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St. Louis, MO

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Anybody going there? or with any info about the city?

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i'm here now. do you have any specific questions?

 

A few things about St. Louis:

First, on the most dangerous city thing: This statistic aggravates more than almost anything, because it completely fails to take into account St. Louis' special government structure. The city of St. Louis is an independent political entity from the County of St. Louis. It just so happens that the County of St. Louis contains most of the wealthiest (and also safest) neighborhoods in the area, and the city has a larger proportion of poor neighborhoods. To compare this to Chicago: Chicago's overall crime rate includes the notoriously dangerous South Side, but it also includes Lake Forest. However, while St. Louis' crime rate includes the dangerous areas (some of them comparable to Chicago's South Side), it does not include the extremely affluent suburb of Ladue, where there has been only one case of murder in more than 50 years. This is not to say that St. Louis is as safe as - say - Beijing, but it is not as dangerous as the "most dangerous city" statistic claims. I have had friends that were mugged, for instance, but not one of them was hurt. A friend of mine in was mugged in Minneapolis too, though. I would also like to note that the "most dangerous city" statistic includes non-violent car thefts as well, which are disproportionately high in St. Louis, and which brings me to my next point -- transportation.

Public transportation in St. Louis is poor. They just recently opened the second line of their light rail system, which has made it easier for me to live without a car, but it is still inadequate to meet the needs of the population. Thus, most people feel the need to have a car. If you are generally opposed to owning a car, you can get along in St. Louis, but you have to be willing to sacrifice some of the comfort and convenience that you would be used to in a city like Boston or Chicago. Like I said, I don't own a car, and some of my friends get along without owning a car, but we do have to rely on rides from other people much more frequently than our counterparts in better equipped cities. Within the city of St. Louis, the buses will get you anywhere you need to go, but many people shun the buses because the riders are overwhelmingly poor. Of the four major schools in St. Louis - St. Louis University, University of Missouri St Louis, Webster University, and Washington University - Webster would be the hardest one to attend without a car, and Washington University would be the easiest. This is because Webster is the only one that is not on the light rail lines, and Washington University is the most centrally located. Overall, though, whichever school you attend in St. Louis, your experience of the city will follow several themes...

Advantages and disadvantages of living in St. Louis.

St. Louis is cheap. Unbelievably cheap. The cost of renting or buying a place to live in St. Louis is well below the national average for cities. I have been looking at Condominium prices in the Boston area, for example, and St. Louis compares very favorably. A shrewd buyer can get a condo in the central west end (one of St. Louis city's most desirable neighborhoods) for half or even one-third of the price of a similar condo in Boston. As many of the earlier postings mentioned, by yourself you can rent a decent place near your school for below 1000 / month - and the apartments are always spacious. Affordable housing is in my opinion the single greatest advantage of St. Louis.

St. Louis is spread out. Contrary to popular belief, there are many interesting things to do. Some of them have already been mentioned, such as the (World's largest free) Zoo in Forest Park (actually bigger than Central Park). There are also some smaller and lesser known things, such as coffee shops, clubs, and independent theaters, but these things are not always easy to get to, and the professional-sports-dominated local media won't help you find them. Overall, though, if you are looking for a readily available and always-poppin' nightlife, you should consider San Fransisco or New York. This is not to say that there is nothing to do, but there is not always something new to see. Also, the bars tend to close earlier than in many cities, and there are few 24-hour options, so people who like to party all night will have to connect with the local house-party scene. And they don't advertise.

St. Louis does have much to offer that a college town such as Ann Arbor or Madison does not have, such as several unique and interesting neighborhoods. The most popular among younger people are Soulard, Tower Grove/South Grand, the Central West End, Midtown, the Delmar Loop, Laclede's Landing, Washington Avenue, Old Webster, downtown Clayton, and Clayton/DeMunn. If you are looking at St. Louis, I highly recommend researching those neighborhoods thoroughly -- each one has something different to offer, and your experience of St. Louis will be strongly influenced by which neighborhood you live in. Unless you value quiet and isolation above all else, do not move any further into the county than eastern University City or Clayton. (The exception to that is Webster, which is an interesting place in its own right, and not too far away.) If you move to Chesterfield, you had better love cable TV. Choosing the neighborhood that suits you best is especially important in St. Louis, because they are mostly spread out and disconnected from one another, and transportation is not convenient. Keep in mind, though, that being car-less is a significant inconvenience for those living in several of those neighborhoods.

