Do you want to avoid chain restaurants for the personalized service and authentic cuisine offered by independent operators? As the restaurant hub of Valley Park, Dougherty Ferry Road offers hungry diners a wide variety of independently operated culinary options. Families in the mood for a casual ambiance that serves lip-smacking pizza choose JJ Twig's Pizza and Pub. The popular restaurant attracts customers from all over the western suburbs for its deep-dish Chicago style pizzas, au jus soaked Italian beef sandwiches and homemade spicy sausage. Located near the intersection of Big Bend and Dougherty Ferry roads, El Nopal brings the distinct flavors of Mexico to Valley Park. This kid-friendly restaurant features classic Mexican fare with a few twists to keep epicureans coming back for more.
The subdued nightlife in Valley Park gives locals a chance to unwind without all of the lights and noises that pervade nearby suburban bars and clubs. Residents who want a little more nightlife spark travel a few miles to Kirkwood, where clubs such as Generations promote live music and crowded dance floors. In Valley Park, rooting for the home team represents the focal point of the nightlife. Bars such as Corner Bar & Grill show Cardinals, Rams and Blues games on one of the giant big screen televisions secured to the sleek, original brick walls. To retain its image as a sleepy suburban town, Valley Park has historically prevented the development of large nightclubs that disrupt the low-key social flow of the city. Outside of DJs who spin tunes on Friday and Saturday nights at sports bars such as Bobby's Place, Valley Park ensures residents enjoy a quiet nightlife.
Incorporated in 1890 as a recreational destination, Valley Park has undergone multiple transformations, mostly due to the physical alterations caused by Meramec River flooding. Before the Army Corps of Engineers developed deep bends in the river to prevent flooding, Valley Park typically witnessed at least one major flood every three years. The damage to homes and businesses deep into the central business district forced city planners to consider building on higher ground. High above the flood plain stood the tiny unincorporated community called Twin Oaks, which Valley Park annexed for commercial and residential development along the Big Bend and Dougherty Ferry roads corridor. Valley Park acts as home for the wildly popular Museum of Transportation, an iconic St. Louis area attraction that features aviation, railroad and automobile history. Valley Park residents must travel to older suburbs such as Webster Groves for theater and art venues.
Automobiles dominate the mode of transportation taken by Valley Park residents, who need not even drive a mile to hop on Interstate 44. The northeast to southwest running interstate carries less traffic than any other interstate that slices through the St. Louis area. Valley Park residents also have convenient access to the circular Interstate 270, which runs through most of the outer suburbs. Interstate 64 gives Valley Park residents a clean shot to the renowned St. Louis Zoo and historic Central West End.
With automobiles playing the most prominent role in Valley Park transportation, it should not surprise residents that the upstart car-pooling company Uber has made strides into the community. In addition to Uber, Valley Park residents wait for a short time to hail County Cab, the mostly suburban serving taxi company that provides prompt and friendly service. Within Valley Park, cyclists have access to wide riding lanes on the major roads that run through the lower tier of the community. However, cyclists avoid the heavy traffic uphill on Big Bend and Dougherty Ferry roads. Pedestrians use level sidewalks to roam the streets of Valley Park. You never have to break open the bank to pay for parking, as the city does not place meters anywhere within its border.
Valley Park offers residents a much lower cost of living than the cost of living in any St. Louis city neighborhood. For example, take the average one-bedroom rental rate of $747.56. Renters who live in Valley Park pay on average almost $200 less for a one-bedroom than one-bedroom rent paid by St. Louis denizens. The lower rent makes a big difference for young professionals who want to save money but still enjoy what the big city has to offer. While the cost of living in St. Louis sits at 5.6 percent below the national average, Valley Park residents have it even better. They enjoy a cost of living that falls more than 15 percent beneath what the average American experiences.
Public transportation, which Valley Park residents catch in nearby Kirkwood, costs $2 for a one-way, one-transfer bus line. Since locals depend on their vehicles for transportation, gas prices play a significant role in determining the cost of living for Valley Park residents. Outside of a few stations located next to Interstate 44, Valley Park residents and visitors to the city pay 12 percent less than the national average for a gallon of gas. Patrons of the bars and restaurants that line the streets of Valley Park enjoy domestic draft beer prices that hover around $2 for a 12-ounce glass.
With large shopping centers such as West County and the St. Louis Galleria located several miles away, Valley Park residents do most shopping at local boutiques and specialty stores. Although shops such as Valley Park Resale and Flea Market enjoy strong sales in Valley Park, residents only have to travel 2 miles east to find a long row of boutiques in charming Kirkwood. In Kirkwood, you can shop at busy locations, including Blush Boutique, an authentic vintage clothing and jewelry store that takes shoppers back to the 1960s. Valley Park residents who want a more contemporary look take their business to small specialty stores such as Lass & Laddie and Sparkle Boutique. However, to shop at higher end stores, Valley Park residents must make the drive to West County Shopping Center.
The Kirkwood Farmers market opens every day of the week from early April to late October. Farmers from all over Missouri and Illinois present organically grown fruits and vegetables at reasonable prices. The market also serves freshly cooked delectable meats and flavorful homemade ice cream. Valley Park residents shop for bulk grocery items at Schnuck's, located in the Twin Oaks strip mall on the higher second tier of Valley Park.
Lone Elk Park gets its name for the single surviving elk that somehow avoided detonation of World War II armaments after the Great War ended. The large, meticulously maintained county park sits on the western edges of Valley Park. Families enjoy small pavilions that include cooking pits, but the true attractions of Lone Elk hide between the thick oak and sycamore trees that define the rustic area's natural splendor. Numerous cleared walking paths take park visitors to secluded spots where elk, deer and even the occasional brown bear scour for food. The free park complements the smaller parks along the Meramec River in Valley Park, where visitors mostly take part in recreational activities. Buder Park sits near Maritz corporation's headquarters on the eastern edge of Valley Park. The park attracts visitors who fly model airplanes in the vast open space that adjoins the Meramec River. Treecourt Dog Park provides canines plenty of room to burn off the excess energy while waiting for their best friends to come home from work. Valley Park does not feature any exercise-centric parks, but nearby Kirkwood Park sets the standards for exercise-centric parks in the St. Louis region.