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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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(I'm 28, white male, and I have lived in St. Louis most of my life. I have also lived in Columbia MO and Beijing PRC.)

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.

There was a specific question regarding UMSL --

UMSL is located in a rather boring and somewhat depressing part of the county, but since it is located on the light rail, most of my friends who go there live in the Loop or the Central West End and take the train.

Good Luck.

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Hi! I shall be joining the economics dept of washington st. louis. 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 Wash U 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/

I have more!!! EMAIL ME: rwpointer gmail.com

Word of warning: The Landing is not a great place to go. Washington Street is good but close to the river is a place to avoid. Remember the city is the heart of the crime in Saint Louis, especially near the river.

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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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I'd also like to revive this thread. Wash U has a perfect program (I am still waiting to hear back from them) but I'm worried about liking St. Louis itself. I lived in Cleveland Ohio a few years ago and absolutely hated it. I've heard that the two cities have a lot in common, and this has been less than reassuring. So... other than the amazingly low cost of living (compared to the west coast- my home now) is it a nice community? I like things liberal, green, and active. Right now I'm thrilled about the news of a free zoo, but worried about moving back to a crime filled neighborhood. Any thoughts??

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I am from Missouri, though not the St. Louis area. People get concerned about crime in St. Louis because of all of the published list that consistently rank St. Louis in the top 3 in terms of crime per capita, but one should keep in mind that this is largely an artifact of the way the FBI measures crime rates, and when you account for suburbs (where most people in St. Louis live), St. Louis drops to about 120. There's was a good letter in Nature almost a year ago about this. Don't get me wrong, crime in St. Louis is a problem, but the rankings that put them on par with Detroit and Compton are misguided, in my opinion. Also keep in mind that the lion's share of violent crime in St. Louis is concentrated in East St. Louis. You probably won't find St. Louis to be particularly liberal. It just isn't. I am guessing the area next to WUSTL ("the loop") and other parts of town such as Soulard, will be what you're looking for though.

Does anyone know the answer to my question about the Metrolink? I am very interested in this.

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I've been waitlisted at Wash I-St Louis, and as I look to have a very good chance to be offered a spot, I wanted to try to gather a bit more info about St. Louis. So, two quick questions:

I will be a grad student with wife and elementary-aged son looking for a quiet and affordable place to live near (i.e., preferably withing walking distance) Wash U. Any suggestions for neighborhoods that might be preferable to someone like me? What neighborhoods should I probably stay away from?

Any advice on elementary schools in the area, either public or low-cost private?

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I think Clayton is probably perfect. Clayton and Ladue have a reputation for being the better public school districts in the area, and Ladue is large and a pretty expensive place to live. Clayton is directly adjacent to campus, and you may be able to find a place in walking distance.

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Also, on the subject of neighborhoods to stay away from, I'd say anything very far east of, say, the Central West End. Generally speaking, the crime rate rises as you move east.

I am not a St. Louis native, but I am a Missouri native with a lot of friends and family in St. Louis.

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I've lived in St. Louis for 8 years and I love this city.

Wash u is the perfect area with the Loop, Forest park, Metro Link, and Target/grocery store/mall all within a 10 minute drive. Forest park is absolutely awesome and everything is free, except for golf. It is much larger than central park in new york and has a 10k biking and jogging track that surrounds the whole park. Best thing, it is directly across the street from wash u.

Do not rely on public transportation here. It is nice to take the metro downtown to a baseball game, but that's about all you'll use it for. You need a car so get one, period.

Where to live. Have fun living in clayton if you like to pay a lot of money for a lot less space and not a whole lot to do. It MIGHT be worth it if you have a kid to send them to clayton schools, but I'd even doubt that. Clayton is a business govt district of St. Louis county, which effectively closes by about 6pm, unless you want to go to a really overpriced bar and/or Tapas restaurant. Most people send their kids to private schools, which are religous and single sex (unbelieveable that there are still all boys and all girls schools...to me at least.) Live in a loft if you want to pay a lot of money for a little bit of space and a new stove. Yay! Oh and many of them make you pay for parking, especially if you live downtown. By the way downtown st. louis has NO Grocery stores (yes 0), No Walgreens, and No Target so it will take you about 20 minutes drive anywhere to get food and supplies. They say they are building a grocery downtown, but honestly, it will probably be small and you'll still find yourself driving 20 minutes to trader joes and target...

I have lived all over st. louis. by Wash U, in Maplewood (10 min south), in South City (booyeah crime studies) and now I live back by wash U in University City. UCity is by far the best deal of all. Look for places near the intersection of Midland and Delmar - it is absolutely beautiful, totally safe, and the best bang for the buck anywhere in St. Louis. The best part is you have a less than 5 min commute to Wash u., 15 min to UMSL, and all the places I mentioned above (loop, park, grocery) are within a 10 minute drive. You will not go wrong if you live near Midland and Delmar in University City.

The thing about St. Louis is there "isn't much to do" if you don't know where to go. There are tons of blues bars downtown, the missouri botanical gardens, tower grove park, the HIll (italian spot), the budweiser brewery, city museum, the Landing (bars), Central West End, Clayton, Soulard, South Grand then there is St. Louis county.... There is a lot to do and the beautiful thing almost everything is Free.

