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11 Best Neighborhoods in St. Louis, MO

By: Susan Finch
July 26, 2021

Situated along the Mississippi River, St. Louis is known for its 630-ft Gateway Arch built in the 1960s, honoring Lewis and Clark's westward expedition. It's fitting St. Louis' nickname is the Gateway to the West. St. Louis also holds the distinction of hosting more free major tourist attractions than any other city in the U.S. outside of D.C. The art museum, history museum, science center, and Zoo are free to all.

Beyond St. Louis’ history and stunning attractions, it's home to craft breweries, historic neighborhoods, and a vibrant arts and nightlife scene. Ready to move to the Show-Me State? Here are the 11 best neighborhoods in St. Louis, Missouri.

1. Downtown St. Louis

Downtown St. Louis is among the most diverse and lively neighborhoods in the city. This walkable neighborhood offers eclectic architecture, modern apartment complexes, and lofts turned condos. You’re never far from dozens of restaurants, pubs, and cafes.

Downtown St. Louis is also home to the retro Busch Stadium ballpark and Gateway Arch. For live music, Dome at America's Center arena hosts concerts and sports. Ballpark Village draws locals and visitors to trendy bars and dance clubs that stay open until 3 a.m. Dinner and a show are the draws at the 42-acre entertainment district of Westport Plaza. But you can't live in St. Louis without a favorite place to hear some soul music, like at Soulard.

2. Lafayette Square

The cozy neighborhood of Lafayette Square is a small and iconic historic neighborhood. The upscale area boasts 30 acres of greenery, an urban landscape, and classy restaurants and lounges. Free concerts entertain locals from the pristine Lafayette Park surrounded by Victorian townhouses and wine bars. Renters will find plenty of shops and craft brews along Park Avenue.

The proximity to Downtown St. Louis makes Lafayette Square incredibly convenient. You're only three blocks south of Downtown and 1.4 miles to the Gateway Arch, an ideal situation for young professionals looking to live in the city and enjoy upscale amenities.

3. Soulard

True to its name, Soulard is a haven for blues and music lovers. It's packed with bars, laid-back pizza shops, restaurants, and markets. This St. Louis neighborhood is also home to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery that offers tours. Soulard also hosts its own lively Mardi Gras Parade where visitors show up in droves.

You can find the oldest church in St. Louis in Soulard as well: Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. The city is also known for its pre-Prohibition roots and historic architecture with Federal-style Pre-Victorian row houses.

4. Shaw

The quiet neighborhood of Shaw is situated along tree-lined streets with Victorian homes and is home to Tower Grove Park, which has a pond, farmers' market, and historic palm house. For more green space, the Missouri Botanical Garden hosts international gardens.

Shaw is also a local historic district whose structures and character are protected by city ordinances. Despite the protections, the neighborhood is seeing renovation and growth. Local groups are striving to protect the neighborhood, help renovate it and keep it as one of the most intact neighborhoods in historic St. Louis.

5. Central West End

The upscale Central West End is known for its mix-use buildings, lively character, and live music. This St. Louis neighborhood is known for its walkability with everything from art galleries to bookshops.

The crowning jewel in Central West End is the nearby Forest Park with lakes, woods, and attractions like the St. Louis zoo. Over at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 20th-century mosaics cover the walls, drawing tourists seeking out culture and inspiration.

6. Debaliviere Place

Debaliviere Place is a stomping ground for renters with upscale, renovated apartments and spacious condominiums. You'll also find single-family homes for rent and apartments in older high rises along Union Boulevard. This St. Louis neighborhood is ideal for college students attending Washington University. It’s also conveniently located next to Forest Park and Central West End to enjoy the rest of the city.

7. Tower Grove

Formerly known as Oak Hill, Tower Grove is home to a namesake park with an arboretum and cultural programs, including a Summer Children's Concert Series. You'll also find lecture series, art, and band concerts. Over the last few decades, Tower Grove has undergone a push for renovation and refresh of its residential, commercial, and mixed-use buildings. Today, new restaurants, bars, and shopping have been erected around the neighborhood.

Look for apartments near South Grand Business District along the eastern boundary of Tower Grove South for proximity to pubs and cafes. The neighborhood is also home to an eclectic array of restaurants including Morrocan, Ethiopian, Persian, and Vietnamese food.

8. Forest Park

Forest Park is home to a popular namesake park that includes a trolley, which jettisons visitors around to various on-site attractions. The park is home to cultural institutions like the Missouri History Museum, the Muny outdoor musical theater, and the St. Louis Art Museum, among others. It's perhaps best known for the free Saint Louis Zoo with over 12,000 animals, 500 species, and a worldwide reputation for animal care and wildlife conservation.

Not only will you find a skating rink in Forest Park, but you’ll also find plenty of dining, like The Boathouse Restaurant. For nature lovers, the 75-foot Cascades waterfall is a popular spot for picnics and weddings. For hiking, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Forest offers trails for bird watchers and over 100 species of migratory warblers. Tennis, boating, and handball are options for athletic enthusiasts calling the area around Forest Park home.

9. Benton Park

Situated on the southside of St. Louis and just west of Soulard sitsBenton Park, a neighborhood founded in 1866. An artificial lake and rustic bridge are part of the longstanding features of the original site, which was a city cemetery. Today, Benton Park has undergone a remodel with a new landscape.

Underground caverns attracted local beer makers to Benton Park, as these chilly locations helped preserve their creations. As the brewing industry took off, German workers and architectural pros built up the area with detailed masonry and carpentry. The stunning red brick architecture attracts young professionals, creatives, and families looking to settle in for the long haul.

10. Grand Center

Artists and culture lovers live in Grand Center, a vibrant district that offers both experiential and mainstream performances. Grand Central is home to the Fabulous Fox Theater with musicals and comedy shows, and Powell Hall, a former vaudeville house. Today, The St. Louis Symphony plays from its stage. First Friday Art walks draw locals to the district for gallery browsing, cocktails, and live entertainment. Come early to stop by The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis and take in innovative exhibits.

Grand Center is perfect for young professionals and retirees looking to enjoy the cornerstone of St. Louis’ culture. It’s also three miles to Downtown St. Louis for an easy commute. With over 1,500 cultural events annually, there’s something to do just about every day and night of the week in Grand Center.

11. Webster Groves

The charming suburb of Webster Groves made a list of the best Missouri Creative Communities as home to eclectic local restaurants and hip boutiques. It's also the perfect location for students of Webster University or theater lovers who frequent the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Webster Groves frequently makes lists of the best places to live for families thanks to its safe reputation and quality schools. Public art, annual cultural events, and a strong small business network attract newcomers looking for a tight-knit community.

Which St. Louis Neighborhood is Right for You?

Moving to St. Louis and ready to start looking for your new home? Browse Apartment List to find that dream St. Louis apartment.

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AUTHOR
Susan Finch is a freelance writer and content manager focusing on local experiences, travel, and anything relating to really good food and craft brews. Her work has appeared in travel guidebooks and national magazines and newspapers. Read More
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