24 Hours in the Cities: Grand Avenue

Grand Avenue in St. Paul was once the place where The Great Gatsby writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald attended dance classes and St. Paul’s elite came to shop and dine. These days, it is one of the most popular shopping districts in the Twin Cities. Walking along the pedestrian-friendly avenue, you will not only stumble upon locally and nationally owned shops, restaurants, and services, but you will encounter stunning architecture of classic homes with 90 percent of them built prior to 1939. Grand Avenue was named one of Forbes’ Prettiest Neighborhoods in America, and with a strong sense of community, you are sure to feel welcomed to the grandest areas of the Twin Cities.

Morning: Spend the early hours of your day on Grand Avenue and Lexington Parkway. Energize by ordering the TexMex or Cajun breakfast at the Uptowner Café. Don’t fill up right away, because the avenue is full of tasty places you’ll want to try as you explore—like Bravo! Café and Bakery a couple steps away that has great bubble tea. Then take some time for yourself by relaxing at one of several salons and spas. You can get a new hairstyle, massage, manicure, eyebrow wax, or all of the above at Juut SalonSpa, the original Aveda salon. Or go to Hush Studio for a therapeutic massage.

Cafe Latté; Photo by Todd Buchanan

Mid-day: Have kids with you? Your child will enjoy visiting Creative Kidstuff to shop for toys and participating in the music and movement class for parents and children. The Red Balloon Bookshop is a popular children’s bookstore that hosts story time events. Sixth Chamber Used Books also carries children’s books and toys, and you might even find a good read for yourself. If you’ve worked up an appetite, head to Cafe Latté, a cafeteria-style restaurant serving salads, soups, and sandwiches made with freshly made bakery bread. If you’re craving something sweet, have a piece of their coveted Turtle Cake.

Evening: All sorts of locally owned gift and clothing stores line the historic Grand Avenue shopping district. Stop at Karma for modern bohemian styles, Quince for a western flare, Atelier 957 for a variety of artisan designs, Trade Winds for fair-trade clothing, or Bombshell for plus size designer fashions. For a getaway dining experience, head to what feels like the lake cabin at Tavern on Grand. The northwoods lodge themed décor and some of the best walleye in town will give you a taste of Minnesota. If you want to taste another part of the world, dine at Shish, an award-winning Mediterranean café. For dessert, head to Grand Ole Creamery and enjoy one of their 200 homemade flavors of ice cream as you lounge underneath the pinstripe awning.

You might also consider these other 24 Hours in the Cities options:
, St. Paul
50th & France, Edina
Mill District, Minneapolis
North Loop, Minneapolis
Northeast Minneapolis
Uptown, Minneapolis
Minneapolis, the Holiday Edition