The biggest disadvantage, from my perspective, is that professional sports dominate the entertainment scene. As a consequence, the local music and art scenes tend to suffer. But there are still some great options, big and small, for people who would rather go to the theater than to a baseball game. Some examples that you should check out are the Fox Theater, the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the St. Louis Art Museum, the Pulitzer Collection / Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the St. Louis Science Center, Jazz at the Bistro, BB's Jazz Blues and Soups, the Tivoli Theater.

 

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Thank you!

How is the city in general. How is it composed socioeconomically, are there many things to do when not studying, can you get around without a car, is it a safe city?

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The loop is a great place! I visit St. Louis regularly, and I always hit the shops and restaurants down there. Plus Forest Park is near Wash U and it's beautiful. There are lots of cheaper neighborhoods, but be sure to visit first. For example, just south of the highway (40?) that is south of Wash U is a cheap neighborhood that was pretty sketchy last time I was there. And if you get too far toward St. Louis from the Loop, it seems pretty sketchy too. I've seen some of the Wash U grad housing that's around the loop area and it looked nice. Or you could live in the suburbs and commute. St. Louis is car friendly. Friendly in general, actually. I'm looking at Wash U myself, the department isn't great for me but I like St. Louis so much!

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What about the university life, how is it like? is it vibrant?

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I have to say that the way you experience St. Louis really depends on where you've come from. I grew up in the mountains of upstate NY (not the touristy part; the part where we actually have "mountain people" and scary animals and often no electricity), and moved to Manhattan after college, so I've been to both extremes... I've also lived in St. Louis (briefly), and in my experience it's a really in-the-middle kind of place. I would describe it as a city made up of towns: it's not a city the way Chicago is a city, but it's certainly also not entirely "suburbia." It's perfect for me - NYC is a bit too much - but my s.o. is from there and he finds it rather constraining in (what he considers, for a filmmaker) its employment possibilities. The graduate school at WashU is a fairly self-contained community in terms of social life, but there are plenty of opportunities outside the school community as well and lots of little restaurants and bars within a 10 or 15 minute drive of campus (if that's your thing), it's a physically beautiful place, and a decidedly friendly one at that. It's bustling in its own way. There are lots of museums, an amazing botanical garden, and I doubt very much that there will ever really be "nothing to do" if you go there...but you have to seek it out, it won't come to you (this in contrast to a city-city like New York, or the very built-in activity present in a college town like Ann Arbor). As is the case anywhere you go, it's what you make of it.

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So, how much money/month do you need to live decently (as a graduate student of course)? By grad.student-decently, I mean going out at least once a week, having a comfortable apt., eating out, buying books, etc.

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Guest waiting234

washu has a housing page....let me find it...http://ars.wustl.edu/search.asp

i had a three bedroom in clayton (the nice expensive safe neighborhood) that was overpriced at 1100 a month, i currently have a studio in the central west end (the expensive city-ish neighbood) for about 540...they're really as cheap as 480 and as expensive as you want in the cwe. my sense is that you can get a one-bedroom on the loop for the price of a studio in the CWE - i had a friend who had a grimey one for around 450 and there are definetly nicer ones for around 600 and 700.

in terms of going out there's really whatever princerange you want. the cheap food is mostly on the loop or south grand (an area farther from campus). but there's nice restaurants there too and some VERY nice restaurants in clayton and the cwe. here's links for the three st. louis publications i read:

http://www.rftstl.com/ (weekly independent newspaper)

http://www.saucemagazine.com/ (monthly food magazine)

http://www.playbackstl.com/ (monthly music/event magazine)

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I just accepted an offer for UMSL. I am moving to St. Louis from Columbus. I want to live near campus (if it is safe) and I will need a two bedroom apartment. How much will this cost me? Where around campus should I live? Where do most grad students live?

Thanks to all who can help me!!!!

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Have you checked out UMSL's reslife page yet? They have apartment-style housing for grad students, I think, which might give you some ideas: http://www.umsl.edu/services/reslife/

The rates on one of the apartment complexes look a wee bit high to me, for St. Louis, but the second one on the page looks fairly reasonable - that's the range you should be looking for. I don't know much about UMSL, but I'm going to WashU next year, and my boyfriend's whole family is from St Louis, and I've visited there more than several times now. For what it's worth, I've wandered around UMSL's campus and neighborhood at 2am and I felt perfectly safe.

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Thank you! The only thing is I need a two bedroom because I have a boyfriend and a cat. I don't know if they would let me rent out a two bedroom by myself and then allow someone else and a cat to live there. I'll look into it, though. The policies may be different between resident halls and graduate apartments.

I heard it was safe around that area, so I am confident I should be okay living around there. It sounds safer than OSU.

