Living in St. Louis
St. Louis offers graduate students both a high quality of life and a lower cost of living than the national average. Living in St. Louis is more affordable than in such cities as Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Seattle. Yet the St. Louis Metropolitan Area is home to an array of cultural institutions, sports teams and entertainment venues.
The Washington University Medical Center – where the Master of Population Health Sciences program is based – sits at the edge of Forest Park in the Central West End (CWE), a stable and attractive area of the city. At the turn of the century, the CWE was the fashionable section of town, featuring many private streets lined with mansions. In the 1920s, high-rise apartment buildings and more houses for middle-class residents were constructed. The atmosphere changed in the 1970s, when the CWE suffered from urban decay and suburban flight. Over the last 20 years, Washington University Medical Center has leveraged $430 million to improve the CWE. Today, the CWE is a regenerated, vibrant area with parks, sidewalk cafés, restaurants, shops, bars and affordable housing. For this reason, many medical and graduate students live in the CWE and walk to work from affordable apartments in the vicinity of the Medical Center. More about Washington University off-campus housing.
In September 2010, Washington University also expanded options for child care by opening a family learning center in University City – near the medical school – to serve the children of students, faculty, and staff.
It does not take long for graduate students to discover St. Louis. Among cultural institutions, the St. Louis Symphony is the second oldest orchestra in the United States and has long been regarded as one of the best. The Symphony – which has six Grammy awards and 56 Grammy nominations – performs a broad musical repertoire with skill and spirit. Its programs include not only a full orchestral series, but also free summer concerts in local parks. Meanwhile, theatre goers may attend Broadway productions at the Fox Theatre, a 1920s movie palace restored to its former glory; outstanding live plays performed by the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis; and quality productions sung in English by the Opera Theatre of St. Louis and accompanied by the St. Louis Symphony.
The Pageant, a small venue with great acoustics and comfortable seating, and Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, a summertime concert venue, both feature local and nationally known rock and jazz musicians. And there is never a shortage of sporting events with the St. Louis Cardinals baseball, Rams football and Blues hockey teams providing year-round excitement.
One of the city’s biggest centers for recreation and culture, Forest Park, is across the street from the Medical Center. It comprises 1,371 acres and features tennis courts, a skating rink, a golf course, and a 6.2-mile running/biking/rollerblading track. Forest Park is also home to the St. Louis Art Museum, the St. Louis Science Center, the Missouri History Museum, the Saint Louis Zoo, the MUNY Opera and the Jewel Box (indoor garden). Most of these attractions, including the Zoo and Art Museum, are free of charge.
In addition to Forest Park, the Missouri Botanical Garden – with its beautifully landscaped grounds – is close by and provides an excellent getaway from a busy lifestyle. Residents and their family members or friends might also want to visit the 630-foot Gateway Arch, which has a barrel-shaped tram that takes visitors to the top for views of the Mississippi River and downtown. Under the Arch is the Jefferson National Expansion Museum, which features exhibits telling the story of the exploration and settlement of the West. Another great place for a family outing is Grant's Farm, the country estate of the Busch family and home to more than 1,000 exotic animals from six continents. Tram tours of Deer Park and many other attractions are offered at only a small fee for parking.
Learn more about museums, performing arts, other attractions, sports and transportation in St. Louis.