Anyone who has been on a St. Louis highway will tell you that the drivers here are crazy. They often switch lanes without looking, ride your bumper, and switch 2-3 lanes at a time. Every day I would go to/from work, there would be at least one accident on Hwy 270. I think that some of the problems may be that there are so many exit ramps and everyone commutes here. Now not everyone in St. Louis is a horrible driver, only about 10% of them. Pretty much like any other city. Just drive defensively and try to avoid the crazies.
Take the Metrolink if possible.
St. Louis just isn't that bad. It's a major urban city (area really...it's more of a giant sprawling urban/suburban landscape than an actual city) and like all other urban areas, simple precautions should be taken. Don't leave valuables in plain sight in your car, lock your doors, don't walk alone unless you have a phone or the walk is incredibly short, don't go looking for trouble, and most importantly don't go expecting to be harmed in some way, but at the same time don't go feeling like everything is perfectly safe.
I am a bartender who has worked in the Central West End for the last 8 years and currently live in Dogtown. Now, first of all, the crime statistics for St. Louis are skewed. Since the separation of the county and the city many years ago, the crimes committed per capita stat has been inaccurate. Since this stat only counts those living in within city limits (350,000 or so) and not the metropolitan area (2.5 million) it appears that there is much more crime taking place then there actually is.
Second, as long as you don't act a fool while at the strip joints on the east side you will be fine. These are the late night places to go (including a 24 hour bar). They all have very brightly lit parking lots and the worst I have encountered has been a drunk guy dinging my car trying to leave. Since I do not get out of work until past last call, I have OFTEN gone there for a few post work cocktails. It is also not actually east st. louis, but sauget where most of these clubs are at.
St. Louis is a big city, so take precautions..and your car (public transit mostly sucks). But check out the Delmar Loop, Central West End, Dogtown (especially for St. Pats), The Hill, South Grand/Tower Grove. These are all great places with great things to offer. Do not go to the Landing unless you like brain dead frat boys.
St. Louis is a great place to visit, but is quite spread out, and public transportation is limited. Although there is a Metro link, it only has 2 lines!! and you can see by this that you will not be able to get to most of the places you will want to visit. Parking here is pretty convenient, even free at some places, and since most tourist attractions are free or quite inexpensive, so if you DO have to pay to park occasionally, it should not break the bank!
It's been a few years since I've been in the St. Louis area. Last time I stayed at Westport Plaza. Is this area OK?
Also, to the "genius" who posted that St. Louis did not have the racial tension indicative of the South, get your facts straight. Every other post on here talks about how crime seems to occur in the "black" communities, and your city has the highest crime rate in the nation. Do the math.
I've lived in the South all of my life and hear nothing but whining about "racial tension" from people who visit or move here from other areas. Look at a black population map from the census site. The only reason there is "racial tension" in the South and many urban areas around the country is because that's where all of the black people are. If you don't have a significant percentage of black and white inhabitants in your region, of course you're not going to have black-white racial tension.
The only difference regarding racial tension between St. Louis and cities further south is that St. Louis has more of it.
Crime can occur anywhere in any major city.
As we went across the bridge over from St. Louis in Missouri State to East St. Louis in Illinois State for the entertainment outlets there, we were warned by the taxi driver of higher crime in St. Louis.
Not sure if this is statistically proven but better heed the advice of the locals especially the cab drivers.
IF YOU COME TO SAINT LOUIS AND WISH TO VISIT THE CASINO'S HERE, I WOULD SUGGEST GOING TO HARRAHS IN A SUBURB OF SAINT LOUIS. DO NOTTTTTTTTTT GO TO THE CASINO QUEEN IN EAST ST. LOUIS, IL. IT IS A COUPLE MINUTES FROM ST. LOUIS BUT VERY DANGEROUS. CRIME THERE IS VERY BAD. THEY PREY ON TOURIST IN THIS AREA.
Stay clear of East St. Louis and most of the "Metro East", North St. Louis and its suburbs. Just watch the news each night in your hotel room and you will quickly learn how much crim St. Louis endures.
About 8,000+ cars are stolen each year. Over 4,000 are "drive arounds" by kids and then burned. Most are dumped in East St. Louis. The kids hit the party areas of Laclede Landings, Soulard, and Central West End.
