Where to take your hard-to-please parents and still have fun
Whether you’re a freshman seeing your parents for the first time in two months or a senior whose parents are flying in to enjoy our beautiful campus one last time before seeing it through tears at your graduation, Parents’ Weekend is a great excuse to explore St. Louis with loved ones. Here are some top picks for adventures to take with your parents this weekend:
- Grant’s Farm
- “Spring Awakening”
- Bailey’s Range
- Annie Gunn’s Smokehouse Market
- St. Charles, Mo.
Not only is Grant’s Farm a slice of local history, having been the home of the Busch family (as in Anheuser-Busch), but it’s also affordable for those students who are treating their parents this weekend. Admission is free, and only a $12 parking fee applies.
Enjoy tram rides, a petting zoo for the young-at-heart, the iconic Clydesdales and, if you’re older than 21, the obligatory Budweiser that is served in “The Bauernhof,” a restaurant and bar on the property. This weekend is Grant’s Farm’s Halloween celebration, so festivities will be amped up for with shows and haunted train rides. The park hours will be extended into the night, so it may be a good option for those looking to kill a few hours after dinner.
Even if you’re not involved in the Performing Arts Department, the student production of “Spring Awakening” shows parents the cultured side of Wash. U. and that it is not all frat parties. The show has a bit of Wash. U. flavor already as the book and lyrics were written by alumnus Steven Sater.
The musical centers on teenagers coming of age in 19th-century Germany and is the winner of eight Tony Awards, but if your parents are the conservative kind, it’s better to avoid this one. Content includes controversial topics, which may make dinner uncomfortable if your parents are not moderately liberal.
If you’re an upperclassman and your parents have been to all the St. Louis classics like Pappy’s Smokehouse, Pi Pizzeria and the Hill, try Bailey’s Range, a burger and shake restaurant that uses local ingredients and grass-fed beef on its extensive menu. Gourmet burgers are the specialty along with mixed shakes with flavors like salted caramel and brownie, but vegetarian options like quinoa salads and veggie burgers are also available.
Bailey’s Range is located nearby on Olive Street and has its own free parking, so there is no need to pay an overpriced meter. The ambience and wide local beer selection make Bailey’s Range a nice change of pace from the usual joints.
Pappy’s will always have a special place in our hearts, but try stepping out of the St. Louis bubble by driving out to Chesterfield, Mo., for Annie Gunn’s Smokehouse Market. You can still get your barbecue but won’t have to worry about it selling out or being crowded since this restaurant is slightly out of the way. Annie Gunn’s serves family-style with big portions in a sit-down setting.
One of the hidden gems of the St. Louis area, historic downtown St. Charles has all the charm of a colonial village with plenty of boutique shopping and outdoor eating to entertain yourselves all day. Only 30 minutes away, this town is easily accessible if you or your parents have a car.
Popular restaurants in town include Trailhead Brewing Company and Lewis & Clark’s Restaurant. It’s the perfect place to spend the afternoon exploring, and you should stop for coffee at one of the many cafes in town. It will be especially beautiful in the fall and will seem reminiscent of your favorite small town.