Way back when I was single, I had a friend who extolled the virtues of taking a date out to the airport He went on and on about how romantic it was to sit and watch the planes take off and land. Maybe. In reality I think he was just cheap. Now that he is married though, his wife has put a stop to his plane watching days. There’s really nothing wrong with a “cheap” date however, if you’re just a little creative and resourceful. Here are a few places in the St. Louis area where you and your date can have a good time without blowing much more than about 20 bucks:
Breakfast At Kald’s Coffee Shop: (On DeMun Ave. in Clayton) Set out early before the neighborhood gets congested with traffic and take a leisurely stroll around the grounds of Concordia Seminary right across the street. After you’re finished get a steaming hot cup of coffee and a breakfast pastry at Kaldi’s.
Laumeier Sculpture Park: (Right off of Highway 270 at Watson Road) The sculpture park is some 98 acres of contemporary art and outdoor sculpture. There’s literally a new delight around every corner and through the woods. The onsite museum offers themed displays indoors throughout the year that change every month or so. The admission is free.
Cahokia Mounds State Park: (Just over the river in Illinois on Collinsville Road) The park features the burial mounds of the Mississippian Indians that lived there a thousand years ago. Their civilization rivaled that of the Incas and the Aztecs. Drum circles and Native Dance festivals are held there several times a year. The Interpretive Center features real life dioramas and facts about the culture that lived there. Pack a box lunch and climb the stairs of Monk’s Mound. Enjoy lunch with a spectacular view of the St. Louis Arch.
Take a carriage ride through Forest Park or Historic Old St. Charles: Historic Old St. Charles sits on the Missouri River just northwest of St. Louis. During the holidays, the whole town becomes something right out of a Dicken’s novel. Stroll past the real-life manger scenes, take a horse drawn carriage ride, or buy some coal-roasted chestnuts from the fella in the stovepipe hat. Forest Park is modeled after Central Park in New York and has many attractions like the St. Louis Zoo and a world-class Art Museum. The zoo is one of the few in the country that doesn’t charge admission and the Art Museum is free to the public on Tuesdays.
Soulard Market: Take a stroll around the historic Soulard neighborhood, then stop at the oldest open air market west of the Mississippi for fresh fruit and pastries. Then head out for some classic retro-bowling at the Pin Up Bowling Alley on Delmar in the Loop. Bowl a game at $3.50 ($3.00 shoe rental)
Now That’s Cookin’: Whole Foods Market (On Brentwood Blvd. Near Clayton) offers cooking classes for $10.00 each. Afterwards, you can go home and surprise each other with your own culinary creations. If you want to go a little over budget, Dierberg’s Supermarkets offers couples cooking classes and wine tasting for $38.00.
Tea For Two: The Kerry Cottage (On Big Bend Avenue near Maplewood) offers high tea, scones, desserts and finger sandwiches during the afternoon. After tea you can browse through the shop, which offers a large selection of anything Celtic, from Irish crystal to a cute little shamrock pin for about twenty dollars.
Sweets For The Sweetest: How about dipping things in chocolate fondue at the Melting Pot on Delmar in the Loop? Or maybe cuddling on a blanket under a full moon in the park on a warm summer’s evening with some Ted Drew’s Frozen Custard? Or share something decadent at Bailey’s Chocolate Bar down in Lafayette Square?
At some point you might even look up and see a plane or two take off or land.