Edit ModuleShow Tags

St. Paul's Hidden Gems


Published:


St. Paul Cathedral. Photo by Todd Buchanan.

Over the years, St. Paul has garnered the unfair reputation of being Minneapolis’ smaller, stodgier sister. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked something along the lines of, “Minneapolis is the cool one, right?” by out-of-towners. Yes, St. Paul may have fewer microbreweries per capita, but it matches Minneapolis in character. Apart from the well-known local institutions—your Café Lattés and Cossettas—there are countless under-appreciated gems that deserve to join the ranks of the capital city’s must-stop attractions. Here are a few to consider on your next trip across the river.

Cold Front: Nestled in St. Paul’s Highland neighborhood, this unassuming café is part artisan coffee bar, part old-fashioned soda shoppe. If the friendly service weren’t enough, you’ll keep coming back for their meticulously crafted drinks, made using Dogwood Coffee and Gray Duck Chai. The syrups used at their soda fountain are crafted in house, and they make a pretty mean egg cream too.

Gypsy Moon: This Mac-Groveland shop, located just across the street from the St. Kate’s campus, is filled with a constantly rotating selection of artisan-made goods. Featuring everything from locally made jewelry and seasonal women’s apparel to garden and home décor, the store has a cozy and welcoming aesthetic that befits its thoughtful merchandise.

Three Sisters Eclectic Arts: Recently relocated from Lowertown to Grand Avenue, this artsy boutique sells locally made gifts and artwork and has built close relationships with a number of local artists and artisans. With their shop, owners Valerie Anderson and Lindy Snyder pride themselves in supporting the local arts community by providing up and comers space to showcase their work alongside established favorites.

Saigon: This University Avenue spot, now stylized as iPho by Saigon, has perhaps the best pho of the Twin Cities’ many Vietnamese eateries. But on top of their delectable broth and multitude of accouterments, their service is great. The wait staff is extremely friendly, knowledgeable, polite, and prompt, making for a dining experience that matches their food. If you go, be sure to try their (strong) French Vietnamese coffee, prepared with sweetened condensed milk to put it just over the top.

Ax-Man Surplus: A self-proclaimed “surplus store,” the University Avenue warehouse buys and sells surplus merchandise from industrial companies, arts and crafts businesses, and everything in between. Their wide-ranging, often bizarre products encapsulate decades of changing markets, and they acquire many failed or off-the-market products that you can find nowhere else. Items I have found include lanyards from a long-ago corporate retreat and “Slovenian Hooks.”

The Bearded Mermaid Bazaar: Purportedly an antique store, this West 7th shop carries furniture, home décor, and other curiosities from the 1920s-'80s. The appropriately grunge-y vibe gives one the impression upon entering that it is not the place to buy Persian rugs or stained glass lamps. Their unique offerings should imbue any home with plenty of personality.

Read more: Mpls vs. St. Paul

Edit ModuleShow Tags

About This Blog

Whether you are a seasoned Twin Cities traveler or planning your first trip to Minnesota, this blog will introduce you to many new adventures to add to your itinerary. From day trips and scenic discoveries to luxurious girls weekends, travel tips, and insider scoops, our editors will give you all the information you need to enjoy your stay Up North.

Learn about the contributing writers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Travel Blog

Record Store Day: Where to Find Rare Releases in MN

On April 21, rock out at mini-music festivals around the state, dig into gourmet donuts, and collect the rare vinyls available one time a year

Catch the Lyrids Meteor Shower

The meteor shower peaks April 21 and 22, just in time for Earth Day

A Day Trip to Excelsior

Just 20 miles west of the Twin Cities, this waterfront town is complete with charming shops and lakeside dining

Night Art Gallery Is Your Sober Night Out

The Lindstrom art gallery entertains with hors d'oeuvres, tons of art available for purchase, and non-alcholic drinks

Weekend Activities to Satisfy Your Inner-Child

Check out these weekend activities that will have you feeling like a kid again.

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: April

Sue Z.'s picks for philanthropic food events in April will have you supporting women chefs, sipping crafty cocktails, and celebrating Cookie Cart's 30th birthday

A Day Trip to Waconia

Enjoy great views, dining, and craft beverage destinations in this West Metro lakeside town

11 Easter Egg Hunts: From Flashlights to Geocaching

Yes, there's an annual adults-only Easter egg hunt in Rochester—and another for dogs, and another with geocaching, and another that drops them out of the sky. Check out more of the best egg hunts around Minnesota.

Rock Climbing in Minnesota

Rock on this spring at climbing gyms and favorite outdoor spots around Minnesota

5 Natural Wonders in Minnesota

Mother Nature takes the best selfies

Bad Axe Throwing Opens Minneapolis Location

Axe throwing makes its debut in Northeast Minneapolis—and it's not as dangerous as it sounds

Visit Award-Winning Minnesota Distilleries

Tattersall Distilling, J. Carver Distillery, and RockFilter Distillery are all worth the trip

Sue Z.'s Charitable Check-In: March

Sue Z. picks Cochon555 as her philanthropic food event this month

5 Must-See Minnesota Public Gardens

Visiting these botanical wonders are sure to make your daisy
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags