The Heart of Missouri
St. Charles County is part of the St. Louis, MO-IL Metropolitan Statistical Area and contains many of the city's northern suburbs.
The wealthiest county in Missouri, St. Charles County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the nation. St. Charles County is also home to Lindenwood University the second-oldest higher-education institution west of the Mississippi River and since 1990, the fastest-growing university in the Midwest.
Lindenwood offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees through nine colleges and schools. Its annual enrollment is more than 12,000 students in all programs, including 5,662 undergraduate day students at its main campus in St. Charles.
St. Charles lies near the eastern end of the Katy Trail, a 225-mile (362 km) long state park enjoyed by bikers and walkers which was adapted from railroad right-of-way. Since the late 1970s, there has been healthy new home construction, commercial growth and explosive population growth in the St. Charles area. The phrase "Golden Triangle" was coined for this area in the Eighties, referring to the rate of real estate development in the St. Charles County region bordered by highways Interstate 70, Interstate 64, and Route 94.
St. Charles has a historic shopping district on Main street with numerous restored buildings housing restaurants and various specialty stores. It offers most standard living features (with the exception of a public golf course) usually found in a community of its size. The city also has many special events and features related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition. In 2007, St. Charles welcomed men's professional road bicycle racing riders and fans as it served as the stage 5 final for the 2007 Tour of Missouri.
As of 2015, walking food tours down Main Street can be taken through the company Dishing Up America. These tours take customers to the locally famous restaurants in the city.
A new feature (opened November 2006) of the St. Charles Parks and Recreation System is a dog park on the north side of town as a part of DuSable Park-Bales Area. This off-leash dog area has two sections- one for smaller dogs, one for larger.
The St. Charles Convention Center brings visitors to town. The Family Arena, a city-owned 11,000-seat venue, was built in 1999 near the Missouri River; it is used by minor league sports franchises and hosts events.
St. Charles County includes an area of vineyards and wineries whose distinction has been nationally recognized. On its rural outer edge along the south-facing bluffs above the Missouri River is an area of numerous wineries, so that Missouri Route 94 is sometimes called the Missouri Weinstrasse. The area includes the Augusta AVA, designated in 1980 as the first American Viticultural Area by the federal government.