***St Louis named the most dangerous city in the nation 10/30/2006***
Of late there has been quite an upswing in the number of armed robberies in the Central West End many occurring in broad daylight and in high traffic areas like Euclid Ave. Stay alert to your surroundings and don't carry large amounts of cash with you.
St. Louis has some good neighborhoods and then there are BAD neighborhoods. You can get in a LOT of trouble by going in the wrong direction.
The North Side is as bad as it gets in the USA and East St. Louis is famous for its deplorable crime. Just watch the news each night.
I see alot of these warnings involve things that are not as true today as they were in the 1960's thru the 1980's. The people of Saint Louis have done and continue to do a fabulous job turning the city (downtown included) into a wonderful place to visit. A decade ago, downtown would be a ghost town after business hours, and now, even on days when there is not a sporting event, the downtown area is full of people walking around and seeing the sights. There are alot of narrow minded (possibly racist) people posting warnings on here about "avoid the malls" "lots of hoodlums... and blacks" and other bigot bullcrap that has no real merit on this site. people who's skin is not white are not all out to cause problems and commit crimes. Im white, and i know that there are people of all creeds out there that do some bad things, but use common sense in any city and you will most likely not be bothered.
Either at the Museum or Zoo, be prepared for lots of walking. Up and down stairs at the Museum and the hills and trails at the Zoo. Our little ones tired out at the Zoo and had to be carried. This would have made for a short stay if it had not been for the stroller my daughter's friend had. We rotated the kids in the stroller and saved the adults. It was hot. We had water but lacked any snacks. We finally decided to skip about half of the Zoo and head home. Exhausted but happy none the less.
It's easy to be lulled into feeling safe around the Fox Theater and Grand Center in St. Louis. Crime statistics are kept very quiet, and the entertainment puts people in a happy mood and less apt to be cautious. But it IS dangerous - I was robbed at gunpoint after leaving the Fox, and although I am fine now, the experience was terrifying. FOX theater management denies that this happens, or says "We have no knowledge of it." What happened to me was not in any newspaper or publicized anyplace except here.
Please, please be careful! Stay in groups, don't linger after the shows, get in your car and get out of that neighborhood! I don't want to discourage people from attending shows at the Fox - the theater is magnificent and well worth a visit. Just remember where you are and use common sense. Be a little paranoid -- it could save you from an experience like mine.
This tip applies to any urban area, but it is something I've seen many people forget. When you park your car, don't leave anything of value exposed inside! Working in the much visited area of Forest Park, I've seen many people forget this, with bad results. Windows smashed for a walkie talkie or a tote bag! ! The thief may not steal your car, but having a window smashed & items stolen, is very distressing, too. It can totally ruin your day! And even your entire trip....
So either take your valuables with you or put them in your trunk BEFORE you park your car. Put them in your car's trunk ( boot, for you English blokes!) a good distance from the location you leave your car, because the thief may be watching the parking lot. this happened to my daughter at the Creepy Crawl downtown. ( and I thought she was so street-smart!!) Sometimes the trunks get broken into also, especially during Christmas shopping time, so this isn't a fool-proof idea.
The City of St. Louis (as distinct from the legally seperate, suburban, County of St. Louis, is one of the most dangerous places in the USA).
It is estimated that 50% of the entire adult male African American population are convicted felons or currently awaiting trial for a felony.
No place north of Delmar boulevard is safe at any time but after dark it is simply suicidal to venture there. The area to the immediate south and east of the Barnes Hospital Medical complex is also unsafe and a center for drug dealers.
I lived and worked in St. Louis for over 20 years, was an elected official, and a criminal defense attorney. On the occassion when I had to venture into the North city after dark I went with armed body guards provided by my gangster clients at their suggestion (they didn't want their lawyer to get killed).
I lived in the wealthiest part of the city. At least a dozen murders occurred withing six blocks of my home. One happened in the alley behind my house. The alderman's husband was murdered during a carjacking.
Stay only in well lit, popular areas, travel in groups and do not go wandering around at night in any place where you notice that the population is primarily African American.
The only areas which can be said to be generally safe are the Italian neighborhood know as "The Hill" and St. Louis Hills in the southwest corner of the city.
Soulard, immediately south of downtown, and the Central West End are okay as long as you stay in the immedaite vicinity of the entertainment areas.
Just to give you the numbers, here are the officlal reported crime statistics for the year 2004:
The population of St. Louis is roughly 350,000. Overall there were more than 65,000 felonies reported in 2004.
Do the math yourself.