St. Louis welcomes a whopping 28.8 million tourists each year from across the U.S. and around the world, which is fantastic because it supports nearly 90,000 jobs — everything from hotel workers to taxi drivers to sign company installers like the folks at Landmark Signs (find them at landmarksignusa.com), and the list goes on.
If you’re planning on paying a visit, then here are 7 interesting, unusual, and just plain wacky things about The Gateway to the West:
- If someone calls you a “Hoosier,” then they’re hurling an insult (even if you aren’t from Indiana).
The backstory on this one is (as expected) pretty weird. It goes like this: in the 1930s, a St. Louis-area brewery hired non-unionized workers from Indiana — who came to be hated and collectively known as “hoosiers.” Well, fast forward about 90 years, and the term is still used by locals in reference to anyone who is not well-liked, to put it mildly.
- It’s not called Panera — it’s called the St. Louis Bread Company
If you’re looking to take your “carb cheat” day to the next level, then don’t ask the locals where the nearest Panera is located. Instead, refer to the chain’s original name: the St. Louis Bread Company.
- When it comes to sports conversation, it’s fine to talk baseball, hockey, soccer, or basically any sport except professional football (college football is fine).
A few years ago, the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League packed their balls and helmets, and headed westward to Los Angeles. Understandably, this remains a real sore spot for both sports fans, and folks who love St. Louis and have plenty of civic pride. So, your best bet is to avoid the topic altogether. Oh, and while we’re talking sports etiquette: if you are fortunate enough to attend a baseball game to watch the beloved St. Louis Cardinals, then be prepared to seriously watch the game. It’s not a game, it’s a religion.
- There’s way more to do than visit the Gateway Arch.
Yes, you should definitely check out the famous St. Louis Gateway Arch. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see around 30 miles in every direction. But there’s plenty of other things to do, too. In fact, St. Louis is home to more free tourist attractions than any other city in the U.S. except for Washington D.C. For example, you’ll enjoy free entry to the zoo, the art museum, the history museum, and the science center.
- Beer is ridiculously cheap.
Sometimes weird can be wonderful, and if you’re a beer lover than you’ll be overjoyed to discover $2-$3 beers across most bars in St. Louis. Enjoy (and drink responsibly!).
- Toasted ravioli is really a thing — and you’ll love it.
You love toast. You love ravioli. Well in St. Louis, you can bring those passions together in one delectable dish called (believe it or not) toasted ravioli. While you can find this all over the place, many foodies head to Mama’s on The Hill, which is St. Louis’ famous Italian district. Mangiamo!
- The cost of living is very reasonable for a large city.
According to Sperling’s Best Places, the cost of living in St. Louis is about 12% lower than the national average — and compared to some cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Boston, is significantly cheaper. Who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love with St. Louis so much (or at least get addicted to toasted ravioli) that you’ll want to make it your new home. In addition to having more disposable income (for yet more toasted ravioli), you’ll have the right to call other people “hoosier” and fiercely root for the Cardinals and Blues. What’s not to love about that?