Soulard, the city’s oldest neighborhood, exhibits a leisurely pace and an appreciation of days gone by. The historic streets are lined with red brick townhomes that house live music clubs and unique restaurants. Located just five minutes south of the Arch, the lively neighborhood was named for Antoine Soulard, a Frenchman who surveyed colonial St. Louis for the King of Spain.
Today, structures built by early brewery workers have been turned into music clubs, shops and restaurants, many of which offer outdoor dining in elaborate courtyards. The historic churches of Soulard, built by St. Louis’ immigrant communities, also welcome visitors throughout the year. Soulard Farmers Market, operating continuously since 1779, is the neighborhood’s centerpiece, open Wednesdays through Saturdays. The Soulard neighborhood marks its French heritage with a Bastille Day celebration each July and a huge annual Mardi Gras fête in February/March. Revelers also flock to the neighborhood in the fall for Oktoberfest. Many things draw people to Soulard. The backdrop, the Soulard architecture and street scape, which displays a spectrum of interesting detail and a robust character, are always a strong draw. But it goes much deeper than that, as Soulard is a small town nestled in 17 square blocks, with sense of community few places can offer. Modest, sturdy multi-family structures are mingled with stately Victorian townhouses and a few elegant mansions.