A Guide For Staying Entertained in St. Louis

Your College Guide For Staying Entertained In St. Louis

No, touring the Arch isn't on this list.

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After making several weekend trips to St. Louis for a year, I learned to google to start using Groupon and took advantage of free events the city has to offer. There are themed weeks and weekends which include some of my favorites; burger week and craft brew week. Living in any city can be pretty expensive

1. Get to know the city

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Get to know the different areas of St. Louis and what amenities those areas have to offer. West Central End, The Loop, Dog Town, and The Grove are all great places to go especially if you're hungry). Central West End has countless restaurants, bars, and late-night eats like Insomnia Cookies. Also knowing what bars/ restaurants require you to be 21 will save you some time too.

2. Google what's going on during the week/weekend

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St, Louis hosts different weeks like burger week. Different restaurants offered their own unique variation of a burger that were all just $6.00! They also offered a "burger passport" that enabled you to win prizes if you visited X amount of participating restaurants throughout the week.

3. FREE Trivia

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Googling "Trivia in the St. Louis area" will pull up pages of different places that offer free trivia. There's an countless categories depending on the restaurant you go to and most places will also offer specials on food and drinks.

4. Download Groupon

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Groupon is great and even better when you have a large group of friends that are always up for anything. Many times, groupon will sell four or six tickets to bowling, SkyZone, axe throwing, wine and paint, you name it... Most of the time, things come out to less than $10 a person!

5. Top Golf College Nights

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Top Golf is finally in Chesterfield! This reinvented game of golf seems to be one that everyone enjoys. and for a limited time, Top Golf is hosting Wednesday College nights. Show up with your student I.D. and you can rent a whole bay for $15 per hour for your group.

6. If you like coffee shops, you're in luck

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They. Are. Everywhere. If you're from a small town too, you're probably not used to seeing more than one coffee shop in your area. Download the Starbucks app so you can be notified during their happy hour's! BOGO!!

7. Become a tourist

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Even if they are over-advertised, St. Louis has plenty of free amenities and attractions. Forest Park, the Science Center, and the Zoo are just a few that are definitely worth checking out. St. Louis is also known for its unique personality which carries into the restaurants. So many restaurants offer their own atmosphere with a themed menu so don't just find one that you like and stick to it. Branch out and see what your new home has to offer!

8. Ball Park Village

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Beer, baseball. and friends. What more do you need? Keep in mind, they also have a mechanical bull. That just screams a fun disaster waiting to happen.

9. Go "Window" Shopping

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You could spend an entire day just window shopping and not spend a dollar. Transitioning to St. Louis from a small town made shopping that much more fun since I had never been to a Whole Foods or Pier One. There's a few outlet malls, Nordstrom Rack, and TMaxx if you're looking to shop for real (but for less).

10. Give Goodwill a chance

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Yes, it's a thrift store and yes it is hand-me-downs. But I did get a brand new set of dishes for my apartment there so I'm not complaining. Not to mention, it's a great place to go for those themed party outfits that you'll only wear a Hawaiian shirt once in your life for.

11. Hot Air Balloon Festival

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The hot air ballon festival is back this year and you can find an all day pass (once again) on Groupon for $35! Although this event may be more pricey, it’s an all day experience you don’t want to miss!

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Please Spare Me From The Three Months Of Summer Break When People Revert Back To High Schoolers

They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

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I know a surprising amount of people who actually couldn't wait to go home for the summer. They look forward to swapping stories with their friends at the local diner, walking around their old high school with a weird sense of superiority, and reminiscing their pre-college lives.

Me? Not so much. I don't mean to sound bitter. It's probably really comforting to return to a town where everyone knows your name, where your younger friends want you around to do their prom makeup, and where you can walk through Target without hiding in the deodorant aisle. But because I did this really annoying thing where my personality didn't really develop and my social anxiety didn't really loosen its grip on me until college, I have a very limited number of people to return to.

If you asked someone from my high school about Julia Bond, they would probably describe her as shy, studious, and uptight. I distinctly remember being afraid of people who JUULed (did you get high from it? was it illegal? could I secondhand smoke it and get lung cancer?) and crying over Algebra 1 in study hall (because nothing says fun and friendly like mascara steaks and furious scribbling in the back corner while everyone else throws paper airplanes and plays PubG Mobile).

