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Saint Louis: the Lou and You

Updated on May 19, 2015

The Inside Scoop on Saint Louis

Coming to St. Louis? Learn where to go, what to do, how to find your way around and have FUN in the Gateway City. Above and beyond the usual information about St. Louis, this page was created by a native of 'the Lou' who describes things about this town that you simply won't find elsewhere.

You'll find an an ever-growing collection here of the best and the worst of St. Louis and a melancholy look at scenes from St. Louis history that only the old timers will even remember. Here you will find links to the usual St. Louis stuff as well as MUCH more about the UNusual in St. Louis, MO.

image: CrossCreations


St. Louis Poll - What's your experience with the Gateway City?

Ever been to St. Louis, Missouri?

See results

Saint Louis FOOD

A few food preferences specific to St. Louis...

1) Toasted Ravioli (How old was I when I learned that other folks don't even KNOW about these? In the Lou they are just a fact of life.)

2) Ted Drewes Frozen Custard Ya won't scream for ice cream once you've had some Ted Drewes Frozen Custard.

By the way, know where the ice cream cone was 1st invented? St. Louis World's Fair, 1904

3) Soda We call it soda, you call it pop. Coca-Cola or Pepsi - whatever... 'just gimme a soda'

4) Beer n Brats OK, so other places have beer and maybe bratworsts, but in the LOU? Best at Busch Stadium during a Cardinals baseball game!

The St. Louis Arch was built during the 1960s.
The St. Louis Arch was built during the 1960s.

More than Meets the Arch in the Lou

The Gateway Arch, bet you KNEW about the Arch

When most folks think of St. Louis, Missouri they immediately of the impressive gateway arch monument. The symbolic "gateway to the west." was completed in the 1960s. It is impressive and significant to St. Louis, yet it is merely an entry way to all St. Louis has to offer visitors, whether cultural, historical, sporting, educational or just plain fun.

There's much more than meets the arch in St. Louis. Get comfy while St. Louis natives introduce you to...

the Gateway to the BEST in St. Lou.

The Saint Louis Airport

Lambert Field and St. Louis International Airport are one and the same.

About our airport: Lambert Field and St. Louis International Airport really are the same place, so do not be confused by all of the various highway signs that might indicate otherwise. The East Terminal (also now called Terminal B) however, is a different place. The East Terminal is a modern annex that grew off of Lambert awhile back.

Flights out of the East Terminal (Terminal B) are a piece of cake compared to the main terminal. Southwest flights and the charters all come and go from the East Terminal, much smaller and having its own parking lot - making it a lot easier to navigate than the main terminal. Yet if airports like O'Hare don't scare you, then either of them will be a piece of cake.

There is another tiny airport out in West County, called the Spirit of St. Louis airport. If you have your own small plane, that 'Spirit of St. Louis Airport' landing field would be the best place to land it, but commercial passenger planes do not use that airport. By car you just grab I-64 west past I-270 to 'the valley' area (Chesterfield Valley) and the best exit is Long Road.

Funny Ways People Talk in St. Louis, MO

Funny Ways People Talk in St. Louis, MO

Pretty funny video... Some very true. Not all, but a lot of people in the LOU - they DO talk in these funny ways.

A few more St. Louis-isms:

The letter R tends to get mutilated, drives me nuts! ie. wash (warsh), shorts (sharts), fork (fark) and forty (farty) - and Highway 44 (farty far). Radio DJs often enjoy this, likely cause it contains the word "fart" which is considered comedy gold.

Soft drinks? NOT pop but soda. And the kitchen sink might get called a Zinc! ie. "just go warsh it in the zinc" Ouch! And some call our state MissourAH instead of MissourEE.

Visitor's Guide To Driving in the Lou

Sometimes a map just isn't enough...

St. Louis natives commonly give directions to strangers based on neighborhoods which aren't marked on any maps, and only known to natives of the Lou.

A few of these neighborhoods would be: Dogtown, the Hill, the Loop, the Central West End (CWE) and Soulard.

*About Hwy 64/40: St. Louisans were aghast when the federal government required them to redo the highway signs to say that our very own 'Highway 40' actually went to cities in other states instead of just local St. Louis municipalities and hangouts.

So ... what locals call 'Highway 40' or simply '40' is referred to on road signs as I-64. Very few natives will call it I-64, regardless of signs or times. Worst of all, many locals pronounce 40 as 'farty' (see above) so ... be prepared for that if you ask for directions....like you might hear something like .... " well... ya grab 'farty' on past Dogtown and then go south past the Hill". Welcome to the Lou!

Saint Louis Highways

*Traveling west from the arch, you can take I-70 to the north, I-64 central, or I-44 south.

