Skyline of St. Louis, MO

11 Things to Know About Living in St. Louis

Considering moving to St. Louis? Nicknamed the “Gateway to the West,” the largest city in Missouri is right on the Mississippi River and offers career and education opportunities, family-friendly activities, historical landmarks, and much more. Here are 11 things to know about living in St. Louis!

Affordable Living in a Healthy Economy

Looking down a downtown street with buildings on both sides. Photo by Instagram user @jasoncochranphotography
Photo via @jasoncochranphotography

Even though St. Louis is one of the largest cities in the Midwest (with a metro population of 2.8 million), it’s a great place to find affordable housing and job opportunities! Cost of living is 6% lower than the national average, median home prices are around $120,900 (with median rent around $759), and the unemployment rate is at about 2.9%. If you’re looking for careers with St. Louis’ biggest employers, check out BJC HealthCare, Washington University in St. Louis, Boeing, SSM Health, and Walmart.

Get a Great Education

A young man walks down a sidewalk on campus in a sweatshirt and jeans. Photo by Instagram user @wustl_officialg
Photo via @wustl_official

St. Louis boasts excellent public and private education from preschool all the way up to graduate school. Public schools like Clayton High SchoolLindbergh High School, and Kirkwood High School come highly recommended for their athletic and extracurricular programs, while private schools like John Burroughs SchoolMICDS, and Whitfield School are top-rated for class size and academic focus. For those looking for higher education, University of Missouri-St. Louis has one of only 17 optometry schools in the U.S., and Washington University in St. Louis has excellent STEM major offerings. There’s also Webster University, which has a robust fine arts program and a three-time world champion chess team, and St. Louis University, a private Jesuit college that has a sister campus in Madrid with study abroad opportunities.

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Home of the Famous Gateway Arch

An aerial view of the St. Louis Gateway Arch with the sunset in the distance. Photo by Instagram user @explorestlouis
Photo via @explorestlouis

The Gateway Arch is the most easily recognizable landmark in town. The arch—which was built in honor of Thomas Jefferson and his vision of a transcontinental United States—stands at 630 feet, making it the tallest arch in the world, as well as the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere. If you’ve never visited, schedule a tram ride to the top for amazing sights, explore the museum to learn more about Missouri’s role in pioneer history, or hop on a riverboat dinner cruise to get a different view of the arch!

Local Sports Teams to Root For

A baseball player points off into the stands. Photo by Instagram user @cardinals
Photo via @cardinals

Ask anyone in town where to find fun things to do in St. Louis, and you’ll probably be directed to Busch Stadium to watch the St. Louis Cardinals (MLB)! This is a city that loves its pro sports teams! Even though St. Louis no longer has a pro football team, the Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues (NHL) are holding it down. If you’re into soccer, the St. Louis Football Club has spawned members that later went on to represent the U.S. in the World Cup! More of a college basketball fan? Catch the St. Louis University Billikens men and women’s basketball games at Chaifetz Arena.

Take a Sip at Anheuser-Busch

Photo of the Exterior of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis. Photo by Instagram user @throughmylensco
Photo via @throughmylensco

Most people have heard of Anheuser-Busch—their beers, from Busch to Budweiser, are a staple of American lagers. But did you know that they’re a huge part of St. Louis history? In fact, their St. Louis Brewery is their biggest and oldest in the United States. Not to mention, it’s been a national historic landmark for over 50 years! Tour the brewery or head to the St. Louis Biergarten for professionally paired food and beer tastings. St. Louis is also home to the famous Budweiser Clydesdales! Grant’s Farm, a huge plot of land once worked by President Ulysses S. Grant, boasts a petting zoo, exotic animals like elephants and kangaroos, and the fluffy-footed horses that are featured in many Budweiser ads.

Go Wild at Forest Park

A Hippopotamus swims in the aqaurium and says hi to a young girl. Photo by Instagram user @stlzoo
Photo via @stlzoo

There’s no shortage of things to do in St. Louis, and a lot of them are located in Forest Park! This massive public park has 1,371 acres of green space, urban trails, and major attractions. Catch Broadway shows at The Muny, the largest outdoor musical theater in North America. Get in some winter ice skating at the Steinberg Skating Rink. Give into your curiosity at the St. Louis Science Center, where you can explore science and technology exhibits, get starstruck in the planetarium, or see nature films at the IMAX. Or spend the day strolling through the St. Louis Zoo to see red pandas, hippos, giraffes, and more!

