Nestled close to downtown St. Paul and hugging the Mississippi River, Lowertown exemplifies the historic charm St. Paul is known for. What used to be the capital’s biggest manufacturing hub—with warehouses, railroad, and banking and distribution buildings—is now a thriving residential district renovated into lofts, galleries and restaurants.
Historic meets modern thanks to these renovations, but the area is great for practical as well as aesthetic reasons. Its proximity to downtown St. Paul’s attractions is a bonus, as is easy access to the METRO Green Line light rail at the historic Union Depot (which has its own restaurants, public spaces and events). Nature lovers flock to Mears Park, where entertainment takes over an outdoor stage, as during Music in Mears, a free summer concert series, and the free Twin Cities Jazz Festival in June.
Lowertown has become one of the Twin Cites’ fastest-growing neighborhoods, and it’s not expected to stop growing anytime soon. Housing in Lowertown ranges from refurbished warehouses to chic condos, lofts, studios and living-working apartments—all located near some of the best dining experiences in the Twin Cities.
You can enjoy a classic, locally sourced brunch at the Buttered Tin; a seasonal, chef-driven lunch at PUBLIC kitchen + bar (where you should check out Green Lantern downstairs, a classy bar with speakeasy vibes and live music on the weekends); a Southern-style dinner at Handsome Hog, run by “Iron Chef” winner Justin Sutherland; and a top-10 Twin Cities burger at Birch’s Lowertown Taproom & Barrel House. Also stop in at Black Dog Café, a favorite hangout for local artists and jazz musicians. Nearby, Big River Pizza wood-fires Neapolitan ’zas, too.
Residents crowd CHS Field for St. Paul Saints baseball games in the summer. You may even spot Bill Murray, team co-owner, who has been known to work the ticket booth on occasion. The stadium hosts big events like the Cat Video Festival and Grillfest. And for a sweet treat, make sure to stop by Salty Tart bakery, located next door in Market House Collaborative, a food hall that includes a butcher’s, an upscale seafood restaurant, and those Birch’s burgers.
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St. Anthony Main, Minneapolis
Along the Mississippi River, across from Minneapolis’ Warehouse District, the cluster of historic buildings known as St. Anthony Main saw residential resurgence through the 2000s. Charming amenities abound: For night caps, gelato and live music, the cobblestoned Main Street has Aster Café, Pracna, Wilde Cafe & Spirits and other al fresco dining spots—all basking under idyllic riverside views of downtown. Nearby, 150 acres unfurl into parks and trails. The photo- and bike-friendly Stone Arch Bridge hosts Oktoberfest, a Father’s Day festival and Fourth of July fireworks. The MSP Film Society shows the bulk of its annual Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival at St. Anthony Main Theater in spring. And you can explore the area’s flour-milling history by bike, trolley, Segway and horse-pulled carriage.