* All of the above will eventually intersect with 270 which is a loop all the way around town. Good non-highway routes include Olive Blvd, Clayton Road or Gravois - ALL of them stretch on forever all the way to far west county and beyond.

*You can go all four directions on Highway 270: North and South in West County, East and West in South County and North County. Think of it as a big horseshoe sitting open to the Arch. Got that? Good. Hwy 270 is important, as it circles the city and will take you anywhere in the Lou.

*The outer belt is Highway 270, which turns into Highway 255 in South County. The 'inner belt' is Highway 170 and if it's 370 it's an outer outer belt.

*O'Fallon and Wentzville area residents complain of no good north/south routes out there, so an outer outer outer belt is a possibility in the future in far west county. Since we already have 170, 270 and 370 then I suppose a 470 belt may appear at some time in the future.

Good to Know When Driving in St. Lou

*Many of our roads will mysteriously changes names as you cross intersections: Hanley Road is a good example, which changes to Laclede Station Road to the south, and Hanley will be known as Graham Road up north in the Florissant area, then you go around a curve and it changes again to St. Ferdinand! Roads like Hanley can be confusing to out-of-towners. Ditto for Lindbergh/Kirkwood, Midland/Dorsett, Olive/Clarkson.

* About Gravois (GRA-voy) Road... In the city it curves around in all directions and lanes can even change direction. However Gravois transforms to a more uniform road soutwest of the city. It becomes a small highway west of 270, where Gravois is also known as Hwy 30. Same road, sort of...there's also an Old Hwy 30 out there.

*Never EVER try to cross any river bridge in the St. Louis area during rush hour unless you have a port-a-potty in the car.

*ALL old ladies with blue hair in Cadillacs driving on Olive west of 270 have the right of way, ALWAYS!!! :-)

*Lindbergh belongs to every neighborhood except Kirkwood, (who had the nerve to creatively change the name to Kirkwood Road). It's a handy inner loop for north/south travel rathert han using 270 or 170 (and 170 ends at I-64/40 anyway). Lindbergh is also known as Hwy 67.

*Any vehicle publicly parked in the city for over 4 hours is known as a free auto parts store. Ditto for East St. Louis and areas of north St. Louis, where that time frame is reduced to about 30 minutes...or less.

New to the Lou? Road Pronunciation Guide

The Saint Louis Vernacular

Some streets and areas in the Lou can only be pronounced only by a native. Some of those appear below.

French-speaking people, be prepared for the St. Louis version of how to pronounce Creve Couer.

*Creve Couer (Creev CORE) *Spoede (SPADE-ee) *Chouteau (SHOTE-oh)

*Gravois (GRAV-oi) Some natives call it GRAV-oiz.

Little Known Facts About St. Louis
Little Known Facts About St. Louis

St. Louis City VS. County

Interesting true story...

Here's a not very well known fact about St. Louis that even many natives are not aware of, yet is significant. Over a century ago, city officials decided to separate St. Louis City from the County, and mandated this by law. Sometimes referred to as 'the great divorce' this was a very controversial action in 1876, resulting in two separate city centers (downtown and Clayton) and remains so today.

Back then the city was wealthy and the county tended to be very poor. County people were in desperate need of things like roads and schools. City owners grew weary of constant requests from the poorer county and so decided to separate the city from the county, making the city of St. Louis its own county. That forced the poor to fend for themselves.

Currently the situation is just the opposite in that the county is generally where wealth is found in St. Louis, and the city tends to house the very poor. Yet published statistics about St. Louis will reflect the city only, whether with regard to crime and unemployment rates, schools, housing...you name it. So St. Louis gets reported as being way beyond the 'national average' when compared to other cities in many ways.

However these comparisons are based on the area within the city limits only, making them invalid in comparison to areas that include both city and surrounding counties. I know of no other city besides St. Louis who ever 'divorced' their counties and stayed divorced for well over a century regardless of many negative impacts. Makes one wonder why the city and county do not just remarry and be done with it. Likely the county now does not wish to merge with the city and then be forced to share their problems, a complete reverse of 1876.

*Reported statistics about St. Louis are skewed heavily by this variable. For example, St. Louis repeatedly gets rated as a city with an extremely high crime rate. However, those stats reflect crime rates only within the city limits while crime rates for other cities reflect both city and county areas combined. So this is not a valid comparison, especially considering that inner cities do tend to have higher crime rates nation-wide.

The Weather in Saint Louis

STL weather gets a bad rap sometimes, but can be gorgeous. Just be prepared for abrupt changes and extremes.

