I am sitting in Lambert Airport in St. Louis waiting for my flight back home which is delayed, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to run through my experiences while they were still fresh on my mind. I was here for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. First off -
Tour of Wash U - I think it is a given at this point that the campus is absolutely fantastic. The architecture, library (especially the reading room), and grounds are just so nice. I can't think of a place I'd rather spend the next three years. The staff was really personable and made my parents and I feel extremely welcomed. The girl who gave us the tour was very informative about the AB hall and campus. We sat down with an admissions dean and she answered any other questions we had. My parents would like me to return to my home state after graduation, so they even took us over to the CSO and we spoke with Mike who had just returned from speaking with the biggest firms there to promote Wash U. Also, I thought it was nice that the admissions dean was honest about how tough the employment market is everywhere right now and even had some yearly numbers for comparison. Definitely worth the trip just for the tour.
Ok, now for the main part of the way I spent my time, apartment hunting -
909 St. Rita - This is a one bedroom I found on Craigslist. It's in a four room 1920's building and the guy has rehabbed it nicely. Great kitchen, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, washer and dryer in basement. $795/month. Really close to school. It was nice and all, but it was the first place I saw when I got there so I ended up not picking it. The landlord is really a nice guy though.
The Dorchester, 665 S. Skinker - Even closer to school, 24hr/doorman, $70/month garage valet parking, GREAT views. We were shown 4 one bedroom plans, A,B,C, & J. All were great apartments - nice carpet, black or stainless appliances, balcony, that motel sort of air conditioner where it is enclosed and next to the window, laundry room in the basement, house cleaning for $15/hr. They were all expensive though at between $990-$1325/month. They were my fourth choice, but after driving around a little I decided Clayton wasn't really the place I wanted to be.
I loved this area! I knew I probably would from what I'd seen and read, but it has a great feel to it. Lots of outdoor eating, people on the street, coffee shops, etc. and it's only a 5 to 7 minute drive compared to a 2 or 4 minute drive from Clayton. Clayton felt just a little too residential. I like to study from home, so I'd rather walk down the street and grab some food real quick than driving cause parking can be a real hassle just about everywhere. As far as the CWE goes, Euclid, Maryland Ave and Lindell are all great with lots of options.
4444 W. Park - One bedroom for $950/month. I think everything is included except cable. This place was nice too. Loft style, so your bedroom is upstairs. The unit is on the top floor and a corner unit, but it is occupied so they just showed us the model. Black appliances, carpet, balcony, courtyard for building parties, central air, nice staff. It was a little east of where I wanted to be, but the main problem was it wasn't available until Sept. 1st. They give you the first month of rent free so they suggested I could just stay in a hotel for two weeks with that money and then move in, but I didn't want to move twice. That just sounded like a real hassle right at the start of the school year. They said they might have one bedrooms open up after July 1st. Parking underground for $70/month.
The President on Lindell - This place wasn't what I was looking for. It's a good location, close to lots of restaurants, bars, etc., but it just felt a little dated to me. We saw some buildings that were built at the same time that had just been rehabbed a bit better so maybe that was what turned me off. Also, the unit they showed us was under heavy construction so that didn't help much either. I think the one bed was $800 or $850 but I kinda figured out I didn't want to live there before the tour was over so I stopped paying attention. Nice hardwood floors though, but that's all I remember.
Lindell Terrace, 4501 Lindell - This was my third choice. Found the listing on Craigslist. 1 bed/$935 everything included except phone. That also includes an underground parking. Nice building with 24hr doorman. Great location too, had hardwood floors, big bathroom, big bedroom. They were also upgrading the counter tops to granite. Just decided to go with another place.
Metro Lofts, 4535 Forest Park Ave - This place is super nice but expensive. Polished concrete floors, brand new appliances, nice open floor plan, secure entry, underground parking for $70. I think most everything is included except cable. The unit we looked at was "on sale" which was just $100 difference but made it some what more reasonable. I really liked the location cause it's a short walk to everything and you just jump on Forest Park to get to the school and you're there without more than one or two red lights (which seem to be incredibly long by the way). This was my 2nd choice, absolutely great place.
The Grove -
The rent cannot be beat in this area. It's on the south east corner of forest park. It is pretty far from school and like Flow said in the review early, while it is supposed to be the new up and coming area, I think it may be a few years before it's there yet. We looked at two places on Gibson and both the landlords lived close by and said there were no problems. I figure it's safe but it just different than what you get in Clayton, CWE or Dogtown.
4515 Gibson and 4421 Gibson - I'll give my review of both at the same time as they were pretty much the same. 1920's building rehabbed but done extremely well. Hardwood floors in both, stainless appliances, off street parking behind the units. $750 and $735/month. I really thought 4421 Gibson was the nicer of the two and in the better location. For me the neighborhood, the distance from school and a 10 to 15 minute walk to the nearest Metrolink if I decided to use it, were what kept me from wanting to be in the Grove.
Finally - St. Louis
The city is great. Everything is pretty close together which is different coming from Houston. I can be at school and be down town 10 or 15 minutes later. Forest Park was of course wonderful. We ate great restaurants, sub-zero, drunken fish, blue elephant, pappy's smokehouse bbq(a must) and mama's something in the hill. In the hill, be aware that pretty much everything is closed on Sundays. Also, St. Louis Bread Co. has great sandwiches and are located on just about every corner it seems. Chris's Pancakes has great breakfast too. We went through the arch, toured AB, but didn't make it to a Cards game. Just so happened we were there on the three hottest days of the year according to the news. Everyday it hit 97 at least. I think that is everything I can think of. If you have any questions, just let me know. We drove around the city what seemed like a hundred times.
Hope this helps. The admissions office said they are also happy to help you find an apt. if you need them to.