1. Affordable housing.

If you don’t live by yourself, it’s probably because you actually want a roommate. If you do live by yourself, though, like most of us, you’ve probably got a spacious, reasonably-priced, one bedroom apartment all to yourself. You may even be considering upgrading to a two bedroom so your friends, who are used to having four roommates, can come visit.

2. Late nights at Talayna’s.

If you’re there before midnight, you’ve done something wrong. You don’t understand it, but the technicolor overload and countless disco balls hold a special place in your heart. You like that the dance floor is almost too crowded to move, that your feet stick to the floor, and that you can’t really imagine this place existing in the light of day. Was it really once a strip club? Does that matter?

3. All the free entertainment in Forest Park.

The collections in the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Penguin & Puffin Coast at the Saint Louis Zoo, outdoor summer shows at The Muny, and interactive exhibits at the Missouri History Museum are all made even better because they cost zero money. You probably don’t even remember what it’s like to have to pay an entry fee for a museum. (It sucks.) Not to mention you can get to all of these places using the sprawling urban greenery of one of the largest urban parks in the United States.

4. Red October.

Also known as, post-season baseball in St. Louis. It becomes an expectation when your city’s team has the second most World Series wins. You almost forget to be grateful for having so many 6-month long seasons.

5. Playing darts at Blueberry Hill.

You walk in and beeline to the back room to try and grab a dart board, fully aware that you may have to fight someone for it. But, if you have to wait you’ll hang out drinking and commenting on the new assortment of collectibles that have gone up on the walls — maybe they moved the Spice Girls dolls to make room for more of The Simpsons memorabilia.

6. Asking “Where did you go to high school?”

This question seems annoying and pointless because what are you supposed to say if you didn’t go to high school in the Lou? (You meant to say college, right?) But, even if you’re not from St. Louis, you eventually find yourself asking it too. Where someone went to high school tells an unexpected amount about them and, sooner or later, everyone learns about the different schools. So, you’ve started to save yourself some small talk and get all the basics from one simple question.

7. Donuts.

America does not run on Dunkin’ in St. Louis. And aside from the occasional desperate moment in an airport, you don’t crave normal donuts anymore. There are ample options for local ‘mom-and-pop’ and ‘handmade from scratch’ donut shops. Strange Donuts’ fancy gooey butter donut or a classic fritter at World’s Fair Doughnuts are just two of the many delicious choices.

8. The Arch.

It may seem odd to become attached to a monument, but it happens anyway. The Arch can be seen from a surprising number of places throughout the city. It makes you feel at home and you love catching it in the backdrop of your photos.

9. Float trips.

Friends, beer, a raft, and a river. There is no better summer day activity.

10. Maintaining strong feelings about your beer.

You forget that outside of St. Louis, people order PBR and Coors Light. You forget this because, not only are you loyal, but you actually prefer the taste of Bud Light. And you panic when you are outside a 300-mile radius of St. Louis because you know Schlafly doesn’t distribute that far. “But it’s October and the Pumpkin Ale is out!”

11. Frozen custard.

Standard ice cream no longer satisfies your cravings. If you can’t safely turn your frozen treat upside down, then it is not a concrete and it didn’t come from Ted Drewes.

12. Toasted ravs.

One bite and you’ll forget that there was a time before tasting it.

13. Watching storms.

Lightning? Hail? A potential tornado? You can’t help it — you want to stand at the window and watch as the storm fast approaches you. The instinct to run is far gone.

14. Food Truck Fridays.

Once a month for six months of the year, you flock to Tower Grove Park with your friends and your high-end picnicking gear (seriously, people in St. Louis picnic at an advanced level) and begin strategizing how to capitalize on trying as many foods from as many trucks as your stomach can manage.

15. Wearing layers.

Complaining about St. Louis’ weird weather that changes several times a day without warning is par for the course. However, when you are in another city and can nonchalantly get dressed in the morning, things just don’t feel challenging enough.

16. Provel cheese.

Somehow the processed cheese blend has grown on you. Before you know it, your friend has discreetly handed you a piece of pizza, you’ve taken a bite, said “mmm yum!” and now you’ll never hear the end of it because the pizza was from Imo’s and covered in provel cheese.

Featured image: Khandi Ray