If you’re planning on moving to
Saint Louis, get ready for wild weather, vibrant culture, and sky-high crime rates in certain areas. If you love baseball, cheap rent, and unique architecture, though, then St. Louis could be the perfect spot to set down roots.
On the border between
Missouri, at the place where the Missouri and Mississippi rivers meet, lies the city of St. Louis.
Imagine a spot that’s too far north to be southern, too far south to be northern, too far east to be western, and too far west to be eastern. A spot where the weather swings freely between extremes and where rivers and roads change names and directions on a whim—that is St. Louis.
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What you need to know about Saint Louis before you move
Situated on the muddy banks of the Mississippi River and heralded as the “gateway to the west,” Saint Louis is home to just over 300,00 residents, more than 30 extraordinary museums, one fervent spirit of devotion to a baseball team, dozens of quirky customs, 79 distinct neighborhoods, and one very big arch.
Saint Louis has a little of everything, a lot of most things, and tons of character. Let’s go over what makes this place special.
1. It’s one of the most affordable big cities to live in
Most big cities come with a hefty cost of living expense. In Saint Louis, though, you’ll find most goods and services are far more affordable than they are in other places.
Overall, the cost of living in St. Louis is about 4% less than is typical in Missouri and almost 19% cheaper than the nationwide average.
Housing costs are the area where you’ll save the most. Rent and mortgage payments in the greater Missouri area are about half what you could expect to find anywhere else—and the same is true for the median home price (which is only $155,000).
For a young professional trying to lay down roots, Saint Louis is a solid choice. If you’re fed up with the ever-increasing cost of living in the U.S, consider heading to The Mound City.
Here, a can of Coke costs $1, $2 will buy you a beer, $7 will buy you a meal, and a single person can live comfortably off of $1,600/month.
2. It’s one of the most dangerous cities in the country
Before you go thinking that Saint Louis is some sort of ultra-affordable paradise, remember that a low cost of living often accompanies a depressed economy—and a depressed economy leads to an increase in crime.
The violent crime rate here is a staggering 19.95, meaning one out of every 50 residents will be the victim of a violent crime each year. According to a recent
study published by Forbes in February 2022, Saint Louis has become the most dangerous city in the country overall.
But before you change your mind about this place completely, remember that violent crime usually occurs in select areas and at specific times of the day and year. Do your research about the different neighborhoods and practice awareness when exploring to stay safe.
3. There are plenty of free things to do
On top of the city’s overall affordability, there are plenty of fun attractions that are outright free!
If you prefer to spend your free time outside, the city has plenty of public parks to choose from—including the massive
Forest Park, which boasts over 1,300 acres of greenery and biking trails!
4. The economy is improving—slowly
It’s well-known that the economy in Saint Louis has struggled for decades. However, in the past few years, there have been definite signs of new financial life in the area.
A gradual influx of tech, healthcare, and education jobs has initiated new growth of capital and skilled labor.
Since around 2012, millennials have been moving to the city in search of affordable housing and economic opportunity. Many of those that moved to the city in their early 20s and began start-ups are reaching the age where their projects are turning a real profit—bringing much-needed jobs and revenue to the city.
5. Be prepared for all kinds of crazy weather
In Saint Louis, you get heat like the south, cold like the north, humidity like a swamp, and sudden blizzards (sometimes within the same week)!
Heavy snow falls in the late spring, blistering heat in the autumn—nothing is ever off the table when it comes to weather in the Mound City.
Locals will advise you to always have a change of clothes or two in case of sudden torrential rains or temperature spikes. In Saint Louis, the only way to be prepared for the weather is to expect the unexpected. Anything could happen, and it usually does!
6. The city is baseball crazy
If you’re not already aware that Saint Louis is home to The Cardinals (one of the best teams in professional baseball), then you soon will be—the locals won’t let you forget it.
For them, watching every game and getting excited is as much about community bonding as it is about the actual sport. Cheering for the Cardinals is more of a non-optional civic duty than a hobby.
7. Everyone will ask you where you went to school
Every area has its own little cultural quirks that outsiders don’t really understand. One thing that you’ll notice living in Saint Louis is that everyone asks you what high school you went to—everyone.
It’s one of the very first things a person will say to you when you meet, even if they know you’re not from the area.
If you’re planning on living in Saint Louis for an extended period, get ready to be hearing that question at the onset of most conversations for the foreseeable future.
Even more odd is that you won’t have been in the city for even a year before you catch yourself asking new acquaintances the same thing.
Finding a place to live in St. Louis
Perhaps the most important decision that you’ll make when moving to Saint Louis is which neighborhood you’ll live in. There are plenty of houses and apartments to buy or rent throughout the city, as housing demand isn’t sky-high like in other cities. So, you’ll have your choice as to which neighborhood you’d like.
When choosing a neighborhood, the two most important factors to consider are price and safety—and they’re inversely correlated. Typically, the higher rent prices are in a neighborhood, the lower crime rates will be.
Fortunately, rent prices aren’t too much of an obstacle in the Mound City. As was mentioned before, the cost of housing in Saint Louis is almost unbelievably low.
The median home price, for instance, was approximately $155,000 in August 2022, which is less than half of the nationwide average of $392,000. And the average cost of rent across all unit types and sizes is only $947/month.
That leaves crime and safety as your main deciding factor when picking a neighborhood. With that in mind, let’s quickly discuss Saint Louis’s 79 distinct neighborhoods.
The neighborhoods are all government-established, so they have clearly defined boundaries.
In general, you can count on the southern areas of Saint Louis being the safest. As you travel north, things often get progressively more dangerous. Hyde Park and Capitol Hill are the two most dangerous neighborhoods in the city.
Here are some of the “best” St Louis neighborhoods based on your interests:
Best for families: Clifton Heights. There are high-quality homes, plenty of parks, and crime rates that are dramatically lower than in the rest of the city
Best for foodies: Lindenwood Park. This neighborhood offers a safe and charming atmosphere where you can enjoy numerous restaurants and cafes
Best for first-time homebuyers: Boulevard Heights. This is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city, and the single-family houses there are gorgeous. Plus, you’re well within walking distance to a few more exciting neighborhoods
Best if you want to be close to everything: Franz Park. This neighborhood is clean, safe, affordable, and perfectly located to give you easy access to all the most interesting attractions and social scenes
Always make sure to do plenty of research on any Saint Louis neighborhood before moving there. And spend some time around the area in person to get a feel for it.
Moving to St. Louis checklist
Once you’ve chosen a neighborhood and secured a place, you’ll need to get ready for the big move. This can be a chaotic and stressful endeavor at the best of times. In order to make sure you’ve got everything taken care of, follow these simple steps:
Before you go
Sort through your belongings and decide what you want to take with you and what you want to get rid of.
Pack up everything that you’re keeping, and take everything else to a thrift store or donation center.
Make sure to
notify all interested parties of your departure—this includes friends, family, coworkers, your landlord, your employer, the utility company, your insurance providers, and anyone else that you think might need to know.
After you get there
After a long trip, you probably want nothing more than to relax and enjoy the first night in your new home. Unfortunately, there are a few more chores that you’ll need to take care of before kicking your boots off. Make sure to:
homeowners insurance up and running. You’ll likely already have a policy if you got a mortgage. On the other hand, if you're renting a place, you’ll want to arrange for
Update your address for important accounts and contact information, such as your mailing address, voter registration, and healthcare card.
How to save on car, renters, and home insurance in St. Louis
Even if it's not required, though, you’re probably going to want some in order to protect your home and belongings from the variety of situations that could happen in St Louis (remember the wacky weather we mentioned earlier?).
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