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View of Downtown St. Paul, Minnesota Skyline

17 Things to Know About Living in St. Paul

Thinking of moving to St. Paul? Minnesota’s capital city—and next door neighbor of Minneapolis—offers year-round outdoor recreation, job opportunities, affordable living, and plenty of fun things to do. Check out these 17 things to know about living in St. Paul!

The More Affordable Side of the Twin Cities

View of Downtown St. Paul Looking Across the High Bridge. Photo by Instagram user @mattwcaptures

Photo via @mattwcaptures

If you’re trying to decide between the Twin Cities when moving to Minnesota, go with St. Paul! The cost of living in St. Paul is lower than the state average, while Minneapolis‘ cost of living is higher. Also, Minneapolis’ median home value is $212,800, which is 15% above the national average, while St. Paul’s is only $178,400, which is below the national average. That means St. Paul is less expensive to live in and has a better housing value, on average, than Minneapolis!

Start a New Career Here

3M Headquarters in St. Paul, MN. Photo by Instagram user @angelalpan

Photo via @angelalpan

There are limitless job opportunities in St. Paul and Minneapolis, as the Twin Cities are home to 16 Fortune 500 companies. One such company, 3M, is a multinational company that researches and develops technology for sustainability, dental care, biomaterials, and electronic materials. Ecolab is the top name in water, hygiene, and energy technology and research—and they were rated #1 on Zippia’s Best Companies to Work For in St. Paul! Food service company Sysco Minnesota, adhesive research and developers H.B. Fuller, and trusted alcohol supplier Johnson Brothers are also highly desirable places (among others!) to work in St. Paul.

Take Advantage of St. Paul Transportation

St. Paulites are committed to environmentally conscious transportation. Their Pedestrian Plan has the combined effort of over 4,000 people committed to maintaining and improving the safety and healthiness of walking. Many residents also like riding their bikes! If you don’t have one, no worries—they also offer a Nice Ride bike rental option. In fact, it’s so common for people to take advantage of biking and ridesharing that more workers carpool or bike to work than the national average. There’s also the Twin Cities Electric Vehicle Mobility Network, which strives to provide a car-sharing service and corresponding charging hubs. Plus, you can always take the Green Line, a metro light rail that runs between St. Paul and Minneapolis 24/7 with over 20 stops!

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Enroll in Quality Higher Education

Did you know St. Paul is home to several excellent colleges and universities? Concordia University is ranked as a top college for adult learners and offers online and in-person courses that foster marketable job skills and knowledge. Bethel University is a liberal arts university that has more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degrees, as well as a seminary and several study abroad programs. If you’re looking for a larger school, the University of St. Thomas is a private Catholic university with over 10,000 students—and it ranks as the best school for law school externships and the second-best school for Midwest art history programs. And, of course, the Twin Cities share University of Minnesota‘s campuses. UMN is one of the nation’s top 20 universities, ranking among the top ten public research universities!

Get Warm Summers & Snowy Winters

Two People Sitting on a Bench At a Park in St. Paul. Photo by Instagram user @mspmag

Photo via @mspmag

St. Paul’s climate stays true to Upper Midwest weather patterns. With warm months falling between May and September, summers are typically rainy and around 80 degrees—and the Land of 10,000 Lakes provides plenty of beaches and swimming opportunities for those nice, hot summer days! The other half of the year can be and cold because of arctic air coming down from the north, but this makes St. Paul an awesome place for winter activities—and St. Paul residents are experts at not only surviving but thriving in the winter!

The Cold Doesn’t Stop St. Paulites

Kid Throwing a Snowball In Front of a Carousel in the Snow. Photo by Instagram user @emilyjaneandco

Photo via @emilyjaneandco

Ice and snow don’t keep St. Paul residents from outdoor activities! In fact, many citizens go downhill skiing and snowboarding at Como Park Ski Center, affectionately called Mount Como. They offer ski and snowboard rentals so you can trek the cross-country trails or head down the 150-foot hill to your heart’s content! You can also head over to the Winter Carnival, a 130-year-old tradition chock-full of activities, including the Securian Financial Winter Run and two parades! While there, explore the ever-growing Winter Carnival Global Market, an international-themed marketplace that sells food and crafts from around the world.

Spend a Day on Grand Avenue

Historic Grand Avenue is a go-to spot in St. Paul for fun things to do! Attend events like interactive storytime and scavenger hunts at indie store Red Balloon Bookshop. Visit Wet Paint to restock your art arsenal with everything from canvases and frames to acrylic paints and brushes. Become a member at the University Club of St. Paul, a traditional country club with a pool, Christmas ball, volunteer networking, Wednesday Hump Day Club, and more activities! Order a 3 Little Pigs Pizza followed by some ice cream for dessert at Grand Ole Creamery. Grab an Egg Potato + Cheese Panini or a Cinnamon Swirl Croissant for breakfast at Bread & Chocolate. Try the delicious Chicken Momo, Bhanta, or Chicken Tikka Masala at family-owned Everest on Grand. Or decompress and relax at Phresh Spa Salon after a long day!

See Incredibly Preserved Victorian-Era Homes

Love old houses with character? Walk along Summit Ave to see the longest stretch of preserved Victorian houses in the U.S. Dating back to 1843, these 373 houses showcase architecture styles like Italian-Renaissance, Romanesque, Tudor, and Georgian Revival. You can even hear some ghost stories at Griggs Mansion! Want a more comprehensive tour? Join in the 90-minute Summit Avenue Walking Tours given by the Minnesota Historical Society between May and September. The Summit Hill Association also sponsors a biennial tour of many of the houses, and the James J. Hill House is open for public tours a few days a week. Whether you go on a scheduled tour or just take a nice stroll down the street, you’ll be able to enjoy the Victorian houses on this historic street!

