10 Best Neighborhood Series: #7 Central West End, St. Louis, Missouri

Editors Note: America is filled with great places. The eclectic pulse of Manhattan’s streets or Lake Tahoe’s white sandy shores may come to mind. But great places, neighborhoods and streets can be found hiding in plain sight in the cities in which we live and work.

The American Association of Planning (APA) has unveiled its list of Best Neighborhoods for 2014. HotPads will feature each of the top 10 neighborhoods in posts over the next several days. Stay tuned and find out if your neighborhood made the list.

#7  Central West End, St. Louis, Missouri

Whether you are into playing chess, seeing the homes of literary greats, lunching at sidewalk cafes or strolling through urban parks, the Central West End (or “CWE” as the locals call it) likely has something for you.

The APA’s number 7 pick in its 2014 Best Neighborhoods list sits just west of downtown St. Louis between the famed Forest Park (home to the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Art Museum and the Missouri History Museum) and St. Louis University.

Homes in the neighborhood were originally built to provide housing for the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Since that time, many of the old hotels have been converted into apartments and large single family homes. The architecture embodies classical revival styles, which only add to its movie-backdrop good looks.

A push by residents in the 1970s resulted in many of the homes being rehabbed, a historic district and new businesses along the well-trodden Euclid Avenue.

The neighborhood is also home to the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, which offers oglers one of the largest collection of mosaics in the world.

Famous writers including playwright Tennessee Williams, poet T.S. Eliot and novelists William S. Burroughs and Kate Chopin have called the area home. If you want to pick up some of their works, head over to CWE’s most prominent bookstore, Left Bank Books.

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Ready to rent in Central West End?

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4401 McPherson Avenue
Specs: $1,950 | 3 bed 2 bath
4417 Forest Park
Specs: $645 | Studio 1 bath
4248 Maryland Avenue
Specs: $2,295 | 4 beds 2.5 bath

Check out all of the rentals in Central West End.