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  • Writer's pictureScott G Gilbert

Barb's Favorite CWE Spots and Hidden Gems

Barb Heise - Realtor - St Louis - Central West End - CWE

The Central West End Neighborhood is known for its stylish, sophisticated, bohemian, exciting, and cosmopolitan atmosphere.

In the late sixties, while on a college break, I had my initial experience of the Central West End. During a long weekend trip to St. Louis with friends, we visited Gaslight Square. Despite several of the bars and restaurants relocations to the suburbs, and our underage status, this visit sparked my interest in the area. Consequently, when I relocated to St. Louis in the early seventies, the Central West End became a priority for me to explore and spend time in.

Located in the heart of St. Louis City, the Central West End is a historic neighborhood with a century-long legacy. Bordered by St. Louis University to the east, Forest Park to the west, Highway 64/40 to the south, and Delmar Boulevard to the north, this area was established in the late 1800s during the city's rapid growth to provide high-quality real estate near the newly established Forest Park. The neighborhood features a blend of residential, commercial, retail, and institutional spaces.

The area quickly became popular among wealthy St. Louis residents due to its distinguished architecture and opulent style. While the Central West End thrived for about four decades, by the 1970s, when my husband and I relocated to St. Louis, it was facing challenges from the aftermath of World War II, the Great Depression, and the trend of people moving to the suburbs.

Never the less, the region has gained a national reputation as a hub for the arts. Notable figures such as T.S. Eliot and Tennessee Williams have called it home, and during the era of Gaslight Square, it attracted aspiring stars like Barbra Streisand. Presently, the stretch along Euclid Avenue boasts a diverse array of over 125 establishments including shops, galleries, cafes, bistros, pubs, bars, salons, and specialty stores. Check out Maryland Plaza for some favorites. The Central West End exudes an eclectic, cosmopolitan, and "bohemian-chic" vibe, offering a pedestrian-friendly environment and remaining a popular destination for dining, leisure, and retail therapy.

The architectural landscape encompasses a variety of styles ranging from French Tudor, Colonial, Federal, and Greek Revival to Mid-Century and Post-Modern. The homes and private streets in the area are among the most prestigious in St. Louis. Additionally, there are numerous apartments and condominiums catering to a wide range of income levels, providing urban living options for all.

Since my first visit, I have adored the Central West End. Showing our visitors around the exclusive streets, enjoying a meal at Dressel’s Pub, and presenting properties - these activities bring me joy. However, to truly impress our guests, a visit to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is a must. This remarkable site boasts the largest collection of mosaic art in the world, spanning 83,000 square feet. The image showcases the basilica along with the newly installed stainless steel sculpture, The Angel of Harmony, crafted by Wiktor Szostlo. This sculpture features a majestic African-American angel with expansive wings made of copper and brass wind chimes.

Another great attraction is the World Chess Hall of Fame. Located at the bustling corner of Maryland Avenue & Euclid, is is part of The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis. The Chess Club functions as an educational organization, offering private lessons while also emphasizing the educational benefits of chess through community outreach efforts. Saint Louis has rapidly emerged as a prominent chess destination on both national and international levels. The WCHOF houses the U.S. and World Halls of Fame, yet its influence extends beyond just chess enthusiasts. It serves as an art-focused institution, showcasing innovative exhibitions of artistic and historical importance by renowned artists and collectors from around the world.

Walking along the streets shaded by trees and admiring the stunning architecture is something I truly enjoy. Afterwards, you can usually find me exploring a fresh read at Left Bank Books Store, savoring a coffee at Northwest Coffee (or perhaps a glass of wine at Scarlett's Wine Bar, depending on the day). As the day winds down, I tend to head to Dressels Public House for some traditional Welsh pub dishes!

Ready to Learn More About Living in the Central West End?

Allow me to assist you with purchasing or selling real estate in the Central West End area. If you reside in the Central West End and require a home value assessment, please click here to request a complimentary valuation. If you are ready to purchase in the CWE, contact me via email | barb@barbheise.com | or call-text at 314-503-4856.

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