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What To Know About Living in Clayton, Missouri

iving in Clayton, Missouri

Clayton, Missouri, is an urban, city-like suburb in St. Louis County and the county’s business center. 

Clayton is known for its upscale living, high-rise buildings, and beautiful architecture.

Clayton has something for you whether you’re looking for a fixer-upper or a luxury penthouse.

Neighborhoods in Clayton

Clayton is home to a wide variety of architectural styles. You’ll see the old and the brand new, from historic brick homes to modern farmhouses. 

You’ll see homes start at $600,000 and go up to $5 million for a luxury home.

You’ll see a lot of townhome-style detached homes in Clayton.

They’re usually smaller than you can find in Town & Country or Chesterfield. Many of these homes have a tuck-under garage or rear-entry garage, leaving a small backyard.

Neighborhoods in Clayton
A Beautiful Example of a Home in Old Town Clayton

Home lots in Clayton can be pretty compact, especially if there is a driveway, garage, or patio at the back of the house.

So if you prefer having more backyard space or a wooded lot, you might prefer living in Town and Country over Clayton. Ladue, Creve Coeur, and Chesterfield are other areas that will also come with more yard space than Clayton.

You’ll also see plenty of condos in Clayton, ranging from $100,000 to $3 million. Some are in small boutique buildings, and some are in larger high-rises like the Ritz Carlton condos at 150 Carondelet Plaza.

Ritz Carlton condo building
Ritz Carlton condo building

Some of these big condo buildings will have more amenities, such as doorman service, private garage parking, pools, and fitness facilities.

Keep in mind that these big buildings will have higher HOAs, which could cost you $500 to over $2,000 a month.The Moorlands is centrally located in Clayton, featuring condos, lofts, and single-family homes.

The Moorlands
View of the skyline from The Moorlands

The Hi-Pointe-DeMun Historic District, more commonly called “Demun,” is located at the eastern edge of Clayton. It is a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places known for its 1920s architecture and tree-lined streets.

house in Demun
Aerial view of a house in Demun

Claverach Park is situated on the south-central side of Clayton. Designed in 1922, this neighborhood has a park-like setting and originally comprised 210 homes. The neighborhood showcases a variety of architectural styles popular during that era, including Tudor, Dutch Colonial, Georgian, French, and Spanish influences. 

House in Claverach Park
House in Claverach Park

Downtown Clayton is the seat of the St. Louis County government and a vibrant business district. In addition to corporate headquarters, restaurants, and retail establishments, Downtown Clayton boasts a lively mix of apartments and condos, adding to the area’s vibrant atmosphere.

Aerial view of downtown Clayton
Aerial view of downtown Clayton

Davis Place sits between downtown Clayton and the Wyndown shopping district. This highly sought-after neighborhood is easily accessible to the highway and Shaw Park. Most of the houses in this neighborhood were built in the 1930s and range in price from $700k to $2 million.

Davis Place, Clayton
Street in Davis Place, Clayton

Other neighborhoods and subdivisions in Clayton include Brentmoor, Carrswold, Ellenwood, Forest Ridge, Hillcrest, Parkside, Skinker Heights, Southmoor, Tesson, Tuscany Park, Wydown Forest, and Wydown Terrace.

History of Clayton

Clayton’s story starts with the separation of Saint Louis City from Saint Louis County. 

St Louis City vs. St Louis County

If you’re new to the area, you may have noticed that there are two different counties: St. Louis City and St. Louis County. 

Clayton Map

In the 1840s there was pressure from St. Louis city residents to separate from the county. At the time, there were about 350,000 city residents and 30,000 county residents who primarily lived on farmland with gravel roads. 

St. Louis City residents expressed dissatisfaction over what they considered to be double taxation and lesser representation in the county government. 

  • At the time, the government council had seven seats, with four reserved for the city, despite the vast population difference. 
  • The city was providing services for the entire county and believed there was a mismanagement of tax dollars in favor of the county. 

