1. St. Louis has 4 real seasons.
We get just enough of the white stuff for kids to get a couple of snow days each year.
Spring is wonderful, but is also the season for thunderstorms, hail and tornadoes. Don’t worry. You are more likely to have your car or roof hit by hail than of ever seeing a tornado.
Summer is fun for a few minutes. Then it is just hot and sticky.
Fall is my favorite. The trees are gorgeous and I only wish it would last longer.
2. If snow is predicted, rush to the grocery store and stock up on milk, bread and eggs.
Really, I don’t get this one. If St. Louisans hear 2 or more inches of snow is predicted, there is a mad rush on the grocery stores as if we’ll never be able to drive again.
Since even the worst snow doesn’t impact our streets for more than 24 hours, you might consider avoiding the stores and waiting for the storm to pass.
3. We really love free things.
There are lots of free options around St. Louis. Check out my post on free things to do in the summer.
There are a ton of free summer concerts, free seats at the Muny and movies in the parks.
And winter things too.
4. Forest Park is 500 acres bigger than New York City’s Central Park.
It’s an amazing resource for the region. At Forest Park you’ll find most of our museums, one of the best zoos in the country, an outdoor theater, an ice staking rink, bike and walking trails, golf courses, paddle boats, and more open space than you could ever need.
5. We love our Cardinals.
The Chicago Cubs are our major rival, and people have been known to camp out overnight to buy bleacher seats for Cubs games. If you are a big fan of basketball, that’s just not our thing. Plan on following the St. Louis University Billikens if you want to root for a local team.
6. Hwy 64 goes by Hwy 40.
If you look at any national maps or GPS systems, you’ll see that one of our major highways is 64. But you’ll never hear a traffic report mention Hwy 64 or hear a local give you directions via Hwy 64. We call it Hwy 40. Technically it’s both. Interstate 64 and Missouri Hwy 40.
By the way, the big wigs in town at the Missouri Dept. of Transportation seemed to think that the best way to deal with the construction that was needed was to COMPLETELY close it down for 2 years.
On January 2, 2008, a major stretch of the highway that connects the affluent suburbs of West County to the areas where many of these people work (Clayton and Downtown) completely closed. All lanes in both directions. If you needed to go from West County to Downtown, you had to exit the highway and drive down city streets, only to get back on after you passed the construction zone.
In January 2009 they reopened the currently closed 5 mile stretch, and closed the adjacent eastern section. Lucky me…I lived smack in the middle of the construction, so it impacted my commute for the full 2 years.
The day before they reopened the highway (December 7, 2009), they gave residents one day to use the new highway like a huge walking trail.
7. We have nice drivers.
Midwestern people are generally laid back and friendly. They’ll stop and give you directions or answer any of your questions.
On the road, most drivers will slow down on the highway to allow someone else to merge into traffic. Most of us will get into the long line of traffic and wait our turn rather than being the rude driver that shoots up the adjacent lane and then cuts in at the last moment.
We’ll even let one car in each if we come upon a line of traffic trying to merge. When someone lets you in, it’s polite to give them a wave as a ‘thank you’.
8. The St. Louis metro area is primarily made up of 3 counties – St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County.
This is confusing to most newcomers. Unlike most cities that have a county name and a city name that are completely different, the majority of St. Louis is located in the counties of St. Louis City or St. Louis County.
Plus, St. Charles County is located just northwest of St. Louis County across the Missouri River. To get from St. Charles County into the St. Louis County/City areas, you need to cross one of 4 bridges.
In addition, the larger St. Louis region includes parts of Jefferson County (south), Franklin County (southwest), Lincoln County (northwest) and the metro East (Illinois). Most of the land in these neighboring counties is very rural, but there are some smaller towns that are only a short drive into St. Louis.
9. The easiest way to find all of the homes in an area is to search by high school, not by municipality.
St. Louis County (the county with the majority of the suburbs) is made up of 88 municipalities plus scattered land that is unincorporated (meaning it belongs to St. Louis County but not to any other township).
But, St. Louis County has only 24 school districts so it is much easier to search by school district and focus on a general part of town.
In addition, for every St. Louis City or County property, you can simply put ‘St. Louis, MO’ for the address instead of ‘Chesterfield, MO’ or ‘University City, MO’. That means that if you search by municipality, you’ll miss all of the homes listed as ‘St. Louis’ or ‘Unincorporated’ that might actually be in your target area.
You could search by zip code, but that only works if you already know the area and exactly where you want to live. Click here for a complete list of school districts links, maps of school districts by county, and other useful school info.
10. Everyone believes that they live in the best part of town.
This is probably true of most cities, but will become clear as soon as you start talking to anyone from St. Louis.
Most people seem to think that the area where they live is the best place for everyone to live, and has an opinion about what the other parts of town are like (which is usually a stereotype…and often completely wrong).
I’ve had clients that start asking about areas because the waitress where they had dinner made a recommendation. I suggest that you listen to what everyone has to say, then talk to your real estate agent about what is important to you, and then decide for yourself which area is right for you.
Keep in mind that the person that tells you that their suburb is the best place to live might be able to afford a lot more (or less) and may have very different needs or values than you.
What did I leave out? Send me a message if you think I forgot something important and I might just include it in a future list.
I don’t normally plug my services here, but I have worked with tons of families relocating to St. Louis. Give me a call if you are thinking of moving. I’d be happy to provide you with candid information to help you decide which part of St. Louis is right for you.