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Best of … St. Charles

Head a little west and you’ll find St. Charles. Missouri’s third oldest city was founded by French Canadian fur trader Louis Blanchette and became a bustling river port that played an important role in western expansion. Today, the city offers historical landmarks, beautiful sites and unique shopping and dining opportunities—making it the perfect day or weekend getaway for St. Louisans.

Founded: 1769
Named in honor of: St. Charles Borromeo; originally, it was called Les Petites Côtes or The Little Hills.
Notable landmarks: First Missouri State Capitol State Historic Site, Historic Daniel Boone Home

bars & restaurants

  • Braddens: This local fave is serving up casual fare at a historic location that was established as Eckerts Tavern and Inn in 1818. The Santa Fe Trail plans were drawn up and signed here.
  • Bella Vino Wine Bar & Tapas: Offering an eccentric blend of Spanish and Italian cuisine, this restaurant also has an extensive wine selection to enhance any dish.
  • Novellus: A newer offering on Historic Main Street, this spot offers a literary theme and innovative menu.
  • Schlafly Bankside: Opened in 2020, the newest Shlafley brewpub is located on the site of a 1769 gristmill that also served as St. Charles’ first woolen mill and a prison run by the Union during the civil war.

local shops

  • Cottleville Corner Junkstore: This 160-year-old general store houses nearly 50,000 items, including antiques, collectibles, furniture, books, coins and jewelry.
  • Fast Lane Classic Cars: Perfect for any auto enthusiast, this family-owned classic and collector car dealership also features automobile art, memorabilia and antiques from around the world.
  • Main Street Books: The charming independent bookstore features a strong selection of local offerings, children’ s books and history.
  • Missouri Artists on Main: The gallery features the work of award-winning artists from across Missouri. Visitors can find paintings, ceramics, photography, jewelry and more.
  • Sugar Cubed: Find sweet treats in a unique setting. Along with a wide selection of classic candies and toys, the shop’s Alchemy Soda Bar serves up fresh-spun cotton candy, candy mocktails and more.

parks

  • August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area: At almost 7,000 acres, the reserve is open to the public for hiking, auto tours, hunting and fishing.
  • Frontier Park: The site of many special events throughout the year, this park also features the Katy Depot, paved hiking and biking trails and a 15-foot Lewis and Clark statue.
  • Jaycee Park: Famous for the Discovery Playground that opened in 2012, this park also features St. Charles fire station, public art pieces, open lawn areas, wooded creeks and swales and a popular sledding hill.
  • Katy Trail State Park: The longest developed rail to trail project in the country, this 240-mile trail runs between Clinton and Machens with 26 trailheads and four fully restored railroad depots along the way.

annual events

  • Riverfest (July): The multi-day, Fourth of July celebration features live music, food and drinks, children’s activities, a carnival and a fireworks display
  • Festival of the Little Hills (August): The festival includes more than 300 craft booths and demonstrations by craftspeople and artisans.
  • Oktoberfest (September): Along with food and brews, the event features gift vendors, an antique car show, Wiener Takes All dachshund races, 5K and 10K runs, a brat eating contest and a selection of German and popular music.
  • Saint Charles Christmas Traditions (November-December): This month-long festival celebrates the best of the holiday season. Meet legendary Christmas figures and encounter carolers while enjoying unique shopping and dining opportunities.

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