Tower Grove Park

2853 S Grand Blvd
St Louis MO 63118

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Within walking distance of the hopping South Grand neighborhood and its many popular ethnic restaurants, Tower Grove Park is a popular spot for both family picnics and large-scale events. Located in the shadow of the Compton Hill Water Tower which gives both the park and nearby Tower Grove neighborhood their names, Tower Grove Park is oft-overlooked compared to the much larger Forest Park across town, but has a flavor and character all its own. With stone gates and colorful pavilions dating to the 1880s, Tower Grove Park is faced in on all sides by charming brick row houses, and is home to large outdoor festivals of every stripe once the weather turns favorable.

Parking and public transportation at Tower Grove Park
Tower Grove Park pre-dates cars (and therefore parking lots) by several decades, so street parking is the way to go. Though South Grand to the East and Kingshighway Blvd. to the West are both busy streets devoid of parking spaces, Arsenal to the South and Magnolia to the North are both residential streets with plenty of places to park. When the park is open for normal operation, the park is also cris-crossed with accessible, meandering roadways throughout, though these are often closed during special events. The neighboring Tower Grove neighborhood is entirely residential with free-for-anyone street parking, provided you don't mind walking a few blocks. The Metrobus also makes frequent stops up and down South Grand Blvd., providing a good way for those taking public transit to access the park.

Best and worst time go to Tower Grove Park
South Grand Blvd. is one of the major arteries in the City of St. Louis, and can get rather backed up during the evening rush hour. Likewise, the more popular outdoor festivals can cause snarls for anyone trying to make their way to the park, though these are relatively small headaches compared to similar circumstances in larger cities. In a more general sense, August in St. Louis can be oppressively hot and muggy, with three-digit temperatures that can make a stroll in the park uncomfortable for some.

Admission to Tower Grove Park
No admission fees to Tower Grove Park. Open hours are from dawn till dusk. No camping allowed. Picnic areas can be reserved for a fee.

Must see/do at Tower Grove Park
The Muckerman's Children's Fountain accommodates visitors trying to get away from the notorious St. Louis summers. Featuring pop-jets and a large central water bowl, this park is particularly popular with children looking for a place to play. Tower Grove Park is also home to the only grass tennis courts in the city, ten softball fields, and three baseball fields. A walk around the park will also showcase dozens of ornate wooden pavilions and picnic shelters from the 1800s, brightly-painted and built to emulate popular styles from around the world, from the onion-topped Turkish Pavilion to serpentine dragons on the Chinese Pavilion.

Other places to visit near Tower Grove Park
South Grand offers ethnic flavors from around the world, from Ethiopian cuisine at Meskerem to Vietnamese dishes at Pho Grand. The strip also offers Japanese, Italian, Persian, Chinese, Thai, and Moroccan food within roughly a six-block stretch. If American dining is more your thing, City Diner offers greasy-spoon fare in a retro setting, and MoKaBee's boasts a wide variety of coffee beverages both hot and cold.

Insider tip for visitors to Tower Grove Park
There are six small ballfields on the south edge of Tower Grove Park that vaguely resemble a grassy baseball field or perhaps a cricket pitch. They are, in fact, "corkball" fields, a sport invented by employees of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery nearly a century ago, which was originally played with the cork out of a wooden beer cask and knocked around with a table leg. St. Louis is the only place in the world where this odd little sport is played.

Author's bio: Sean Kelly is a freelance writer based out of St. Louis. He is originally from Chicago, but thankfully is not a Cubs fan.