Staycation: St. Louis, Missouri

Last weekend, Kohl and I celebrated his birthday. For the past 3 years, I have spent the weeks leading up to his birthday planning all sorts of surprises – this year, I chose to plan a weekend exploring our city, St. Louis. I will tell anyone who asks, St. Louis is truly a hidden gem. There are so many free and/or relatively cheap activities to do AND the food scene is amazing – making it the perfect sustainable staycation! We had such a good weekend that when Monday rolled around, we wished we had taken off another day. Below I have included all of the information from our staycation with tips for how you can plan your own – here in St. Louis or in your own city. Cheers! 



While the most sustainable option would have been to stay in our own home, I really wanted to create a special weekend. So, I compromised (with myself) and booked a room for only one night at the Angad Arts Hotel.  In narrowing down our hotel options, I was between the Angad Arts Hotel and The Last Hotel. Angad is in the Arts District of St. Louis, where guests are able to choose the color of their room based on their mood - Passion Red, Tranquility Blue, Happiness Yellow, and Rejuvenation Green. Being in the Arts District, it’s like this place is one giant art gallery. On the main floor, they have an exhibit full of doors you open with art displayed inside - which makes for a fun little game while waiting for your Uber. Our other option, The Last Hotel is built in a renovated, historical international shoe company building - with a focus on strong local partnerships and a commitment to hand-crafted details, this place is absolutely beautiful and embodies all things St. Louis. I hadn’t told Kohl we would be staying in a hotel and instead asked him to choose between two sets of words: “unique, quirky” or “vintage, stunning” - he chose unique and quirky, Angad it was! 

In selecting a hotel, consider finding out the answer to the following questions:
  • Is the hotel owned locally?

  • Do they use their water responsibly?

  • Do they offer a towel/linen reuse program?

  • Do they offer a more sustainable option for toiletries?

  • Does the hotel hire local staff and source local products?

  • Does the hotel impact/give-back to the surrounding community?


While we didn’t go the Airbnb route for this weekend, I would encourage you to always consider this as an option! In addition to supporting local members of our community, studies have found that when staying in an Airbnb, “significantly less energy and water are used, fewer greenhouse gases are emitted, and waste is reduced.” Airbnb also states that 88% of their hosts incorporate green practices into hosting. 


Coffee + Art at Catalyst Coffee Bar

Coffee + Art at Catalyst Coffee Bar

As self-proclaimed foodies, Kohl and I are always looking for new restaurants and coffee shops. So, naturally, our staycation started with a trip to Catalyst Coffee Bar in downtown St. Louis. Catalyst is an extension of Art Saint Louis, a nonprofit organization that showcases the work of local artists. Side note: anyone else call ahead when trying a new coffee place to ensure they have oat milk? or just us? Anyways, we both ordered a cold brew with oat milk which was served with a beautiful metal straw - thank you Catalyst for caring about our planet as much as we do! We spent the next half hour walking around the art exhibits - several of which were made from all sorts of recycled materials. 

During the course of our 3-day staycation, we also grabbed brunch at The Grand Tavern. The Grand Tavern is the hotel restaurant inside of the Angad Arts Hotel, and is how I managed to surprise Kohl with our hotel stay. Claiming to use the restroom, I snuck away to the hotel lobby and came back with our keys. The house popovers are incredible - and I think they might have been my favorite part of the meal. Lucky for us, we were able to take one home with us in a compostable to-go container. In addition to the popovers, we had emotional lobster dumplings, a little gem and beet salad, burrata and a fish sandwich that was amazing yet reminded us of an upscale version of filet-o-fish from McDonald’s (laughing as I say that). 

Our second coffee shop stop was at Rise Coffee. Recently, Rise posted about their efforts to become more sustainable (discount for BYO, switching to compostable utensils, etc.), so we couldn’t skip this one. Not related to sustainability, but their new mural also makes this place super instagram worthy.

I think we would both agree the highlight of our weekend was dinner at Savage - a small restaurant hidden along a row of houses in Fox Park. The small space includes seating for no more than 24, organized in a giant u-shape around an open kitchen. Savage offers a tasting menu with three different options - snacks, 6 course, or 12 course. We opted for the 12 - you can also do a wine pairing, but we passed and ordered our own drinks. Whenever we do tasting menus, we like to ensure there are vegetarian/pescatarian options. When I called to confirm this, the woman on the line responded with, “We are a vegetable forward restaurant, while we do serve seafood, we do not cook with land animals because, well...the environment.” I knew then I would love this place. The experience was unlike anything I have had in St. Louis (or anywhere, really). The food was absolutely incredible - and I know that if I tried to explain each dish, it would do nothing for you, so instead I will let the pictures speak for themselves. Disclaimer: this restaurant is fairly expensive (although 100% worth it), so you might save this one for a special occasion!


