Although I’m currently based in Europe, there are plenty of places in the good ol’ USA that deserve some love and attention. I’ve partnered with Hipmunk and their #HipmunkCityLove campaign to highlight some fantastic cities in my home country.
The idea of what to do after Spain is terrifying.
At the same time, this blank slate is an incredible feeling.
I always figured I’d end up at a writing job in San Francisco, near friends and family and the town where I grew up. But I’ve been thinking lately. Is any place worth that high a cost of living? There are other cities in the U.S. that aren’t New York, San Francisco, or Los Angeles–maybe it’s time to put them on my radar.
To Places Less Traveled
I’ve been tossing around potential cities. Austin calls to me–great barbecue and southern hospitality. Maybe Denver, since it’s supposed to be gorgeous. Seattle, if I learn to put up with the rain.
But what about the middle of the country? It’s a region I’ve never given any prior thought to moving. But who’s to say I couldn’t pack my bags and start a Midwestern life? St. Louis, Missouri could be just the place.
I went to St. Louis once when I was 17 to tour a college (Washington University–they waitlisted me, those fools.) Coming from California, I scoffed at any place far away from the ocean, or decent Mexican food. But much to my surprise, I loved the city, the welcoming people, and the gorgeous riverfront. The parks rivaled New York’s Central or San Francisco’s Golden Gate.
Californians are sometimes guilty of assuming our state has everything. But we don’t have red brick buildings or fall foliage. We just don’t.
What St. Louis Has to Offer
At the time of my St. Louis visit, I was buried in application pamphlets and worrying about SAT scores. But now that I’ve been looking into it recently, I feel like I could love St. Louis all the more upon return.
It’s got a burgeoning restaurant and bar scene, but one where you might not have to dip into your 401K to afford a beer.
It’s got lush parks to break up the concrete jungle.
It’s got plenty of arts and culture events, and festivals to boot. Like the annual Great Forest Park Balloon Race, the most well-attended single-day hot air balloon contest in the U.S.–did I really need more convincing?
St. Louis’ free attractions also appeal to me. As San Francisco becomes a stomping ground for rich techies, St. Louis, in turn, seems to be working hard to become more accessible to normal, working-class people. Say, those of us who aren’t employed by Facebook or Apple, and who eat lentils for dinner in order to fork over 14 bucks for a movie ticket.
St. Louis is home to a sprawling zoo, Science Center, even an outdoor amphitheater with nine rows of free seating–all free or affordable activities to take advantage of on a budget. So if my friends wanted to hang out but I just put down my apartment’s security deposit, I could mention my love of lions and open-air musicals.
It’s all gotten me thinking: I may have been waitlisted from St. Louis when I was 18. But who’s to say I can’t head there when I’m 24?
Have any of you been to St. Louis? Yay or Nay to the prospect of moving there?