St. Louis is awesome, and our not-so-little hidden gem is starting to gain attention and pop up on “best lists” everywhere. Anyone who lives in St. Louis knows that this city the best, but if you haven’t already figured that out, here are 17 reasons why.
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. St. Louis is simply stunning.
We have a pretty rich history, which means we have some absolutely stunning historic buildings everywhere you look! The Gateway Arch is (obviously) our most iconic landmark, but even our neighborhoods and homes have features that make them special and truly unique.
2. Speaking of The Arch… it never gets old (and it’s a symbol of one of our best qualities).
There’s a reason we earned the nickname "The Gateway to The West;" St. Louis was the starting point for the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition, which paved the way for westward expansion in the 1800s. We’re right in the middle of the country, so the city still serves as a "gateway" for people on the move (both west AND east).
3. It’s not just the architecture that makes us beautiful; our park system can’t be beat!
St. Louis was founded in an era when there was just more space to spread out! These days, urban developers struggle with problems like population density and creating more space within more compact spaces, but when St. Louis was laid out, the city planners made sure to leave plenty of room for green space, which means we have TONS of it. There are more than 100 parks within city limits (and plenty more in the ‘burbs) and we make a point of keeping them fun and accessible to the community by adding recreational features like swimming pools, sport courts, and camping areas, while also supplementing the natural beauty with awesome (free!) museums and public art.
4. On the topic of art… we have lots of it.
Citygarden is the most visible example of our art-loving community, but St. Louis is also home to the Contemporary Art Museum and the St. Louis Art Museum, which is located in the former Palace of Fine Arts in Forest Park, which was originally constructed for the 1904 World’s Fair.
5. Oh yeah, the World’s Fair. It was awesome.
Okay, so we weren’t actually there to experience it firsthand, but it attracted more than 20 million visitors and introduced the world to hundreds of amazing new foods, some of which have since become so common in American culture that we can hardly imagine a world without them. A few of the highlights: hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream cones, cotton candy, iced tea, and peanut butter. Not all of these items were invented for the World’s Fair, but the event gave them the spotlight on an international stage and certainly made their existence widely known.
6. That said, St. Louis has amazing food.
We don’t think St. Louis gets nearly enough attention when it comes to the culinary scene. We always seem to be associated with good ol’ American comfort food (okay, we admit the menu at the World’s Fair may have had something to do with it…), but the food scene in this city is truly diverse. We have great Vietnamese, Thai, Middle Eastern, and Mediterranean restaurants, as well as many less common cultural cuisines, like Ethiopian and Bosnian spots. You’ll find a little bit of everything here, including some incredible fine dining restaurants that have gained the acclaim of several respected authorities in the food world.
7. And yes, we do also have the best comfort food.
Seriously, toasted ravioli will change your life. There is no reason to eat ravioli any other way. That restaurant you call “Panera” is actually The St. Louis Bread Co. We’re not sure why you felt the need to change the name, but you’re welcome.
8. St. Louis pizza is the best pizza.
We don’t even know why we have to defend this; it’s just a fact. Deep-dish pizza is for suckers and our crispy unleavened crusts will beat other styles any day of the week. Oh, and it’s only truly St. Louis-style if it’s covered in Provel cheese. Don’t ask what it is, just appreciate its deliciousness.
9. Our beer scene is pretty respectable as well.
St. Louis is home to Anheuser-Busch (and their signature Budweiser beer), so we are a force to be reckoned with in the macrobrewery world, but there are also tons of amazing local breweries here, many of which have earned high honors and awards by the snobbiest of beer snobs. Oh, and our bars stay open until 3:00 a.m., which gives us an extra hour to enjoy our brews before last call.
10. We also have the best desserts.
Between Gooey Butter Cake and Concretes from Ted Drewes, we win the sweet-tooth award. For the uninitiated, Gooey Butter Cake is kind of like a Lemon Bar, without the unnecessary fruit. As for Concretes… frozen custard will ruin your concept of ice cream for life. These super thick milkshake-like masterpieces can be mixed up into all kinds of flavor combinations. Why are they called “Concretes?” Because they are so densely creamy that you can hold one upside down without spilling a drop!
11. Once you’ve reached mass-capacity on St. Louis food, you may be feeling a little sick. Don’t worry, we have you covered. We also invented Tums.
Yup, just one more of the handy-dandy things we invented so we could avoid the painful after effects of an extra-large meal and enjoy every tasty bite!
12. Our music scene is just as awesome as our food scene.
House of Blues, anyone? It’s only one of the most famous blues songs of all time and was written right here on the St. Louis riverfront by W.C. Handy in 1914. Not one, but TWO versions of the song have made it into the Grammy Hall of Fame (both of which performed by Louis Armstrong). There are some great music venues around here! And then there’s Blueberry Hill. It’s a pop culture Mecca, especially when it comes to music; there’s an entire Elvis-themed room, a fantastic collection jukeboxes, and a celebration of all-things rock and roll.
13. We have the best teams… and the best fans.
It’s impossible not to love the Cards and they have shown the love right back to us with eleven World Series wins! Our beloved Blues are pretty awesome too; they’ve made three appearances in the Stanley Cup Finals!
14. Forest Park.
It hardly needs an introduction, but this incredible park is epic. There are acres and acres of lovely green park space that is used for all sorts of awesome events. It’s also home to some of the best museums in town, including the Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center, James S. MsDonnell Planetarium, Saint Louis Zoo, The Muny, The World’s Fair Pavilion and, of course, The Jewel Box.
15. Let’s talk logistics. The cost of living here is incredibly low.
Even some of the most amazing, historic neighborhoods in the city are still affordable. You can work a normal job and your paycheck will allow you to take advantage of some of the best attractions St. Louis has to offer (and do it in style)! That said, our city is an awesome spot for young professionals who are just kicking off new careers!
16. It’s easy to get around here.
While we’ve worked hard to keep plenty of green space in the city, that doesn’t mean we’re so spread out that it’s impossible to travel between the awesome spots. St. Louis has been called a "20-minute city" because you can get nearly anywhere in under a half hour and many of our most popular spots are in the same area with little-to-no travel time needed to hop between them. In combination with our excellent transit system, distance and time are never an excuse for not getting out-and-about! Bonus: Union Station is incredibly beautiful!
17. We take pride in our city!
One of the best parts of living in St. Louis is that we LOVE living here… and we want you to love it too. We feel lucky to live in such an amazing place, which makes a pretty happy, positive bunch. We simply don’t think there’s enough time in life to spend it being cranky... so we don’t.
If you aren’t yet convinced that St. Louis is the BEST city in the country, you’ll just have to come here and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!