KC: Experience a First Friday weekend if you can
Friday night: If you’re into art walks, or even if you’re not, come on a First Friday weekend to experience the scene in the Crossroads Arts District. It’s prime time for people-watching.
Otherwise, stroll the lovely Country Club Plaza, take in a Royals or T-Bones baseball game or catch a concert or play.
Saturday: On a First Friday weekend, lovers of cool vintage stuff should head to the West Bottoms to explore the secondhand shops. An alternative that’s open every Saturday: the bustling City Market near the Missouri River. Get breakfast first (good choices include Cascone’s Grill, City Diner or the Farmhouse), then browse the farm-fresh produce. Don’t overlook the eateries and shops on the periphery of the market.
Grab lunch or do some shopping along Westport Road or West 39th Street or on the Plaza.
Younger kids will love Legoland Discovery Center and Sea Life Aquarium, both at Crown Center. Nearby, everyone will dig the view from the Liberty Memorial tower. History lovers can visit the National World War I Museum there (where you can buy a ticket to ride to the top of the tower) or head to the 18th and Vine museums (jazz, Negro Leagues baseball) or the Truman Library in Independence.
That night: dinner at one of our legendary barbecue joints, followed by drinks in the Power & Light District or Westport. Or: an outdoor musical at Starlight Theatre.
Sunday: Visit the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and/or the nearby Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art. If you go to the Nelson, have lunch in beautiful Rozzelle Court. And leave time to explore the outside, too. Be on the lookout for big birdies!
— Tim Engle, The Kansas City Star
St. Louis: Anheuser-Busch, Forest Park and the Gateway Arch are musts
Friday night: Start your weekend with a free visit to Anheuser-Busch Brewery to get a good taste of St. Louis. Have dinner at Pappy’s, a spot that can rival any KC barbecue joint.
Go to Busch Stadium for a Cardinals game. After the game, stop at Three-Sixty on top of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark for a drink. The view of downtown is spectacular and so are the cocktails.
Saturday: Breakfast at Rooster (make sure to order a crepe).
Next, spend the day in Forest Park exploring the St. Louis Zoo, the new East Building at the St. Louis Art Museum, the Missouri History Museum and the St. Louis Science Center. The zoo could easily take a whole day, but if you want to hit the highlights, try River’s Edge, Sea Lion Sound and a ride on the Zooline Railroad. Or, if you have kids, you may prefer the interactive Magic House or the mind-boggling City Museum.
Set aside about 3 to 5 hours for these, and take a break for lunch at Adriana’s on the Hill, St. Louis’ Italian neighborhood.
Have dinner at one of Gerard Craft’s restaurants, Pastaria, Brasserie, Niche or Taste. Then catch a show at the Muny in Forest Park or go to the Delmar Loop to hear live music at the Pageant or the smaller basement spot the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill.
Sunday: Have brunch at Dressel’s Public House in the Central West End before visiting the Gateway Arch and the Museum of Western Expansion. You should have time for a walk along the riverfront or a stroll through Laclede’s Landing’s cobblestone streets before you have lunch at one of Pi Pizzeria’s five locations.
Or opt for a morning at the Missouri Botanical Garden. On your way out of town, be sure to stop at the outlet malls on Interstate 64 (Highway 40) or, if you have girls, stop for tea at the American Girl store in Chesterfield.
Things to know: If you like a big party, free music and amazing fireworks, visit during Fair St. Louis July 3-5 in Forest Park. The rising star on the St. Louis scene is LouFest, a two-day outdoor music festival Sept. 7-8 in Forest Park.
— Amy Bertrand, St. Louis Post-Dispatch