Dining in one of St. Louis's distinctive neighborhoods ranks high on a short list of must-dos. Clustered around Forest Park are trendy Central West End with its grand residences, antiques stores, and fashionable eateries (many with sidewalk seating); The Loop, named after an old streetcar turnaround and home to funky shops, art galleries, ethnic restaurants, and the St. Louis Walk of Fame; and The Hill, an Italian district famous for its many Italian restaurants (a perennial favorite is Charlie Gitto's, 5226 Shaw Ave.; tel. 314/772-8898; www.charliegittos.com).
For children, good bets include The Old Spaghetti Factory, housed in an old warehouse in Laclede's Landing at 727 N. 1st St. (tel. 314/621-0276; www.osf.com), and Hard Rock Cafe in Union Station (tel. 314/621-7625; www.hardrockcafe.com), which also has a food court.
It's a St. Louis tradition to drop by Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, 6726 Chippewa (tel. 314/481-2652), after a night on the town. Founded more than 75 years ago, this roadside parlor and Route 66 attraction specializes in frozen custards, including a thick dip called a Concrete, available in flavors ranging from chocolate chip to Heath Bar and so thick that it's served upside down. It's open daily March through December. An additional location is open summers only at 4224 S. Grand (tel. 314/352-7376).
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