Discover St. Louis History

Front view of an old statue sitting in central park and an old court house. Photo by Instagram user @romaonthego
Photo via @romaonthego

Step back into the past with St. Louis landmarks like the Old Courthouse, which was once the site of both the Dred Scott civil rights decision and the Virginia Minor women’s suffragette case. The Missouri History Museum has exhibits spanning everything from the Civil War to contemporary children’s toys, so you’ll find something that matches your historical interests. Once a major train depot, St. Louis Union Station has century-old architecture that history buffs will love (and you can even stay in its luxury hotel rooms). You can also visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis to catch a glimpse of the intricate mosaic artwork or tour the burial crypts—just be sure to call ahead first!

Visit the Area’s Best Attractions

Twist and turning stairs inside a museum. Photo by Instagram user @citymuseum
Photo via @citymuseum

Looking for St. Louis attractions to check out? The imaginative and whimsical City Museum is housed in the skeleton of the International Shoe Company factory. It’s a unique mixture of playground, aquarium, circus, and museum. The National Blues Museum gives a soulful sound to the past with traveling exhibits, as well as regular performances from local musicians. 2720 Cherokee is an art gallery with contemporary pieces focused on nature and Native American iconography. If you’re looking for some quieter things to do in St. Louis, consider browsing through books at the St. Louis Central Library or spending time at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Make a Date with Music

A dark red sign glows in dark as it hangs on the side and front of fox theater. Photo by Instagram user @schaeferpix
Photo via @schaeferpix

Music lovers can unite in hundreds of St. Louis venues to admire the city’s music history. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra is the second oldest symphony in the United States (right after the New York Philharmonic) and has won seven Grammys. The Fabulous Fox is a must-visit theater, showing Broadway hits like HamiltonWicked, and Chicago. History buffs and pianists should head to the Scott Joplin House, a museum dedicated to the legendary ragtime performer. Combine treats and beats at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant and live music club best known for its association with the father of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Chuck Berry—and don’t forget to check out the “Duck Room,” a small venue inside Blueberry Hill that was named after the famous duck-walk Berry performed there hundreds of times.

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Eat Something Uniquely St. Louis

A plate of pizza and fried ravioli. Photo by Instagram user @imospizzastl
Photo via @imospizzastl

Grab some napkins—St. Louis is famous for messy food! Head to Pappy’s Smokehouse for ribs, which are often grilled instead of smoked to give them a caramelized char. Ravioli gets a new look all over town when it’s fried, dipped in marinara, and lovingly nicknamed “t-ravs” at establishments like Charlie Gitto’s and Mama’s On the Hill. Looking for the best restaurants in St. Louis? Imo’s Pizza should be your first stop for St. Louis-style pizza. The dense, thin crust is cut into squares and covered in a generous amount of “Provel cheese” (a blend of processed mozzarella, provolone, and white cheddar that can only be found around Missouri). Or try the city’s favorite dessert at Gooey Louie: gooey butter cake. Like a lemon bar without the lemon, gooey butter cake has the consistency of a brownie and is beloved by locals.

Have a Night on the Town

A bartender serves a green martini with fire on top. Photo by Instagram user @truststl
Photo via @truststl

The best bars in St. Louis cover every possible taste, whether that’s champagne or light beer. Located in a historic bank, Trust is a craft cocktail paradise. That vibe continues at the 360, a rooftop bar with an incredible view (You can easily see right into Busch Stadium during Cardinals games). Get dressed to the nines before heading to the Thaxton, a speakeasy in a beautiful art deco venue used for corporate events and weddings. Heels or a bowtie not your style? The Hair of the Dog is a dive bar open until 3 a.m. with a hockey table and shuffleboard. For the more eclectic crowds looking for St. Louis nightlife, the Crack Fox boasts karaoke, punk, ska, or burlesque, depending on which night you go. Bottoms up!

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St. Louis Arch

11 Things to Know About Living in St. Louis via @extraspace