To me and many others, St. Louis is home. But sometimes I like to think of the city as an episode of This Old House. That may sound odd, but every great episode of the classic show features a beautiful house with history, and wonderful smaller rooms that come to life through renovation and restoration to make the home shine again. St. Louis is just the same, with various neighborhoods that have experienced their own rejuvenation back to life to make the city a great place to live.
Midtown is a neighborhood full of bustling activity, as it serves as both the hub of St. Louis collegiate life and the city’s heart for the arts. Within its limits sit St. Louis University and Harris-Stowe State University. Midtown is also home to Grand Center, which holds The Fabulous Fox, Powell Symphony Hall and the Contemporary Art Museum of St. Louis. Most of the historic buildings have been repurposed into a variety of places including some really great restaurants and cafés. Residents – who include culturally diverse college students – live mostly in renovated apartments or lofts. One of the more prominent apartment buildings is the Continental Life Building, which towers over the rest of the neighborhood with 22 floors. Residents here can see all over St. Louis from the great location.
Lafayette Square isn’t just a neighborhood in St. Louis; it is a strong community with respect for its history. Don’t let that intimidate you, though. The residents welcome all into the area, and one friendly trip to the locally owned coffee shop will sell you on the neighborhood. The area borders Lafayette Square Park, which is a hidden beauty in St. Louis. The gorgeous park offers a historic boathouse and pond for you to enjoy. While in the park, take the time to look at the breathtaking Victorian-style houses that face it. The hypnotic, nostalgia-inducing homes have been carefully restored, thanks to residents and the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee. Residents enjoy several local restaurants that can make even the most devoted county dweller pine for this unique slice of city life.
Soulard is a great neighborhood in the city, but many who don’t live there only think of it as a party destination for Mardi Gras. While it does hold one of the biggest celebrations north of New Orleans, Soulard is also home to a vibrant community. The largely residential area features block after block of brick-faced row homes or apartments. Some of the buildings date back to the mid 19th century. While Soulardians enjoy being within walking distance of numerous pubs and restaurants – and being on committee to plan events such as the annual Oktoberfest – they really benefit from the sense of community that provides safety in the neighborhood. While visiting, be sure to accompany a resident to the Soulard Market. The fresh farmer’s market is one of the oldest markets west of the Mississippi River.
When it comes to areas with a lot to offer, it is difficult to top South Grand. To start with, the area can brag about Tower Grove Park. The 19th century Victorian park is the second largest park in the city and has lots of space for residents to walk their dogs and enjoy the outdoors. Residents can even venture into the Missouri Botanical Gardens, a world-renowned botanical garden. When all that outdoor fun causes an appetite, South Grand can brag about their own international restaurant oasis. The abundance of ethnic and multicultural eateries is known throughout the region. The homes are just as appealing and, in the Shaw area, This Old House actually added it to the list of “best places for city slickers to buy an old house.”
The Delmar Loop is a great neighborhood that offers apartments, picturesque homes and tree-lined streets. More importantly, it offers a fantastic energy thanks to Delmar Boulevard. On the street – which has been voted one of the ten best streets in America by the American Planning Association – there is a bustling energy that must be experienced. To live within walking distance of incredible restaurants, eclectic stores and impressive concert venues is an opportunity that few can resist. Even businesses are succumbing to the enticing energy of the neighborhood and setting up offices in the area.
If any neighborhood represents the sturdy, brick-crafted homes that St. Louis is known for, it is definitely Lindenwood Park. Members of the community –located between I-44/Arsenal St. and Chippewa – take pride in their homes and are committed to keeping their neighborhood strong. Homes in the area were built between 1930 and 1950, and maintain strong stability thanks to the sound craftsmanship in building and upkeep by the community. The good-natured neighbors often cross over Chippewa to enjoy a cool treat from the world famous Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard. V
by Brandon Evans