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Kirkwood 

Still not entirely gentrified, Kirkwood is a fascinating hodgepodge of restored two-story homes, old rooming houses, and quaint bungalows. The downtown retail district is slowly blossoming, but most amenities are only a short drive away, and the neighborhood has plenty of park space and bike trails. The active Kirkwood Neighbors' Organization website adds to the feeling of community.

10 things to do in Kirkwood

Suck down the grits stack at Le Petit Marché

Disguised as a cute French market full of fancy imported jams, local orange blossom honey, and sundries for sale, Le Petit Marché doubles as an all-day throw-down breakfast spot. The grits stack, with scrambled eggs, cheddar, shrimp, and chicken sausage piled on top of dreamy grits, will make you want to French kiss the cook.

Savor the scones at Dulce Vegan

So what if Kirkwood doesn't have a neighborhood coffee shop? Dulce Vegan will do fine, thank you. With its daily menu of vegan goodies - from chocolate cupcakes to raspberry scones - the health-conscious bakery and café is the best kind of sinful. And there's plenty of cappuccino to wash it down.

Don't do the stanky leg at Morris Restaurant & Lounge

A friendly dive bar and Kirkwood's oldest black-owned business, the Morris has been open for nearly 40 years. No one younger than 25 is allowed, and that also goes for the songs that are played. Expect to hear Al Green, not Cee Lo Green. A decent karaoke crowd and a limited menu to boot.

Try out the fitness class at Circus Arts Institute

Turns out you don't have to be a trapeze artist to get those Cirque du Soleil abs. The Circus Arts Institute's fitness class offers rope-climbing and tightwire walking to civilians in need of upper body and core tightening. There's also therapeutic training for those who want the empathy of a clown without the sad makeup.

Don't groom yourself at Kirkwood Feed and Seed

It's for your dog, silly. The neighborhood pet supply feels like a retro doggie day care with self- and full-service grooming (including dog wash, nail trim, ear plucking, and something called anal gland expression), not to mention the gourmet baked goods. All for your pooch.

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