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A Vibrant and Engaging City

Located in the heart of the Midwest, St. Louis represents the WashU culture on a larger scale. Its diverse, close-knit community and culture mean there’s always something to do and someone to do it with.

With more than 2.7 million residents, this small big city boasts vast resources, opportunities, and activities. Ranked #2 in lowest cost of living among the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas, St. Louis is not only fun—but also affordable. It’s also headquarters to 18 Fortune 1000 companies, nine of which are Fortune 500 companies, making St. Louis a great place to network and build business connections. And start on the path toward a successful career. Find out more about living in St. Louis and read more in our Get to Know St. Louis (PDF).

Washington University’s location, right next to Forest Park, gives students easy access to everything the 1,293-acre park has to offer. Miles of walking and cycling paths, paddle boats, golf courses, softball fields, museums, and tennis courts. Plus outdoor events like concerts, movies, and festivals.

The park also houses the free Saint Louis Zoo, rated the country’s #1 zoo (according to Zagat Survey’s U.S. Family Travel Guide in association with Parenting magazine). Or you can explore the arts and culture side of St. Louis at the Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, or Saint Louis Science Center, where admission is always free. Take in a free outdoor play during the Shakespeare Festival, or enjoy a musical at The Muny, the country’s oldest and largest outdoor theater, where national touring companies of some of Broadway’s biggest shows take the stage.


There’s even more to do beyond St. Louis’ largest green space. With 100 parks in the metropolitan area, St. Louis provides a variety of places to enjoy the great outdoors and Missouri’s natural beauty. The Missouri Botanical Garden is a beautiful, 79-acre botanical oasis and one of the world’s premier botanical research institutions. Laumeier Sculpture Park is a stunning open space that features modern outdoor sculptures from some of the world’s greatest artists. All against a beautiful natural landscape. And Katy Trail State Park, west of campus, offers a scenic, easy-to-navigate 240-mile-long hiking and biking trail for long or short excursions—some of which include stops at some of Missouri’s finest wineries.

History and entertainment

St. Louis is home to the tallest man-made monument in the United States. The Gateway Arch is iconic, majestic, and just plain awesome. The symbol of St. Louis and an architectural masterpiece, it’s a must-see. Ride the tram to the top and check out the region from a completely unique perspective. A short drive south, you can tour another St. Louis landmark, Anheuser-Busch Brewery in the historic Soulard neighborhood. And get free samples of some of the world’s best-loved beer.

Grand Center, just east of campus, is home to theaters, restaurants, clubs, the world-renowned St. Louis Symphony, and The Fabulous Fox Theatre. First opened in 1929, the theater was originally a movie palace and is now a premier venue for Broadway shows, plays, musicals, national music acts, and comedians. The newly renovated Peabody Opera House downtown is another fantastic venue for all sorts of shows.

Dining and shopping

The St. Louis culinary scene is diverse, eclectic, and growing rapidly. Innovative and imaginative chefs are opening restaurants all over the city’s unique and diverse neighborhoods. From classic Italian and the thin-crust St. Louis-style pizza on The Hill, Thai food on South Grand, and the area’s best Mexican restaurants to nationally recognized, award-winning chefs downtown and in Clayton, you can find anything to suit your cravings.

If it’s shopping that you crave, St. Louis has an endless mix of shops and stores. Visit the Central West End and The Loop for fun, eclectic boutique shops, or Cherokee Street’s Antique Row for a different kind of experience. St. Louis is also home to several shopping malls, including the Galleria near Brentwood, which is just west of campus.

St. Louis sports

Known for its devout die-hard fans, St. Louis is home to the Cardinals (baseball) and the Blues (hockey). Forget fair weather—come rain, sleet, or snow, you’ll find dedicated Cardinals fans, with beer and hot dog in hand, crowding Busch Stadium to cheer on the Cardinals. Join your friends in red—or grab your blue and head to Scottrade Center to watch the Blues shred the ice.

For more information, visit the Explore St. Louis website.