Sunday, April 14, 2013

Taking Recommendations for St. Louis, Kansas City (MO), Memphis, New Orleans

In May, 2011, I drove this Ford Focus from Detroit to Pittsburgh,
over to Boston, and down to New York as part of a business trip to collect data.
In May, I'm going to drive to and through St. Louis, Kansas City (MO), Memphis, and New Orleans. It's part of an annual work trip, and without boring you with details, my role is to drive to all these cities and throughout the day make 11 stops.

All the stop must be at least one mile apart. I have to be stopped for a minimum of 15 minutes. At some of the stops, I can get out of the car, walk around, have a bite to eat, but for efficiency reasons, I can't do that at all the stops. Some stops hold nothing more than 15 minutes of sitting in the car and tweeting (while I run a data collection test on some phones, which requires very little of my attention).

While this will be the third year I take this work trip, each year the cities where I've been assigned have changed. Last year I had Atlanta, Jacksonville, and Miami. In 2011, I went to Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York.

My favorite cities for this particular project were those in which I had a wide range of places to stop, like parks, waterfront areas, coffee shops, restaurants for lunch (with nearby parking), museums, major sites (stadiums, historic buildings), so that my day was filled with variety. Otherwise the trip gets boring fast.

So I'm taking your suggestions for where to go in St. Louis, Kansas City (MO), Memphis, and New Orleans. You can add your suggestions in the comments (and note that all comments go through an approval queue, so don't freak out if it doesn't appear immediately).


Tom Thrash said...

I've been to all four, and to all but Memphis at least twice. For me, it was primarily cross country travel and seeing baseball and football games, and also a business trip to New Orleans.

I was in KC most recently, last November for a Chiefs game. The stadium and downtown are a good 30-45 minutes apart, and a flight delay prevented me from getting the planned time in downtown KC I had hoped. There were two breweries and a steak house I wanted to try, but really didn't have much else in mind but wandering . My hotel was across the street from the stadium. I had a good cab driver give me a nice quick tour of downtown and some interesting sounding (historic etc) spots on the way back to the airport. It was enticing enough that I may well go back sooner than I might have otherwise planned.

I was last in St. Louis in 2011. Love this city. The Gateway Arch is just captivating, and a ride to the top is worth the wait. The Museum of Western Expansion beneath the Arch is a worthwhile stop. Wandering along the Mississippi is a must. I took a river boat tour on one trip--that was fun. Busch Stadium, if the Cards are home, could be one of my favorite ballparks--really nice views depending on your seat. The Schlafly Tap Room is a must stop, if you're done traveling for the night. I will say, tho, that despite feeling perfectly safe during the day, two separate incidents at night in downtown made me rather uncomfortable--had a group in a park shouting at me and trying to make me come over to them, and then had a gang quickly run up to me, circle me, and then take off.

I've been to New Orleans pre and post Katrina. Fun city. Spent time primarily in the French Quarter, wandering between Bourbon Street and the River. Music, bar, restaurant, music, bar, strip club, restaurant, music, bar, strip club, restaurant. I have never EVER had a bad meal there. Best omelet I ever had was there. Ditto the best salad dressing. Tame place by day, gets crazier at night. Went to a Saints game, and had a lot of fun after the game walking from the Superdome back to Bourbon Street. I'd have to dig through some of my notes to remember where I ate some of those meals, but don't think you can go wrong. I will note that, Vickbsurg MS between StL and MO has a pretty interesting Civil War site. The drive across Lake Pontchatrain is beautiful (but long). Also, the drive along the gulf coast (Biloxi--Jefferson Davis house is definitely worth a stop).

Memphis--wow, longer than I realize since I've been there. Went down to Graceland, drove across the Mississippi into AR, and wandered around Beale St. Was at the western terminus of a drive through Civil War battlefield sites, and may not have done more than lunch here.

Shiloh, TN, is one of the more sombre of the Civil War battlefields. If you're passing by, worth a stop.

Not sure if this will help you, or if it just let me reminisce a bit about some trips...

One More Bite said...

Of your list, I have only been to New Orleans. Bourbon Street is the most well known but I actually thought that was a shame, because it was the least favorite part of my visit. I would recommend: Cafe du Monde as a must stop for beignets and cafe au lait, Aunt Sally's a few doors down for pralines, Rue Royale for antique shops, art galleries & street performers, and Commander's Palace for jazz brunch (my review here

For more modern southern fare try Sobou.

Also...I didn't get a chance to eat at ACME Oyster as the wait was too long, but I heard it's one of the best places for oysters in the city.

Have a blast!

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