Central West End (CWE)
Living in the Central West End (CWE) has many perks, the best being that it combines the convenience of living within walking distance of school with the benefits of living in an apartment rather than a dorm. I chose to live in the CWE because I wanted to be able to “escape” the school environment when I wanted to but also to not have to commute more than a 10-minute walk to class each day. There are a variety of apartments available at a range of prices, many of which are used to having WUSM students and may even offer student discounts. I feel safe walking home at night and love the convenience of being able to walk to restaurants, bars, a movie theater, and many of my classmates’ apartments. Unfortunately, there is not an (inexpensive) grocery store within walking distance, but there is one just a five-minute drive away. Living in the CWE can often be more expensive than living in other parts of town, but since housing in St. Louis is generally inexpensive compared to most other cities, it is really not that bad. It is no surprise that the many benefits of living in the CWE make it a popular choice among students.
— Anna M., M1
North of the Park: DeBaliviere Place and Skinker DeBaliviere
If you are looking for a quieter, more residential neighborhood, DeBaliviere is for you! The streets are lined with trees and lots of people own dogs. The CWE is only one MetroLink stop away, so on most days it only takes me five minutes on the Metro to get to school. Moreover, the school offers a shuttle service that will take you directly back to your apartment in DeBaliviere after 5 p.m. on weekdays, which is very convenient when I want to study late in school or when it is freezing outside. Some people worry that living farther away from school could be isolating, but the CWE is so accessible by public transportation from DeBaliviere that it’s not a problem at all. Having a car definitely makes my life a lot easier, but there are about fifteen of us living in DeBaliviere this year and most manage without a car. One of the best parts about the neighborhood is that it is right next to Forest Park, so it’s easy to stroll over and walk or run in one of the most beautiful places in St. Louis!
— Karen S., M1
Forest Park Southeast
Don’t let the clunky name deter you from exploring Forest Park Southeast, also known as “The Grove.” The neighborhood is south of campus and about a seven-minute walk over a well-lit and busy footbridge. For most, it’s a shorter walk to school than it is for your friends coming from the Central West End. The five or six blocks closest to school are nice and many of the two-story units and homes have been recently renovated. I love living here because it’s cheaper, has more socioeconomic diversity, and has more available parking than the Central West End. There are no high-rises or big apartment complexes and it’s fairly quiet. I have a bakery and coffee shop right around the corner and I’m only three blocks from Manchester Avenue, which has bars, clubs, restaurants, a small market, and a few shops. There are some downsides: I’m a 20-minute walk from most of the restaurants and bars in the CWE, and the neighborhood does not have a grocery store yet. If you have a car, neither of these will be an issue for you. You’ll just love living here!
— Lindsay B., M1
If you plan on having a car and don’t mind a 10-minute commute in light traffic, then you should consider living in Clayton. Though it abuts St. Louis and is just across Forest Park from school, Clayton is an independent city, meaning that the revenue it collects tends to stay within its borders. This is important because, as an alternative commercial and financial center to downtown St. Louis, Clayton does unusually well for its size. The result is an affluent, safe place that is also bustling with activity. You can think of it as kind of like a miniature, upscale city, complete with high-rise office buildings and leafy neighborhoods, lots of restaurants, a few bars, and easy access to grocery stores and quiet coffee shops. It also offers nice parks and proximity to shopping centers like the Maplewood Commons and the Galleria. However, there are some downsides as well. It is a little more difficult to go out in the Central West End with friends (if you drink, you need either a cab or a couch to crash on) and people will often refuse to come to your place because they think it’s too far away. You also have to be willing to drive everywhere. The cost of renting, while not as cheap as some other places in town, is comparable with what most people pay in the CWE. Look in the Demun neighborhood and you’ll find some affordable apartments. Check it out. You won’t regret it.
— Kevin C., M1
If you’re looking to explore the city a little more, definitely consider the Tower Grove area. The areas can be really residential around the beautiful park, and just a few blocks away is South Grand Avenue, which has a multitude of restaurants and bars. Just a 10-minute cab ride takes you to Soulard, another less explored area of St. Louis full of bars and restaurants. Trust me, you’ll get sick of Central West End soon enough. Although there is public transportation that can get you to school, I would advise anyone planning on living outside of the Central West End to have a car. You will also find much cheaper housing rates, but it’ll cost you a little more time to commute to class in addition to the inconvenience of driving yourself to the Central West End to hang out with your classmates. Don’t forget to make friends early so you’ll have a couch to crash on for those late nights!
— Owen Q., M2
On Not Living in the Central West End (CWE)
First off, the Central West End (CWE) is a great area. Second, it is just one of many fantastic neighborhoods in St. Louis. While many people in our class live within the CWE, plenty find greener pastures. I personally live in the South Grand district and I appreciate being able to live outside of the immediate proximity of school. I don’t need the Metro to go grocery shopping, the food options are better, my cost of living is far cheaper, and the commute is a short bike ride. Remember, each neighborhood has its own charm, festivals, and benefits. Just ask around and keep the non-CWE at the top of your living options.
— Jared J., M1
I live in Forest Park Southeast, about 10 minutes south of campus. The CWE is north of campus. When looking at housing options, I knew I wanted to live alone. I didn’t love any of the studios or one-bedrooms that I looked at in the CWE. My choices seemed to be either run-down or over-priced. I wanted to live in more of a neighborhood with more space. The apartment I found is the lower level of a two-story unit. I have a backyard, I know my neighbors, my place was remodeled a few years ago, and my rent is cheaper than it would be in the CWE. I’m very happy not living in the CWE, though it’s nice that it’s so close: a 20-minute walk, a 10-minute bike ride, or a quick ride in the car. I like coming home to my neighborhood because it feels like an escape from the med school craziness. I would really encourage you to explore neighborhoods beyond the CWE because they’re all different with their own charms and the real estate is generally cheaper.
— Lindsay B., M1