The largest city in Missouri, St Louis is an interesting gateway into both Midwestern and Southern culture! With plenty of free activities, it is a fantastic destination for those on a strict budget that want to discover a new American city. It is also aesthetically pleasing, with plenty of green spaces.
As a historically segregated city, navigating St Louis can be quite trick – and you can often find yourself in a vastly different neighborhood after only a short walk. It’s important to orient yourself a little bit before you arrive to ensure you stick to the right places.
To help you, we’ve created this guide to the seven best neighborhoods in St Louis! We’ve also categorised them by what kind of traveller they are best for.
So let’s just get started!
Quick Tips – Where to Stay in St Louis
- Lafayette Square – Best neighborhood in St Louis for your first time
- Grand Center – Where to stay in St Louis close to everything
- Downtown – Where to stay in St Louis for nightlife
- Forest Park North – Best neighborhood in St Louis for families
- Benton Park – Where to stay in St Louis on a budget
- Forest Park Southeast – Best neighborhood in St Louis for couples
- Laclede’s Landing – Best neighborhood in St Louis for history
Where to Stay in St Louis
Looking for a specific place to stay? These are our highest recommendations for places to stay in St Louis.
Best Hostel in St Louis
The MANCAVE is the only hostel in the entire city, so it’s no wonder that it takes our top spot for backpacker accommodation in St Louis! It comes with fantastic social spaces, and access to high speed WiFi to ensure you can stay connected whilst visiting the city.
Best Budget Hotel in St Louis
Home2 Suites is a great combination of studio apartment living with the convenience of hotel facilities! Each suite comes with a spacious kitchen that is well equipped with everything you need for a self-catering stay. There is also a complimentary breakfast provided.
Best Luxury Hotel in St Louis
This marvellous arts hotel is a creative’s dream right in the heart of the city! Each room is decorated in the style of local artworks, and furniture is provided by St Louis based artisans. It is also well-facilitated, with an on-site restaurant providing the complimentary breakfast.
St Louis 7 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in
Let’s take a look, in more detail, at the seven best neighbourhoods in St Louis. Each caters to different interests, so be sure to pick the neighbourhood that’s right for you.
(Best neighborhood in St Louis for your first time!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Lafayette Square – spend an afternoon relaxing in the oldest park in the city, Lafayette Park
- BEST place to visit in Lafayette Square – walk along Park Avenue to check out the boutique stores
Lafayette Square is just on the opposite side of the train station from Downtown, and is one of the best neighborhoods if you are new to the city! Whilst fairly central, it has a calm atmosphere and tree-lined streets that make it a great introduction into what makes the city so popular. Simply sit in the park and relax to take in the vibe.
Park Avenue is the main street running through the area and is home to some fantastic, locally-owned boutiques! There are also plenty of great restaurants in the area catering to all price levels. Whilst not the most historic neighborhoods, gated communities provide an interesting insight into 20th Century American history.
- Visit Benton Place – this gated community acts as a sobering reminder of the everlasting impact of segregation in the American South
- Head to the St Louis Graffiti Wall to discover local creativity, as well as learn about what contemporary political issues influence residents the most
- St John Nepomuk Church was the first Czech Catholic church in the United States and is a testament to the multicultural nature of modern St Louis
- Vin de Set is a highly regarded restaurant in Lafayette Square offering fantastic French cuisine
- Square One Brewery, on the other hand, offers cuisine with a more modern twist as well as excellent craft beers
Best Hotel for Backpackers Lafayette Square
Whilst St Louis is somewhat lacking in hostels, there are some fantastic hotels dotted around the city that cater to strict budgets! The Hotel Avyan is one of these hotels and is located only a short walk away from Lafayette Square. A continental breakfast is included, and free parking is also available.
Best Budget Hotel in Lafayette Square
Whilst not in Lafayette Square proper, the Residence Inn is only a short walk through the train station away – giving you access to both this area and Downtown! Owned by Marriott, this hotel has fantastic levels of service and great facilities. There is a large gym on-site, and a well-equipped bar.
Best Luxury Hotel in Lafayette Square
Whilst there aren’t any luxury hotels in Lafayette Square, Lehmann House is a bed and breakfast that offers unbeatable levels of service! There is a large tennis court on-site, and the rooms are well equipped with modern appliances and large bathrooms. A continental breakfast is also provided.