Four very distinct season changes can be enjoyed here, and most people would likely prefer the springtime and fall. The funny thing about our weather in St. Louis is that you might experience so many 'seasons' within just a few days, as weather tends to change quite drastically. That's why people around here sometimes say, 'If ya don't like the weather in St. Louis, then just wait a day or two.'

High humidity can be a BIG weather challenge. Summers can be hot as a firecracker, and when you factor in the humidity it can feel like walking into a moist furnace. Be prepared to sweat. In the wintertime, the moisture from humidity in the air creates a wet cold that can be bone chilling.

2011 brought heavy storms - Tornado Alley. Biggest storms were the New Years Eve tornado that hit the Sunset Hills area in South County and the Good Friday tornado that wreaked havoc over a big stretch of North County, including a direct hit on Lambert airport.

Weather in St. Louis

St. Louis
St. Louis

All four seasons under one roof! Sometimes we actually do get that! For example, in January 2013 it was 75 degrees one day, then bottom fell out and it snowed within 24 hours. CRAZY!

The cartoon above says it all, found on facebook.com/AllThingsMissouri.

People, Products, Places & Events in St. Lou - Below are links to some well-known sites for reviews that have links to St. Louis and are very useful.

Anything you ever wanted to know about St. Louis that is not on this page can most likely be found at one of the links below. Great resources!

St. Louis in the 50s & 60s - Great St. Louis memories from the past... if you grew up in 'the Lou' then you will appreciate this Blast from the Past, St. Lo

POLL: STL Then & Now - STL Memories

Which places in the video above from the 1950s & 1960s in St. Louis are still around today?

See results

Activities and Attractions in St. Louis

Hot Spots in the Gateway City

The City Museum Whether you love or hate museums, there's simply NO museum ANYwhere quite like the St. Louis City Museum. 'Kids' of all ages will love it and want to return again and again, since it tends to be ever-changing and growing. A MUST to visit in the Lou.

Ted Drewes Frozen Custar Some say you haven't experienced St. Louis until you have been to Ted Drewes. This frozen custard shop has served frosty "concrete" weight custard to travelers along Route 66 and in St. Louis since 1929 and is a local favorite. It really is true - you can turn your cup upside down and the frozen custard will stay put - it's THAT thick.

St. Louis Zoo Unlike just about any zoo in the country, the St. Louis Zoo is FREE! This world-class zoo has new exhibits and expansions every year. Some attractions, like the Zoo train and others, do have a fee. Make sure you stop in the butterfly house.

Six Flags If amusement parks amuse you, head out to 6 Flags over Mid-America for the day. The Hurricane Harbor Water Park is free with the theme park admission. You'll find numerous rides and roller coasters including "The Boss" and "Batman" also the original "Screaming Eagle".

The Magic House Got kids? Then don't miss this Children's Museum, offering more than 100 hands-on educational exhibits for kids from "1 to 101."

The Science Center Highly recommended, with or without kids, the Science Center now has America's newest space attraction at its James S. McDonnell Planetarium. Inside the Planetarium's Boeing Space Station, visitors can learn about space sciences, astronomy, aviation and the environment through a "living future" picture of space not found in any other science center in the nation.

Busch Brewery Tour St. Louis became a major industrial center in the late 1800s, with more than 100 breweries operating in the city, and the largest one was Anheuser-Busch, which still maintains its headquarters there today. You can tour the historic complex for free, Mondays-Saturdays. See the Clydesdale stables, the lager cellar, the Bud World gift shop, and have some free beer.

The Missouri Botanical Garden This garden offers the largest traditional Japanese garden in North America and is a real treat year-round. See the Kemper Center for Home Gardening, the Climatron rain forest and more. The Great Garden Adventure tours are offered here since 2003. The self-guided tours around the world-famous oasis include a Kid's quest and a Fitness Foray. Their free outdoor concerts in summertime are awesome!

STL Then & Now Poll - Answer to Question Above

How well do you know St. Louis?

Of the St. Louis locations mentioned in the poll above, those which still exist today are: Chuck-a-Burger, Blueberry Hill, Crown Candy, the Pageant, Grant's Farm and the Casa Loma Ballroom.

Therefore the correct answer was B) Blueberry Hill, Crown Candy & Casa Loma

Vote for YOUR Favorite Attraction in the Lou

MUST SEE in St. Louis

See results

St. Louis Local Favorite Restaurants

Like finding unique and one of a kind restaurants rather than going to the chains where everything is the same?