I like to tell my college friends that if I met High School Julia, I would beat her up. I would like to think I could, even though I go to the gym now a third of the time I did then. It's not that it was High School Julia's fault that she closed herself off to everyone. She had a crippling fear of getting a B and an even worse fear of other people. But because she was so introverted and scared, College Julia has nothing to do but re-watch "The Office" for the 23rd time when she comes back.

Part of me is jealous of the people who came into their own before college. I see pictures of the same big friend groups I envied from a distance in high school, all their smiling faces at each other's college football games and pool parties and beach trips, and it makes me sad that I missed out on so many friendships because I was too scared to put myself out there. That part of me really, really wishes I had done things differently.

But a bigger, more confident part of me is really glad I had that experience. Foremost, everything I've gone through has shaped me. I mean, I hid in the freaking bathroom during lunch for the first two weeks of my freshman year of high school. I never got up to sharpen my pencil because I was scared people would talk about me. I couldn't even eat in front of people because I was so overwhelmingly self-conscious. I remember getting so sick at cross country practice because I ran four or five miles on an empty stomach.

Now, I look back and cringe at the ridiculousness because I've grown so much since then. Sure, I still have my quirks and I'm sure a year from now I'll write an article about what a weirdo Freshman Julia was. But I can tell who had the same experience as me. I can tell who was lonely in high school because they talk to the kids on my floor that study by themselves. I can tell who was afraid of speaking up because they listen so well. I can tell who was without a friend group because they stand by me when others don't. I can tell who hated high school, because it's obvious that they've never been as happy as they are now.

My dislike for high school, while inconvenient for this summer, might be one of the best things to happen to me. I learned how to overcome my fears, how to be independent, and how to make myself happy. I never belonged in high school, and that's why I will never take for granted where I belong here at Rutgers.

So maybe I don't have any prom pictures with a bunch of colorful dresses in a row, and maybe I didn't go to as many football games as I should have. Maybe I would've liked pep rallies, and maybe I missed out on senior week at the beach. But if I had experienced high school differently, I wouldn't be who I am today.

I wouldn't pinch myself daily because I still can't believe how lucky I am to have the friends that I do.

I wouldn't smile so hard every time I come back from class and hear my floormates calling me from the lounge.

I wouldn't well up when my roommate leaves Famous Amos cookies on my desk before a midterm, or know how to help the girl having a panic attack next to me before a final, or hear my mom tell my dad she's never seen me this happy before.

If I had loved high school, I wouldn't realize how amazing I have it in college. So amazing, in fact, that I never want to go home.

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What It's Like Being An Introverted Leader

Different people lead differently.

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When you think of the qualities a leader or someone in a leadership position should have, being out-going is often mentioned. However, I don't think that always has to be the case. I've been a part of many different leadership opportunities and programs, yet I'm still the same socially awkward hermit I've always been. Being out-going and extroverted doesn't qualify someone to be a good leader, just like being shy and introverted makes you a bad one, it's about your skills.

When I went to a leadership program at a summer camp, I often heard that I didn't talk very much or I was too quiet and shy for a summer camp entertaining kids, I should have been more talkative. I'd also get a few counselors coming up to be that when they were in the same program I was in, they were also the same things I was and not to worry about it. Even now, I'm still quite and relatively shy person, but that doesn't discredit my ability to be a good leader, or anyone else's.

In my high school ASB (Associated Student Body) class, we took a fun personality test to find out what kind of leaders we were; someone who likes to be in charge, be in the spotlight, more organized, or stay in the background. I got someone who likes to be in the spotlight, which was a surprise to me too, but thinking about it, it makes sense. I'm not overly out-going, but given the right motivation, I don't mind going up to people and striking up a conversation.

I can also say that at some point I have possessed all four of these personalities or traits over the course of my different leadership roles. The reason I'm even bringing this personality test up is that it definitely shows that there are different types of leaders out there, and not all of them have to be extraverted. I tried to find the one I took but couldn't find the exact one, but if you're interested there are a ton of different ones out there.

Over time, I've learned and worked on many valuable skills, like conflict resolution, time management, actually listening to what others have to say, and more. I keep myself up to date with my surroundings and what's going on in the world, and I still meet and hang out with people, when I have time. People grow and learn on their own pace, we should let them without overly critiquing them.

In the end, whether someone is out-going or not shouldn't determine the ability they have to be a good leader, sure in some cases it's better to more extraverted, but it's not a make or break trait. So long as they have their mind in the right place and know how to handle different tasks and situations, it doesn't matter.

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