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Twenty-Four Things To Do In St. Louis This Summer

Romondo Davis

Summer in the city. There’s nothing like it, and no shortage of things to see, do and experience in St. Louis. From parks to concerts and festivals, frozen custard to marionettes, farmers markets to museums, there’s an event (or 20) for everyone.

Author Amanda Doyle has written a second St. Louis guidebook. She said being an outsider affects her view of St. Louis.

“You can’t be born in a place and appreciate everything about it,” she said.

Doyle’s new book “Finally! A Locally Produced Guidebook to St. Louis By and For St. Louisans, Neighborhood by Neighborhood” highlights both the well-known and the unknown. Among her favorites: Bob Kramer’s Marionettes, a long-running puppet theater in the Central West End. “It’s charming and weird at the same time,” Doyle said.

Doyle also recommends stops at the new Missouri Civil War Museum at Jefferson Barracks, the World Chess Hall of Fame in the Central West End, and kid-friendly Myseum in Town and Country.

Doyle included several restaurants and coffee shops in her book. “Food is an entry point into a lot of neighborhoods,” she said.

Several area festivals also focus on food, including Taste of St. Louis and the International Institute’s Festival of Nations.

“Eighty percent of people come for the food,” said Anna Crosslin, International Institute president and festival director.

The festival also features four stages of entertainment. “You can sit down in front of a stage and see the whole world cycle by you,” she said.

The Festival of Nations is Aug. 23-24. A free smartphone app is available in the Google and Apple app stores, and soon will be updated with 2014 information, Crosslin said.

Farmers markets are another summertime food tradition.

Chris Shanahan, a volunteer at the Ferguson Farmers Market, said much of the market’s produce is picked less than 24 hours before it’s sold.

“More attention is being paid to what folks are eating,” Shanahan said. “Eating more healthy foods leads to a more healthy lifestyle.” The market includes several organic vendors. The Ferguson Farmers Market is open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Starting in November, the market will move to St. Stephen’s Church in Ferguson.

St. Louis has a strong tradition of free summer concerts, too.

“Take a picnic basket, grab a bottle of wine (or beer if you prefer) and go to a neighborhood park and listen to great free music,” recommended Donna Korando, St. Louis Public Radio’s arts and culture editor. St. Louis Public Radio has created a free summer concert calendar, which is regularly updated.

Other summertime must-see recommendations:

Frozen custard. “Ted Drewes is the most famous, but there are many others,” Doyle said, including Whistle Stop Depot in Ferguson, and Bobby’s Frozen Custard in Maryville, Ill.

Food truck events, including Food Truck Friday at Tower Grove Park, Food Truck Sunday in Clayton, Full Moon Weekends at Compton Hill Water Tower and several other local park events.

Whether a destination is planned or not, Doyle encourages St. Louis residents and visitors to explore new neighborhoods. “Go to a place, park your car and walk around,” she said.

St. Louis on the Air provides discussion about issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh.

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