Are you moving to St Louis? I have five things that you absolutely must know before you move here.

Hi there. My name is Johanna Dueren. I am a broker with Circa Properties here in beautiful St Louis, Missouri and I am super proud of my town and so excited. If you are thinking about moving to St Louis, I have five things that are really good to know before you get here.

Number one, and this is super weird, but St Louis city and St Louis County are two different things. St Louis city is actually its own County and this is super important for two reasons. One, it’s important because of the school system and two it’s important because of whatever crazy crime statistics that you have heard about St Louis, which I’ll get to in just a second.

I won’t bore you with the history of all of it. I will tell you though that all of this first took place back in 1875 when the city and the County broke apart. It’s called the Great Divorce and there had been several ventures for people to try to rejoin St Louis city and St Louis County as one against several, like six or seven times we’ve tried to do it and have not been successful. But back to the reason why this is important.

The first reason is because of schools. So if you decide as you’re moving to St Louis that you want to live in St Louis city and you are looking for schools, I will start by saying that there are definitely options and I’m going to put a link to another video here above me that talks about all of the different options for schools in St Louis city. But the St Louis city school system itself, the public schools of St Louis city have struggled through the years. They have lost accreditation, they have struggled with attendance. There have been a lot of problems.

So there are other options. There are actually great options currently within the St Louis public school system. There are charter schools, there are magnet schools and like I said, I’ve got that link to another video that I did about St Louis city school options.

The other reason why it’s super important to know that St Louis city is its own County is because I’m sure that you have heard that St Louis city is one of the most, or that St Louis in general is one of the most dangerous places in the country and I am here to tell you that that it is a thing that irritates us, the St Louisans because that stat is based off of the population of just the County of St Louis city. We are not looking at the same stats for different cities. So typically if you’re looking at the crime stats for St Louis versus say the crime stats of Dallas, Dallas is going to be looking at the entire Metro area.

So you take a certain amount of crime stats and you put it in an entire Metro area versus those same crime stats versus just St Louis city County, which has a very tiny population of 300,000 people, then it is going to look like the crime is higher than what it is in other cities. If you take those same crime stats and you do the statistics in the same way that we are compared to every other city, if you include St Louis County, which now you’re looking at 3 million people, then we are not the most dangerous city. I will tell you that there are certainly as with all cities areas of St Louis that are going to have more trouble than others but as a whole, St Louis and St Louis city, St Louis city and County are beautiful, lovely places. You are not going to just be mugged on every street corner. It’s lovely here, I promise.

Okay, onward. Here’s the second thing you need to know if you’re moving to St Louis. We are a big sports town. St Louis takes it sports very, very seriously. We of course have our 11 time world champion St Louis Cardinals. We have the 2019 Stanley cup winning St. Louis Blues. St Louis was just announced that we are getting a major league soccer expansion team and a new stadium is being built in the downtown area. Games I believe begin in 2022 and we are very excited about that. And just lately St Louis got an XFL team. So I don’t know if you got into the XFL at all but we have a BattleHawks team and before we were all shut down for coronavirus this year was a great team. So, if you are moving to St Louis you’re going to at least have to pick a team and pretend because St Louis, like I said, takes our sports super, super seriously.

One last thing to mention about St. Louis sports, don’t mention the St Louis Rams to anybody. Anybody that was a football fan here is still really not feeling good about the fact that the Rams got moved back to LA.

Okay, third thing to know about moving to St Louis. There is so much free stuff to do in St. Louis. One of the first things that you will find about St. Louis that we as a city and in the County are super proud of our Forest Park. Everything in Forest Park is free as part of the original charter of the park, so the art museum is there, the science center is there, the history museum is there, the zoo is there, all of it is free and all of those places are spectacular and a great way to spend a day. There are also a million festivals. We have Shakespeare Festival in the summer also free.

Map of Forest Park

Also in Forest Park there is the Hot-Air Balloon race. The balloon glow is also free. There are music festivals, what we used to call the VP fair, which is the 4th of July fair, I believe they call it Fair St Louis now, also free, live music downtown under the arch, right around the 4th of July every year. Pretty awesome. We also have a great place in the Grantwood Village area of St. Louis called Grant’s Farm. Grant’s Farm is owned by Anheuser-Busch. Also free, except parking. You do have to pay for parking. So you can get into Grant’s Farm for free if you could just walk up to it, but I believe parking, last year it was 10 or 15 bucks. But inside Grant’s Farm you can pet goats, you can ride a camel. There is a huge beer garden where you can sample Anheuser-Busch products and lots of other fun things to do.

