Shopping - St. Louis, Missouri


St. Louis has always been a destination for those looking to buy, sell, or trade. Pioneers journeying west often stopped for supplies in St. Louis, which started out as a fur trappers’ trading post. The city eventually became a regional hub of shopping activity. St. Louis outfitted fashionable Victorian ladies, mountain men, riverboat gamblers, and long lines of wagon trains in the 18th and 19th centuries, and even explorers Lewis and Clark prepared for their historic expedition by buying their supplies in St. Louis.

Today’s explorers can find sophisticated styles, bargains, and hard-to-find items throughout the area. From clothes with big-city style to retro fashions, St. Louis probably has a store carrying what you’re looking for. A host of one-of-a-kind shops located throughout St. Louis’s historic neighborhoods feature beautiful antiques, artsy galleries, and crafty boutiques. Or, you can remember your time in St. Louis by purchasing some jewelry, a botanical treasure, or an abstract piece of art from one of the dozens of museum and attraction gift shops.

Plus, if you like what you eat in St. Louis—and you will—you won’t want to go home without some tasty reminders of the good food you’ll find here. The Schnucks grocery store chain is a good place to find low prices on a variety of St. Louis–specific goodies, including pasta sauces and salad dressings from some of the popular Italian restaurants in The Hill neighborhood. Beer lovers might want to take home a pack of St. Louis–brewed Schlafly beer, a microbrew that’s sold in dozens of area restaurants and bars. You can find Schlafly favorites at area grocery stores as well, along with many of its specialty and seasonal brews.

So, whatever you’re looking for, you can find it in St. Louis. Maybe you should bring an empty suitcase with you so your cool souvenirs don’t get squashed during the ride home.

Shopping - The Arts

It’s no surprise that a city responsible for launching so many talented actors, musicians, and writers over the years would have a lively, contemporary music, dance, and theater scene. In addition to a long list of musical artists, playwright Tennessee Williams spent his formative years in St. Louis, as well as poets T. S. Eliot and Maya Angelou. Actors from Hollywood’s golden age, such as Betty Grable, Vincent Price, Virginia Mayo, and Buddy Ebsen, as well as current favorites such as John Goodman and Kevin Kline, all have called St. Louis home. (These artists, and many others from the worlds of sports, music, science, education, and technology, are honored with brass stars and plaques on the St. Louis Walk of Fame. With all this history and glitter, it’s easy to see why St. Louis is such a culture-rich city.

One focal point of the St. Louis arts scene is the Grand Center Arts and Entertainment District, located just minutes west of downtown, which is home to a variety of the city’s most popular arts organizations, including the renowned Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (SLSO). SLSO plays within the friendly confines of Powell Symphony Hall. Other Grand Center neighbors include the tremendously entertaining St. Louis Black Repertory Company, which stages performances at the Grandel Theatre, and the acoustically perfect Sheldon Concert Hall, home to various jazz, folk, and chamber music performances throughout the year.

Live-theater options continue to expand in St. Louis, and one of the newest events has quickly become an annual tradition. The St. Louis Shakespeare Festival debuted in June 2001, and it continues to present free, professional-caliber Shakespearean theater, and does it among the lush greenery of Forest Park. There are a multitude of small, independent theater groups ranging from “small-town” municipalities’ productions of Oklahoma! to the more avant-garde groups who tackle serious social issues and offer a more controversial night at the theater. There’s also the annual St. Louis International Film Festival, which presents an aggressive series of films and related events during its 10-day run.

Other live-theater options include the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis and Opera Theatre of St. Louis, both at suburban Webster University. Opera Theatre, which makes a special effort to attract younger audiences, prefers a fresh and “American” style, with the performances done in English and featuring outstanding young artists alongside members of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to Webster University, St. Louis’s numerous colleges and universities contribute to the local arts scene as well. Washington University and Saint Louis University both offer excellent galleries and exhibits, along with a growing number of neighborhood galleries in places like Washington Avenue, Maplewood, Clayton, and the Central West End.