Reform attempts and plans were made to alleviate the concerns of the city residents, but eventually, St Louis City separated from the County in 1877. 

The separation meant that the county now needed its own county government and courthouse, leading to the creation of Clayton, MO.

The Story Behind Clayton’s Name

Ralph Clayton, a farmer from Virginia, arrived in St. Louis in 1820. He purchased 629 acres of land in St. Louis County and donated a portion for a County Courthouse under the condition that the area and courthouse bear his name.

The Story Behind Clayton's Name
Lithograph of plan and announcement of sale of lots in Clayton in 1878

Martin Hanley, a blacksmith and merchant, also gave a small piece of land east of Clayton’s. The 104 acres became the site of the new courthouse and business district. 

In 1878, Clayton himself ceremoniously turned the first shovel of dirt on the site of the new St. Louis County Courthouse.

Old County Courthouse as it stood in 1925
Old County Courthouse as it stood in 1925

Growth and Prosperity

Over the next 25 years, Clayton grew from farmland to a small town. In the early 1880s, it got its first schoolhouse and newspaper. The trolley arrived in 1895, and in 1905, the growing town got electricity, water, and phone lines. 

Wydown-Hanley intersection trolley
Wydown-Hanley intersection trolley

Clayton was formally incorporated into a city in February 1913. 

In the early 1900s, several prominent St Louisans followed the trend to move westward and resettled in Clayton. This started a trend that caused a population boom in the 1920s. 

In the 1930s, Clayton got its first city hall, widened the streets, and opened a library. 

In the late 1940s and into the 1950s, Clayton continued to grow and was rezoned for a business district. High rises were built, and the downtown area started to resemble the Clayton, MO we know today. 

Downtown Clayton 2

Over the past several decades, Clayton has flourished into the vibrant community it is today. 

Despite its bustling centralized business district, Clayton is 80% residential neighborhoods and city parks making this once-rural area a great option for being near St Louis without being in it. 

Clayton: The Financial hub of St. Louis County

Clayton: The Financial hub of St. Louis County

Clayton is known as the financial hub of St. Louis County. It is home to various financial, law, accounting, and commercial real estate companies.

Downtown Clayton is booming with activity.

With many restaurants and businesses within walking distance of offices, downtown is lively. People enjoy lunch, shopping, or relaxing with coworkers at happy hour.

Parks in Clayton

There are a lot of “pocket parks” in Clayton’s neighborhoods, giving each neighborhood its own outdoor space to gather, play, and relax.

Taylor Park, Clayton

Clayton is also neighbors with Forest Park, with Forest Park Parkway giving residents a direct path to all of the park’s offerings like:

  • The Zoo
  • The Muny
  • The History Museum
  • The St Louis Art Museum
  • A Golf Course 

Plus 1300 acres of space to walk, jog, play, and enjoy the outdoors. 

Shaw Park

Within Clayton itself is Shaw Park, Clayton’s oldest and largest park. 

Shaw Park provides residents and families with a peaceful retreat from bustling city life and boasts an array of amazing amenities:

  • Shaw Park Aquatic Center
  • Tennis and Pickleball courts
  • Baseball fields
  • Picnic Shelters
  • Sensory Garden
Shaw Park
Shaw Park

Oak Knoll Park

Oak Knoll Park is named for the 150-year-old Post Oak trees, which give the park its character and make it a great place for the summer months. The park has a pond, playground, picnic sites, and live music concerts during the summer.

Oak Knoll Park
Oak Knoll Park

Things to do in Clayton

Clayton has a lot of choices when it comes to dining, with a diverse selection of restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and bars.

