Michael N., M1
I have become a total festival junkie since moving to St. Louis, and I can say with confidence that Cherokee Street Cinco de Mayo is my favorite festival yet! It features three stages with live music and intermittent dance performances, many restaurants and bars offering specials out on the street, and friends and families from all over the city coming together to spend time on the street that has come to be known as the focal point of Mexican-Saint Louisan culture! P.S. It is free!!!
Michael N., M1
Did you know that the first cocktail party recorded in history took place in the CWE (at what is now the Archbishop’s house) in 1917? That’s alright — you are still invited to celebrate this historic event each June in the streets of the CWE, with unique cocktails crafted by CWE restaurants, live music on two stages, and a cocktail competition! P.S. It is free!
Tiffany W., M1
Held in late August in Tower Grove Park and organized by the International Institute of St. Louis, the Festival of Nations celebrates the beauty of world cultures! Local communities, representing over 40 countries, come together to showcase their mouth-watering national cuisines, eye-catching handicrafts, and awe-inspiring performances of music and dance.
Jamie M., M1
The annual M1 float trip on the Meramec River is a rite of passage, an amazing bonding experience, and a unique opportunity to drink alcoholic (or non-alcoholic) beverages and eat snacks while floating down a river on a giant platoon of over 20 rafts that have been tied together. No icebreaker activity you’ll do during orientation can beat the connections you make with your classmates as you swim, explore caves, and relax while floating for four hours down a winding river.
Samantha L., M1
Summer is a glorious time in St. Louis and Fourth of July is a good midpoint in the season before things get too toasty. America’s birthday is signified by the weekend long Fair St. Louis, complete with a huge parade downtown, free concerts every night, and many other activities. 4th of July can also be a good time to get out of the city and go on a float trip, camp, or head to the Lake of the Ozarks. Many surrounding communities mark the holiday with various festivals and events. Trust me, you won’t have trouble finding fireworks, free events, and plenty of sun and fun for July 4th!
Tiffany W., M1
Hosted annually over Labor Day Weekend by the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which is located just across the road from the WashU medical campus, the Greek Fest is your chance to trick your tongue and brain into thinking you’re in the beautiful country of Greece. Enjoy fan favorites like lamb shank, rice pilaf, spanakopita, baklava… (are you salivating yet?) or try something new!
Michael N., M1
What could make a beer festival better? What if you were to replace a sticky and poorly ventilated warehouse with the streets of the Grove and Cherokee neighborhoods, and the booths and long lines with local businesses agreeing to host a brewery with plenty of standing room? Well, you would get IndiHop! Taking place every May, IndiHop costs $30 for bottomless tasters of delicious craft beers, free shuttle rides back and forth between the two neighborhoods, and a wicked good time exploring local shops!!!
Alex S., M1
Origami, ramen, bonsai, karate, and ikebana are among the number of things you can expect to experience at the Missouri Botanical Garden Japanese Festival. Sponsored by the many Japanese organizations in the St. Louis area (and there are quite a few of them), the festival offers entertainment for those of all knowledge levels of Japanese history and culture, although the food alone is enough reason not to miss this yearly event. If cosplay is more your thing, the festival also has a cosplay competition, and several of the merchants sell related goods. The one downside of cramming so many awesome things into three days is that the more popular demonstrations fill up quickly so arriving early is a must. Festival goers also have complete access to the botanical gardens, and can leave on a guided tour every half hour. Anyone looking to get more involved with the Saint Louis Japanese community should contact the St. Louis Japan Society.
Matt L., M1
LouFest is an annual two-day music festival in Forest Park right next to the medical school. The venue contains three stages, numerous food stands, and a variety of vendors. The 2017 line-up was mostly alternative rock music with headliners Weezer and Cage the Elephant (and my favorites Rainbow Kitten Surprise and Hippo Campus). However, there was also an eclectic mix of other performers, including Snoop Dogg, so definitely check out the lineup to see who’s coming. Cost for a two-day pass is $95 for regular purchase or $85 for early bird. There are also some one-day options available closer to the date of the festival. LouFest 2018 will take place September 8-9.
Priyanka P., M1
St. Louis is home to the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country! The events are in Soulard, the historic French neighborhood only a short Uber or MetroLink ride away from the medical campus. The ever-unpredictable Midwestern weather means that you may be celebrating in balmy or freezing temperatures. Luckily, the beads, beer, and crowds of revellers are always a constant during the Grand Parade and its after-party in the streets of Soulard. The Mardi Gras festivities last for about a month through January and February, and feature events like a “cajun cook-off,” a snowman softball tournament, a 5K, pet parade, and the Weiner Dog Derby. The Grand Parade is the celebration’s finale, with 100 floats, thousands of beads, and festively-dressed attendees. Pack your favorite sparkly gear, beads, facepaint (and maybe a coat), and get ready for some fun!
Michael N., M1
Shakespeare in the Park is a fantastic, outdoor, professionally produced, live performance of one play per year in the middle of Forest Park! Pack a picnic with your favorite snacks and beverages (alcoholic or otherwise), grab a gaggle of your favorite friends and a blanket, and hit up Shakespeare in the Park this June to see Romeo and Juliet!!
Cory B. F., M1
There is something magical about the concept of floating through the air, tethered to a giant balloon. During The Great Forest Park Balloon Race, you can live this dream vicariously through watching gorgeous hot air balloons race through the city in the oldest and largest modern competition in the nation. The night before the Great Race, be sure to travel to Art Hill and enjoy the Balloon Glow — a fun-filled event with live music, classic St. Louis treats, light-up toys, and spectacularly beautiful displays of glowing hot air balloons. The entire event is free and the Balloon Glow ends with a fireworks finale that you cannot miss.