Unique St. Louis area Restaurants that are One of a Kind and NOT part of a Chain:

Annie Gunn's, The Blue Owl (Kimmswick), Blueberry Hill, Blues City Deli, O'Leary's, Broadway Oyster Bar, Chuck-A-Burger Drive-In, Courtesy Diner, Crown Candy Kitchen, Fast Eddie's Bon Air (Alton IL), Fitz's, Gioia's Deli, Goody Goody Diner, Gus' Pretzels, Hodak’s Restaurant & Bar, BB's Jazz, Blues and Soups, O'Connell's Pub, Seamus McDaniel's, Sidney Street Cafe, Rigazzi's (on the Hill), the Venice Cafe, Tony's Restaurant, Uncle Bill's Pancake and Dinner House

Learn more here: http://stlouis.cbslocal.com/stl-250-local-favorite...

Hotels in St. Louis

Need to book a room in the Lou?

Book a place to stay anywhere in the St. Louis area right here. Just click St. Louis Hotels and find whatever you need, wherever in St. Louis you want to stay.

If you'd like a truly unique and one of a kind St. Louis upscale hotel experience, check out the Moonrise Hotel. Centrally located in the Loop area on Delmad Blvd. and nextdoor to The Pageant, the Moonrise Hotel is pure delight. Rooftop bar and themed rooms dedicated to famous celebrities who are originally from St. Louis. Walk to restaurants and attractons in the Loop area. Nearby Forest Park & the Zoo.

rft
rft

Sleepless in Saint Lou

Night Owl in St. Lou? What to DO...

Late night rabble-rowsers will find fun and action into the wee hours in many areas of St. Louis. Top choices for live music, dancing, and late night socializing would surely include the following areas of town: the Loop, the Landing, the Central West End, Soulard, and Washington Avenue.

...and the REALLY bold and hard-core late nighters? They go to the east side. That means cross the bridge into Illinois. Be careful over there.

Pick up a copy of River Front Times - the most popular local free rag mag to discover what's going on where in town. Click the link above or pick one up around town - it can be found in most restaurants and stores - just look for it on a rack near the doorway.

St. Louis Page Guestbook - I'm from Missouri, so SHOW ME your comments. Thanks.

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    • paperfacets profile image

      Sherry Venegas 

      5 years ago from La Verne, CA

      Nice. Let me know if your do a lens just about route 66 in St. Louis. I am collecting them in a lens.

    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      6 years ago from Templeton, CA

      I appreciated your information on driving in St. Louis -- something we could have used when we were trying to find our way around. If we ever go back, I'll remember this lens.

    • CrossCreations profile imageAUTHOR

      Carolan Ross 

      6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      @grannysage: Funny but I only went up in the arch once time myself, also found that tiny elevator you ride in to be frightening. Not about fear of heights as much as crammed into a tiny closed space, claustrophobic. Love all the rest of 'the Landing' area though, especially in summertime, great fun!

    • profile image

      grannysage 

      6 years ago

      Very entertaining lens. Some day I will get to actually stop there and see something instead of it being a pit stop between Kansas and Michigan. We used to stop at the Arch, walk around (I will never, ever go up in that elevator again as long as I live - shuddering) and eat at the high priced McDonald's that looked like a houseboat. One time we were there at night and walked over to the Landing. We were able to hear some jazz being played in one of the clubs. I would like to have you as a tour guide if I could ever spend some time there.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I have never been to St. Louis so really enjoyed reading about it and learning more than just the Arch. Thank you.

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 

      6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I thoroughly enjoyed this lens...from the foods to the pronunciations, it's a great place. I've been there and through there many times as it is part of the route from Vegas to Indiana. I love St. Louis 'cause it's close to the hometown of my heart in Indiana. Thanks for sharing.

    • Wonder-V profile image

      Wonder-V 

      7 years ago

      I love your take on the area! Hope you don't mind that I am linking you to my St. Lou lens on local food! Vive la LOU!

    • BuildABetterMouse profile image

      Steve and Annette 

      7 years ago

      We love visiting St. Louis and hope to get back there this fall. This lens gives us some great ideas for our "must see" list.

    • profile image

      Fit_Over_40_Buzz 

      7 years ago

      I just found your lens. I like it a lot. Thanks for building it. Gave you a thumbs up.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      You have put together a wonderful resource for visiting St. Louis. Blessed by a SquidAngel

    • profile image

      jcjudy 

      8 years ago

      I've lived in St. Louis most of my life, and thoroughly enjoyed this page, especially the pronunciations. The list of great things to do was a reminder of some places I need to visit more often, because they really are wonderful.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      8 years ago from New Zealand

      Forgot how much there was to do in St Louis. I haven't been since the early 80's.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Thanks for a great look at my hometown. Lensrolled to my Albert Pujols lens.

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