The “Gateway to the West” is a thriving metropolitan area of 2.8 million people that retains the friendly character of the Midwest. The fun and culture of a big city are readily available, but living here is easy and affordable. It’s foodie-friendly, boasts an active music, theater and art scene and offers nearby opportunities for hiking, biking, climbing and water sports. Not to mention, Forest Park — nestled between WashU’s Danforth and Medical campuses and recently voted as the No. 1 city park in the U.S. — has abundant green spaces, sports fields, recreation trails and museums of art, history and science, all for free.