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Amanda Doyle's new book offers snackable ways to experience St. Louis

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Amanda Doyle is not from St. Louis. She grew up in Memphis, Tenn., and went to high school in St. Petersburg, Fla. 

But she probably knows St. Louis way better than you do.

That’s partly occupational, perhaps. Doyle, who is the associate editor of "Where"magazine, gets to be a nosy journalist, she says. And that’s taken her all over the region.

“I have no problem showing up at some random place where I totally don’t belong and asking questions.”

Doyle shares the answers she has found to some those questions, like where’s the best place to eat around here and what’s happening in this little pocket of the city, in her book “Finally! A Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis, By and For St. Louisans, Neighborhood by Neighborhood.” Doyle also wrote the children’s book “To the Top! A Gateway Arch Story.”

Her third book, which comes out May 17, offers an easy way for newcomers and natives alike to explore St. Louis. Doyle will appear at an author event at the downtown location of Left Bank Books at 7 p.m. Monday, May 20 to talk about “100 Things to do in St. Louis Before You Die.”

The book is an outgrowth of the first guidebook, Doyle says, “a kind of snackable-sized version.”

But choosing those 100 things wasn’t easy.

Yes, you should go to the top of the Arch, she says. Don’t wait for visitors.

There are other well-known things, like sledding on Art Hill and traveling around the world at the Festival of Nations, but some more obscure things, too.

Doyle offers readers several options for fish frys during Lent, a list of great doughnut shops, and a handful of places for great ice cream (only one is Ted Drewes).

Maybe you’ve already ridden the ferris wheel at the top of the City Museum, but have you taken a behind-the-scenes tour of Busch Stadium, or a float trip, or been to check out the newly renovated Central Library?

Some of the 100 things have been around for a long time, Doyle says, and people don’t do them because they seem so obvious. 

“And then there are the things that literally you didn’t know were there.”

In putting the book together, Doyle found new appreciation for the history St. Louis holds.

“Things like Cahokia Mounds,” she says.

Lots of natives visit the site in elementary school, she’s discovered, and as adults don’t get to appreciate this vast Native American city that is both a National Historic Landmark and one of only 21 sites listed as a World Heritage Site in the U.S.

The book also offers a suggested itinerary for music lovers, date nights, sports fans, foodies and families, as well as itineraries by season. 

Even though Doyle knows St. Louis well after 16 years here, she has not seen it all. But she has come pretty far since first moving here with her husband, Brian Marston, who grew up in Creve Coeur. Shortly after the two first moved to St. Louis and into their Lafayette Square apartment, neither of them knew where to go to buy batteries. 

“And he says, well, I know there’s a Walgreens by my parents.”

So Doyle and Marston drove the 25 miles or so to the Walgreens in Creve Coeur for batteries. 

She still doesn’t know everything there is to know about St. Louis, Doyle says. But with her new book, she can definitely help you find a great beer, an interesting restaurant, a place to watch the eagles and some classic St. Louis adventures. 

You’re on your own for the batteries, though.

Kristen Hare