Enriching Your Conference Experience Through District Excursions
June 28, 2023 | Logan Breer
In 2023, Missouri’s Premier Downtown Revitalization Conference is calling St. Louis home. The city of St. Louis is at the core of St. Louis’s sprawling metropolitan county that stretches out to include dozens of municipalities and cities like Kirkwood, University City, Ferguson, and Sappington. This city has a complex history just like many places across the state and nation, but its complex past is not holding back people from pushing forward for change and accomplishing great things. This is part of the inspiration behind this year’s theme, “People-Centered Revitalization.”
There are three St. Louis historic commercial district currently participating in the St. Louis Main Streets program piloted by Missouri Main Street Connection over the past few years. Each of these unique districts has their own challenges, but also their own strengthens and opportunities. When you come to St. Louis to learn from our keynote speakers and other speakers, don’t miss the opportunity to enrich what you are learning in the session rooms with some self-guided excursions into St. Louis.
The historic commercial center of Dutchtown originates where Meramec Street crosses Virginia Avenue. Anchored to the east by the towering spires of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church and to the west by the Bavarian-styled Feasting Fox (under renovation and reopening next year), Downtown Dutchtown’s small-scale, mixed-use historic architecture creates an environment that balances urban density alongside a welcoming neighborhood atmosphere. With the help of partnerships, Dutchtown Main Streets has reactivated the largest park in their neighborhood, the Marquette Park, and installed new murals on Meramec Street. Dutchtown Main Streets and the Dutchtown neighborhood warmly welcome you to visit “a neighborhood that bears the weight of our city’s past and stands tall in the truth of who we are today. We are full of people who have experienced growth, contraction, and growth again. We are Dutchtown Proud.”
Today, Downtown Dutchtown is home to many places you need to visit while in St. Louis to shop, eat, and learn about niche businesses, concept spaces, and more including: several eclectic boutiques and resale shops, creative services, a halal grocer, and a couple of unique concept spaces: The Wink and Urban Eats. The Wink is a retail incubator allowing small, local makers and sellers to try their hand at the brick-and-mortar business. Urban Eats provides a similar ecosystem for aspiring restauranteurs, with both shared kitchen space and vendor spaces encircling a shared dining area.
Pictured Above: Urban Eats in Dutchtown.
Additionally, you can stop grab a bite to eat at Tacos La Jefa that brought the birria craze, All Rolled Up who makes unique egg roll creations in both sweet and savory forms, Beignet All Day with a St. Louis twist to the popular New Orleans Treat, Original Crusoe’s who has been serving up classic comfort food to the neighborhood for over 40 years, and Marie’s Snack Shack with expertly grilled St. Louis-style barbecue. There’s a lot to love about Dutchtown, with its rich history and promising future. MMSC hopes you explore this neighborhood, meet the neighbors, and learn what makes them “Dutchtown Proud!”
Pictured Above: Laclede’s Landing
This tiny neighborhood is tucked between two bridges, a highway, and a river, but the residents, business owners, and other stakeholders are not letting their challenges overshadow their amazing opportunities: being the only Saint Louis neighborhood and commercial district on the Mississippi River, having beautiful building stock, and the St. Louis Gateway Arch National Park on the other side of Eads Bridge. The Laclede’s Landing Main Street Board of Directors invites you to plan on coming to Laclede’s Landing for an excursion during your time in St. Louis for Missouri’s Premier Downtown Conference. Download this Tour Guide created by Laclede’s Landing Main Street and the Missouri Historical Society. This guide will take you to points of interest in the district, provide historical insight to the significance of the architecture and the district’s role in Missouri’s history, and areas to dine.
Additionally, there is a “Lunch on the Landing” happening at the Katherine Ward Burg Garden every Friday from 11:30am to 1:30pm with food trucks, live music, and community (Download the invite card here). Laclede’s Landing is a short and safe walk—under one mile—from our conference hotel, the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark. You can walk north across Market Street to Kiener Plaza Park then west past the old courthouse crossing over the pedestrian land bridge and greenspace to access and walk through the Arch grounds.
Pictured Above: Delmar Main Street
This nine mile, East-West boulevard and commercial corridor with a complex past stretches through the city from Vandeventer to N Price Rd. Over the past few years, Delmar Boulevard is coming full circle on the unity behind how the street originally got its name, which according to records found in the History of St. Louis Neighborhoods was the result of two landowners, one from Delaware and one from Maryland, living on opposite sides of the road who combined their estate names (Norbury L. Wayman, 1980, Digitally accessed from www.stlouis-mo.gov). Delmar Main Street is working through their second year as champions to “identify and remedy causes of racial and economic inequality, reduce gentrification, and create opportunities for people of color and women” as community members from both sides of Delmar Boulevard are coming together to “Reimagine Delmar” as united through Delmar Main Street.
Pictured Above: Delmar Main Street
The Delmar Main Street Board of Directors invites you to come see ‘Delmar UNITED’ while grabbing a bite to eat, shop local businesses, and see the changes that has happened. Two local restaurants you will want to visit are Brew Tulum Specialty Coffee Experience that serves a wide variety of handcrafted Mexican meals, specialty coffee, & desserts and Deli Divine that serves Jewish American food as a Jewish Deli and a full market.
Pictured Above: Deli Divine in Delmar.
These three districts have utilized the Main Street Approach™ over the past few years to do amazing things, but they are not the only places where there are people doing great work. We can also learn from districts like Kirkwood and North Grand who are examples of both thriving and developing districts in St. Louis.