(Where to stay in St Louis close to everything!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Grand Center – catch a live performance with your meal at Jazz at the Bistro
- BEST place to visit in Grand Center – Contemporary Art Museum St Louis the largest modern art gallery in the city
Grand Center is sandwiched between Downtown and the Forest Park neighborhoods – giving you easy access to most of the areas mentioned in this guide! It is also only a short walk away from the train station, and the main Greyhound Station is located just on the outskirts of Grand Center.
Aside from excellent connectivity, Grand Center has some great attractions in its own right. This is the city’s creative heart, and where you will find many of the best art galleries. What’s more – most of these galleries are free to enter, so suit all budgets!
- The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries is a large creative space hosting regular performances and exhibitions
- Fox Theatre is the main performing arts venue in the city – aside from theatre, they also host dance performances and live music
- The Dark Room at the Grandel is a fantastic restaurant and bar offering modern and creative takes on classic American cuisine
- Kranzberg Art Centre is the place to be if you want to learn about modern culture in the city and alternative art
- Pappy’s Smokehouse offers some of the best tasting meat dishes in the city – we recommend reserving in advance
Best Hotel for Backpackers Grand Center
This motel is pretty basic and has fairly average reviews to match – but if you want something cheap and cheerful, you can’t go wrong with the Guest Host Motel! Rooms come with cable TV and WiFi access, and there is plenty of free parking to go around.
Best Budget Hotel in Grand Center
If you want to spend a little extra on a hotel that comes with excellent reviews, the Parkway Hotel is a very popular choice in the heart of the city! It is located in the West End, giving you easy access to both Grand Center and Forest Park.
Best Luxury Hotel in Grand Center
The divine Angad Arts Hotel is the best rated five star hotel in the entire city! This is thanks to its quirky decor inspired by local and international artists. They also have fantastic facilities, including a fitness centre and a bar with a terrace. Rooms are spacious and well equipped with modern appliances.
(Where to stay in St Louis for nightlife!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Downtown – start your night off with a trip to BB’s Jazz, Blues and Soups for great music and even better food
- BEST place to visit in Downtown – head to the National Blues Museum to learn about the history of the music genre
As with most North American cities, the Downtown area is the busiest and most important for tourists visiting St Louis! This is where you will learn about the spirit of the city, discover its longest-lasting traditions and get to know how daily life functions across the region. Like Lafayette Square, this is also a great area for your first time.
In the evenings, Downtown burst into life and becomes the most vibrant nightlife spot in the entire city! With plenty of bars and nightclubs catering to all music tastes from blues to techno, this is where residents and visitors to the city come to let their hair down and get to know each other.
- Wheelhouse is one of the most popular venues in the city – restaurant by day, it transforms into a bouncing club once the sun sets
- Hair of the Dog is another popular nightlife venue – they sell great cocktails and have a laid-back atmosphere
- Alpha Brewing Company have a fantastic selection of craft beers from across the country and even a few from abroad
- If you want to soak up some high culture, head to the Peabody Opera House to take in performances from local and visiting productions
- Hop on board the Downtown Trolley – a fun and efficient way to take in all of the main sights along the route
Best Hostel Downtown
As the only hostel in the entire city, the MANCAVE is perfect for backpackers that want a social atmosphere! Rooms are fully air conditioned and have separate seating areas, as well as spacious bathrooms and shower rooms. The communal kitchen is well equipped with everything you need.
Best Budget Hotel in Downtown
This three star budget hotel comes with excellent reviews thanks to their calm atmosphere and fantastic customer service! Rooms and common areas are decorated in a manner that combines old with new. A complimentary continental breakfast is provided to every guest. Free WiFi is also included in your rate.
Best Luxury Hotel in Downtown
Located right next to the train station, this four star hotel is perfect for easily getting around the city and the surrounding region! They also have car rental facilities available on-site, further adding to the convenience. There is a well-rated spa within the hotel that offers a variety of therapies.
