Kayla Parks, Guest Writer
It’s no secret that one of the most desired neighborhoods in St. Louis is the Central West End – it’s within walking distance of food, bars, shops, and it’s a safe neighborhood for all. But there are a few obstacles preventing people from moving there – it’s overcrowded, and the cost of living is outrageous. To be fair, the location is key. Without all the amenities, it wouldn’t be so hard to obtain. Within the last few years, Tower Grove South has been renovating and restoring its area to attract more people. Could Tower Grove South really be the next hot spot here in St. Louis?
Tower Grove South is surrounded by Shaw, Soulard, Clifton Heights and South Hampton. It’s a great historical neighborhood with a lot of local shops and parks. Most of the buildings are old brick houses, offering more of that historical charm. Located right next to Tower Grove Park is the Missouri Botanical Garden. The biggest concern people voice is the safety of it. It seems like locals agree that the safety fluctuates on a street to street basis. Regardless of that, they still stay, but advise you look into the area before moving in.
Dustin May, a St. Louisan local to Tower Grove South, expresses how much he loves the area.
“I mean, yeah, it can be dangerous. It’s St. Louis, anywhere can be dangerous. That’s true for anywhere really. You just have to be smart about where you’re living. I’ve lived here for a few years, and I’ve never really felt unsafe. I have noticed that the closer to the park you are, the safer it is. Once you get a couple blocks south, to me that’s the unsafe territory. I’ll occasionally hear gunshots in the night, but never too close for comfort.”
May lives off Utah Avenue and while he’s not a fan of the street parking, he adds that he doesn’t mind it because there is always parking compared to when he lived Downtown.
“For the most part, it’s a quiet neighborhood. My neighbors are quiet, and I don’t have to deal with listening to sirens or people yelling outside my window all night like I did when I was living Downtown. It’s cool because I can walk to Mokabe’s, Tower Grove Park, Friendly’s. Most of my neighbors are in their 20s or 30s. All these places are always booming. I have friends from Central West End who drive over here constantly just to come hang out in the area. Tower Grove is really going to be the next Central West End – it’s a hipster destination right now.”
In 2017, Tower Grove Park got a grant upward of $100,000 for renovations for the 150- year-old park. Along with that, tons of businesses have been popping up in the neighborhood to add to the appeal. Most of the apartments and houses in the neighborhood strive to keep the same historical look while adding a modern twist to appeal to buyers.
May says he doesn’t have any plans to move out of the area anytime soon.
“I mean, the rent is affordable, and I’m surrounded by things to do. The area isn’t crowded and overall, I feel safe where I am. What more could I really ask for?”
Kelsey Hubble, 23 of St. Louis, moved into the area a few months ago. Hubble has minimum complaints, one of which is a lack of street parking. Hubble says he lives within walking distance of the Botanical Garden, and although parking can be a pain, the location makes up for every inconvenience.
“There’s a lot to like about it definitely. Grand is full of amazing local shops, restaurants and bars. They’re all great and so the area is very vibrant and lively but never feels crowded. Of course, Tower Grove Park and the Missouri Botanical Garden are at the center of the area and both are perfect places to spend time outdoors, and both are very active in the community; regularly hosting events and offering things to do like concerts, festivals, shows, community events, etc. And so being able to be so close to such an active central area is a huge perk. I’m still pretty fresh to the area, so I have yet to find something I truly dislike. The people are friendly, and I never run out of things to do.”
When asked about what some of his favorite places in the area, he didn’t hesitate to respond.
“Oh man, Lulu’s Local Eats is a fantastic restaurant that’s all vegetarian but serves food that’s better than a lot of nonvegetarian joints. Tower Grove Creamery and Mokabe’s are staples of the area and add so much charm to the neighborhood. Oh, and CBGB’s is easily one of the best dive bars in the whole city.”
Hubble adds that in his short time in the area, he’s never felt unsafe or heard of anyone he knows feeling unsafe or worried about the area they live in. Hubble says he doesn’t “necessarily agree” with the idea that Tower Grove will be the next Central West End.
“I think it’s complicated, in comparison to Central West End – they’re desirable for different reasons. Central West End is desirable for SLU and Wash U students because of its location, and the nightlife in and around Euclid in the Central West End is a lot busier because the area is such a hub for activity. But it doesn’t really seem like Tower Grove is trying to be that, and I think in general for most other people in their 20s and 30s, Tower Grove is already a more desirable place to live with a more diverse amount of things to do and more accessible amenities, while still having quick access to all the good parts of the Central West End without having to live in what can be a very crowded place.”
While Tower Grove South may not be the next Central West End that doesn’t mean it won’t be a desirable place that draws more and more people into the area. The area itself is picturesque with local shops, brick housing and a historical neighborhood. If you ever find yourself needing to relocate, be sure to consider Tower Grove South – the locals promise you won’t be disappointed.