Best Place to People-Watch

Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza

Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul/And sings the tune — without the words/And never stops at all. Amid the towering buildings of the Barnes–Jewish Hospital complex, these words (emblazoned across an infinity pond) have never felt more fitting. There is no better place to sit back with a notebook or a sketchpad and bear witness to the wonder and variety of the human experience. From a bench overlooking the lily pads, watch as a gaggle of nurses, just off duty, crosses the courtyard, or a grave-looking doctor heads out for a smoke break. Or if you're lucky, maybe you'll catch some beaming new parents with a bundle of joy in their arms. Stop someone in scrubs and ask about that weird mole on your neck — free medical advice is solicited here more than you'd ever think. Or lock eyes with some defeated soul and let the inevitable question cross your mind: "I wonder what the hell he has?" Nowhere else in St. Louis will you find so many people experiencing life's highs or lows, having the best days of their lives — and the worst. Food trucks often congregate near the medical pavilion, so grab a taco and enjoy the show.

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