Located on the western banks of the Mississippi River, St. Louis is the second-largest city in Missouri. In St. Louis, you can engage in a big city lifestyle while still enjoying its midwestern charms. With its iconic Gateway Arch, St. Louis is known as “The Gateway City” because of its history as a hub for expansion to the west.

St. Louis boasts a low cost of living and a lively arts and culture scene. It’s also one of the most giving cities in America thanks to a tradition of charity and volunteer work. Many enjoy the city’s great food – from St. Louis’s signature barbecue style (think grilled spare ribs drenched in tomato-based bbq sauce) to the distinctive toasted ravioli, or ‘t-ravs,’ dished up on The Hill. Entertaining and exciting attractions keep the locals busy, either on city trails or even – surprise – at Hidden Valley Ski Resort, which offers suburban skiing and snowboarding just outside the city.

Whatever brings you to St. Louis, you’re sure to enjoy this city once you’ve arrived! In the meantime, let us help you get here. Great Guys offers free quotes from licensed local and long-distance moving services. Click ‘Find St. Louis Movers’ and request your free moving quotes now.

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Living in St. Louis, MO: What to Know Before Moving to St. Louis

St. Louis, with a population of 314,867, is famous for its baseball, beer, and that big ol’ arch. Amazingly, St. Louis has more free attractions within its city limits than any other city in the US, besides Washington D.C. The Gateway to the West is a big city with small-town charm.

Pros and Cons of Living in St. Louis

St. Louis is is a city rich with history and a bright future, but that doesn’t mean it comes without drawbacks. Here are some of the pros and cons of living in The Lou:

Pros: 

  • Affordable cost of living: The cost of living here is far below the national index.
  • Great arts and culture scene: From Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis to the St. Louis Art Museum, there are plenty of things to see and do in this town.
  • Well educated population: It helps that the city boasts not one, but three, national research universities.
  • An excellent city for sports fans: St. Louis is home to the Cardinals (MLB) and the Blues (NHL), as well as several minor league teams.

Cons: 

  • Hot and humid summers: The subtropical climate of St. Louis makes for some uncomfortable summer months.
  • Job growth: While expected job growth isn’t as high as other areas of the country, St. Louis does boast ten Fortune 500 companies and an array of healthy industries.
  • The city has a lot of sprawl: The metro area spans some 8,458 square miles and is home to close to 3 million residents.
  • Quality of life: Missouri was named the #5 worst state to live in by CNBC thanks to its outrageous crime rates and the general health of the population.

Tax Rates

  • Property Tax: The average county property tax rate in the city is 1.057 percent. On a home valued at the median home price of $115,700, you’ll pay $1,223 annually in property taxes.
  • Sales Tax: The combined sales tax rate for St. Louis is 9.68 percent, higher than the 7.3 percent average US sales tax.
  • Income Tax: Missouri accesses income tax among nine tax brackets. If you earn more than $8,424, you’re going to pay 5.40 percent in income tax.

Housing Market

In St. Louis, renters account for 57 percent of the population. They pay a median rent price of $759, which is more affordable than the national average of $1,470. The median home price is $115,700 and home appreciation is up 2.5 percent over the last year.

Even though the cost of living in St. Louis is relatively low, some neighborhoods are more affordable than others. These are the ten cheapest neighborhoods in St. Louis: La Salle, North Point, North Riverfront, Downtown, Mark Twain, Gravois Park, Franz Park, Calvary—Bellefontaine Cemetery, Hyde Park, and Hamilton Heights.

Cost of Living

Bestplaces.net rates a city’s cost of living score based on a US average index of 100. A score over 100 indicates a higher price than average, and a score lower than 100 indicates a cost lower than average. The cost of living in St. Louis is affordable at 88.7. Housing is rated 62.9. Also adding to the lower cost of living score is grocery, 92.9, health, 93.8, and utilities, 95.8. Transportation is more expensive than average, rated at 113.8.

A St. Louis resident earns, on average, $23,244 per year, while the median household income is $34,800. If you consult the Economic Policy Institute’s Family Budget Calculator, you’ll see that a family of four in St. Louis needs to earn $6,584 monthly, or $79,010 annually to live a moderate lifestyle. This budget may require multiple income earners.

