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City Rankings

10 Reasons Why St. Louis Is Actually Great (and We're Total Assholes)

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Sat, Oct 19, 2013 at 6:00 AM
click to enlarge The Jewel Box in St. Louis' Forest Park - WIKIPEDIA COMMONS/ MARCUS QWERTYUS
  • Wikipedia Commons/ Marcus Qwertyus
  • The Jewel Box in St. Louis' Forest Park

By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Fenske

Ok, we're assholes. We'll admit that when we wrote about how the Dodgers would beat the Cardinals in the NLCS and St. Louis sucks, we were filled with confidence over the hometown team's late season surge -- and perhaps high on all the Vitamin D provided by the year-round sunshine here.

But what were we thinking? The piece is full of cheap shots -- who makes jokes about fat kids? What kind of jackass doesn't love a good free zoo?

And so, a day after the Dodgers' defeat, in an effort to beg forgiveness from a city where we both once lived and in fact still love, here are our top 10 reasons why St. Louis is actually a sweet place to live.

10. Cost of Living

This is the elephant in the room: L.A. is ridiculously expensive, and if you want a decent quality of life you need to be making that Adrian Gonzalez money, or living off somebody else's. In St. Louis you can work a normal job and still be a baller. Or, a creative type; the city by the Mississippi remains a viable spot for young artists to hone their craft without begging, borrowing or stealing. You can't say that about any decent city on the West Coast.

click to enlarge Lafayette Square, the one in St. Louis - FLICKR/CHRIS-YUNKER
  • flickr/chris-yunker
  • Lafayette Square, the one in St. Louis

9. Housing Stock

It's not just that housing is cheap -- the spots you get for your money are first-rate. Hardwood floors, crown molding, tin ceilings, and lots and lots of sturdy brick -- there's a classic, timeless look to St. Louis residential architecture that's impossible not to love.

8. Neighborhoods

And on that note, these glorious apartments don't exist in isolation. Upon preparing a move to L.A., a St. Louis friend asked our advice finding a neighborhood similar to the Central West End. Huh. Where in L.A. is there a neighborhood close to both downtown and the city's best university, with a multitude of great apartments surrounded by beautiful old mansions, at least a half-dozen superb restaurants, and some really great bars -- with streets lined by gorgeous old trees and wrought-iron fences? Oh, and that also has a truly great independent bookstore and a super-cool piece of public art designed by no less than Maya Lin? Nowhere. You can't find a neighborhood like that in most cities in the world, much less one that's affordable to the creative class.

And that's not even touching on the plethora of great neighborhoods available to those who like a little grit. You could get an awesomely affordable apartment on Cherokee Street or off South Grand, in Benton Park or Tower Grove or Midtown St. Louis, and you'd be surrounded by cool kids doing whatever it is the cool kids do in 2014. (Is making jam still in? OK, what about jewelry?) These are all great, cosmopolitan neighborhoods that you just won't find anywhere else.

7. It's Got an Edge

Parts of St. Louis feel like New York City must have felt in the '70s, before the interesting Manhattanites were pushed out by gentrification. Yes, there's crime, but there are also interesting people arguing about interesting things. There is no nanny state here. Not only can you talk on your cell phone while driving, but you can still smoke in some of the bars, you'll feel free to get stumbling-down drunk, and you can stay out extra late due to...

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