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Check with them - they usually work something out. I'm going to live in WashU's student housing, and the only thing my boyfriend and I have to do for him to live with me is have him fill out a credit check. They've been very helpful. I'm sure that if they cannot accomodate you, they'll be able to point out other resources for finding an apartment in the area. Also, try checking craigslist for St Louis - it's fairly active.

Good luck!

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Thank you so much!

I sent an e-mail to the contact person for both the condo and apartment place. The third apartment place is furnished and for undergrads; so I don't think that would work for me. You're right, we should be able to work something out or they might be able to help me find something off campus.

I checked the craigslist and there are some nice deals! A two-bedroom apartment for $450???? They're almost $700 here in Columbus!!!! What's the catch? lol

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Yeah...I keep thinking "there must be SOMETHING wrong with this apartment!" (I'm gonig out there in a couple of weeks to sign a lease on a 2-br, myself...I think the one we've chosen is $520, slightly more expensive, but still looking ridiculously cheap to me - I was paying $700 for HALF a 1-br in Brooklyn last year!)

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bumping this up as it looks like I will probably be attending SLU in the fall...anyone know much about the school? where I should live? etc.

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i lived there for 13 years. what do you wanna know? what school/part of town do you think you'll be going to, as SLU is a lot different than WashU. overall, i think StL is a great city, especially if you know where to go. it's not a big city like Chicago or NYC, but it's pretty unique.

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ShamPain said:
i lived there for 13 years. what do you wanna know? what school/part of town do you think you'll be going to, as SLU is a lot different than WashU. overall, i think StL is a great city, especially if you know where to go. it's not a big city like Chicago or NYC, but it's pretty unique.

I will be attending WashU. We are unsure on the part of town as of yet. We may have to live in Illinois because of a work issue with hubby. Regardless, we will be looking to buy a house. I guess I'm asking for general impressions, hidden gems, etc.

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well, WashU isn't all that close to downtown StL, and therefore not that close to the IL border. it'd be a hell of a commute if you had to go from, say, Belleville (on the IL side of the river) to WashU every day.

i don't know a whole lot about the home-purchasing market anymore, but some of the areas surrounding WashU are very nice (in the Forest Park area) and may be prohibitively expensive. U-City would be cheaper, but would be a little bit rougher.

culturally, there's a lot of great stuff close to WashU. the Loop (on Delmar St.) is a lot of fun; lots of good ethnic restaurants, a nice art-house theater (Tivoli) that plays mostly indie and foreign films, the best record store in St. Louis (Vintage Vinyl), Chuck Berry's restaurant/club where he still performs several times a year (Blueberry Hill), and a bunch of other stuff, all on one street.

also in the area is the St. Louis Art Museum, which is decent, and the zoo, which one of the best in the country. nearby is The Hill, the old Italian part of town, with great restaurants and culture. Forest Park is close by, and it is gorgeous and very spacious; it's St. Louis' version of Central Park in NYC (though not quite as cool as Central Park), where the 1904 World's Fair and Olympics were held. there is an outdoor theater in Forest Park in the summer (The Muny) which puts on affordable plays. there is also usually free Shakespeare plays in the park during the summer.

Downtown StL is mostly reserved for business and sporting events these days, but there are some great, relatively affordable restaurants like Charlie Gitto's and The Oyster Bar. all the trendy downtown StL bars/clubs are on Laclede's Landing. i mostly stay away from there when i'm in town, unless i want to hear some good jazz/blues. The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performs regularly at the Fox theater, which is gorgeous and also periodically hosts plays and other events. Gambling is also legal on the river, and there are a few casinos downtown (but the rest one is in St. Charles, which is about a 20 minute drive from downtown).

St. Louis is also a great sports town, of course, if you're into that. Professional baseball, football, and hockey, and they are working on bringing in an MLS (professional soccer) team in the next few years. St. Louis University is an Atlantic-10 basketball team, and also has one of the better soccer programs in the country.

in the same area as WashU is several other universities, so there are always a lot of academic seminars and conferences going on. also, there is a Federal Reserve office in St. Louis which hosts conferences and is a great research source if you are doing any economics/political economy work.

overall, the city is pretty friendly and family-oriented, but there's a lot of culture there too. it's relatively slow-paced compared to other mid-major cities, but there are plenty of opportunities for social activities. i really enjoyed living there, and if WashU had much of a focus in my research interests i definitely would've applied there.

hope that helps.

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Good information.

I have an application out to UMSL, which seems like it is way out in the suburbs, where I definitely do not want to be. I was thinking, if I end up going there, that I would live closer to the other universities and use public transportation (I have a car, but hate to drive/park). Is this doable?