Weather & Natural Disasters

St. Louis has hot and humid summers and snowy winters with a true four seasons climate for all to enjoy. July and August are the hottest months, with average highs of 89° and 87°, and average lows of 69° and 67°. December and January are the coldest months, with average highs of 43° and 40°, and average lows of 25° and 22° respectively.

The city has an average annual rainfall of 41 inches. May and July are the rainiest months, with averages of 4 to 5 inches of rain. St. Louis has an average annual snowfall of 7 inches, with the snow occurring from December through February.

St. Louis, like every city, is not exempt from a natural disaster. The most common threats are ice storms, severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding. It’s very important to have a plan in place before disaster strikes. The City of St. Louis has a helpful emergency preparedness page to help you and your loved ones formulate a plan.

Economy & Job Market

Job growth over the past year was 0.7 percent. Experts expect 23.9 percent job growth over the next ten years, which is well below the US projected growth of 33.5 percent. As of Fall 2019, the unemployment rate in St. Louis is on par with the national average of 3.9 percent.

The major industries in St. Louis include service, manufacturing, trade, transportation, and tourism. Ten Fortune 500 companies call St. Louis home, including Express Scripts, Emerson Electric, Monsanto, and Edward Jones Investments.

Top employers in the city include BJC Health Care, Washington University in St Louis, St Louis University, City of St Louis, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Wells Fargo, St Louis Board of Education, US Postal Service, State of Missouri, and SSM Health. SLATE Missouri Career Center offers services for training and job placement.

Traffic and Transportation

With all the sprawl in St. Louis, you’ll likely want a car to commute and run errands. As you plan your day, it’s helpful to know that your average one-way commute in St. Louis will be 24.1 minutes, which is below the national average of 26.4 minutes. The majority of commuters – 72 percent – drive themselves to work, while 8 percent carpool, 4 percent work from home, and 10 percent take mass transit.

Metrolink, the 11th largest light rail system in the country, serves St. Louis US. MetroBus offers bus service throughout the city. The St. Louis transit score, according to walkscore.com, is below average at 45/100. Four interstate highways serve St. Louis. These include I-70, I-55, I-64, and I-44. Other major roads in St. Louis include Memorial Drive, Grand Boulevard, Jefferson Avenue, and Gravois Road. St. Louis has an above-average walk score of 65 and a bike score of 62. The downtown walk score is 87, which enables people to park their cars and run errands on foot.

What to Do

St. Louis has a little bit for everyone. There’s great culture to enjoy and plenty of outdoor activities. A fine city for history buffs, St. Louis served as the starting point for Lewis’ and Clark’s famous expedition. It’s also a city that foodies love with a great barbecue culture and a unique style of pizza.

Outdoor Adventures

If an outdoor adventure is what you’re craving, St. Louis has plenty to offer. You can wander through the beautiful Missouri Botanical Garden or hike and bike through the 1326-acre Forest Park. You can go canoeing or kayak down the grand Mississippi River. In the winter months, snow sports lovers head over to the slopes at Hidden Valley Ski Resort, just a short drive from downtown.

Landmarks and Museums

Obviously, the Gateway Arch is the best-known landmark in St. Louis and is a must-see. Beer lovers can enjoy tours and tastings at Anheuser-Busch’s oldest and largest brewery, and visitors can stop in to see the famed Budweiser Clydesdales at Grant’s Farm.

The City Museum is housed in the former International Shoe Building and is a mix of playground, aquarium, circus, and museum. You can also visit the National Blues Museum to learn about St. Louis’ significant influence on the history of the blues. You can even catch a live performance or two. For more music, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, second-oldest in the US, plays at Powell Symphony Hall.

The St. Louis Art Museum has all sorts of masterpieces to ponder; the extraordinary building was built for the 1904 World’s Fair. You can also stop at the St. Louis Science Center and explore for as long or as short as you’d like – admission is free.