Restaurants in Clayton, MO
Restaurants in Clayton, MO

As a business hub, the area boasts numerous lunch options, and many restaurants feature happy hour specials to accommodate the business crowd. Some favorites include:

  • Shasha’s Wine Bar is a favorite place to meet friends after work or on date nights. They offer light eats and a significant wine list in a lounge-like atmosphere. 
  • Kaldi’s Coffee is a local favorite with multiple locations in St. Louis. They offer tasty dishes and bakery items. 
  • 801 Chophouse is an upscale steakhouse that started in Iowa and now has several locations, including Clayton, MO. They also offer happy hour specials. 
  • City Coffee Crêperie: If you’re into French crêpes, check this place out! Great for breakfast or lunch, they offer a variety of savory crêpes and soups, salads, and sandwiches.
City Coffee House

The Ritz-Carlton St. Louis is another favorite spot to unwind after work. The hotel Lobby Lounge offers cocktails and small plates like sushi. For a more traditional dining experience, check out Casa Don Alfonso, which serves upscale Italian food. 

Bar Moro caters to the dinner crowd with its exquisite upscale Spanish cuisine. As part of the Bengelina Hospitality Group, Bar Moro continues the tradition of providing a high-quality dining experience in an upscale setting.

Kingside Diner: If you want something more casual, check out Kingside Diner. It serves traditional diner eats and more off-the-beaten-path offerings like roasted veggie hash.

There’s a lot more to choose from! Check out this list in St Louis Magazine for more dining options!

Ladue Crossing is a shopping center with just about anything you need: a grocery store, casual restaurants, urgent care, Barnes and Noble, and other retail stores. 

Ladue Crossing
Ladue Crossing

Saint Louis Art Fair is an annual event in Downtown Clayton every September. It features local and regional artists who set up in the streets to sell and show their sculptures, paintings, photos, jewelry, and more. Food and drink are also available from a variety of local vendors.

St Louis Art Fair
St Louis Art Fair

The St. Louis Galleria is right down the street in Brentwood, the closest shopping mall and the biggest mall in St. Louis.

New Development in Clayton

Fontbonne University, whose 16-acre campus is on the western side of Clayton, is scheduled to close its doors in 2025. So far, there is no news on what will happen to the campus buildings. The college is assisting as much as it can in graduating or placing its 900 enrolled students.

Fontbonne University
Fontbonne University

Forsythia on the Park will be a mixed-use building in downtown Clayton with 38 luxury condos expected to open in 2025. Located at 8250 Forsyth Boulevard between Maryland Avenue and Parkside, close to Shaw Park. 

Artist Rendition of Forsythia on the Park
Artist Rendition of Forsythia on the Park

Luxury Condos: Douglas Properties is building two new luxury condo buildings just north of Downtown Clayton. Construction is expected to start in May 2024.

Artist rendering of condos
Artist rendering of condos

Moving to Clayton, MO

Clayton is a great place to live if you want an urban lifestyle.

Dowtown Clayton 3

If you’re moving to Clayton with a family, you’ll be pleased to know that the Clayton school system is highly regarded. According to USNews rankings, Clayton High School is ranked 4th in Missouri.

According to World Population Review, Clayton’s median household income is $207,158, with a little over half of the residents being homeowners rather than renting.

Living in Clayton, MO, puts you in the perfect location to enjoy the city’s amenities. You’re close to the Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Science Center, and Washington University, and other attractions like the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium are a short drive away.

Moving to Clayton

It is home to various architectural styles, from traditional brick homes to modern farmhouse-style housing. Living in Clayton is never boring, that’s for sure!

If you’re moving to the area, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us! We’d love to share our real estate knowledge and help find the perfect home for you in St. Louis

Photo of author

Lana Prinster

As a St. Charles County native, Lana Prinster is very knowledgeable about the entire St. Louis market. She graduated from Fort Zumwalt North High School and attended St. Charles Community College. She then went on to work as a multi-family property manager. Lana is now a licensed real estate agent with Gateway Realty Group, working with buyers and sellers. With an extensive leasing and property management background, Lana brings a wealth of knowledge to her residential real estate clients. Her go-getter attitude and willingness to go the extra mile for clients allow her to thrive in the real estate industry.