It's not just that St. Louis boasts the kind of cultural treasures you'd expect to see only in the very biggest American cities. It's not just that it boasts terrific recreational opportunities, from major league sports teams to spectacular parks and golf courses to beautiful hiking and canoeing nearby.

It's that you can do these things in St. Louis. It's that nothing is out of reach - in price, in location, in the size of the crowd trying to get in.

A community with a remarkably low cost of living for all of the comforts and attractions it affords,  St. Louis is a big city with the convenience and sense of connectedness of a smaller one.

Visiting the city's nationally acclaimed Zoo costs -- nothing (thanks to the taxpayers and philanthropists). The Art Museum, the History Museum, the Science Center cost -- nothing. The charges for the Symphony and the Missouri Botanical Garden are all highly reasonable.

Not only is the price right - you can get there. St. Louis is a "20-minute city," where most of the attractions are within a reasonable distance from most of the people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Greater St. Louis has been consistently below the national average commute time to work.

Availability, accessibility - these are characteristics of the region in general. St. Louis is open, in the broadest sense of the word. Whatever role you want to play here -- in civic affairs or any other aspect of life -- you'll get a friendly, appreciative welcome.

Overall, St. Louis has a sanity about it that's increasingly difficult to find. St. Louis has a balance and degree of comfort that are absolutely exceptional among cities that also offer the kind of world-class assets this community features. There is a sense of community, a connectedness among its people, which arises from its Midwestern personality, manageable scale, and deep history. Perhaps that’s why St. Louis is consistently ranked among the most philanthropic cities in the country: People care about one another and their community.