‘Enthusiastic, Diverse and Evolving,’ Meet the Real St. Louis

Michelle VolanskyTake a second and think about St. Louis. What comes to mind? The Arch, the Cardinals, Nelly’s Country Grammar? Now forget all of that and get ready to be updated on all things St. Louis.

By now, you know we love chatting with locals. What better way to prepare for an Amtrak ride to a new city than to get the local perspective? When it came to St. Louis, we wanted the real deal. So we asked  St. Louis native, Michelle of Creature Type, five questions about her hometown. She dished, she recommended and she shared her love for her city.

Amtrak: Your blog highlights the fashionable side of St. Louis. How would you describe St. Louis’ style?
Michelle: St. Louis’ style is diverse! St. Louis Fashion Week has been growing rapidly every year with bigger crowds and more impressive visiting designers. We have a lot of local pride and want our fashion scene to be just as fun and interesting as any other big city. I’m constantly hearing from local style enthusiasts that we want more unique, fashion-forward pieces.

Do people really call it The Lou?
Hahaha, I have never heard anyone call it “The Lou” in real life conversation. I don’t even think I knew it was a thing until I was a teenager. I was reading a synopsis for a book that took place in St. Louis and they called it “The Lou” and I was confused, like “Do they mean the Loop?” (a trendy, popular neighborhood with a lot of boutiques and nightlife).

For the Amtrak rider looking to skip the chain restaurants and get the real local food experience, where would you recommend for a night out for dinner and drinks?
I work for Sauce Magazine, a free publication all about the culinary scene in St. Louis so this question is right up my alley! We have a fantastic, ever-growing food scene, so definitely don’t waste your time at a chain! For dinner and drinks, my top picks would be Pastaria, Planter’s House, or Juniper. If you’re looking for more recommendations, pick up a copy of Sauce around town!

gatewayarchistockEveryone knows the Arch, but tell us about some hidden sights visitors should see before getting back on the train.
If you’re looking for a cool, quirky must-see, go to the City Museum. Google it. It’s beyond explanation and not at all what you would expect! Forest Park is another great place to explore. Not only is it a gorgeous park, but it’s home to our zoo, art museum, Science Center, history museum, and The Muny. During the summer, you can see a musical for FREE in The Muny’s historic outdoor theater. It’s so special. The zoo and art museum are also free! I’m so proud of our cultural institutions.

Every trip should end with a souvenir. Where is a great place to shop for a one-of-kind gifts made be a local?
My favorite local shop is The Foundrie. Everything there is handmade, mostly by Missouri artists. The owner, Shelah McClymont, is brilliant and styles the whole store to perfection! She curates an on-trend selection of fabulous jewelry, accessories, apparel, artwork, and more. St. Louis is lucky to have an especially vibrant indie craft community, so hunt around online and see if there are any craft fairs during your visit!

Michelle gave us her picks for great things to do in St. Louis. Now it’s your turn. Share your favorite picks for St. Louis in the comment section below.