(Best neighborhood in St Louis for families!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Forest Park North – hop onboard the streetcar to discover the creativity of the Loop
- BEST place to visit in Forest Park North – learn about the city’s past at the Missouri History Museum
Forest Park is the largest park in the city, and the neighborhoods to its north are some of the most peaceful in the city! This Forest Park North the ideal spot for families that want a calm and easy-going break in the city. The park itself is also packed with excellent facilities, cafes and museums to keep the kids entertained.
The Loop is a nearby neighborhood that is connected to Forest Park by streetcar. This area is one of the most creative in the city, and makes an excellent excursion for families wanting to discover something a little more alternative, but still very safe!
- St Louis Art Museum is a huge gallery containing pieces spanning millennia and cultures from across the world
- Piccione Pastry is a fantastic dessert shop just north of the park offering cakes, pastries and even gelato!
- If you want some proper food for a family dinner, head to Pi Pizzerie for the best Italian food you’ll find in Missouri
- Over in the Loop, the Craft Alliance Center of Art and Design is a forward-thinking gallery of up and coming artists
- The St Louis Walk of Fame is also located in the Loop, showcasing the most talented people with connections to the city
Best Hotel for Backpackers Forest Park North
The Holiday Inn Express are known for their budget-friendly comfort, and for those on a backpacker budget, this hotel makes a fantastic choice! Though fairly small and basic, it is located on the boundary between Forest Park and the West End, giving you easy access to the city’s main attractions.
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Forest Park North
Forest Park North can be quite a pricey area – however, the Moonrise Hotel is a great compromise between price and quality! This four star boutique hotel is located in the heart of the Loop – only a short streetcar journey from Forest Park. They also have free parking facilities.
Best Luxury Hotel in Forest Park North
Apartments are a fantastic option for families that want to share a living space whilst still maintaining some privacy! Kasa Clayton is an aparthotel, meaning you get the benefits of both living in an apartment and in a hotel. All apartments come with hot tubs, and there are social facilities on offer.
(Where to stay in St Louis on a budget!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Benton Park – discover the Little Mexico neighborhood, with interesting cultural and culinary attractions
- BEST place to visit in Benton Park – Chatillon-DeMenil Mansion is a large manor open to tourists that provides an insight into how the wealthiest southerners live
Benton Park is a little bit further out from the city centre – but is still well connected by public transport. This makes it a great option for budget travellers as many of the accommodation choices are cheaper! It is also a fairly multicultural neighborhood – where the wealthiest St Louis residents can be found, as well as multicultural communities.
It is also located right next to Soulard, one of the more historic neighborhoods in the city! If you want a calmer vibe, this is a great place to get away from the bustling atmosphere of Benton Park itself, and to recover from a long day of exploring the city centre.
- Take a walk along Cherokee Antique Row, a historic street in the city with locally owned boutiques and restaurants
- Sidney Street Cafe is a highly popular restaurant in the area offering a great selection of international cuisines
- The Mud House is a little more casual, but still offers delicious food – it is also a great choice for those on a strict budget
- Soulard Farmers Market is the longest-running farmers market this side of the Mississippi, offering great fresh ingredients
- Also located in Soulard, Hammerstone’s is a great pick for laid-back nightlife, with cheap beer and live blues performances
Best Hotel for Backpackers Benton Park
This local homestay is the perfect way to get right to the heart of the community! With your own private room in a residential house, you can live like a local during your short stay in the city. It is well connected to the city centre.
Best Budget Hotel in Benton Park
This is another fantastic homestay – and is located right in the heart of Benton Park! The room is a little bit bigger and comes fully air-conditioned. You also have your own private bathroom with a shower and a spa bath. High speed WiFi can be accessed throughout the property.
Best B&B in Benton Park
Whilst there aren’t any luxury hotels in Benton Park, Forget Me Not B&B is a great compromise for those that want a little more privacy! They provide an American style breakfast every morning, and the rooms are well equipped with modern appliances. Free parking and WiFi are also included.
(Best neighborhood in St Louis for couples!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Forest Park Southeast – the beer tasting experience at Urban Chestnut is an absolute must-do whilst in the area
- BEST place to visit in Forest Park Southeast – head to Manchester Avenue and explore the multiple shopping options
Forest Park Southeast, like its northern neighbour, is a calm part of the city that nevertheless has great connections to the city centre! That being said, it is a little grittier – offering some fantastic bars, nightclubs and modern restaurants. This makes it a great choice for couples visiting St Louis.