I was also looking at Soulard and a couple of neighborhoods surrounding it (I am originally from Pittsburgh, and this area really reminded me of some of the Pittsburgh neighborhoods). Any opinion? I'm fine with "a little rough", I'm not so fine with downright frightening or dangerous. The "most dangerous city" thing has me a little worried.

Thanks.

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I'm actually less familiar with the immediate area of UMSL, but it is also fairly close to all the places i described. UMSL is not downtown, but in this case, that's a relatively good thing. As I mentioned before, downtown is a lot less interesting than a lot of the other areas in St. Louis.

The area immediately surrounding UMSL is a bit rougher than the area immediately surrounding WashU, but it's not the ghetto or anything. St. Louis has a reputation as a dangerous city, but almost all of the crime is localized in certain areas, especially the violent crime (there are burglaries and car break-ins all over, just like any other city).

Soulard is a cool place, but it would be a fairly long commute. I've never spent a whole lot of time in Soulard, so I don't know that much specific info about it, but I've visited a few times and always had fun.

You can use the Metro, which connects at UMSL and I'm pretty sure has a stop in Soulard as well. The Metro isn't as good as the train systems in Chicago or NYC, but it is adequate. I've never used the bus system before, so no advice there. Parking generally isn't that much of a problem in St. Louis; it's certainly much easier to find free/cheap parking in St. Louis than Chicago, NYC, or D.C.

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Hi! I shall be joining the economics dept of Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) next fall as a ph.d student. I would like to ask a few questions to anyone who would like to answer it.

1. Where do Grad students mostly live. Does the university has residential facilities or people live off-campus?

2. In either case what is the cost of living?

3. for off-campus living, what kind of an apartment one may live in if one is solely dependent on university scholarship of about $17k.(One bedroom apartment of ones own, twin sharing, etc)?

4. is it possible to have a decent life with the amount of money mentioned.

I am an international student and therefore have no idea of us prices.

Thank you in advance.

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IF you are interested in more or have a certain kind of place you want to find, email me @ rwpointer gmail.com

Saint Louis has had a mini renaissance of late. It is it's own sort of town, but having been born there I fall more in love with it the longer I stay away. Some good internet sites for STL. I love my town, even though it is not so exotic.

http://urbanreviewstl.com -- local urban life blog

http://builtsaintlouis.net -- a hobby of Saint Louisians - photograph our urban landscape.

http://riverfronttimes.com -- This is the local free newspaper for young and trendy types; runs Savage Love.

Places that must be visited and will be frequented.

City Museum; A collection of stuff made interesting by the incredible owner

Venice Cafe: THIS IS A MUST SEE.

Central West End: Other side of the park from Wash U. Best place for cafe life.

The Loop: A normal american strip; close to WashU on delmar

South Grand: The ethnic Vietnamese and Bosnian quarter; closer to Saint Louis U.

Moolah Shrine Movie Theater: Converted Shrine into movie house with couches

The Grind: On lindell past the New Cathedral: three story study house with great coffee and free internet.

Coffee Cartel: Maryland and Euclid -- 24/7/365 coffee house; shitty coffee but free internet and plenty of space save in summer time.

Contemporary Art Museum & Pulitzer Foundation: Two art houses in Midtown. Midtown: Great place for opera, musicals and symphonies - Near SLU.

Saint Louis Chess Club: New in May. Millionare donor to start in CWE. 80 dollar membership for a year. One reason for me to go back!

The Hill: Italian district known for toasted ravioli or T Ravs.

Ted Drewes: Frozen Custard Stands on Grand and Cherokee: Route 66 attraction.

Botanical Gardens: Incredible that this place is in the middle of an urban city.

General Grant's farm: Small Anheuser Busch Farm: free beer at the end of the tour.

AB Brewery: Largest Brewery in the world.

Forest Park: Central Park but bigger.

Soulard: Old German District, known for many bars

http://www.citymuseum.org/home.asp

http://stlouis.missouri.org/cwe/

http://www.thevenicecafe.com/

http://www.ucityloop.com/

http://thegrindstl.com/

http://www.cwecartel.com/

http://www.contemporarystl.org/

http://www.saintlouischessclub.org

http://mobot.org

http://teddrewes.com

http://grantsfarm.com

http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark/

http://stlouis.missouri.org/thehill/

Remember the majority of the crime is on the Illinois side.

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I am reviving the St. Louis thread.

How is public transportation near WUSTL? Can I rely on the metrolink? What is the probability that someone puts a knife in me in the trolley on a given day?

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