St. Louis is a diverse city with limitless options for food, coffee and exploring. Spread throughout the St. Louis metro area are neighborhoods just as diverse as the people that inhabit them. From the upscale Central West End to the eclectic Tower Grove neighborhoods, when combined, these neighborhoods create the perfect mixture that makes St. Louis such a great city to call home.

Botanical Heights is a unique area of town that includes the historic Shaw neighborhood and Southwest Garden, which border the Missouri Botanical Garden. Filled with local eateries, beautiful foliage and plenty of architectural sites, this neighborhood is a perfect place to take a walk and enjoy the sights.

Missouri Botanical Garden

4344 Shaw Boulevard, Saint Louis, MO

Opened to the public in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is a National Historic Landmark. There are over 7,500 different types of plants housed within the Botanical Garden grounds. The garden has sections featuring plants from around the world, including a Japanese garden, rose gardens and a temperate house featuring Mediterranean plants and a section with plants from the Bible. The garden also has the Climatron, which features different exhibits year round. Take a day and explore all that the Missouri Botanical Garden has to offer, you may actually need a couple days.

Ices Plain & Fancy

2256 South 39th Street, Saint Louis, MO

This is the home of nitro ice cream in St. Louis. Ices Plain & Fancy offers ice cream churned at -321 degrees. For their Nitro ice cream they offer flavors like butter pecan, cherry cordial, salted dulce de leche custard, and the classics, vanilla and chocolate. Those not wanting to try the nitro ice cream, Ices also offers soft-serve vanilla. Ices Plain & Fancy also partners with Sump Coffee to offer coffee flavored ice cream. There’s also a non-dairy option available as well. Next time you’re in the mood for ice cream, check out Ices Plain & Fancy and if you bring your dog they can also enjoy a treat with Ices’ Sticky Charlie, an ice cream treat made just for your dog and 50 percent of the proceeds go to Stray Rescue of St. Louis.

Image courtesy of La Patisserie Choquette

La Patisserie Choquette

1626 Tower Grove Avenue, Saint Louis, MO

La Patisserie Choquette is a French bakery located just blocks away from the Botanical Gardens. They specialize in cakes and french pastries and they also sell a wide variety of breakfast pastries and their award winning cornbread and quiche. On Saturdays you can enjoy afternoon tea. They also serve a wide variety of macarons. Some of their flavors include hot chocolate, birthday cake, Vietnamese coffee and others that change throughout the year with flavors like Peep, Cardinals Mac, Fruity Pebbles and Gatorade.

Image courtesy of Union Loafers.

Union Loafers

1629 Tower Grove Avenue, Saint Louis, MO

This cafe and bakery utilizes old world techniques while baking their bread. They serve naturally leavened bread, fresh-baked everyday until they sell out. Closed on Monday and Tuesday, Union Loafers offers a lunch option Wednesday through Sunday and dinner Wednesday through Saturday. Their lunch features cafe classics with salad, soup and sandwiches. Their assortment includes items like rare roast beef, chicken salad, chicken and rice soup and golden beet and goat cheese salad. Dinner features their pizza with options including, spinach, pepperoni, mushroom and marinara. Union Loafers is the perfect spot to grab some delicious homemade cafe-style food, make sure to stop by.

Image courtesy of Revive Thrift Store.

Revive Thrift Store

2202 S. Vandeventer Avenue, Saint Louis, MO

Revive is an eclectic, fashionable thrift shop. They strive to be known for quality and to break the typical idea of thrifting. Revive is operated by the non-profit, Mission: St. Louis, which is empowering people to break the cycle of poverty. Revive also offers job training, teaching good work ethics and transferable skills. Their items show what can be made out of old objects and the many different ways something can be reused and reinvented. They sell men and women’s clothing, as well as furniture. Be sure to stop in and check out all of their items and help support a noble cause.

Sweet Art

2203 South 39th Street, Saint Louis, MO

Sweet Art is a family-owned vegan-vegetarian bakery, cafe and art studio. Serving breakfast, lunch and sweets, of course, Tuesday through Saturday. Some of their sweets include their vegan brownies, giant cinnamon rolls, pies, cookies, cakes and cupcakes. Their breakfast serves up traditional foods with a twist. Grandmom Edna’s breakfast burrito, Grandmomma Carrie’s maple-pecan granola, Grandpa Bill Adam’s biswich (biscuit sandwich) and Grandma Jewel’s vegan breakfast banh mi. Lunch serves up, salad, soup, sandwiches, wraps and burgers. On Saturdays they offer brunch, a St. Louis staple, with items like vegan french toast, Cora’s southern biscuit benedict and huevos rancheros.

Union Studio

1605 Tower Grove Avenue, Saint Louis, MO

Union Studio is an independently owned studio and store featuring art and goods from local artists. Some of the artist featured include Heirloom Bottling Co., Made Fare Co., Jenny Walker and The Weaving Guys. This store holds a lot of unique, one-of-a-kind pieces you can’t get anywhere else so make sure to check out what they’re selling and support the local artists of St. Louis.

Honorable mentions: World’s Fair Donuts, Shop Around the Corner

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