Staff ed: How to make St. Louis more like your ideal vacation spot

This Friday and Saturday, dozens of Ubers and yellow taxis will line the curbs of Shepley Drive in anticipation of the hundreds of Canada Goose-wearing coeds asking for rides to the airport before setting off to more exotic hangouts: Miami, Cancun, Bangkok, you name it. There are those, however, who will relish in the peace and quiet of a nearly empty Danforth Campus for the next week. Chances are, at a certain point, the serenity might start to feel a little dull compared to the inevitable barrage of beachy Instagram posts and “Look! I’m in Copenhagen! You can tell because I’m on a bridge!” Facebook profile picture updates. The good news? The Student Life Editorial Board is here with some tips to help make St. Louis feel a little bit more like a picturesque spring break vacation locale.

Go out to brunch. Look, I know brunch isn’t an activity exclusive to spring break. But I’ve always really enjoyed going out to meals, so much so that it’s a running joke in my family that when I go to a play or concert, I’ll describe what I ate beforehand when asked for a review instead of going into what happened during the performance itself. Anyway, the ideal way to enjoy break is to go to a restaurant you’ve never been to before. I went to Blondie’s in downtown St. Louis last weekend, and I had a really great meal at a place a lot of other Washington University students have probably never been. Go explore!
— Ella Chochrek, Editor-in-Chief

Buy a kiddie pool, set it right outside Millbrook Pool, set a lawn chair next to said pool, get some tanning lotion, lounge in said chair while wearing your skimpiest swimwear and make a sign that says “MILLBROOK POOL SHOULD OPEN BEFORE MAY 1.” If you do this every single day, you’ll end up looking like you went to the Bahamas while at the same time spreading awareness for a relevant Wash. U. concern. Take a dip in the kiddie pool if you want; there’s no shame in that. You could even set up a little fence and charge a penny to your Venmo for anyone who wants to join in on your pool party. Tanning, awareness spreading and profiting. Better than going on a bougie, expensive vacation? You tell me.
— Katy Hutson, Senior Scene Editor

Let me set a scene for you. It was the end of my freshman year, and two friends and I were bringing our things to store in downtown St. Louis for the summer. Everything in the locker was exactly the way we thought it would be—except for the next door neighbor. Right next door to our storage place, right off of a street in downtown St. Louis, there’s a place called Wave Taco, which is not merely a taco place but an entire beach resort superimposed onto downtown St. Louis. They literally just dumped a bunch of sand onto a formerly vacant lot, and then built a bunch of volleyball courts and a Tiki bar and a kitchen to make various Mexican fare. That’s right: It’s basically Cancun, except an Uber to downtown costs like $20, which is 2 percent of what a real Mexican vacation would cost. Take yourself to downtown St. Louis, position yourself so you can’t see the street and all of a sudden, you are on that luxurious spring break trip for a fraction of the cost.
— Jon Lewis, Senior Sports Editor

Nothing says spring break like a tropical vacation. But tropical vacations are expensive, and if I’ve learned anything in college, it’s how to be creative on a budget. All you need to have a successful tropical vacation (or to trick someone into thinking you did) is a good book, good weather and a good drink. With a nice tan and a strategically composed social media picture, all your classmates will be convinced you jetted down to somewhere in the Caribbean. Just hit up Olin Library for a good book (you can check books out there! I would recommend Junot Diaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”), and then make your way to Paws & Go for ingredients for your drink (those whole pineapples must serve some purpose). All that’s left is to pray to the St. Louis weather gods, and you’re all good to go.
— Noa Yadidi, Managing Editor

For me, vacation is less about waves upon a tropical shore and more about being a nature freak in new and exciting locations. So, this spring break, take the opportunity (and the hopefully more-freed-up Enterprise CarShare rentals) to explore the local flora and fauna of St. Louis. In the city, Forest Park is always a solid option—we have a FREE ZOO, guys!—and the Missouri Botanical Garden is a true delight, even in the winter and spring.(If you go now, the orchid show is going on!) If you’re game to venture out of the city, you can see native Missouri bison and elk at Lone Elk Park and rehabilitated birds of prey at the World Bird Sanctuary. Both are free, fabulous and only 15 miles out of the city on I-44.
— Hanusia Higgins, Senior Staff Writer

Are you already shuddering at the mere thought of the inevitable “how was your spring break” question? Never fear! Stanley is here to help. Well, not Stanley himself, per se, but Stanley’s Cafe. Imagine the jealousy on your friends’ faces when you triumphantly respond with “It was amazing! I was at Stanley’s most of the time.” Who is this mysterious man, this “Stanley” person? Is he a buff lifeguard straight from the sandy beaches of Cancun? Or is he a hot dog-wielding, coffee-serving cafe on the ground floor of Lopata Hall? Nobody ever needs to know.
— Aidan Strassmann, Senior Forum Editor

Mexico is a popular destination this time of year. But airfare is expensive, and Cancun pool parties are overcrowded. If our Southern border still calls to you, consider wrapping yourself in a blanket and pretending you’re a burrito.
— Aaron Brezel, Managing Editor

Love hanging on the beach but hate the crowds? Instead, spend your spring break on the volleyball court on the South 40. If you manage to recruit some other players from Bear’s Den, start a volleyball tournament and pretend there’s an ocean nearby instead of an isolated rectangle of sand surrounded by grass and mud. For extra authenticity, bring beach towels, take a nap on a nearby hammock or pour out the sand that got in your shoes despite your best efforts to avoid it. Don’t let the Midwest weather keep you from having a tropically themed spring break!
—Elizabeth Grossman, Copy Chief

Cry about the tumultuous ending of this season of “The Bachelor.” I’m still recovering from the twist of events that aired Monday night, and I probably will never be the same. When recounting the experience to others, explain that you were part of an extremely dramatic romantic situation on a beautiful sandy beach. I plan on spending my spring break watching interviews with the contestants on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, stalking them all on Twitter and catching up on “After the Final Rose.” But no one needs to know that—they just need to be envious of my romantic beach vacation gone wrong.
— Ali Gold, Senior Cadenza Editor

Looking for the best way to transform St. Louis into your ideal beach vacation getaway (without stowing away in your best friend’s luggage)? I have a one-word solution to all that ails you: the sauna. That’s right, head over to the Athletic Complex, load up “Calming Seas #1 – 11 Hours Ocean Waves Sounds Nature Relaxation Yoga Meditation Reading Sleep Study” on your phone, step inside that toasty sauna with a margarita in hand (just kidding, no food is permitted in the sauna) and be transported to your staycation paradise.
— Jeremy Goldstein, Copy Chief

Make your way through Mudd Field. It’s like trekking through the Amazon rainforest. Or, you know, take a hike through one of St. Louis’s actual wonders—perhaps Castlewood State Park, Elephant Rocks State Park or the Ozarks. The trio has been referred to as Amazon North, funnily enough.
— Rohan Gupta, Senior Sports Editor

If you squint hard enough, the Arch looks like the Eiffel Tower. And Cafe Bergson sells croissants. And I’m sure you have one friend abroad in France. Close enough right?
— Wesley Jenkins, Director of Special Projects