re cute enough that I can wear them out without feeling like some gauche tourist with gross feet.
Finally, since we’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a battery for your cell phone. I always use the Anker charger. It’s light enough to fit in even a small purse. Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so I’ll never run out of juice!
One Day in St Louis Itinerary
Morning: Delmar Loop Food Tour
I was pretty impressed to hear that the Delmar Loop had its own food tour. I’ve been on plenty of food tours, but they were all confined to one neighborhood or even one city. I’d never heard of a food tour being restricted to one street before. But Savor St. Louis Food Tours proved to me that there’s more than enough restaurants in the Delmar Loop to support an entire three hour food tour. Join me for…
approximately top 5: delmar loop foods
1) Salt + Smoke
Kansas City, Missouri is famous for its barbecue. But perhaps there’s a reason St. Louis has never been as known for its smoked meats. When we stopped at Delmar Loop BBQ joint Salt + Smoke, we learned one of those reasons. It’s hard to maintain a barbecue in a crowded city environment. Apparently neighbors complain of smoke or some such nonsense. (This is also why it’s really hard to find good ‘cue in my hometown, New York City.)
The most popular barbecue style in St. Louis is apparently the spare rib, which is definitely a treat I can get behind. I like how you have to eat spare ribs with your bare hands, like a caveman. Salt + Smoke is a classy joint, which means they don’t slather the ribs with sauce. That way you can taste the freshly smoked meat. We even got to go outside and see the meat smokers that so annoyed some of the neighbors. If I owned a barbecue and my neighbors complained, I’d just give them free barbecue! And if they didn’t like barbecue, I’d just murder them and hide their body in the smoker. Problem solved!
2) Seoul Taco
Our next stop was the favorite of almost everyone in the group. I liked it so much, I even came back here for dinner. Seoul Taco, like all good things, started as a food truck. As you can probably guess from the name, it specializes in Korean tacos. We got to choose from a few specialties, but I selected the bulgogi steak taco with spicy Seoul sauce and kimchi fried rice. Bulgogi is sometimes called Korean barbecue, so I enjoyed snacking on this right after nomming the St. Louis ribs. Smoked meats are delicious any way you slice them!
3) Fitz’s Root Beer
The “bonus” stop on the food tour was a drink at local soda producer, Fitz’s Root Beer. Fitz’s has been making root beer in the Delmar Loop off and on since the 1940s. My great-grandparents actually lived near Delmar Loop after they immigrated from Romania. My grandfather grew up in St. Louis and went to Washington University, which is also right near Delmar Loop. So as I sipped my root beer, I couldn’t help but wonder if my ancestors had done the same thing.
My personal family history aside, Fitz’s uses only natural ingredients in its root beer, like cane sugar. You can really taste the difference between this and the sodas that use chemical sweeteners. I wish we could go back to the days when all sodas were made with chemical ingredients. Like when ginger ale was made with real ginger and Coca-Cola was made with cocaine or something.
4) Pi Pizza (Not Pizza Pie)
Pi, the pizzeria for geeks, was our next stop on the food tour. The founder of Pi learned how to make cornmeal crust pizza in San Francisco. You can find Pi in both St. Louis and Washington DC. Apparently Pi was so popular with President Obama when he was in office that he used to order it in the White House.
On the Savor Saint Louis Food Tour, you’ll get to sample some of the chef’s creative specials. My favorite was the Eggplant Parm pizza. The roasted tomatoes were so sweet, it was like eating candy that’s actually good for your skin. Just keep in mind that Pi does not serve St. Louis style pizza. That’s an entirely different concoction involving a mysterious creature named Provel cheese. We’ll be eating that tomorrow.
5) Piccione Pastry
My favorite dessert in all the wide world is a cannoli. (Yes, for all those pedants out there, I know the proper singular in Italian is cannolo. No one in St. Louis calls it that; nobody cares.) So I was thrilled that our dessert stop would include a specialty cannoli at Piccione Pastry.
Piccione Pastry was inspired by the owner, Richard Nix’s Italian grandmother. She lived in the Delmar Loop area when it was a thriving immigrant community. (This is also when my Romanian great-grandparents lived there.) Piccione’s pastries are made in the classic Italian style but with a little twist. For example, instead of only using the traditional ricotta cream filling for the cannoli, they use some crazy flavors. We had the fantastic cookies and cream filling. Fortunately the sweet, buttery cannoli shell is entirely traditional. “Some things are just too good to mess with,” as I told my neighbor before I stuffed him in my meat smoker.
One Day in St Louis Itinerary
Afternoon: St. Louis Zoo
Once you finish up your food tour, it should be around 1:30 in the afternoon. That will give us plenty of time to stroll over to the famous St. Louis Zoo. Why is the Zoo famous? Well, first of all it’s located in verdant Forest Park. Second, it is home to a veritable tuxedo of adorable penguins.
