Longing for the days of Mark Twain and the mighty Mississippi? St. Louis’ river city past becomes clear in the vibrant Lacledes Landing neighborhood. Lacledes Landing, founded in 1764 by a French fur trapper named Pierre LaCledes, established Saint Louis as trading post on the west banks of the Mississippi River. Business was good from the beginning. Soon the village became the center of commerce with furs as the main source of exchange for goods.
Today, Laclede’s Landing – a nine block industrial area that once housed companies producing coffee, leather goods, mattresses, tobacco, whiskey, candy and machinery for the barges – features some of the most unique restaurants, sidewalk cafes and clubs in the metro Saint Louis area. During the day, the historical district is also home to people who work at the many offices located on the edge of the Mississippi River. At night, take a horse drawn carriage ride on the cobblestone streets or dine on local fare at restaurants operating inside one of the historic river warehouses. At night, the district is merry with music. The new Lumiere Place casino sets the standard for entertainment. Narrated trips on the Gateway Arch Riverboats leave from the levee, and the Riverfront Trail bike path passes alongside the historic district. Labor Day weekend brings the annual Big Muddy Blues Festival to the area.
Soulard is a diverse historic community, located just south of downtown. St. Louis’ blues music takes the stage in the neighborhoods clubs and restaurants. Soulard is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city with homes dating from the mid to late 1800s. It also features beautifully restored 19th-century red brick Victorian and Federal-style townhouses. Quaint row and alley houses create picturesque streetscapes.
The Soulard Farmer’s Market, one of the few remaining open-air markets in the country and operating since 1779, is the neighborhoods centerpiece. The farmers markets sells fresh produce, meats, bakery goods and flowers. Just south of the market is the Trinity Lutheran Church at Eighth and Soulard Streets. The original church, built in 1865, was destroyed by the 1896 tornado which roared through Soulard. This tornado also destroyed numerous homes, churches and businesses. The church was rebuilt by its German congregation into its present majestic structure. Immediately south of Soulard, is the Lemp Mansion- a restaurant and B&B. The Lemp Mansion is known as one of St. Louis’s top haunted houses.
Events such as the annual Bastille Day celebration in July, Soulard Mardi Gras activities in February, and Soulard Oktoberfest bring thousands of people into this lively ethnic neighborhood. Soulard’s Mardi Gras celebration is the second largest in the nation, only behind New Orleans.
The Hill is a quiet area south of Forest Park and west of Kingshighway. The Hill is known throughout the world for the food and as one of the most tasteful “Little Italy” neighborhoods in America. Settled in the early 1900′s by early Italian immigrants, residents still carry on their traditions in this lively spot.
The Hill, where the unique shot-gun style houses are almost as creative as the pasta dishes served in the corner restaurants, features some of St. Louis’ finest Italian restaurants. The neighborhood’s dining establishments range from mom-and-pop sandwich shops and casual trattorias to elegant Mobil- and Zagat-rated restaurants. Stop for a game of bocce ball- an Italian lawn bowling game-or pick up Italian essentials in the aromatic specialty shops.
Nationally known residents of The Hill include baseball heroes Joe Gargiola and “Yogi” Berra. “The Italian Immigrants” sculpture standing near St. Ambrose Catholic Church is a tribute to the proud heritage of this traditional community. The Church has served as the religious, cultural, educational and social center of this very stable neighborhood with its manicured lawns, brick bungalows and tree-lined streets. Annual events include the religious procession of the Feast of the Corpus Christi, the Columbus Day Parade, the Giro della Montagna Bike Race and the annual Hill Day.
Central West End
The Central West End is a chic slice of Europe on the edge of Forest Park. With its charming sidewalk cafes, exciting galleries, trendy boutiques, and cozy pubs, the Central West End is a cosmopolitan community
As the name alludes, the Central West End is one of the most “centrally located” neighborhoods with easy access from highways, many recognizable local roads and public transportation.
The Central West End chic neighborhood features many beautiful turn-of-the-century buildings nestled among giant oak trees. The tree lined private streets display stately turn-of-the-century homes, new high rise condos, and apartments. Ornate lampposts and brick-lined streets along Maryland Avenue create a European sophistication. The architecture of the Central West End is reflective of the rich architectural heritage found in many of St. Louis City’s communities. The awe inspiring St. Louis Cathedral Basilica is another one of the pillars of this exciting neighborhood. Diners can enjoy a relaxing afternoon of people-watching at one of the outdoor cafes and coffee shops, or take in the nightlife at some of the warm and friendly pubs.
A vibrant six-block entertainment and shopping district featuring ten live music stages and an eclectic mix of retail and restaurants- The Loop is a place of rich history and energetic evolution. Named for the old streetcar turnaround, this always changing neighborhood is home to one-of-a kind stores and boutiques. A brilliant success, The Loop now serves as a model for communities across the country. The American Planning Association recently named this thriving urban retail, arts and entertainment district “One of the 10 Great Streets in America.”
The Loop is home to long established businesses such as Blueberry Hill, a nationally renowned restaurant and music club, and the elegantly restored Tivoli Movie Theatre, which offers patrons the chance to view contemporary independent films in a historic cinema house. The new growth — distinguished by its quality, planning and understanding of its community – is a self-perpetuating catalyst. New venues include The Pageant — a 2,000+ capacity concert nightclub, the Pin-Up Bowl a bowling alley and martini lounge, numerous restaurants, shops, the Moonrise Hotel – an independent boutique hotel, the headquarters for the Regional Arts Commission, and the St. Louis African American Cultural Center (opened in 2010).
St. Louis’ “other” downtown can be found in Clayton, the seat of St. Louis County government. Clayton Business District, with its tall office buildings framing the Clayton business district, features an eclectic selection of fine art galleries, bookstores, restaurants, hotels and elegant boutiques. Visitors can feast on gourmet cuisine or traditional specialties. Clayton continues to be one of the most desirable communities to both live and work in the region.
Throughout the summer, Clayton is bustling with festivals and outdoor activities. The St. Louis Art Fair is a highlight and celebration of Claytons dynamic and rich cultural scene. The St. Louis Art Fair, rated top in the nation, attracts more than 100,000 people to Clayton’s street each September. Other special events include the always-delicious Taste of Clayton food festival in June. Shaw Park provides event space and recreational opportunities all year long.
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