Go rolling down the Great River Road through Alton and Grafton and you’ll find a flourishing retail scene where factories and industry once ruled. Antiques, furniture, hand-made crafts, Native American artistry and more await in these two towns just miles apart but connected by the Mississippi.
The Central West End is city living as it ought to be: dense streets packed with sidewalk-friendly dining options, funky boutiques, cerebral gift shops and historic homes. Make a day of it as you shop, dine and catch a film at the Chase Park Plaza or scope out some art at the Philip Slein, Duane Reed or Houska galleries.
The outlet malls in Chesterfield draw hordes looking for a bargain on premium gifts. When there’s beautiful weather and a long gift list to tackle, a visit can turn into a day-long outing with family or friends. The two outlets share a few stores in common, but they each have their own designer shops promising a deal compared to retail prices. See stores for additional discounts.
The business districts in Clayton and Ladue are packed with small shops and specialty boutiques that cater to folks looking for high-end gifts or one-of-a-kind finds. And if by some twist of fate, you don’t find what you’re looking for, Plaza Frontenac and the St. Louis Galleria malls are just a quick car ride away.
More than 145 specialty shops, galleries, restaurants and entertainment venues call the Loop along Delmar Boulevard home. The loop is named for streetcars that came west more than 100 years ago and “looped around” before making connections. Tests started this fall for a new electric trolley. As you walk, look down. You’re stepping on more than 140 brass stars on the St. Louis Walk of Fame, which honors local legends like Bob Costas, Susan Blow, Miles Davis and Whitey Herzog. Be sure to visit sculptor Harry Weber’s eight-foot bronze statue of Chuck Berry, the Father of Rock and Roll who died this spring.
While downtown has a lot to offer, it isn’t exactly a retail epicenter. But nestled among the countless restaurants, bars and other fun attractions (many of which sell branded merchandise and other keepsakes) are a few gems where you can find gifts with personality and style. And there’s plenty to see and do, especially around the holidays.
With a booming retail and dining scene, Edwardsville and Glen Carbon are gaining a big-city feel, but they haven’t lost their small-town heart. You can stroll among unique stores, boutiques and restaurants in each downtown, while other shops are clustered in smaller plazas.
Though just 25 miles south of St. Louis on Interstate 55, the small town of Kimmswick along the Mississippi river feels like a different era. But inside many of the shops you'll find trendy collections and hip new items.
These St. Louis County neighbors boast historic downtowns with plenty of eclectic shops and hip boutiques. Artsy, literary and personalized presents seem to be a specialty, and many of the stores pride themselves on carrying items from St. Louis-based companies.
A stroll down Manchester Road will take you past a selection of shops to cover everyone on your holiday list: chocoholics, bookworms, world travelers, homebodies, foodies, jewelry lovers and people who just want a little pampering.
South Grand enthusiasts say you can come here and eat around the world — and with 14 countries represented, it’s worth eating at least two meals here if you’re in for a day of shopping. The blocks just south of and immediately north of Arsenal Street claim several flavors as their own. Pick up a gift certificate for a friend or family member to enjoy a Thai, Vietnamese or Moroccan meal, or buy them a gift in one of the area’s unique shops.
If historic downtown St. Charles' brick streets, historic buildings and river views aren't enough, imagine them decked with holly and filled with characters (Santas from all over the world, Jack Frost, Tiny Tim), carolers, a parade and more.