It was during the 1890s that Cherokee Street began to assume commercial importance, largely due to the convenience of the new electric streetcar lines. Two branch lines of the Union Depot Railroad Company crossed at Cherokee and California Avenue, thereby creating an assembly point for transferring streetcar passengers. This ready-made group of potential shoppers attracted merchants to establish stores nearby, marking the beginning of the Cherokee Street business district.
While the Cherokee Street shopping district has been subject to economic fluctuations over the years, it has managed to survive better than some other urban shopping areas in St. Louis. With an established tributary residential area surrounding it, Cherokee Street has continued as a busy district for shoppers. Today, Cherokee Street offers more than 12 blocks of independently owned and operated specialty shops, art galleries, restaurants and cafés.
Cherokee Street is a vibrant center for commerce, culture and creativity in St. Louis bringing together contemporary art, architecture and culture, all within a historic district. Galleries, design studios, art exhibition spaces, public art projects and artists’ studios assemble on Cherokee Street. An independent arts community, where a collective spirit prevails – of inclusiveness, collaboration, diversity and enthusiasm – fueled by a by-the-bootstraps DIY ethos.
Named St. Louis’ Mexican-food mecca, Cherokee Street has a large concentration of Latino owned-and-operated bakeries, restaurants, shops and grocers. Plenty of taquerías are located throughout the neighborhood, showcasing a localized styling of delicious Mexican food.
The Cinco de Mayo celebration on Cherokee Street is a celebration of the Hispanic Culture and creative spirit on Cherokee. The Cinco de Mayo festival features live entertainment on three stages with more than 15 bands performing throughout the course of the day. The People’s Joy Parade, occurring alongside the Cinco De Mayo Celebration, is an expression of springtime celebration to honor the spirit of community on Cherokee Street and the resourceful creations of local artists. View the festivities at Cinco de Mayo!
Commemorating Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain, the Cherokee Street Latino Business Owners Association celebrates the national holiday of Mexican Independence Day in September. This two-day annual festival brings Mexican and Mexican-American communities together as they celebrate the rich heritage, history, and culture of their Mexican ancestors who fought for their independence.
Annually, hundreds of people turn up for the Cherokee Print League Holiday Sale to mosey along the historic shopping district and purchase the printed wares of local artists. Held the first Saturday in December, Cherokee Print League Holiday Sale is one of the largest print sales in the Midwest, showcasing local and regional artists.