Grant’s Farm

I believe if you want to feed the goats, that does cost money. So keep that in mind. But so many free things to do. So many festivals, so many opportunities to get out and see all the great parts of St Louis. Helpful hint number four. There are so many different styles of houses in St. Louis. There’s something for everybody. If you’re looking for something old and charming, there’s everything from turn-of-the-century homes to Victorian homes in the city of St. Louis and Lafayette Square, Soulard. There are beautiful lofts in the downtown area and in the Central, Western area. There are lovely, there’s new construction in The Grove area. If you’re looking for something a little bit bigger and you want to move more into the Central County or the far West or North or South County, there are opportunities for beautiful arts and crafts style homes. There’s new construction everywhere.

There are some really fabulous mid modern homes in the central area, more like Crestwood and Kirkwood, lots of mid century. All the way to the big giant mansions that you see in Ladue and Clayton. There are also lots of just lovely suburban ranches and two story homes. So depending on what you’re looking for, there really is something for everybody.

Number five, last but not least is the food and beverage scene in St Louis is really strong. So you may have heard already of a couple of things. You may have heard of Imo’s pizza, you may have heard of toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake, when all of those things are just fine, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. I would not count on that to be representative of all St. Louis food and beverage culture. I will say especially Imo’s can be very polarizing.

Imo’s…love it or hate it…there is no in between

The type of cheese that is on an Imo’s pizza for some people just is the best thing in the world and for other people it will be the most repulsive thing you’ve ever had in your life. So keep that in mind when you have your first slice of Imo’s pizza. I don’t know anybody that doesn’t like a toasted ravioli, but like I said, those things should not be representative of all of St Louis restaurant and food and beverage culture.

There is absolutely world class cuisine here. We have several restaurants owned by Gerard Craft who is a James Beard winning chef. We have several other James Beard winning chef restaurants. I will put links to some of the restaurants that are currently the it places to go. Those change all the time.

Obviously we also have a great beer culture here in St Louis. So if you know a little bit about St. Louis, you know that a lot of our history is deeply rooted in Anheuser-Busch. Anheuser-Busch was sold to the InBev organization in 2008 but InBev has done a really good job of keeping a lot of the heritage and the culture alive from Anheuser-Busch.

Another free thing, going back to the last thing or number three. During the holidays you can do a brewery lights tour. They use the campus for Anheuser-Busch as a place for people to come and learn more about Anheuser-Busch, learn more about St. Louis culture. The St. Louis Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales are usually on display to see, they have a beautiful beer garden where you can sit and eat. So, that’s just Anheuser-Busch.

One of the kind of pillars of the craft beer community here is Schlafly and Schlafly was one of the first organizations to bring craft beer to St Louis. There are two locations. There’s one in Maplewood and one downtown, in Midtown actually called The Tap Room. They have continued to do a really good job of pioneering the craft beer movement in St. Louis, but there have been several companies that have taken it above and beyond from there.

Two of my favorites are Civil Life brewery, which is right off of Gravois and Chippewa, the owner Jake there is one of my favorite people in the whole world and I will tell you the American Brown is probably the best beer I’ve ever had.

Civil Life Brewing Co

And I believe the other one, the brewery called Side Project received an award I think as the first or second pace best brewery in the world. I will put a link to that down below as well. And that place is really interesting because they put out new beers and there’s usually a line around the block. So, I would definitely check that out too.

Do not just rely on toasted ravioli, gooey butter cake and Imo’s pizza. There are so much more that St. Louis has to offer when it comes to food and beverage.

I know I said I was only going to do five things, but I do want to add one more little piece of advice. The cost of living in St. Louis is ridiculously low. So as you get here and you start looking at houses and you start looking at what it’s going to cost to be here, I think you’re going to be pleasantly surprised.

I have included a relocation guide down below that talks a little bit more about the schools and the different areas. Please reach out to me if you have any other questions. I am happy to tell you everything I know about St. Louis and like I said at the very beginning, I’m super proud of my city and I think that you will love it here.


As promised here are a few links to some of the places and events referenced in the video:


Forest Park

Great Forest Park Balloon Race

The Shakespeare Festival

Fair St Louis




Polite Society

Civil Life

Side Project Brewing