World Chess Hall of Fame photo by Betty Moore

Central West End - Heart of the City

Located west of downtown St. Louis, the Central West End or "The CWE," as locals often call it, comprises 112 city blocks nestled between St. Louis's crown jewel Forest Park and the St. Louis University campus.

The CWE is a neighborhood designed for the pedestrian with its array of sidewalk cafes, boutiques, historic streetscapes, and even the World Chess Hall of Fame. Locals and tourists alike flock to the neighborhood's mixed-use district along Euclid Avenue. Iconic griffin-adorned lamp posts, tree-lined sidewalks, and a dense clustering of statues and other public art add to the CWE's pedestrian-scaled amenities and attractions.

The World Chess Hall of Fame features the largest chess piece, certified by Guinness World Records. The record-breaking king chess piece stands 20 feet tall with a base of 9 feet, 2 inches, and is an exact scale replica of the black Staunton King piece used in the inaugural Sinquefield Cup held at the Saint Louis Chess Club annually since 2013.

The Central West End is home to 14,000 residents, with twice that number employed at the neighborhood's medical campus. The Washington University School of Medicine and BJC Healthcare campus, combined with the St. Louis College of Pharmacy and the Cortex Innovation District, form one of the largest regional centers of employment and are national leaders in medical research and tech startups.

The historic neighborhood's housing stock primarily dates back to the early 20th century, built largely in response to the 1904 World's Fair in nearby Forest Park. World's Fair-era hotels, now restored and converted to high-rise apartments, overlook large single-family, architect-designed homes in ornate Classical Revival styles. The architectural mix includes many new high rises, representing the largest residential building boom witnessed in the city in decades.

Active neighborhood groups work to preserve the local flavor and host annual events to showcase the Central West End including the sometimes risqué Central West End Halloween party (in its 31st year) and the always aromatic St. Nicholas Greek Festival (in its 97th year), drawing tens of thousands of visitors for cleverly costumed people-watching and mouth-watering baklava.

A Holiday Window Walk highlights CWE storefronts adorned with festive decorations and holiday lights, while Taste of Central West End highlights the diverse culinary offerings of the neighborhood, among many other annual neighborhood events.


New Cathedral Basilica photo by Bob Moore

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, located at 4431 Lindell Blvd., contains the world's largest collection of mosiac art, covering 83,000 square feet. The cathedral, designated a basilica in 1997, was built between 1907 and 1909.

Central West End photo by Bob Moore

The Central West End or "The CWE," as locals often call it, is a neighborhood designed for the pedestrian with its array of sidewalk cafes, boutiques, historic streetscapes, and even the World Chess Hall of Fame on Maryland Ave.


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