I am refreshed after a delightful spring break trip to Napa and San Francisco (see photo which seamlessly ties this paragraph together) and am now ready to write you a lengthy blog post about where to live when you come to WashU (of course you’re going to come to WashU after we showed everyone who is boss on the US News & World Report Rankings). It is sometimes difficult to navigate a new city, and since our school has such a diverse student body, I know STL will be new to many of you!
Housing is important! I fully believe it can make or break your law school experience. You should find a place that fits your needs because when you’re miserably stressed out from law school (this sometimes happens), you need a place to wind down. WashU operates Quadrangle Housing which is an easy choice because their buildings are safe, well-maintained, and are close to campus. If you come to Housing Day, you can knock the housing adventure out in a few hours and be done with it. While I think this is a great option, it just wasn’t for me. So, if you don’t want to live in an all-student building or prefer a different area of town, here are my opinions on the popular neighborhoods where law students reside:
U-City is where I live and where the Law School is technically located. It’s a municipality of St. Louis County and has lots of shopping, dining, and nightlife within walking distance. It’s a really safe neighborhood and is very moderately priced. Parking is easy to find in U-City and it has a more suburban feel, but you’re also within walking distance of Metro and WashU. You’ll find students, families, and young professionals in this neighborhood.
To Sum It Up: Inexpensive, lots of law students live here, great if you have a car, great if you don’t have a car, safe, older apartment buildings/ 2 family houses
Clayton borders one side of campus and is slightly nicer than University City. The apartments are more expensive and many feature modern updates. Parking can be a little more difficult but there are still shops, restaurants, and bars within walking distance. Metro and the Law School can also be reached by bike. This is a significantly quieter area though, and fewer law students live here.
To Sum It Up: On the expensive side, some law students live here, fine if you have a car, not great if you don’t have a car, modern updates
The Central West End is about a 7-10 minute drive from campus and is also an easy Metro ride. This area of town, if you remember from my previous post, features a ton of shopping, nightlife, and is near the medical school. It is also technically located in the City of St. Louis and has a more diverse feel. Lots of law students live here but you’re also mixed in with young professionals, nursing, and medical students. Apartments here vary widely from older to beautifully modern, from studios to lofts to traditional spaces. CWE is typically more expensive, and parking is a real issue. Many buildings will offer a secured lot for an additional fee, so when you’re researching make sure to factor that into your budget. However, if you don’t plan to have a car, this is the most accessible neighborhood by foot or bike.
To Sum It Up: On the expensive side (for St. Louis), not great for cars, excellent for walking/biking, lots of law students live here, ALL the law students hang out here
Brentwood and Maplewood offer a more suburban feel than UCity or Clayton so if you want to be near Target or Nordstrom at all times, this is where you want to be. There are a few metro stops, but this is a place you’d probably want to have a car. The Apartments are moderately priced and some are similar to U-City with an old school feel, but many have a complex-type layout (great if you want a pool!). This is about a 10-15 minute drive to campus and some law students choose this area.
To Sum It Up: Pretty inexpensive, suburban feel, some law students live here, great if you have a car, not so great if you’re sans-auto
Midtown is the neighborhood surrounding St. Louis University so there are great typical “college bars” as well as restaurants and coffee shops within walking distance. This is closer to the city so the apartments are less expensive and many old buildings have been converted into huge, cool lofts. Parking is not as much of an issue here, most buildings have secured lots. This would be about a 15 minute drive to campus, and some law students live here but many law students hang out here.
To Sum It Up: Inexpensive, urban, a little far from campus, some law students live here, unique apartment options
South City is really cool and is the location of many of my favorite restaurants. They have beautiful parks and architecture, and when I’m a grown up, I’d love to have a house facing Tower Grove Park. If you want to get away from other law students (it’s ok, we all do), this area is a funky, safe, unique part of St. Louis with very inexpensive apartments. It’s about a 20-25 minute drive to campus on surface streets and though some adventurous law students visit the cafes, coffee shops, bars, and stores – it’s mostly young, interesting locals (yes, they exist!). Parking is no problem and if you have pets, you would likely be able to find a place with a yard. (Multiple neighborhoods here: Tower Grove South, Shaw, Tower Grove)
To Sum It Up: few law students, a little far from campus, inexpensive, quirky, urban
Finally, downtown! Through recent revitalization, many lofts and awesome apartment buildings have been renovated downtown. These are relatively inexpensive and within walking distance of all the attractions downtown has to offer (Cardinals Games, City Garden, Bars, Restaurants, Shopping). Downtown is a 15-20 minute drive from campus, but you should be mindful of traffic and parking when looking here. Not many law students live downtown, but those that do have really neat places.
To Sum It Up: few law students, new buildings, moderately priced, far from campus, parking isn’t stellar, close to downtown fun
I hope this helps you with the inside scoop! I know the “neighborhood layout” of St. Louis can be a little confusing, so if you have any questions about where you think you want to live, I’m happy to answer them! Post a comment!