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Air Travel

Sharon A., M1

If you’ve ever lived in a big city, you’ll know how difficult it can be to get to and from the airport. I lived in Los Angeles for undergrad and Houston for grad school, so I’ve been on the Struggle Bus before. Literally. In L.A., I had to pay $10 each direction for a bus that would only come once an hour (if you were lucky and it wasn’t running late) to a stop one mile away from my apartment, only to spend two hours slogging through the monster that is L.A. traffic. In Houston, I spent $20 each direction for an Uber because public transportation is a fictional concept to the entire state of Texas. My experience here could not be more different. The MetroLink is a light-rail train that takes you straight from school to the airport in 20-30 minutes. So nice, so easy, and it’s FREE! The St. Louis Lambert Airport is also small, inviting, uncrowded, and easy to get through. Flying in and out of this city is a breeze, and I love it.

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Life with a Car

Eric B., M1

As a first year, I would not say that you need to have a car.  Between Uber, the MetroLink, and mooching rides from your friends, you can get anywhere in the city of St. Louis. However, having a car offers some advantages. If you’re like me and paying $4.20 for a gallon of milk makes you feel like someone is giving you a root canal, then you probably want to be able to get groceries from somewhere other than Whole Foods. Aldi is a few blocks north of the CWE (Milk there is $2.25) and stores like Target and Walmart are a 15-minute drive away. In addition, there are certain areas outside of the city (discussed in other sections of this guide) that require a car to get to in a reasonable amount of time. Finally, if you’re ever studying late in the carrels and don’t want to have to walk home alone, it’s also nice to be able to drive.

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Life Without a Car

Faith W., M1

People will tell you that you can’t live in St. Louis without a car it’s not true. I won’t deny that having a car makes things easier, but as a lifelong NYC kid not only do I lack a car, I lack a driver’s license I am living proof that it’s absolutely possible to survive and thrive in this city without your own form of vehicular transportation. The Central West End (CWE) is a relatively walkable neighborhood as far as St. Louis goes; almost everything important (school, restaurants and bars, the public library, Insomnia Cookies) is concentrated along Euclid Avenue. If you want a change of scenery, a quick MetroLink trip will take you to the Danforth Campus or the Delmar Loop. For destinations not on the east-west axis, Uber and Lyft are readily available and relatively affordable (and if you are licensed to operate a motor vehicle, there are carshare services you can join). And my classmates are incredibly generous with offering rides to off-campus activities or even just to Trader Joe’s! In sum, while there are definitely times where I wish the Walgreens or the Post Office was just a little bit closer, I haven’t found my lack of a car to be a hindrance.

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Local Trips

Gautam A., M1

If you get on I-64 and drive out west towards the suburbs, it literally feels like you could be in any suburb in the U.S. A huge crew of us head out this direction once a week to try out different Indian restaurants our favorites so far have been Priyaa and Ani’s Hyderabad House. I frequently hang out in Chesterfield Valley, as it’s one of the most vibrant places in the area (e.g. there are two outlet malls within two miles of each other). They’re also opening up an indoor skydiving facility over there next year, which is definitely on the bucket list. On the other side of campus (the east), you have downtown St. Louis, Cardinals games, Blues games, and nightlife. All of this can be accessed via MetroLink, which is nice. But if you really want to get away from the city, finding a friend with a car and exploring out west is the move!

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Parking on Campus

Hannah B., M2

For general short-term parking, you can use the parking meters with street parking near Olin Residence Hall (everywhere but the food truck parking area!) or near Olin Circle/Room 100. You have to pay to park 8 a.m.-7 p.m., but parking is free after 7 p.m. Safety tip: If you are worried about walking home late from the library/carrels, go home to get your car and drive back to campus around 7 p.m., when free parking starts. If you live far from school and plan to drive each day, the Clayton Garage is your best bet. Daily parking passes and swipe passes with up to 25 entries and exits are available for purchase. Final advice: ALWAYS keep your meter receipts! I once parked on the street across from Panera and got a ticket even though my meter hadn’t timed out. Luckily, I had my receipt with the time and sent it into the city and got the charge repealed. Even though you don’t have to put it on your dashboard, hang on to the annoying tiny piece of paper until you return to your car.

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Public Transportation

Priyanka P., M1

One of the best things about WUSM is the walkability of the medical campus and Central West End.  St. Louis’s public transportation is a great resource for students without cars who want to explore other parts of the city. All WUSM students receive a U-pass a free pass that allows unlimited access to the MetroLink and MetroBus (the light-rail and bus systems, respectively). The MetroLink is my personal favorite. It provides an easy way to get to the Lambert-St. Louis Airport, and the Sumers Rec Center on the Danforth Campus. Best of all, it allows us to get to the Cardinal’s Busch Stadium, the Scottrade Center, the Gateway Arch, Union Station, and other major destinations in a quick 10-15 minute ride. You can carry bikes on both the MetroLink and the MetroBus, and the trains generally arrive on time (except when there is construction on the tracks). So get ready to explore St. Louis without worrying about the hassles of driving, parking, or having to pay!

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Ariella C. R., M1

The Central West End is a great place to walk around, especially now that a lot of new businesses are springing up on the way to school. (We just got a Pokedoke and a Shake Shack)! I live on the corner of Lindell and Euclid, but I’m a fast walker, so it only takes me 12 minutes to get from my building to my seat in the lecture hall. I shop at the Whole Foods on Euclid, conveniently on my way home. However, the cheaper grocery stores and the nearest Walgreens are pretty far to walk — I’d rather just order things on Amazon or get someone to drive me than walk 15 minutes each way carrying things.