As for crime it really isn't that bad. I mean you have to live in a pretty shitty area to be worried. Be smart, it's a city. Most of the crime is concentrated in areas north of Delmar (the loop) and to the East side. I would also avoid South City until you lived here for a year or so and know where are the good and bad spots. Really living in Soulard is for morons who bought overpriced lofts. It's much better to drive there and go to a bar than live next to a bar, and nothing else.

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Where to live. Have fun living in clayton if you like to pay a lot of money for a lot less space and not a whole lot to do. It MIGHT be worth it if you have a kid to send them to clayton schools, but I'd even doubt that. Clayton is a business govt district of St. Louis county, which effectively closes by about 6pm, unless you want to go to a really overpriced bar and/or Tapas restaurant.

The above is probably true. I recommended Clayton under the assumption that a good public school district may be a higher priority than those factors for the person who asked the question.

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Actually on second thought, living in Clayton would be okay if you lived in the area called "The Moorelands" and had a 2 bedroom apt. Those are actually pretty affordable and in a great area. Try there if you want Clayton, but I still think Midland and Delmar is better bang for your buck.

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PS if you are moving to St. Louis, let me know. I will be moving from my current place at the end of July. It's nice, 1800 sq feet w/ a basement of the same size, 2 bedroom, study, sunroom, dishwasher and washer and dryer in unit. 5 Min drive 15 min walk from Wash U, plus my landlord is great. All that for only $1,000 a month.

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I did my undergrad at WU and am currently a technician at the Medical School. I may be attending in the fall, so I can also answer any questions about the University.

Good places to live:

- UCity: West of Big Bend, this is a great place to live. East of there, make sure to stay south of Delmar. Things get worse as you head north (don't even think about living north of Olive).

- Skinker/DeBaliviere Neighborhood: I lived here during my undergrad and there's a good mix between families and students here, and you can be within walking distance of the Forest Park, Delmar, and Skinker metro stations. I'd advise living closer to the Forest Park side of the neighborhood.

- Dogtown: A great little neighborhood southeast of main campus, rent is cheap and it's quite safe. It's not within walking distance of campus or a metro station, so you'll need to bike or drive to school.

I will be a grad student with wife and elementary-aged son looking for a quiet and affordable place to live near (i.e., preferably within walking distance) Wash U. Any suggestions for neighborhoods that might be preferable to someone like me? What neighborhoods should I probably stay away from?

Unfortunately, all the good school districts aren't within walking distance of WashU (unless you're out at the west campus, then Clayton is a good option). WashU itself is within the city, and the St Louis School District is not in good shape. Most of the people I know who went to school in the city and 'turned out well' went to private school.

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?

Public transport as a whole is in limbo right now, because of a big budget shortfall. Buses can be iffy at times, but the metro is awesome, you can live near any metro station and get to WashU in 40 minutes. I've been taking it to and from work every day and the only problems I've run into were during Cardinals games when the trains are packed.

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I would second all of the advice from the recent posters. Though I am perhaps a bit nostalgic for what was a wonderful undergraduate experience, I really thing that St. Louis is one of the best places to go to school. Live in U-City - it is extremely cheap and extremely convenient. I shared a huge 3 bedroom 5 minutes from campus (I recommend living West of Delmar - much cheaper and not much further from campus), and my share was $300/month. You do need a car. You might also want a bike - if youre in good shape, you can bike to a lot of cool places from U-City, and the beautiful architecture in the CWE and surrounding areas is fun to bike through. I never found safety to be an issue (although a cop was murdered point blank at the intersection of Delmar and Midland last year...) - our apartment was never broken in to and no one I know was ever mugged, despite often leaving our door unlocked and walking home at 4 in the morning. Wash U and U-City cops patrol frequently (especially along Kingsland Avenue - there is a police station a few blocks West of Delmar on this street).

Re looking for a 'liberal, green' community - St. Louis has its fair share of this, you just need to seek it out. There are great places to eat, hang out, and shop in South City and Soulard. There is really good 'ethnic' food - good Asian and Mexican grocery stores and restaurants, a couple of good cheap Ethiopian restaurants, etc - and a fair amount of 'indie' culture.

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If you like the idea of a more cultured and lively living environment, then the central west end is definitely a good place to be, but I wouldn't limit it just to medical students. In the past few years the saint louis metrolink (a light rail system) has become a very useful means of getting around. This rail can get you from the central west end station to WashU's main hilltop campus faster than you would probably get there in a car. The central west end station is in the heart of the Medical school campus. The next stop going west, which is only one stop away from hilltop campus, is forest park/ debaliviere station. There are living options that are much closer to this station than there are ones close to the CWE station. There are even some pretty safe places if you're willing to pay the price for a condo. I'll link to one of the developers. Some of the condo owners rent out to students but you will probably have to find them through craigslist or backpage.

http://www.metropolisdp.com

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Gil Harris (the DGS) contacted me today to tell me I was one of two Medievalists admitted into the incoming doctoral program. Unfortunately due to limited funding for students entering into the program with just a BA, I am currently unfunded :( Did anyone else get admitted today? Are you funded? I am apparently first on the waitlist for funding, so if you have alternate plans, PLEASE LET THEM KNOW!

THIS SCHOOL IS MY "PERFECT FIT" SCHOOL WITH JJ COHEN!

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