Local arts groups include the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) and their cadre of “Arts Commandos,” the Missouri Arts Commission, and the St. Louis Arts & Education Council.

Even with all of this, St. Louis’s local arts scene continues to expand, with the opening of the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and the building designed by architect Tadao Ando that houses the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts.

1. Antique Center Of St. Louis

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 367-0588
Address: 4732 McPherson Avenue

Description: The Antique Center is a 10,000-square-foot store—one store, not a mall—that’s filled with continental, Italian, French, and English furniture and chandeliers from the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. The owners stock the items they have a penchant for, including bombé chests, armoires, country buffets, English sideboards, and other beautifully appointed furniture pieces and accessories for the home. Nestled in among the grand homes of the Central West End, this store is like a museum of the neighborhood’s interiors. Open Monday through Saturday; Sunday by appointment only. The owner lives above the shop and is happy to accommodate visitors.

2. Central West End Neighborhood (Cwe)

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 367-2220

Description: This cosmopolitan neighborhood near Forest Park features fine dining, cafes, galleries, and specialty shops amid turn-of-the-20th-century buildings. It’s also a great place to people-watch, and several special events take place here throughout the year (see the Annual Events chapter). There are three main retail areas along the CWE’s “main drag,” Euclid Avenue. Retro-maniacs and antiques lovers will find an abundance of possibilities in the shops located at the intersections of Euclid and McPherson, Euclid and Maryland, and Euclid and Laclede Avenues.

3. Cherokee Antique Row

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 776-6410
Address: 2125 Cherokee Street

Description: Cherokee Antique Row offers six blocks of shops full of antiques and collectibles of all types. The historic neighborhood, located about 10 minutes south of downtown, has been a shopping hub for treasure hunters since 1965, and the prices here are usually very reasonable. Even if you’re not buying, Cherokee Street is a fun adventure that illustrates Americans’ obsession with “stuff.” The selections at the 30-plus stores range from “fine” to “funky” to just plain funny. There’s even a saxophone museum and repair shop.

4. The Neon Lady

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 771-7506
Address: 1926 Cherokee Street

Description: Open for more than 30 years, the Neon Lady carries an assortment of custom and collectible neon lights, antiques, and treasures like chrome art deco telephones and toasters, old metal coolers, lunchboxes, Betty Boop figurines, and Mickey Mouse glasses. An official member of the Anheuser-Busch Collectors’ Club (a big deal around these parts), the store also has a large collection of new, rare, and secondary collectible beer steins.

5. Quintessential Antiques

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 531-9701
Address: 4501 Chouteau Avenue

Description: This family-owned antiques store offers an eclectic array of collectibles, ranging from architectural items and furniture to books and glassware. This comfortable, non-pretentious store also has a variety of exquisite tables, bedroom sets, wardrobes, and bric-a-brac gathered from buying trips across the country. The atmosphere is cordial and cooperative, and the prices are extremely reasonable. Open the first Friday and Saturday of the month or by appointment.

6. Rothschild’S Antiques & Home Furnishings

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 361-4870
Address: 398 Euclid Avenue

Description: Rothschild’s has been a centerpiece of the Central West End neighborhood for decades, and it offers a number of antiques-related services in addition to an extensive collection of stuff. The shop offers quality services in repair, refinishing, and appraisals, as well as a beautiful selection of furnishings and accessories. The diverse inventory includes rustic, Asian, and contemporary pieces, as well as statuary, candles, china, vases, stained glass, chandeliers, and wrought iron.

7. Tfa—The Future Antiques

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 865-1552
Address: 3229 Morgan Ford Road

Description: TFA specializes in furniture and accessories from the ’50s to the ’70s and keeps a hearty stock of groovy yet affordable lamps, jewelry, wall clocks, vintage clothing and hats. You can also pick up some Austin Powers-inspired barware and retro kitchen items. From avocado-colored princess phones and plastic record players to minimalist vinyl couches and 1950s style dinette sets, TFA has just the right decor for that hipster haven you call home. Closed Tuesday.

