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Saint Louis: the Lou and You

Updated on March 1, 2023
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Carolan is a St. Louis native raised on Cardinals baseball and Busch Stadium. GO Redbirds!


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. Discover an an ever-growing collection of the best of St. Louis from a native.

Saint Louis FOOD

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

1) Toasted Ravioli In the Lou toasted ravs are a fact of life.

2) Ted Drewes Frozen Custard Even better than ice cream. 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 Other places have beer and maybe bratworsts, but in the LOU? Best beers and brats at Busch Stadium during a Cardinals baseball game!

5) Gooey Butter Cake Local bakeries and groceries will have this breakfast stolen that's crazy sweet and gooey.

More than Meets the Arch in the Lou

When most folks think of St. Louis, Missouri they immediately of the impressive Gateway Arch. The symbolic "gateway to the west." was completed in the 1960s. The Arch grounds were under construction for a few years, now reopened and better than ever.

Funny Ways People Talk in St. Louis, MO

Funny video below. I don't think it's 100% true, but a lot of people in the LOU do talk in these funny ways.

A few more St. Louis-isms:

The letter R tends to get mutilated, especially by old-timers! 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!

Some say MissourAH - we say MissourEE.

Funny Ways People Talk in St. Louis, MO

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 you might hear something like .... " well... ya grab 'farty' on past Dogtown and then go south past the Hill". Welcome to the Lou!

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:

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

*Gravois (GRAV-oi) * Bellefontaine (Bell Fountain)

St. Louis City VS. County

True story and one many natives do not know.

Here's a not very well known fact about St. Louis that even many natives are not aware of, yet is significant. Well 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.

The irony is that currently the situation is just the opposite, a complete reversal. Now 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 inner city only, whether with regard to crime, unemployment rates, schools, name it. So St. Louis gets reported as being way beyond the 'national average' when compared to other cities in many ways.

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, apples VS oranges, especially considering that inner cities do tend to have higher crime rates nation-wide.

St. Louis in the 1950s & 60s

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

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

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, one of a kind!

Ted Drewes Frozen Custar You haven't experienced St. Louis until you have enjoyed THE best ice cream ever! Ted Drewes has served frosty "concrete" weight custard to travelers since 1929.

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.

Six Flags If amusement parks amuse you, head out to 6 Flags over Mid-America for the day. Water Park, Roller Coasters & much more.

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

The Science Center Highly recommended, with or without kids. Also visit the Planetarium connected by highway bridge to 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 This town was once home to hundreds of breweries. The largest is Anheuser-Busch, and still maintains its headquarters here. Tour the historic complex.

The Missouri Botanical Garden is a GEM year-round. See the Climatron rain forest, the largest traditional Japanese garden in North America, MUCH more!

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 (in the Loop), Blues City Deli, 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.

Vote for YOUR Favorite Attraction in the Lou

MUST SEE in St. Louis

See results

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2007 Carolan Ross


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