What’s that you say? Not interested? Well, what if I told you that the zoo is completely free? Now I’ve got your attention? You should have listened to my recommendation from the start, Internet Stranger. Have I ever steered you wrong before? Put your self in my hands so I can fill your head with…
three fun facts: st louis zoo
1) Mexican Beaded Lizard
The St. Louis Zoo has very entertaining signage for each animal. Whoever is responsible for writing them understands that most zoogoers are not there to do their dissertation on one of these animals. We want weird animal facts, and we want them now! My favorite weird fact sign belonged to the Mexican Beaded Lizard. Apparently it keeps its venom in its lower jaw. That way, while the lizard is chewing on you, it is also slowly poisoning you to death. That is both disgusting and redundant.
Even stranger is the fact that the lizard’s venom…can be used in cures for diabetes. Wouldn’t that be really strange if you had diabetes and were attacked by this lizard? Would it simultaneously poison you to death and also cure your diabetes? Talk about a double-edged lizard bite!
2) Humboldt Penguins
The Humboldt Penguins are one of the most popular exhibits at the St. Louis Zoo. Who doesn’t like penguins? They’re like if Fred Astaire was a drunk bird! And the Wacky Animal Fact signs about Humboldt penguins are really on point. Did you know that Humboldts like to sleep in nests made out of seabird dropping? I really wonder who was the first Humboldt penguin to realize that seabird droppings made a good nest. It must have been, like the Gwyneth Paltrow of Humboldt penguins.
Unfortunately, Humboldt penguins are becoming endangered in South America because the seabird droppings they nest in are disappearing. Apparently miners are scooping up all of that sweet seabird guano because it’s so valuable and leaving none for the Humboldt penguins to nest in. Did everyone else know that seabird poop is so precious except for me? Do people go around with necklaces made of seabird feces? Am I missing out here? I hate missing out!
Fortunately for Humboldt penguin/seabird scat lovers everywhere, the St. Louis Zoo is helping Peruvians mine the seabird turds sustainably so that the Humboldt penguins can thrive, and Peruvians can make money. There’s a sentence I thought I would never type. Now excuse me, I need to go invest in seabird droppings.
3) Do you know the puffin man?
As cute as the Humboldt penguins are, my favorite animal in the St Louis Zoo is the mighty puffin. According to the St. Louis Zoo, they are known as the “clowns of the sea”. Then riddle me this, Zookeeper. If puffins are the clowns of the sea, why are they so adorable, when clowns are the most terrifying things on the earth?
For a case in point, look at my fine puffin friend. I think he looks like actor Paul Giamatti after he just woke up. It seemed to me that HR. Puffinstuf here wanted to come home with me and be my pet forever. Of course I really wanted to stuff this cutie into my pocket and just stroll out with him, but I think I’d get banned from the zoo for life if I did that.
One Day in St Louis Itinerary
Evening: Back to the Loop
Of course you’ll want to come back to the Delmar Loop after you zooed it up. The Loop is famous for its nightlife. I learned on the food tour early that day that the revitalization of the Delmar Loop is largely thanks to a man named Joe Edwards. Edwards started a music club called Blueberry Hill on the Delmar Loop back in the 1970s. Blueberry Hill became a hotspot to hear live music in part thanks to a little someone named Chuck Berry.
That’s right, the Father of Rock & Roll is also a St. Louis native. He played many shows at Blueberry Hill until his death back in 2017. (You can see his statue decorated with gifts from loving fans at the top of this post.) If you’re interested in learning about other famous St. Louisians, you can meet them in St. Louis if you stroll down the St. Louis Walk of Fame on Delmar Boulevard (also established by Joe Edwards).
24 Hour Treasure: Vincent Price
My favorite star belonged to notable weirdo and “voice of Ratigan“, Mr. Vincent Price. I realize that some of my younger readers might not be familiar with Mr. Price, so please go check out one of his performances so you can truly appreciate his creepy vocal intonations. I’ll wait.
If you’re lucky, Blueberry Hill will have a concert for you to check out, but otherwise, see a film at the wonderful arthouse theater The Tivoli. This theater dates back to the 1920s, but had closed and fallen into disrepair. Like everything else on the Delmar Loop, including Blueberry Hill and the reanimated corpse of Vincent Price, it was restored and reopened by Joe Edwards. Whatever you choose, sit back and enjoy the show. You deserve to rest your feet after a long day of eating, walking, and puffin chasing.
That’s a One Day in St Louis Itinerary!
What would you do with a One Day in St Louis Itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in St Louis right now? Is it a crime in Missouri to steal a puffin? More importantly, is it a crime to murder your neighbor and put him in a meat smoker? Please leave your thoughts below.
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a One Day in St Louis Itinerary. If you have another One Day in St Louis Itinerary, try this itinerary!