Sports

Two major professional sports teams call St. Louis home. MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals play at Busch Stadium and have won 11 World Series titles, second only to the NY Yankees. The NHL’s St. Louis Blues play their home games at the Enterprise Center. St. Louis University’s men’s soccer team has won 10 NCAA championships.

Schools and Universities

St. Louis Public Schools serve the students of the city with more than 75 schools and over 25,000 students. The top-rated elementary schools in the district are Mallinckrodt AGI. Elementary School and Kennard/Classical Jr Academy, both rated 10/10 by greatschools.org. Truman Middle School has the best rating of all the middle schools in the city with a 9/10. For high school, the best two schools in the district are Ladue Horton Watkins High School and Oakville Sr High School, both rated 8/10.

Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University are both private, four-year institutions in St. Louis. Webster University, Stevens Institute of Business and Arts, Fontbonne University, Missouri Baptist University, Maryville University, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, and Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College are all private, four-year colleges in the city. The University of Missouri-St. Louis and Harris-Stowe State University are both public four-year schools. Two-year colleges in the city include Ranken Technical College and St. Louis Community College-Forest Park.

Crime

According to bestplaces.net, the violent crime rate in St. Louis is 86.8, almost four times over the US average of 22.7. Additionally, the property crime rate in the city is 85.1, also well above the Us average of 35.4.

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Best Neighborhoods in St. Louis, MO

St. Louis proper boasts a whopping 79 neighborhoods. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of choosing a place to settle down, don’t fret. Below we’ve highlighted some of the top areas to check out:

Hi-Pointe

Hi-Pointe is about a 15-minute drive due west of downtown St. Louis and is the top-rated neighborhood, both in St. Louis and the state of Missouri. According to niche.com, Hi-Pointe is both the ‘Best Neighborhood for Young Professionals in St Louis’ and the ‘Best Neighborhood to Raise a Family in St. Louis’. Perhaps due to the younger nature of this neighborhood, more than half, 56.1 percent, rent their homes and pay a median rent of $909. That’s slightly above the St. Louis average rent of $759. However, the good news is – when those young professionals and families are ready to buy their first homes, the median home price is $116,000. That’s below the city average of $120,900.

The neighborhood of 2,160 residents is a mix of urban and suburban, and the many brick houses feature green grassy yards. Basso (rated four stars on Yelp) is a popular Italian bistro and bar that also offers great happy hour deals. Another great spot in the neighborhood is the Hi-Pointe Theatre, a vintage movie theater with cheap concession prices.

Mason Elementary is rated 8/10 by greatschools.org, but Long Middle Community Ed Center for middle school and Roosevelt High School both have 1/10 ratings.

Missouri Botanical Garden

It’s probably not surprising that a neighborhood built around a city’s botanical garden would be among the best in the area. The Missouri Botanical Garden neighborhood, with about 1,205 residents, is about a 15-minute drive southwest of downtown St. Louis. The homes here present a mix of vintage styles, some refurbished and remodeled. Location matters, and these prime park adjacent homes come with a median home price of $174,050. Rent is about on par with the rest of St. Louis at $762. Also, while crime is higher in St. Louis than many other cities, this neighborhood has a relatively low crime rate.

Tower Grove Park, which is adjacent to Missouri Botanical Garden, is home to a farmer’s market, tennis courts, and even a children’s concert series in the summers. Café Madeleine (rated four stars on Yelp) is a popular brunch spot, while Sassafras Café (3.5 stars on Yelp) is a good place to pick up sandwiches for a picnic in the park.

Mann Elementary School is rated 3/10, Fanning Middle Community Ed is rated 1/10, and Roosevelt High School is also rated 1/10.

Ellendale

Ellendale is about a 20-minute drive west of downtown St. Louis and has the appearance that not much has changed, at least when it comes to the homes, over the last half a century or more. Ellendale has a suburban vibe, and the majority of its 1,951 residents, 75.4 percent, own their own homes. The median home price is $126,183, while the median rent is $756.

Southwest Diner, 4.5 stars on Yelp, is a trendy spot that locals swear by. The Piccadilly at Manhattan, four stars on Yelp, is a favorite for its fried chicken and short rib pot pie.

