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 NCAA Visitors Guide to St Louis Part 2
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Sat, Apr 2nd, 2005 11:52 pm

By now you're probably sick of the crowds around the dome and are looking for someplace to run off and get those souvenirs that proved you were actually here. So let’s talk about St. Louis shopping for a minute.

THE GOOD…
Gringo Jones (Take I-44 to Vandeventer, then turn left on Shaw). Website: http://www.gringojonesimports.com, Phone: 314-664-1666. Basically, it’s a tiny old building with winding hallways and narrow staircases chocked to the rafters with assorted stuff imported from Mexico. Think of it as a Pier 1 with attitude, a lot of attitude. It’s an adventure in shopping, and a long way from the boring and predictable stores in the mall. I’ve purchased some great stuff there over the years.

Soulard Market (basically it’s a Saturday Morning farmers market down by the brewery). Lot’s of neat stuff being sold. Probably the most interesting thing we’ve purchased there would have to be our half-breed $20 dog named Gracie who has the body of a black lab but the legs of a wiener dog.

Central West End (I-64 to North on Kingshighway, right on Maryland) and/or University City “ Delmar Loop” (I-64 to North on Big Bend, Right on Delmar). First let me clarify, the map calls it I-64, but locals call it Highway 40. Same road.

The CWE (as the kids call it) is made up of several little areas of shops mixed among some fantastic turn of the century homes. It’s the original wealthy neighborhood of St Louis. This includes some great art galleries, fine antique stores, and several great places to eat (too many to name). The Coffee Cartel is a great place to go for Ice Cream and late night coffee (open 24 hours). The West End has it’s own website http://stlouis.missouri.org/cwe/.

The Loop is a LOT more bohemian than the West End. In the heart of University City, brimming with college kids, the loop has an eclectic mix of shops from art galleries, to funky clothing, to furniture. With the exception of the @#$%ing Starbucks that sets smack dab in the middle of the place, it’s a vibrant cool neighborhood that has spilled over into the city.

THE BAD…
Famous-Barr downtown. Not that this is a bad store. It’s a grand old downtown department store that has weathered a lot of bad years (decades actually) when downtown became a ghost town back in the 60’s and 70’s. To their credit, May Department Stores kept it alive to give the downtown something to cling to. Naturally as things are starting to turn around down there, those rat bastards from Federated have made an attempt to buy out our beloved May Co. and every rumor points to the closing of this store. So shop it while you can. After that, two words: Boycott Macy’s.

Speaking of department stores, if absolutely must shop in a mall the Galleria is right off of I-64 and Brentwood. It’s easy to get to, has plenty of shops, and is a great place to buy those gifts you could have bought in a shopping mall back home. There’s even a Wal-Mart down the street off of Handley for those truly unique souvenirs.

THE UGLY…
The gift shop at the Gateway Arch. It’s not the “World’s Largest McDonald’s” in Vinita, Oklahoma (where Kimberly bought all of her family Christmas gifts a few years back), but it’s close. After a few beers it’s easy to imagine dear old mom always loving the $4.50 Gateway Arch Snow Globe, but I’m sure the folks expecting souvenirs back home truly want better. If you have to do gift shop gifts, I suggest hitting the Budweiser store at the AB Brewery, or the gift shop at the Science Center (the funky building with a skywalk over I-64). However the Arch gifts shop is one small step above the gift shops at Lambert Airport right as you’re leaving town.

More to come Sunday…
Sid

[ Next Article: NCAA Visitors Guide to St Louis Part 3 ]
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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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