The Central West End is home to beautiful architecture, walkable streets, and a bustling commercial hub. The community, encompassing 112 city blocks and over 14,000 residents, has been named in the American Planning Association’s list of Top 10 Great American Neighborhoods. Sidewalk cafes and spectacular townhomes mark the Central West End as one of St. Louis’ most desirable urban communities. Nestled between Forest Park and Saint Louis University’s midtown campus, the Central West End is home to several intellectual and cultural centers. The community was first intended for St. Louis’ most wealthy and prominent residents. While the neighborhood has opened up to all, it retains grand single-family homes and upscale condominiums fit for St. Louis’ most affluent and successful citizens.
When Forest Park was dedicated in 1876, wealthy Saint Louisans flocked to the surrounding area. Forest Park’s beauty and its many cultural institutions drew residents to construct homes on the park’s edge. The 1904 World’s Fair led Forest Park to host cultural exhibitions and spurred new construction around the park. The Saint Louis Art Museum was constructed for the fair. Located atop Forest Park’s Art Hill, the museum houses artwork by Rembrandt van Rijn, Vincent van Gogh, Robert Henri, and many others. Many Central West Homes were built in the first decade of the 1900s to house those drawn to St. Louis by the fair. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, built from 1907 to 1909, houses the world’s largest collection of mosaics. The homes of famous writers T.S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams still occupy prominent places within the neighborhood, serving as visual reminders of this community’s historic significance. The refurbished Chase Park Plaza Hotel, constructed in 1931, boasts five-star dining, a grand movie theater, and luxury residences in addition to hotel accommodations.
Today, the Central West End’s historic homes are complimented by stately villas and luxury condominiums. With beautiful scenery on display that benefits from an aerial view, it is no surprise that the Central West End is renowned for its luxury condominiums. Central West End condominiums sold for a median price of $213,700 in 2016. Rising values underline the neighborhood’s desirability. Condominium values have risen by 18% over the last 5 years when compared with 2011’s median price of $180,000. Central West End housing includes impressive detached homes as well. These homes sold for a median price of $229,000 in 2016, an increase of 43% when compared with the 2011 median of $160,725.
Maryland Plaza is a scenic retail center. The plaza is home to small boutiques, specialty stores, and intimate restaurants, framed by an attractive, European-style square. Artistic centers such as Atrium Gallery and Philip Slein Gallery contribute to the neighborhood’s creative character. The Central West End is home to innovation as well as artistic creativity. The Cortex Innovation Community partners tech startups with neighborhood sponsors in order to make the Central West End a home for discovery and job growth. Events such as the St. Louis Greek Festival, Halloween in the Central West End, and an annual Sidewalk Sale promote civic pride and unite community residents. An annual Central West End cocktail party was celebrated for the first time on June 4th, 2016. The event, a block party with events for attendees of all ages, celebrates the first cocktail party on record, held in 1917 on Lindell Boulevard.
Renowned cultural centers, walkable shopping districts, and spectacular properties make the Central West End an ideal community. It is no wonder that this neighborhood is often mentioned as one of the best places to live in the city of St. Louis.