Life in St Louis
An Introduction to St. Louis
St. Louis is a microcosm of the American Dream -- a true melting pot of a city! The greater St. Louis area is home to nearly 3 million people, and has the amenities of a large metropolitan city. Additionally, the city is made up of distinct neighborhoods, each of which provide their own community amenities and charm. So St. Louis, you could say, is an ideal city for those seeking both a metropolitan and small-community feel! It is also a city that prides itself in their arts, sports, and proximity to nature.
There are world-class universities and medical facilities that draw people from all over the globe. It is a city that protects and celebrates its roots, with neighborhoods that are made up mostly of buildings built in the 19th century. The people who live here take pride in their midwestern kindness and their southern hospitality. It is a foodie’s dream, with a wide variety of cuisines, ranging from some of the world’s top BBQ pits to authentic $3 dimsum to bespoke 10-person-per-night culinary experiences. It is a wonderful place to raise a family, yet boasts exciting events and nightlife perfect for single people! The city is home to countless festivals and parties, which highlights it’s unique communities.
St. Louis is a midwestern medical mecca, with major healthcare systems in Barnes Jewish/Washington University, SSM Healthcare, and Mercy Healthcare. The city offers non-medical persons bountiful employment opportunities, with industry-leading companies in information technology, plant sciences, manufacturing, and a pretty big brewery that you might have heard of. Not to mention major universities, including Washington University (recognized as one of the nation’s top universities by US News and World Report), St. Louis University, Webster University, and University of Missouri-St. Louis. There is also a thriving artist community, that is ever-expanding.
Arts and Humanities:
St. Louis prides itself on its art scene. From the beautiful (and free!) art museum to its lively (and free!) outdoor Shakespeare in the Park, there is something for everyone!
It is also home to a world-class symphony, which is the second oldest in the country. Top Broadway shows tour through the city at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. The Edison Theatre hosts the St. Louis Black Repertory Company, which has been called “America’s best African-American theatre.” The St. Louis Municipal Theatre is the oldest and largest outdoor theatre, where Broadway shows are on display outdoors with 1,500 free seats. Other “must visits” are the urban-playground-for-all-ages City Museum, the bountiful Soulard Farmers Market, the urban St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, and the Magic House, a mystical children’s museum.
The Cardinals are persistently one of Major League Baseball’s top teams. Even when they lose, the games are still lively and entertaining! The Blues are one of the National Hockey League's most exciting, young teams, that have been a staple in the playoffs for the past several years. St. Louis sports fans are known for both their hometown pride as well as their visitor-accommodating attitudes!
St. Louis is recognized as a city that is rife with “green spaces” with more than 100 parks, over 200 miles of trails, and many dog-runs. Forest Park is the most renowned of all. It sits at the center of the city, adjacent to the BJC medical campus, and measures nearly 1300 acres which is approximately 500 acres larger than NYC’s Central Park. Forest Park was named the number one best city park in America (Thrillist, 2016), where it was noted that “nowhere else in America will you be able to walk manicured green space, look at a Van Gogh painting, and visit with polar bears and red pandas -- all without spending a dime.” This references the beautiful zoo, the extensive art museum, and the broad lawns, but that’s not all! The park also hosts two golf courses, a massive glass display greenhouse (The Jewel Box), a free month-long Shakespeare festival, and a huge balloon race! St. Louis also hosts a world-class botanical garden that has been a staple of the city since 1859, officially the oldest active botanical garden in America. It houses one of the countries largest orchid collections, as well as the country’s first geodesic dome conservancy which houses plants from all over the globe. The garden also hosts various events throughout the year, including the Garden Glow, where the garden is adorned with beautiful lights, Spirits in the Garden, which celebrates local distilleries and restaurants, Japanese and Chinese festivals that celebrate the countries’ respective heritage and flora, and a music festival. The garden is also home to various pieces of beautiful Dale Chihuly glass-work. Associated with Missouri Botanical Garden is the Butterfly House, which immerses visitors in an indoor greenhouse and outdoor gardens filled with hundreds of breeds of brilliantly colored butterflies.
There are multiple indoor climbing gyms, curling rinks, and community sports (including, but not limited to, soccer, rugby, broomball, and even Gaelic football!). There are also opportunities for hiking, fishing, hunting, camping, skydiving, even cave exploration nearby! No matter what your sport interests are, there are opportunities in St. Louis.
Festivals and Fairs:
The Explore St. Louis website states “St. Louis gladly accepts any excuse to throw a party” and boy, is that true! St. Louis boasts the largest Mardi Gras celebration outside of New Orleans (and the first largest Mardi Gras dog parade), as well as the massive multi-ethnic Festival of Nations, the unparalleled (and sustainable!) LouFest Music Festival, a huge St. Patrick’s Day Parade, PrideFest, Jazz Fest, and more! No matter the time of year, there are seemingly endless social gatherings!