When your city’s name is regularly featured on the FBI’s most dangerous city list, it can feel like a heavy burden to convince people that I’m not taking my life in my own hands by buying a house here. And with the events that have occurred since Michael Brown’s shooting, St. Louis is in need of some love.
Truthfully, St. Louis is an exceptionally pleasant place to live. We have our struggles and our areas of need, but I really love being here. In that spirit, here is a very short list of “tips” I’ve found useful for enhancing my daily life in St. Louis
1. Always take your sunglasses. Rain was in the forecast for several days last week. On one of those days, it was pouring when I had to leave my house. I almost left my sunglasses at home, but grabbed them. And, sure enough, when I was leaving my session 45 minutes later, it was bright and sunny. This happens regularly in St. Louis, bright sunshine is often less than 30 minutes away from the pouring rain. Always take your sunglasses.
2. Fill your tank and go. I’m a terrible car rider. On our last car trip, my husband had to listen to both the kids crying and me whining for the last hour or so. I’m learning to try to keep it in for his sake, but extremely long car rides aren’t necessary around here. We’re 10 hours or less from so many great cities: Chicago, Nashville, Des Moines, Atlanta, New Orleans. I'm not advocating you leave St. Louis, but if you needed a quick get away just fill your tank and go.
3. Leave your wallet at home. Well, not exactly, but we have a load of fun and free/cheap activities. Forest Park holds a free art museum, Science Center, history museum, and zoo. The park itself is a great spot for going for a walk or having a picnic. There’s also a sculpture park and the Citygarden. So if you happen to leave your wallet at home, you may be alright.
4. Bring your appetite. You may have heard of Pappy’s and Ted Drewes on the Food Network. Those are great, but we also have other unassuming restaurants that you might otherwise miss. Some of my favorites are Pi Pizza, Saffron for Indian food, Gyro Company for the donor kebab (or Gyro salad in my case), Everest Café for the buffet, and Pho Grand or Lemongrass for Vietnamese, and Sweet Art for dessert. Bring your appetite.
5. Bring your hiking shoes or bike. We love to be outdoorsy. Creve Coeur Lake, Mastodon Park (possibly my favorite), Powder Valley, Bee Tree park, Kirkwood Quarry, Grant’s Trail, just to name a few. If you’re up for a drive and maybe an overnight camping trip, you can go to Johnson’s Shut-Ins, Mark Twain National Forest, or Shawnee National Forest. Bring your hiking shoes or bike.
I’m not alone in thinking St. Louis is great (here, here, and here.) Even though I grew up in a very small community in the St. Louis area, I had no plans to plant roots here. It just happened. It’s on my list of the things in my life that have “just worked out.” And it’s been one of the best. Whether you’re a transplant, visiting, or homegrown St. Louisian, we all find amazing things about this city. I know I’m missing a lot of them. What are your favorites?