Known colloquially as the Grove, it does have a bit of a hipster reputation – but this just adds to the creative charm of the area! It also provides easy access to Forest Park – perfect if you need some time away from the busier attractions.
- Take a street art tour – there are plenty of providers operating from the Grove, the neighborhood with the best murals
- Atomic Cowboy is a highly popular nightlife venue in the city with great DJs and even better cocktails
- Confluence Kombucha is a fantastic restaurant if you want some contemporary, and slightly quirky take on popular cuisine
- Head to Rehab for the perfect date night venue – they have a huge selection of cocktails to choose from
- If you really just need some hearty American cuisine, you absolutely must visit Layla’s Restaurant!
Best Hotel for Backpackers Forest Park Southeast
This two star hotel might be basic – but it is perfect for backpackers that are on a tight budget, or young couples that want accommodation with a more sociable atmosphere! It comes with some great communal areas, and whilst the rooms are basic they are very spacious.
Best Budget Hotel in Forest Park Southeast
The suites at this hotel are somewhat of a hybrid between typical hotel rooms and studio apartments. They come with a well-equipped kitchen and huge en-suite bathrooms! There is also an indoor pool on-site, and they have some fantastic options for those with accessibility requirements.
Best Luxury Hotel in Forest Park Southeast
Another great option from Kasa, these apartments are actually on the northeast side of Forest Park – but only a short walk away from the Southeast! For couples, these five star apartments give you some additional privacy and allow you to feel like you are a local in the city.
(Best neighborhood in St Louis for!)
- COOLEST thing to do in Laclede’s Landing – bike along the side of the river and take in the city’s most famous sights
- BEST place to visit in Laclede’s Landing – you can’t miss it – get your picture with the Gateway Arch in the south of the area
Though technically part of Downtown, Laclede’s Landing is often considered an area in its own right thanks to the unique atmosphere! This is one of the most historic neighborhoods in the city, with most businesses and residences housed within buildings that are over a century old. It has even retained some of its cobblestoned streets.
Stretching right along the banks of the river, this is a very scenic neighborhood with much to offer those looking for great views across St Louis! It is also home to the iconic Gateway Arch – so even if you opt to stay elsewhere, it’s almost certain you will stop over in Laclede’s Landing at some point.
- Head to Morgan Street Brewery to sample their fantastic selection of beers, as well as take a tour of their production facilities
- Big Daddy’s, on the other hand, has a grittier vibe – a popular hipster bar, they are known for their hearty pub grub
- Take a trip to the casino – a popular nightlife venue for locals and visitors once the bars and clubs have closed
- America’s Center is the city’s main convention venue – check their online listings for upcoming events
Best Hotel for Backpackers Laclede’s Landing
Days Inn are a popular brand across the United States for travellers seeking basic, yet comfortable, accommodation! Rooms come equipped with microwaves and coffee making facilities. There is also a fitness suite on-site where you can keep up with your routine whilst in St Louis.
Best Budget Hotel in Laclede’s Landing
Formerly the Crowne Plaza, City Place Downtown is a great in-between for those looking for budget and comfort! It comes with a seasonal rooftop pool that provides unbeatable views across the city. Rooms come with cable TV and access to the high speed WiFi network.
Best Luxury Hotel in Laclede’s Landing
Four Seasons St Louis is another fantastic five star hotel right in the heart of the city! Guests are treated with views over the Gateway Arch, and there is an excellent rooftop pool and sunbathing area. Rooms come with marble bathroom suites that have showers and baths.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in St Louis?
St Louis is a beautiful city that, whilst often left off many tourist itineraries to the United States, should be seriously considered for those wanting an easy introduction into Southern culture! It comes with gorgeous green spaces and vibrant cultural highlights.
For the best area, we’re going to go with Grand Center! Not only is it well placed for discovering other parts of the city, but it also has just enough creative atmosphere to reflect what makes St Louis so great.
We hope this guide has helped you narrow down your options for your upcoming trip to this Missouri gem.
Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments!
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