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Best Mile of St. Louis St. Louis 2008 - Cherokee Street

If you had a nickel for every stretch of St. Louis where you could snack on an authentic taqueria-style taco between taking in a contemporary art show and shopping for a 1930s china pattern just like your grandmother had...well, you would be only five cents richer, because nothing else in St. Louis resembles Cherokee Street between South Compton and Lemp avenues. You want cutting-edge art, theater, crafts and music? Check out the Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts, the Tin Ceiling Theater, Firecracker Press and Apop Records. What about real-deal Mexican grub? Check: There are several blocks of Mexican bakeries, taquerias, restaurants and grocery stores. Partake of anarchist baked goods at Black Bear Bakery or vegetarian fare at the funky Shangri-La Diner; enjoy a pint at the old-school O'Malley's Irish Pub or at the brand-new Stable, a restaurant and distillery in the old Lemp stables. And of course you can shop for antiques: from expensive to kitschy and everything in between. Cherokee might not be perfect — a few blocks are less than stunning — but it is an inspiring example of a diverse, ongoing urban renewal.

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