Soulard: The Oldest Neighborhood in St. Louis
Soulard is one of the oldest and most densely populated neighborhoods in South St. Louis. It has managed to maintain its historic charm, unlike some of the other revitalized areas in the city. The neighborhood is home to the famous Soulard Farmers Market, established in 1770 by Antoine and Julie Soulard, who were surveying land for the King of Spain.
Today, the market is a community cornerstone, drawing in hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. You can find everything from fresh produce to exotic spices.
Living in Soulard
Many of the residences feature intricate brickwork and wrought iron balconies, adding to the historic charm of the neighborhood. And don't forget the outdoor spaces - nearly every establishment in Soulard has an elaborate courtyard, patio, or sidewalk area, making it easy to enjoy the outdoors in the heart of the city.
Homes in Soulard
Soulard's architecture is just as diverse as its residents. You can find everything from French Second Empire free-standing homes to Federal-style Pre-Victorian row houses to the unique half-flounder houses. The red brick is everywhere, with decorative cornices and korbles adorning the tops of buildings, and wrought iron balconies adorning the residences, businesses, and churches.
Things to do in Soulard
Soulard has plenty of entertainment options, including craft beer at International Tap House, oysters and crawfish on the patio at Molly's in Soulard, homemade cupcakes at Sweet Divine, Irish stew at McGurk's, and blueberry-flavored margaritas at Chavas Mexican Restaurant. And if you're in the mood for some live music, Soulard offers some of the city's best jazz, blues, folk, and rock music options.
Parks and outdoor space
There are also several parks in the neighborhood, including the Soulard Community Garden and the Frenchtown Dog Park, where dogs can run free and socialize with other furry friends. Plus, Soulard hosts several annual events, such as the Soulard Concert Series, Bastille Day celebrations, and the Soulard Oktoberfest.
Festivities & Events
But hold on – aren’t we forgetting something? Fast forward to winter – this little historic community knows how to throw a world-renowned party. For modern day revelers, the area plays host to the third largest Mardi Gras Festival in the world. The festivities kick off on Jan. 6, also known as 12th night (12 days after Christmas), and pack in a whopping 11 events through Fat Tuesday, including the Family Carnival, Snow Ball Softball Tournament, Wine & Whiskey Taste, Cajun Cook-off, Taste of Soulard, pub crawls and of course, the main event, Grand Parade Day.
Other annual festivities include the Soulard Concert Series, which showcases some of the city’s finest Blues bands May through August. During July, Soulard celebrates its French history with several Bastille Day events, as well as hosts watch parties during World Naked Bike Ride – St. Louis. This is followed by the Soulard Oktoberfest, which is held the second weekend in October.
Soulard Farmers Market
Soulard Farmers Market, established in 1770, is the cornerstone of the neighborhood, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors and locals alike to bargain for fresh produce, meat, and even pets.
The adjacent park offers a playground and a 1920s bandstand, creating an old-style ambiance that is unique to Soulard.
Soulard is Historic & Quirky
If you're a history buff, Soulard has plenty of that too. It's home to the city's oldest church (Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church), the oldest building (Hammerstone's), and several haunted houses, including The Darkness near the former Welsh Baby Carriage factory. And if you're looking for some fun events, Soulard has you covered there too. It hosts the third-largest Mardi Gras Festival in the world, with more than 11 events packed into the week leading up to Fat Tuesday, including a pet parade certified by Guinness World Records as the largest in the world!
So, whether you're a history buff, a foodie, a music lover, or just looking for a unique place to call home, Soulard has something to offer. With its mix of history, culture, and community, it's no wonder that Soulard is one of the most well-known and recognized neighborhoods in St. Louis. Come join the fun and experience all that Soulard has to offer!
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