Living in St. Louis

Nestled between two major rivers the Missouri and the Mighty Mississippi (that create the 4th largest waterway in the world), this city boasts a proud history and continues to offer residents a vast array of cultural opportunities, community events, strong public and private schools, cutting-edge restaurants, winning professional sports teams (the Cardinals are the 2nd most winningest team in the majors, after the Yankees) and live music.  With nearly 3 million people in the bi-state region, Greater St. Louis is the largest metropolitan area in Missouri, the 2nd largest in Illinois, and the 22nd largest in the country. At 630 feet, the Gateway Arch is the world’s tallest arch and the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere.  Built as a monument to the westward expansion of the United States, it is the centerpiece of the Gateway Arch National Park and the most recognizable symbol of the city.  St. Louis is a center of medicine and biotechnology, it is home to ten Fortune 500 companies and Cortex Innovation Community, the largest innovation hub in the Midwest (generating 3,800 tech jobs in 14 years with projections to create ten thousand more upon project completion). While it’s true that sometimes you have to hunt, St. Louis truly has some of the most extraordinary offerings—all at the ready for the locals to enjoy!

Click these links to explore St. Louis! You'll find world-class museums and performing arts, parks with great hiking, biking and running trails, the best place to grab a burger, neighborhoods to suit every family, and loads of activities for kids.

HIGHER EDUCATION

The oldest university west of the Mississippi River, one of the country's most highly regarded universities, and a host of other strong schools make up St. Louis' robust higher education landscape.

Higher Ed--Wash U

Washington University in St. Louis is among the world’s leaders in teaching, research, patient care, and service to society. As an institution, it is committed to learning and exploration, to discovery and impact. Founded in 1853, Wash U educates 16,000+ students each year, bringing enormous diversity and exposure to the midwest, and continues to be a pride point for St. Louis.

Higher Ed--SLU

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic universities. SLU, which also has a campus in Madrid, Spain, is recognized for world-class academics, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Guided by our enduring Jesuit mission, we offer our nearly 13,000 students a highly rigorous and deeply transformative education that helps them develop into bold, confident leaders. 

Higher Ed--Webster

Webster University is committed to ensuring high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Revered for its fine arts programs and multiple international campuses (in Tashkent, Leiden, Bangkok and more), Webster University's interdisciplinary centers, incubators of academic research, and issue-focused institutes each contribute to the student experience for more than 12,000 individuals living and working around the world.

Higher Ed--UMSL

With more than 16,000 students, University of Missouri-St. Louis is the largest public research university in eastern Missouri. While UMSL graduates can be found in all 50 states and countries around the globe, their greatest impact is felt right here in St. Louis. More than 75,000 UMSL alumni call the St. Louis region home. They drive the region’s economy and contribute mightily to its social well-being.

UNIQUE DIFFERENTIATORS

Whitfield parents share qualities about St. Louis and the Midwest that set us apart from other parts of the country.

You really get all 4 seasons: summer, fall, winter, spring.

Chicago, Memphis, and Kansas City, etc. are all within driving distance and are close enough to visit for a long weekend.

You will never need to drive more than 15 minutes even in the worst traffic!

There are so many great locally owned businesses, shops, restaurants etc. Even the most popular grocery stores are locally owned which supports the community!

St. Louis is the perfect blend of a large city with affordable housing, dining and theater. Very easy to navigate and traffic is always at a minimum!

A great place to raise a family. An easy-going lifestyle. At the center of activities around the whole country...it's easy to get to just about anywhere from the middle of the US.

The water tastes great straight from the tap!

St. Louis has incredible neighborhoods which reflect the amazing history. You can step into a different time and place by visiting places like The Hill, The Grove and the Central West End.

It might be surprising to learn that St. Louis is a foodie town

The best part about living in St. Louis is the accessibility.  From short commutes to work, to manageable lines at museums, to access to Green Seats at the Cardinals game, to the ability to serve on the boards of first-class institutions. St. Louis has all the things that bigger cities have, but here, anyone can enjoy them!

St. Louis has over 40 professional and small professional theater companies, performing live theatrical productions on just about any weekend of the year.

Free museums, beautiful public parks, cultural diversity, metro ride to baseball games.

Affordable housing, vibrant independent school community, accessible city, best baseball team in the country.

St. Louis is like a big small town, you get the city feeling but you also come to learn that there is still a community feeling. You'll meet people who know people that you know, just about anywhere you go, even if you're not from St. Louis.

St. Louis is one of the most philanthropic cities in the country!

HIDDEN GEMS

St. Louis is home to some amazing hotspots that may not be listed in Zagat's.  Here's a list of local favorites from Whitfield parents.

Gems - Music

"It's easy to see live music up close and personal! In addition to headliners, we get amazing blues and up and coming groups at small venues all over the city like Delmar Hall, Duck Room, Old Rock House, BBs Jazz, Blues & Soups, Broadway Oyster Bar, Atomic Cowboy, to name a few! For amazing acoustics, you'll want to enjoy a show at the Sheldon."

Gems - Neighborhoods

"St. Louis has amazing pockets of the city with unbelievable dining, shopping and culture--Kirkwood, Webster, The Hill and South City, The Grove, South Grand, Delmar Loop. Parking in all these places is a breeze too!"

Gems - BBQ

"For BBQ, head straight to Sugarfire in Olivette, Pappy's Smokehouse in Grand Center, or Salt + Smoke in the U. City Loop, Hampton Ave., CWE or St. Chuck."

Gems - Art

CAM

"St. Louis has an amazing and accessible art scene, especially for emerging and contemporary artists featured at Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (CAM), St. Louis Fashion Lab, Foundry Art Centre, Pulitzer Arts Foundation, and the galleries on Cherokee Street."

Gems - The Hill

"The Hill, Crown Candy, Carl's Drive In, Ted Drews, Sky View Drive-in Movie theater..."

Gems - Mardi Gras

"Who would think of St. Louis for Mardi Gras? St. Louis has earned a reputation as hosting the second-largest Mardi Gras celebration in America, trailing only the Big Easy (New Orleans, LA.)"

Gems - Jilly's

"Jilly's Cupcakes (winner of Cupcake wars), The Muny which stars a lot of local and rising actors and The Fox Theater which always has shows from groups touring the country!"

EXPERT ADVICE

Here are a few tips to help transplants acclimate to St. Louis!

"If people ask you 'Where did you go to school?' They are asking where you went to high school! You will learn after talking to any random person you happen to come across in St. Louis, that everyone is somehow connected, and that’s usually through where they went to high school!"

"Toasted Ravioli is a local delicacy. As well as Ted Drewe's Frozen Custard. Don't believe anything you hear a local say about Imo's pizza...steer clear, at all costs."

"When trick-or-treaters tell jokes on Halloween (yes, that's a thing) it's okay to beat them to the punchline!"

 

Many thanks to Whitfield parents for sharing their perspectives and advice!

Darcy Glidewell (Natalie '24), Asim Raza (Riyaz '24), Sharon Charmley (Jacob '23), Darci McCracken (Lucy '18, Dean '22),
Dyan McGuire (Maggie '24), Dave Cooperstein (Grace '25)