8. Big Sleep Books

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 361-6100
Address: 239 North Euclid Avenue

Description: Big Sleep carries a variety of fiction and nonfiction works, but the main genres here are mystery, detective, and espionage books. There’s also a great collection of new and used soft-cover and hardback books in stock, including rare first editions and signed first printings. A knowledgeable staff stands ready to help you find your favorite authors, or even to suggest a new favorite.

9. Hammond’S Books

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 776-4737, (800) 776-4732
Address: 1939 Cherokee Street

Description: Hammond’s is the ultimate place for out-of-print, rare, and hard-to-find books. The store features a massive collection of reading material stored among reproduction art deco treasures and the always-appreciated espresso bar. Bibliophiles can get lost in the intriguing stacks or take the high-tech approach and search the entire collection via an in-store database. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Hammond’s can search a computerized database that lists thousands of books and bookstores across the country at no charge. Open Tuesday through Saturday.

10. Left Bank Books

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 367-6731
Address: 399 North Euclid Avenue

Description: A full-service bookstore of new and used books, Left Bank is one of the last independently owned bookstores in the region. In addition to a diverse selection of new fiction and nonfiction titles, the neighborhood bookstore also operates a small art gallery that features local artists. Left Bank hosts frequent book-signing events, including such celebrated authors as Hillary Clinton, Alan Alda, John Danforth, and many others. And, for that obligatory cup of java, the shop also operates Cafe Danielle, a cozy coffee shop that serves various coffee beverages, sandwiches, and other light fare. In 2009, a second 5,500-square-foot location opened in downtown St. Louis at 321 North 10th Street. Open daily.

11. Subterranean Books

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 862-6100
Address: 6275 Delmar Boulevard

Description: From high culture to subculture, this longtime staple of The Loop neighborhood stocks a full range of new, used, and rare books in a comfortable, non-pretentious setting. Due to the ever-changing inventory, you never know what you’ll find among the stacks, which include lots of history and pop culture choices, as well as biographies, literature, and science fiction. Open daily.

12. 20:08 Gallery Saint Louis

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 772-2008
Address: 2008 Cherokee Street

Description: One of St. Louis’s newest and most respected photographic fine art galleries, 20:08 Gallery offers museum-quality landscapes, nature and cityscapes by award-winning artists from the St. Louis region. Open Saturday and Sunday weekly, and on weekdays by appointment.

13. All-American Collectibles

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 352-7700
Address: 6510 Chippewa Street

Description: If comics and collectibles are your game, then you’ll enjoy a trip to southwest St. Louis for a look at all of the goodies at AAC. There’s a large selection of items to choose from, including vintage and current collectible games and comic books, card games, toys, and trading cards. If you’re looking for a gift or keepsake for that little boy or girl who never grew up, chances are good that you can find something here. Located two blocks east of Ted Drewes frozen custard stand.

14. Iron Age Studios

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 725-1499
Address: 6309 Delmar Boulevard

Description: Looking for something a little more permanent to take home with you from St. Louis? Iron Age Studios, located in The Loop neighborhood, is one of the region’s most popular body art studios. In addition to a clean and friendly environment, the colorful shop features male and female tattoo artists and piercers and a complete selection of body jewelry. You must have a photo ID to get tattooed or pierced. Open daily.

15. Phoenix Rising

City: St. Louis, MO
Category: Shopping
Telephone: (314) 862-0609
Address: 6331 Delmar Boulevard

Description: Phoenix Rising offers a diverse selection of one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry, unusual gemstones, whimsical characters, metal works, and clocks, along with a variety of bath products, candles, books, toys, and cards. It’s a great place to find unusual gift items or accessories that will add a splash of color to your home decor. Open daily.
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