It wouldn’t have been Kohl’s birthday weekend if we didn’t make a stop at a local brewery (or two). For drinks, we swung by Side Project Cellar. Although the menu here is always changing, I recommend trying any of their sours or wild ales - or for something a little different, try whatever they have on cask. A cask beer is different than your traditional draft beer in that it is unpasteurized, hand-pumped and served at room temperature. 

We wrapped up our weekend with brunch at Treehouse, a from-scratch plant-based kitchen. I will start with, we don’t make it to Treehouse near enough. Every time, we leave impressed (and full). We ordered the Desayuno Latino with tofu and the Sausage, Brussels Sprouts, and Sweet Potato Hash - recommend. 

To keep your dining experiences sustainable, here are a few things to consider:

  • Balance dining out versus eating in at home - for example, during our staycation we made dinner at home on Friday night. To keep things fun, we tried making a Detroit Style Pizza - something we had been longing for ever since our trip to Blue Pan Pizza in Denver.

  • Bring your own - you know this one already, but we bring our own glasses with us everywhere to prevent the use of single-use plastic cups. You can do this with utensils, to-go containers, etc. 

  • Choose vegan/vegetarian/vegetable forward options - having traveled to cities across the United States, I would say St. Louis remains our favorite when it comes to vegetarian options (will post something on this soon, too!). 

  • Consider your “to-go” options - something that we get hung up on a lot is to-go containers. I have started keeping a list of those restaurants that provide compostable/plastic-free to-go options so I don’t find myself disappointed when I pick something up or ask for a to-go box.


I mentioned earlier that St. Louis has a good amount of free or fairly inexpensive activities. Although he is originally from the East Coast, it was still hard to believe that Kohl had never been to the St. Louis Arch or taken an Anheuser Busch Tour. So, obviously they made our list. You have some flexibility with these two, which I like. You can keep your visit really simple and zero costs by visiting the Arch without going inside (or up) and taking the General Brewery Tour. We opted to go up in the Arch and take the Beermaster Tour ($35). The Arch is recently renovated and if you are a St. Louisian that feels like this spot is too touristy for you, drop those thoughts and GO. It was BEAUTIFUL. The new experience was fantastic and far better than I had remembered (and I even used to work there!). We had a similar experience on our Brewery tour, our guide was hilarious and we learned more about the Brewery than we had expected - including things like their commitment to reducing water usage and waste.

In addition to the Arch and Brewery Tour, we toured the Marcoot Jersey Creamery in Greenville, IL (about an hour East-ish of St. Louis). This family-owned dairy farm has been operating for 7 generations and handcrafts artisan and farmstead cheese, honey, beef and whey products. Last year for Kohl’s birthday, we visited Tillamook Creamery in Oregon, so initially, my intention with this tour was to have a little fun while remembering last year’s trip. However, it quickly turned into an opportunity for us to learn more about one of our local farmers - giving us greater confidence in the products we consume. 

A few additional activities that we didn’t get to (mainly due to time), that you could consider during your staycation: 

  • The Missouri Botanical Garden, not only can you visit the gardens as you would expect at any botanical garden, but Missouri’s Botanical Garden offers tours facilitated by EarthWays Center on the Garden’s sustainable features such as green buildings, resource extraction sites, power production sites, etc. They also offer Green Living Classes. Upcoming classes include topics like Reducing Waste, Understanding the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), etc. 

  • Take a class at Perennial, offering DIY classes using all salvaged materials, this non-profit teaches others how to creatively reuse materials to live a more sustainable life.

  • A visit to the Science Center - this one was actually on our list and we ran out of time. Living maybe 5 minutes away, you would think we would have been able to make it there by now! 

  • A walk or picnic in Forest Park, although we haven’t done this in awhile, this is one of my favorites. Another outdoor activity that I always forget about, hiking! Castlewood State Park is just a 30(ish) minute drive away and a pretty common place to visit for hiking. St. Louis Hikes on Instagram shares some other hikes in and around the area, too.

  • Throw clay at South Broadway Art Project, and create your own piece of pottery! 

A few more things to consider as you decide what to do around your city (and on vacation):

  • Will I learn something new about the community and the people who live here? (e.g., Marcoot Jersey Creamery)

  • Will I learn a new skill or experience something new? (e.g., Green Living Classes)

  • How will my participation (or consumption) impact others? (e.g., proceeds from Catalyst fund Art Saint Louis)

  • How might this activity have a negative impact on someone or something else? (e.g., not that you will find this in St. Louis, but what immediately popped into my mind was riding elephants in Thailand)

  • Will this activity produce waste? (e.g., something I hadn’t thought of prior to our brewery tour was the possibility of single-use plastic items such as cups for tastings)


Well, that’s all for now, friends! I hope you are able to enjoy this city as much as we did!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published

We believe in sustainable living for all – which is why our everyday essentials are priced to be accessible and attainable.