One of my favorite St. Louis suburbs to spend the day in is Kirkwood. The neighborhood is quirky, full of charm, and filled with architecture from the early 1900s (I dream of living in one of the many homes with a wrap-around porch.). I suggest spending a day to get to know this quirky suburb.
Breakfast: Start out your day at Strange Donuts with this locally owned gem. If your kid is adventurous they might enjoy trying a Maple Bacon (my personal favorite), a Gooey Butter (my oldest’s favorite), a Red Velvet, or one of the seasonal donuts on offer. If they’re not so adventurous they always have the Rainbow Pony (vanilla icing with sprinkles), cinnamon rolls, glazed and other standards, while you enjoy the strange stuff! (For more on this and other St. Louis breakfasts checkout Favorite Breakfasts)
While you’re chowing down on your donuts, walk around the small downtown area and peek in the windows of the cute shops, including the arts and crafts mecca: Pottery Hollow. If your little one loves trains, walk to the old school train station and imagine you’re starting on a cross country journey. Trains come in fairly often so you are likely to get to watch one go by.
After breakfast, either head down the street to the Magic House or the slightly out of town Laumeir Sculpture Park.
The Magic House: I mostly suggest this Children’s Museum for children 10 and under. For one-year-olds to ten-year-olds this is the ultimate playhouse with learning opportunities as a bonus. It looks like a big normal house from the outside, but once inside every corner is a new area to play and check out. There are permanent exhibits such as the music science, children’s village (kids get to try out careers around town like vet, restaurant owner, and grocery cashier), and the toddler area with water play, sand play, and places to climb around. If you’ve been before and exhausted the place there are a few areas that change every few months.
Laumeier Sculpture Park: Have you ever wanted to take a hike and also go to an art museum? Well here is your chance. This quirky area has a variety of fairly easy trails with sculptures all along the way. Some of the art can be climbed on, some have sound effects, and of course the landscape becomes part of the art as well. Some of the trail is somewhat paved and stroller friendly if you have small ones.
Lunch: I suggest bringing your own lunch so you have lots of time to check out all there is to offer at the Magic House and Laumeier. When the weather is nice, the Magic House has covered tables right next to a nature play area that are perfect for a picnic. They do have some food available for sale at the cafe, but the offerings are slim. Laumeier has picnic sites galore, but no cafe offering.
Late Afternoon: When you’re all played or hiked out, stop by the Sugar Shack back by the train station. This adorable old fashioned candy store looks like something out of a Roald Dahl book with giant glass jars of candy behind glass cases. The stars of the show are the freshly made flavored cotton candy and unique sodas made to order. My favorite is a Fireworks float (that’s right, they have ice cream too) that tastes like a creamy melted atomic fireball! Treats are almost ridiculously cheap, for example the float is $2 and an ice cream cone is $1.
When you’re all sugared up: Now is a good time to further explore whatever piqued your interest in the morning or wander down a side street for some more unique shops and restaurants. Close by, you can walk to the independent Kirkwood Library if you need some downtime. The children’s area is full of little spots to curl up and read.
Dinner: Right on the square, Mike Duffy’s flag shop offers “the best burger in St. Louis” according to them. While I’m not sure about that, they do have some unique burger options, such as the Rounder Chilli burger (which my little one and I split), Bison burgers, and a guacamole burger. I liked the chilli and burger together and didn’t miss the bread. They also allow you to switch out fries for sweet potato waffle fries, which we had to take advantage of! If you’re not in the mood for American fare at an Irish pub, I suggest Wasabi’s just off the main square. Here you’ll find a wide variety of sushi, including my favorite the Sexy Lady which is delivered on fire!