Spend a weekend on a budget in the Gateway to the West: St. Louis

As Benja prepared to launch its first product in the middle of 2014, we were selected to win an Arch Grant. Arch Grants is a program that awards $50,000 grants to technology startups as a way of building (and retaining) a startup community in St. Louis, Missouri.

No one at Benja had even been to St. Louis prior to the Arch Grants process, but in the time that we spent there, we learned to love it. From toasted ravioli and the St. Louis Cardinals to Anheuser-Busch and the city museum, St. Louis went from strange new city to a place that we wanted to show off to our friends and family in no time at all.

So without further ado, here are the places you’ve got to check out when you visit St. Louis:

1. Mama Toscano's

When you’re in St. Louis you’ve got to try some toasted ravioli, and there’s no place more authentic than Mama Toscano’s. The ravioli is lightly fried until perfectly crispy and the stuffing melts in your mouth. The accompanying sauce adds even more incredible flavor if you’re after a little zing.

Price: To top it all off, you can get 10 pieces of ravioli for just over $6. That’s a steal!

Image source:  Timothy Boyd

Image source: Timothy Boyd

2. The City Museum

This is a truly extraordinary museum which takes industrial objects and incorporates them into the architecture of the museum. This means that you’ll find yourself crawling through old planes, climbing decrepit spiral staircases and sliding down 10 story slides! Think of it as a giant playhouse for all ages.

Price: $12 for all ages 3 and up. No adult price discrimination here y’all...

Image source: Explore St. Louis

Image source: Explore St. Louis

3. Anheuser-Busch Brewery

If beers (or horses) are your thing, then you might want to check this place out. One of the largest and historic breweries in the country, Anheuser-Busch upholds the traditional brewing methods which made it synonymous with high-quality beer.

While there, you can take a complimentary tour and observe the brewing process yourself or you can also wet your whistle at the ‘Beer School’ and become a beer connoisseur. The brewery has multiple tours to choose from so you can become a beer master on a two-hour tour or visit the Clydesdale stables and see these majestic animals in-person. 

Price: Tours range from free for the Complomentary Tour to $35 for the Beermaster Tour. 

Image source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Image source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch

4. St. Louis Cardinals

If you’re in town during spring and summer, be sure to check out the 11-time world champions playing at the new and exquisite Busch Stadium. You’ll be amazed by the atmosphere among some of the best fans in baseball. If you aren’t around for a game, you can also go to the Cardinals’ entertainment district, Ballpark Village adjacent Busch Stadium. While you’re there, be sure to check out the Hall of Fame and Museum.

Price: This really depends, but 69% of games in 2015 had tickets for $10 or less. Not bad at all.

Image source: Crave Online

Image source: Crave Online

5. Missouri Botanical Garden

When it’s time to take a step-back from the chaos of city life head to the Missouri Botanical Garden for total relaxation. There’s 79 acres worth of incredible gardens, greenhouses and mesmerising landscape architecture. Head to Climatron (a dome-shaped conservatory) and discover exotic plants and tropical birds.

Price: It’s just $8 to roam the garden.

Image source: Missouri Botanical Garden

Image source: Missouri Botanical Garden

So, there you have it! Our top 5 favorite spots for the next time you’re in St. Louis and on a budget. Enjoy the Gateway to the West!