The “Gateway to the West” is a thriving metropolitan area of 2.8 million people that retains the friendly character of the Midwest. The fun and culture of a big city are readily available, but living here is easy and affordable. We encourage you to explore St. Louis and the state of Missouri.
Student views on St. Louis
Read what current medical students think of St. Louis in the Dis-Orientation Guide, written annually by medical students, for medical students.
Forest Park, located adjacent to the medical campus, is a haven for students. Home to St. Louis’ Zoo, Science Center and Planetarium, Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum, the park also offers public tennis courts and golf courses, an outdoor ice rink, a 12-kilometer paved trail, picnic areas, athletic fields and a system of scenic lagoons and waterways that one can explore by paddle boat, paddle board, canoe or kayak.
St. Louis is a sports-minded city that enthusiastically supports Cardinals baseball, Blues hockey and a number of semi-pro teams. In 2023, St. Louis City SC joined Major League Soccer in a new stadium located a few miles east of the medical campus. If you’d like to get your own game on, the city has plenty to offer, from running and rock climbing to sand volleyball and ultimate frisbee.
The St. Louis Symphony is among the country’s best, and several first-rate theater companies practice their art here. The Fox Theatre (“the Fabulous Fox”) presents Broadway shows, dance performances and concerts. A diverse music scene, including Blues, jazz and rock bands, are hot attractions in local clubs, and large outdoor venues draw major concerts. The Saint Louis Art Museum was built for the 1904 World’s Fair and its collection of art spans centuries and cultures; admission is free. The Black Rep provides some of its performances on WashU’s Danforth campus. See more on arts and culture from Explore St. Louis–including museums, art galleries, and venues for outdoor art.
Outdoor activities can be found within and around the metropolitan area. The Missouri Botanical Garden offers beautiful displays year round. Bike trails line both the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. Spanning 240 miles across the state, the Katy Trail State Park (the country’s longest recreational rail trial whose eastern terminus near St. Charles is just outside of St. Louis) takes walkers, runners, cyclists and equestrians past towering bluffs, wineries, river valleys and nature centers. Or, consider paddling these great rivers with expert guides. Beyond the city, the Ozark mountains and river valleys are perfect for backpacking, hiking, camping, fishing and canoeing. Missouri’s state park system contains 92 state parks and historic sites. More than 160,000 acres are publicly accessible.
- Art Hill Film Series (July)
- Bark in the Park (May)
- Best of Missouri Market (October)
- Blues at the Arch (August)
- Cherokee Cinco de Mayo (May)
- Earth Day Festival (April)
- GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend (April)
- Fair St. Louis (around July 4th)
- Festival of Nations (August)
- Great Forest Park Balloon Race (September)
- Historic Shaw Neighborhood Art Fair (October)
- Laumeier Art Fair (May)
- Let Them Eat Art (2nd Friday in July; Maplewood MO)
- Japanese Festival (Labor Day Weekend)
- Moonlight Ramble (August)
- Music at the Intersection (September)
- PrideFest St. Louis (June)
- Schlafly Art Outside Festival (May)
- Shakespeare in the Park (multiple days in June)
- St. Louis African Arts Festival (May)
- St. Louis Art Fair (September in Clayton MO)
- St. Louis International Film Festival (November)
- St. Louis Microfest (May)
- St. Louis Wine Festival (June)
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade and run (mid-March)
- Scottish Games and Cultural Festival (May in Manchester MO)
- Shakespeare Festival St. Louis (late May-mid June)
- Soulard neighborhood Mardi Gras (mid-February/early March)
- Taste of Maplewood (May)
- Whitaker Music Festival at Missouri Botanical Garden (weekly, June to early August)
- Whitaker St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase (July)
- World’s Fair Heritage Festival (September)
- More annual events »
- Central West End: the Medical Campus’s vibrant, urban and eclectic neighborhood
- City Museum: an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion and architectural marvel made out of unique found objects
- Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis
- Grand Center Arts District
- Forest Park: among the nation’s largest parks, with a multitude of cultural venues and outdoor sporting facilities
- Fox Theatre: offering a variety of live entertainment since 1929
- Gateway Arch
- The Grove: a popular neighborhood southeast of the medical school campus offering a diverse collection of bars, nightclubs, restaurants and shops. A favorite stop for LGBT visitors.
- Missouri Botanical Garden: the nation’s oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark.
- Missouri History Museum
- Muny Theatre: an outdoor musical theatre venue in Forest Park, in operation since 1917
- Riverboats at the Gateway Arch
- Saint Louis Zoo
- Saint Louis Science Center
- Saint Louis Art Museum
- St. Louis Symphony: among the nation’s leading symphonies, offering students $10 tickets for select performances.
- The historic St. Louis Union Station now includes the St. Louis Aquarium and a 200-foot Ferris wheel.
- More St. Louis attractions »
Washington University helps make getting around St. Louis easier: Full-time students are eligible to receive a free Metro pass that provides unlimited access to the entire transit system, including buses and light rail (MetroLink) that serve St. Louis City and County as well as Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois.
St. Louis’ central location makes also exploring nearby cities easy and inexpensive. Cities including Chicago, Kansas City, Memphis, Nashville, Louisville, Cincinnati and Indianapolis are all within a five-hour drive.
In the Know
Hear from St. Louis “insiders” regarding the city’s neighborhoods, dining, micro-breweries, and live music.
New residents and natives alike commend St. Louis for providing the career and cultural opportunities of a big city with the convenience and low cost-of-living often found in smaller sized towns. A 2019 assessment ranked St. Louis among the top U.S. cities where people live the most balanced lifestyles.
St. Louis Media
- St. Louis American: Recognized as one of the top African-American newspapers in the country, printed weekly and available online
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Founded in 1878 by Joseph Pulitzer, St. Louis’ major daily newspaper
- St. Louis Public Radio: The region’s local National Public Radio affiliate sharing news online and over the air
- Riverfront Times: Weekly print/online newspaper with an urban vibe, heavy on entertainment coverage
- Sauce Magazine: St. Louis’ award-winning metro-area culinary and entertainment magazine and guide
- Central West End Association Griffin (published in March, June, September and November) for the Central West End (neighborhood) Association
- More media in St. Louis »
Our city will surprise you.
In St. Louis you’ll find charming neighborhoods, vibrant cultural and culinary scenes, and plenty of fun for nature-lovers and urbanites alike – all packed into an incredibly affordable city.