In Our Radius: Touring Tower Grove
By Arcanophile – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21077039
by Leigh Maibes
For those looking to buy a home, this historic community in southwest St. Louis combines natural beauty with some of the city’s best restaurants and cultural events.
The Tower Grove neighborhood in St. Louis is one of the city’s most vibrant and diverse communities. Though the Tower Grove area is technically split into two neighborhoods — Tower Grove South and Tower Grove East — they share a thriving commercial district along South Grand Boulevard. The area has lots to offer first-time buyers who want proximity to nature without sacrificing culture or convenience.
A Tasty, Multicultural Food Scene
Tower Grove’s food offerings, specifically on South Grand, are unparalleled by anything else in the city. In fact, the area was recently named St. Louis’ best restaurant neighborhood after nine of its restaurants topped the St. Louis Dispatch’s list of the city’s 100 greatest eateries. Residents can indulge in a Flying Pig — slow-roasted pork shoulder with egg, fried garlic, and plenty of Sriracha — from Guerrilla Street Food or savory lentils with spongy injera bread at Meskerem Ethiopian. Ever-changing but always delicious, Tower Grove’s food is a reflection of the neighborhood’s diverse inhabitants.
Tower Grove Park
At the center of this bustling neighborhood is Tower Grove Park. Dedicated in 1868, the park is nearly as old as the city itself and is now an integral aspect of life in Tower Grove. The park serves as a recreational space for locals, as well as a refuge from the urban frenzy; visitors can take their pick of trails, meadows, flowerbeds, playgrounds, tennis courts, and athletic fields to visit and use.
Additionally, the park hosts educational and cultural activities throughout the year, including the Summer Children’s Concert Series, lectures, art exhibits, and even a dog parade for charity called Strut Your Mutt. The variety and frequency of these events means that locals and visitors alike will surely find something that interests them.
Tower Grove Farmer’s Market
Every Saturday from mid-April through November, dozens of farmers and other vendors from across Missouri and Illinois gather in Tower Grove Park for its Farmer’s Market. Residents can choose from local produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, and more! The market also provides an opportunity for local craftspeople to show off their work, and shoppers can browse everything from candles to compost. A full list of vendors is available on the market website, so you can even scope out the stalls you’d like to visit in advance.
Stray Dog Theater
A centerpiece of Tower Grove is the Stray Dog Theatre, a theater company dedicated to the performing arts and community service. The unusual name hearkens back to a Russian café where great artists and thinkers gathered to share their work and enjoy entertainment, and Stray Dog works to carry on that spirit in its performances today. The group hosts six shows per season in the historic Tower Grove Abbey, a hundred-year-old church with striking stained glass windows and resonant acoustics. In addition to professional-caliber productions, the company runs youth classes year-round and regularly participates in community-focused fundraising events.
Tower Grove East Historic District
Architecture buffs will enjoy the Tower Grove East Historic District, which provides a glimpse into St. Louis’ past. Though most buildings in the area were constructed between 1890 and 1920, a select few predate the CIvil War. The neighborhood is a prime example of a “streetcar suburb,” featuring commercial buildings with cast-iron storefronts and plate-glass windows. Residential properties range from smaller “shotgun houses” to elaborate Italianate and Second Empire mansions. The district’s significance was formally acknowledged in 2013, when it joined the National Register of Historic Places. Thanks to this designation, the neighborhood will continue to marvel those who visit during a Saturday stroll.
South Grand, Tower Grove’s main shopping street, has rightfully earned its other moniker: the St. Louis International District. Since 2001, the South Grand Cultural Alliance has worked to foster relationships between local businesses and the arts. This has culminated in a number of annual cultural events, held in nearby Ritz Park. But the street’s largest celebration of diversity is the Festival of Nations, a multicultural event that features more than 40 ethnic food stalls, dancing, music, and arts and crafts. Attendees can also shop the World Bazaar, which features a wide array of global gifts.
Missouri Botanical Garden
Though not technically within the bounds of Tower Grove, the Missouri Botanical Garden lies adjacent to Tower Grove Park and must not be missed. Founded nearly 160 years ago, the 79-acre Garden acts a research site, education center, and event space for the St. Louis community, as well as a prime tourist attraction. Notable highlights include the orchid collection — one of the largest and finest in the United States — and the Climatron®, the first geodesic dome to be used as a greenhouse. The Garden regularly updates its exhibits and holds a number of events throughout the year, so there’s always something new to see!
Tower Grove offers delicious food, tranquil escapes, and a rich cultural history. If this sounds up your alley, get in touch with one of our agents for a tour.