Summer Travel Quest #30

See Chuck Berry Perform

At Blueberry Hill in St. Louis, you can still see the musical legend. And it’ll only cost you $35.
by Robert Reid Posted Jun 19th 2014 3:36p.m.
Robert is a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon. He’s covered the Great Plains for Lonely Planet’s USA guidebook and is now the Offbeat Observer for National Geographic Traveler.

Did you know you can see that first-ever inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame playing his hometown every month for $35? Considering the creator of the duck walk is now in his upper 80s, this is something any rock pilgrim should prioritize. Quick.

Blueberry Hill in Delmar Loop of western St. Louis is a lively multi-part bar and grill decked out in nostalgia – vintage jukeboxes, Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s” dolls, Chuck Berry’s Gibson used for his 1958 hit “Johnny B. Goode.” Along the strip are other busy restaurants, used record stores, a boutique hotel, the St. Louis Walk of Fame, a new 24-hour diner to open soon, plus a eight-foot bronze statue of Chuck himself.

Didn’t always used to be that way.

“In the seventies, this was all motorcycle gangs and murders here. It was bad. But now?” says Joe Edwards, gesturing to the families and goateed guys in cargo shorts feasting on burgers in the restaurant Edwards opened over 40 years ago. “Yeah, I love St. Louis.”

INSIDER TIP

Tickets go on sale after each month’s show for the next month. The next show goes on sale June 20 at 11 a.m. local time. Book ahead, then show up an hour early and you’re likely to get seats near the front.

So does the city’s most famous son, who championed it most in his atlas-trotting anthem “Back in the USA” and never moved away after his songs broke color barriers in the late ‘50s.

His sets in the Duck Room, a 300-capacity basement stack that packs in Chuck regulars each month, may not be the tightest set you’ll ever see. Arthritis has left a mark on Chuck’s guitar chops, but his wit and vocals are 100 percent, plus the incomparable Ingrid (very clearly Chuck’s daughter) sometimes helps out with vocals, as Chuck's complained in recent years of his vocal chords catching up with him. Across stage, his son sometimes fills in on guitar solos too.

“It’s Charles Berry on guitar,” Chuck yells as he hands a solo off. “I love him!”

It’s great fun. And the burgers are good too.

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Robert Reid is a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon. He’s covered the Great Plains for Lonely Planet’s USA guidebook and is now the Offbeat Observer for National Geographic Traveler.

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MORE SUMMER TRAVEL QUESTS

28) Take a (Night) Hike

29) Descend into a Billionaire’s Wine Cellar

30) See Chuck Berry Perform

31) Visit an Authentic Speakeasy

32) Ride the World's Tallest, Fastest, Steepest Wooden Roller Coaster

>> All 99 Summer Travel Quests

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Use the hashtag #99SummerQuests to share your own summer travels, and follow along with us at @MapQuest and Instagram.

Chuck Berry performs in St. Louis earlier this year
Chuck Berry performs in St. Louis earlier this year
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