Louis, Missouri hides in a three-state-sized cornfield. Demographically, it is preposterously uneven. There was the nook of the county where I went to prep school.
I graduated in a wedding dress, attended debutante balls, and had a near-constant Frappuccino as part of my polo-khaki-skirt uniform. And then there is the city itself. In my youth, it seemed dangerous and full of broken metal things. It seemed to me that St. Louis was the greatest schism imaginable. The East held gang violence and puddles with needles, and the West was a Shirley Temple at the racquet club and an outing on horseback.
I went to college roughly four miles from my childhood home and stayed in a dormitory roughly two fire hydrants away from my elementary school.
What I really dug came at the end of my college experience. Finally, a porthole to another world spontaneously opened: The Actual City Of St.
The City Museum is a wonderland for grown-ups, teenagers, and kids. It is an epic five-story playground formerly a shoe factory made out of recycled junk. It has a multitude of slides, some circus acts, a chamber of skate ramps, and a shoelace display. Louis, the City Museum is truly the actual Number One must-see. Queer, not queer, whatever: Eat Ted Drewes Frozen Custard after that.
And then there is Forest Park. It is locally rumored to be the largest urban park in the country. Admission to those attractions are all FREE. Swarming with Washington University students, The Loop holds roughly six blocks of varied and sometimes touristy attractions. It is a busy district with shops from the wacky to chic, restaurants from the diner to the slightly-better-diner and a great coffee shop, Meshuggah Delmar.
While I imagine that once The Loop was the place for a twenty-something person to really let go and exist, the collision of the yuppie parents and increasingly violent crime can make it less-than-pleasurable. The Central West End is also close to some of the Universities of the city. Though it is a thoroughfare for the frat-esque, it has a couple of gay-friendly places.
The Loading Zone 16 S. Euclid , is a gay bar with omni-popular Show Tunes Tuesdays. With its all night availability, Coffee Cartel was a venue for both my end-of-college course load and babygayness. And I got thirsty for a brand new part of the St. Neon lettering on the menus, a cigarette machine across from the bathroom, people doing crosswords at a long counter while chatting with baristas, potentially some blaring Alanis Morisette, and LESBIANS.
I actually think I will. Lesbian owned and queer-ish-ly operated, it is a community-minded place for all kinds of people. Get a latte, and then look around: In South City, check out: Tower Grove Park S. Not gay, just good. This is not an illegal homage to the NYC hardcore punk-spot.
Luckily, it breeds its own agenda. A front patio with heavy-graffiti picnic tables, a kick-ass bartender, shuffleboard, pinball, and a bathroom without stalls, just two face-to-face toilets with an ashtray between — CBGB can be a great way to spend an evening. Mangia , Jade Room, and Upstairs Lounge are all good places to drink on South Grand, and though they are not specifically gay, the right night could mean a total uprising of asymmetrical haircut activity.
The parade goes down South Grand to Tower Grove Park, where there is a two-day festival of overheated fun. You will really not believe the amount of queerness that Pride pulls out of St. Louis and its surrounding regions. The bars of The Grove have a bevy of activities for Pride Nights that include the White Party — an annual, expensive, dressed-in-all-white gathering of debauchery. The artists are friendly and the art is both good and reasonably priced.
The merchandise will probably not appeal to your mother. Go down the road just a piece and land in Cherokee Street: In the wake of the closed-down haunted Lemp Brewery is this new-ish hipster haven. My thoughts on gentrification aside, the up-and-coming-ness of this neighborhood has distinctive benefits for city business and life.
Things left dormant for some time seem to be waking. The slew of antique, vintage, and thrift stores, bookstores, St. You can get a tote bag with a map of the city!
But actually anarchist — worker owned and operated — so if you need artisan bread and you need it very quickly, you could end up in a pickle. There are plenty of shows to catch on Cherokee. Soulard is home to the biggest Mardi Gras outside of New Orleans, and one may catch the evidence year-round. Home to barrier-defying drag shows and delicious lunch. The owners are lovely and community-oriented, and all shapes, types, and fetishes are welcome.
A neighborhood with a cluster of supergay drinking places. It is an expansive space with a large patio. It has a really lovely beer selection and back patio, delicious Russian-inspired food, and you may even catch a super-rad DJ.
You might run into what appear to be elementary-aged children at either of these places, but Attitudes is a good place to dance. Once a week is Fifty Cent Stag Night. Not gay, but delicious. In the summer, you can catch the huge Shakespeare Festival ; just below the beautiful Art Museum will be thousands of St. Beale on Broadway is certainly Not Gay. But it is certainly not to be missed if you are interested in truly homegrown sound. Incredible blues artists rattle the walls of this petite shack nightly.
With the river just yards away and freight trains rumbling overhead, you may have a sort of transcendence and merge with the history of this riverside city. Different each night, and also fun. This occurs monthly at the Crack Fox. Or watch people dance.
The Blues games are a good time. Laumeier Sculpture Park has tons of room to walk and explore some massive nature-meets-not-nature art. For some reason, queers seem to love sculptures in the woods. The Butterfly House is a sheltered reserve for our transformative insect-friends. The Missouri Botanical Gardens is an art-and-plant delight that has monthly outdoor free jazz concerts in its scenic center.
There is a central path that has been re-configured and is not trodden enough. It follows the St. Louis floodwall and levees for about eleven miles. Sunrise is a good time for that. Louis, one could expect the following: Being a distinctly un-chic place to call home, St. Louis area housing is inexpensive. We lived across from Tower Grove Park in a lovely duplex with a purple kitchen. Louis has incredibly fancy-ass residential areas that are accompanied by upscale shopping and racist police.
Is this just the state of the world right now? It may actually be quite difficult to hide. Louis is no stranger to violent crime.
For a while, it was the Murder Capital of the country. It was also ranked among the places with the most STDs and methamphetamine use. Leave the bar in a group. North City has beautiful architecture and a couple of choice places to hang out, but has a reputation for its poverty and crime. Louis Frontrunners , or any number of activist groups. A friend from the Bronx recently visited St. Louis, toured its gayness, and noted just how accepting the group was.
Now that I go to grad school elsewhere, I miss the expansive nature of St.