According to greatschools.org, Mason Elementary rates 8/10, while Long Middle Community Ed Center for middle school and Roosevelt High School both have low 1/10 ratings.

Lindenwood Park

This neighborhood is built around a city park of the same name and is a 15-minute drive southwest of downtown St. Louis. The park has tennis courts, baseball fields and soccer fields, and many walking trails. The neighborhood of 8,741 residents is full of American craftsman homes, with a median home price is $154,377. Over two-thirds, 68.9 percent of residents own their homes in Lindenwood Park. The median rent is $736.

Kounter Kulture, rated five stars on Yelp, is a popular Asian Fusion restaurant. Trattoria Marcella, 4.5 stars on Yelp, is an Italian spot where you can get St. Louis’ popular toasted ravioli. Biggies Restaurant & Bar, four stars on Yelp, is also a neighborhood favorite.

Mallinckrodt AGI Elementary School has a 10/10 rating, Long Middle Community Ed Center has a 1/10 rating, and Roosevelt High School has a 1/10 rating.

Franz Park

This neighborhood of 1,682 residents is a 15-minute drive due west of downtown St. Louis, just south of the St. Louis Zoo. Residents of this suburban-feeling neighborhood have renovated many of the homes. The median home price for Franz Park is $116,333 and just over half, 56.3 percent, of the residents own their homes. Renters can expect to pay an average of $829.

Michael’s Bar & Grill, four stars on Yelp, is a great place to sit at the bar and watch the Cardinals or Blues play. Pan d’Olive, four stars on Yelp, offers a mix of Mediterranean, Italian, and Turkish cuisine and is a popular happy hour stop.

Mason Elementary School has an 8/10 rating, while Long Middle Community Ed Center has a 1/10, and Roosevelt High School is rated a 1/10.

North Hampton

Located just over a 15-minute drive southwest from downtown St. Louis, North Hampton rates as one of the best places to live in the city. Tilles Park features a splash pad for hot summer days, baseball fields, basketball courts, racquetball courts, soccer fields, softball fields, and tennis courts.

The median home price is above average at $138,829. More than half of the 8,316 residents of North Hampton are renters, likely due to the lower than average median rent of $538.

F&B Eatery rated 4.5 stars on Yelp, is a favorite spot for burgers. The Silverleaf, 4.5 stars on Yelp, is a popular dive bar that residents love.

Kennard/Classical Jr Academy has a perfect 10/10 rating, Gateway Science Academy Middle has a 4/10 rating, and Gateway Science Academy for Middle and High School has a 5/10 rating.

Central West End

This neighborhood of about 15,762 residents is more than 100 years old and is about a 10-minute drive northwest of downtown St. Louis. Chic Central West End offers antique shops to peruse, boutiques for shopping, and restaurants to explore. Central West End is the home of Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, which has one of the biggest mosaic collections in the western hemisphere. The neighborhood has more of an urban feel, and 67.7 percent of residents in Central West End rent their homes. The median home price is $292,806.

Retreat Gastropub, 4.5 stars on Yelp, is a bright and trendy place that’s very popular with locals. Taste Bar, 4.5 stars on Yelp, is the perfect spot to enjoy a craft cocktail.

Cole Elementary School has a 2/10 rating and serves students K-8, while Metro High School has a 5/10 rating.

The Hill

The Hill is just over a 10-minute drive west of downtown St. Louis. Baseball fans will appreciate The Hill because this is where legendary catcher Yogi Berra grew up. About 60.7 percent of The Hill’s 2600 residents own their homes, with a median home price of $142,367. The median rent is $908.

The Hill has strong Italian roots, and its Italian heritage is evident everywhere – even the fire hydrants bear the red, white, and green colors of the Italian flag. Many well-known family-owned Italian restaurants dot the neighborhood. Mama’s on the Hill, 3.5 stars on Yelp, is considered a staple of the neighborhood and claims to have created the toasted ravioli that St. Louis now calls its own. Antonino’s Taverna, 4.5 stars on Yelp, is a Greek and Italian spot that offers a more modern take on Italian food.

Mason Elementary has an 8/10 rating, Long Middle Community Ed Center has a 1/10, and Gateway High School has a 1/10 rating.

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