Living in The Central West End: The Ultimate Guide

Updated

by Jacob P

The Central West End (aka the CWE) in St. Louis has a fascinating history, from its 19th-century roots to its current status as a hub of architectural wonders and a melting pot of cultures.

This neighborhood reflects the vibrant spirit of St. Louis, preserving its past while embracing the future.

The Central West End is conveniently located near Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States. Forest Park is by far the best park you’ll find in St. Louis, and you could spend days exploring what it has.

At 1,300 acres, it is bigger than Central Park in New York.

Central West End Neighborhood map
Central West End Neighborhood Map

Historic Past and Booming Present

In terms of its historic past, you’ll find many architecturally significant homes in the CWE.

The Central West End is celebrated for its well-preserved turn-of-the-century architecture, protected by zoning laws and local preservation efforts.

The neighborhood has been home to many famous literary figures and notable business leaders, including Tennessee Williams, Kate Chopin, T.S. Eliot, and the founders of major companies like A.G. Edwards and Ralston Purina.

The neighborhood began developing as the city geared up for the 1904 World Fair, attracting wealthy residents who built impressive single-family homes. This period also saw the beginnings of the business and bustling mixed-use district it is known for today. Thanks to the continuous involvement of its residents, business owners, and visitors, the Central West End has maintained its feel.

It remains a bustling and beloved neighborhood in St. Louis.

The CWE neighborhood is home to world-class medical institutions like the Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, and Siteman Cancer Center, ranked by US News & World Report as one of the top cancer centers in the country.

Houses in Central West End St. Louis

The Central West End has unique attractions like The World Chess Hall of Fame and The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, the oldest continuously active Roman Catholic Cathedral in the United States, lending to its ‘urban eclectic’ feel.

Euclid Avenue, the central artery of the Central West End, features over 75 diverse establishments, including shops, art galleries, restaurants, and more.

It is recognized as one of America’s Great Neighborhoods by the American Planning Association. It is a hub for some of the city’s finest dining, shopping, entertainment, and nightlife.

As one of St. Louis’ most sought-after areas, the CWE offers diverse housing options, appealing to a broad spectrum of buyers and renters.

CWE Housing Market

The Central West End housing market offers every type of lifestyle you could want.

From opulent turn-of-the-century mansions to sleek, modern condominiums and everything in between. The urban housing options reflect the neighborhood’s rich history and cater to a range of aesthetic preferences and lifestyle needs.

Brick homes in Central West End St. Louis

The Central West End offers single-family homes that are some of St. Louis’s most exquisite historical homes, offering timeless elegance with ornate details and spacious layouts. These homes often come with the appeal of the past but are updated with modern amenities.

You’ll also have plenty of options for townhomes if you prefer something in between a house and a condo.

For those seeking a more urban lifestyle, the neighborhood also offers a variety of condominiums and apartments, ranging from luxury units in high-rise buildings to cozy apartments in renovated historic structures, providing options for different budgets and lifestyles.

The Central West End constantly evolves, with new projects blending seamlessly into the neighborhood’s historic fabric.

These projects offer cutting-edge design and amenities, attracting a new wave of residents to the area. The neighborhood also hosts regular events, fostering a sense of belonging and offering residents a chance to engage with their surroundings and neighbors.

Examples of housing options

The Central West End has everything.

Literally.

Every type of housing you could want is here.

  • Luxury Apartments: 100 Above the Park (pictured above)
  • High-end condos: Park East Tower, Chase Park Plaza, 4101 Laclede, 4545 Lindell (pictured below)
  • New Townhomes and Condos: New construction is approachable for people from all walks of life.
  • Historic Mansions: on streets like Westmoreland, Portland, or Westminster
New condos in Central West End
4545 Lindell Condos

The CWE Lifestyle: Things to Do

The Central West End is more than just a place to live; it’s a community.

The neighborhood is home to art galleries, historical landmarks, and award-winning restaurants, with its streets lined with beautifully restored buildings creating a backdrop blending the past with the present.

Shops in Central West End

Residents and visitors are often found soaking in the rich cultural atmosphere, whether attending art exhibitions, participating in community theater, or enjoying a delicious meal at a local restaurant.

The Central West End is a unique and vibrant urban oasis, offering a lifestyle of culture, community, and sophistication.

Dining and Culinary Delight

The neighborhood caters to all tastes and preferences, from cozy cafes to high-end restaurants. Euclid Avenue offers dining options ranging from local delicacies to international cuisines.

There are more outstanding restaurants than space to list them, but some highlights include:

  • Bowood By Niche: Bowood By Niche offers breakfast, lunch, and private evening events in a unique neighborhood setting- an urban garden center.
  • Mainlander: The St. Louis Post Dispatch calls Mainlander the best new restaurant in St. Louis. It is up for a James Beard award in the same category.
  • Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams: ice creams made entirely from scratch using a unique recipe honed and perfected over more than 20 years by founder Jeni Britton

The CWE is also known for its lively cafĂ© culture, with many spots offering outdoor seating for you to enjoy a meal or coffee while soaking in the neighborhood’s vibrant energy.

Shopping and Leisure

Shopping in the Central West End is an eclectic experience.

The neighborhood’s commercial districts, like the famous Maryland Plaza, boast a mix of independent boutiques, vintage stores, and well-known retail brands, offering a unique shopping experience that caters to various styles and budgets.

Shopping in the CWE has some especially high-end options. If you’re looking for some more artsy shops and hand-made goods, be sure to visit the Cherokee Street District south of Benton Park.

Maryland plaza in central west end

Here are some fun spots you might check out:

  • Left Bank Books: the oldest and largest independently-owned full-line bookstore in St. Louis
  • Third Degree Glass Factory:  An ever-changing array of glass bowls, art, and jewelry. New glass pieces are created daily on-site by Third Degree artists.
  • Provisions St. Louis: is a lifestyle-oriented store showcasing the best elevated, sustainable, and quality goods.

Green Space You Won’t Get Tired Of

Proximity to Forest Park, one of the largest urban parks in the United States, adds a green dimension to the urban lifestyle of the Central West End.

The park offers numerous recreational activities, including walking trails, sports facilities, and cultural institutions.

Forest Park next to Central West End St. Louis, MO

Here are some places to check out in Forest Park:

  • The St. Louis Art Museum: A world-renowned fine art museum known for its outstanding and comprehensive collection spanning 5000 years of cultures and genres.
  • The St. Louis Zoo: Voted America’s top free attraction, the Zoo is located on 90 acres in beautiful Forest Park and is home to more than 600 species of animals, many rare and endangered. It is one of the few free zoos in the nation.
  • The Missouri History Museum: Operated by the Missouri Historical Society, this museum serves as the confluence of historical perspectives and contemporary issues to inspire and engage audiences in the St. Louis region and beyond.

A Lifestyle Blending Historic and Modern

The Central West End perfectly balances preserving its historical roots and embracing modern living. This blend is evident in its architectural landscape, lifestyle offerings, and the neighborhood’s general atmosphere.

Historic home located at 15 Portland Pl

The Central West End lifestyle is rich and varied.

It offers a blend of cultural experiences, culinary delights, and community engagement, all set against a backdrop of historical and architectural beauty. It’s a neighborhood that provides not only a place to live but also a place to thrive and experience life to its fullest.

One of the most appealing aspects of life in the Central West End is the sense of community.

Regular neighborhood events, from street festivals to community gatherings, foster a strong sense of belonging and provide opportunities for residents to connect and engage with each other.

The neighborhood is also known for its inclusivity and welcoming spirit, making everyone from young professionals and families to artists and students feel at home.

Moving to the Central West End of St. Louis 

As you contemplate your next move, consider the Central West End of St. Louis.

The CWE is a neighborhood that offers not only a place to live but also a vibrant lifestyle that’s hard to find.

High Rise buildings in Central West End St. Louis

The Central West End is a rare gem that combines historical architecture with modern urban living. It’s a community where every street, every corner, and every face tells a story.

You’re buying a home and becoming part of a rich tapestry of culture, diversity, and history.

Whether you’re a foodie, an art lover, a shopping enthusiast, or someone who cherishes community spirit, the Central West End has something for you to enjoy.

The neighborhood’s eclectic mix of dining, shopping, and entertainment, with its lush green spaces and strong community vibe, makes it ideal for those who want to experience the best urban living.

Moreover, the Central West End’s location in the heart of St. Louis, its proximity to top-notch educational and medical institutions, and its diverse housing options make it a smart choice for families, professionals, and students.

The neighborhood’s commitment to preserving its historical essence while embracing change ensures your investment here is not just in a home but in a lifestyle that will enrich and inspire.

If you’re on the brink of deciding to redefine your living experience in the Central West End, you’ll find more than a home; you’ll find a community where life is celebrated in all its facets, every day brings a new adventure, and the spirit of St. Louis is alive and thriving.

Welcome to the Central West End, where life awaits in all its vibrant hues.