Visit Top St. Paul Museums

Two Girls Painting on the Wall at Minnesota Children's Museum. Photo by Instagram user @mnchildmuseum

Photo via @mnchildmuseum

Looking for things to do in St. Paul? Check out the city’s amazing museums! Watch a movie in the Omnitheater or see unique fossils and ancient artifacts at Science Museum of Minnesota. Tour the Museum of Questionable Devices, where you’ll laugh at some of the goofiest instruments and novelties scientists invented. Explore some of the coolest locomotives you’ll ever see at Minnesota Transportation Museum. Admire over 5,000 pieces of art displayed at Minnesota Museum of American Art. Want more educational museums for the family? Head to Minnesota History Center and Minnesota Children’s Museum!

The Capital City Has Great Parks

St. Paul may not be as large as its twin city, but it offers lots of outdoor areas to explore! Visit Indian Mounds Regional Park, the site of six pre-historic Dakota and Hopewell tribes’ burial mounds that are estimated to be somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 years old. Take a calming walk along the riverbank at Raspberry Island Regional Park. Hop on a riverboat cruise, explore the bike paths, and enjoy a view of the Twin Cities’ skyline at Harriet Island. Or go fishing, ride your bike, or visit the zoo and conservatory at the enormous Como Park!

Support Your Local Sports Teams

Minnesota United Player Celebrating a Game with Fans at Allianz Field. Photo by Instagram user @mnufc

Photo via @mnufc

The Twin Cities are no strangers to sports—professional teams like the Minnesota Twins (MLB) play at Target Field and the Minnesota Vikings (NFL) play at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. But when you want to stick closer to home, cheer on independent baseball team St. Paul Saints at CHS Field! Sing “Wonderwall” with the rest of the fans when Minnesota United (MLS) wins home games at Allianz Field. Of course, you also have to check out the hockey scene when living in Minnesota! The Minnesota Wild (NHL) play at Xcel Energy Center, and the women’s hockey team Minnesota Whitecaps (NWHL)—the only team to have won a Clarkson Cup and an Isobel Cup—play at TRIA Rink!

Have a Blast at CHS Field

Corvette Parade at CHS Field in St. Paul. Photo by Instagram user @stpaulsaints

Photo via @stpaulsaints

Whether the Saints are at home or they’re away, St. Paul residents can come and hang out at CHS Field, where there’s a variety of exciting activities throughout the year! Take part in the 6,261-person pillow fight and the world’s largest food fight (That’s right, about 8,000 fans participated in throwing food in tribute to the 40th anniversary of Animal House). That’s not even the half of it! You can sample from the 450 beers offered at the Beer Dabbler event or attend concerts, the Cat Video Festival, movie nights on the field, and more!

Attend Unique Fairs & Festivals

People Walking Through the Minnesota State Fair. Photo by Instagram user @visitsaintpaul

Photo via @visitsaintpaul

St. Paul hosts several festivals and fairs throughout the year—and there’s guaranteed to be one for your interests! Enjoy Irish music, dancing, food, and family activities at Irish Fair of Minnesota. Celebrate traditional German culture with German pretzels, beer, and music at Deutsche Tage, St. Paul’s oldest ethnic festival! Check out the artists, food, and performances reminiscent of a typical Asian night market at Little Mekong Night Market. See why The Festival of Nations is a favorite of St. Paulites—from its bazaar and showcases of artisans to cultural dances and all the food you could eat! Go to the 12 day-long Minnesota State Fair, nicknamed The Great Minnesota Get-Together, for rides, a parade, an art exhibition, and delicious fair food. Spend some time outdoors listening to jazz music at Twin Cities Jazz Fest. Or gear up for one of the most colorful, fun, and supportive pride parades hosted by Twin Cities PRIDE.

Experience St. Paul’s Entertainment

Theater Performance at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. Photo by Instagram user @kimmyimmanuel

Photo via @kimmyimmanuel

Minnesota’s capital city has it all—that means fine arts entertainment, too! Make your way to The Fitzgerald Theater, the oldest theater in St. Paul and Minnesota Public Radio’s largest studio. See touring Broadway productions like Beauty and the Beast, Waitress, or Rent at Ordway Center for Performing Arts. Experience legendary concerts, roller derby, and more at Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Looking for unique shows in a smaller, community atmosphere? Grand Oak Opry offers summer events in their backyard and winter events at other local venues. You can also watch local musicians play at Studio Z, located in Lowertown, the arts district of St. Paul. Or find live comedy and music entertainment at the Palace Theatre!

Check Out the Creative Enterprise Zone

Man Working at a Computer in the Creative Enterprise Zone in St. Paul. Photo by Instagram user @chromazonefest

Photo via @chromazonefest

St. Paul’s Creative Enterprise Zone aims “to be a livable, mixed-use neighborhood, recognized and sustained as a center of enterprise and creativity.” In other words, this unique area has a special commitment to supporting artists, local business owners, and creative thinking. Once underused, the Creative Enterprise Zone is now a happily bustling area again—only this time, it’s a lot more colorful! More than 12 murals now enrich this district, some even five stories tall, showing everyone that the CEZ is here to stay. There’s living space for artists and plenty of real estate for new business to move in. There are also other businesses like The Naughty Greek 2, Workhorse Coffee Bar, vinyl stores for your music needs, and Urban Growler Brewing Company, Minnesota’s first female-owned microbrewery. This non-profit area is close to the University of Minnesota and conveniently falls right on the Green Line’s route, so you can get to CEZ easily!

The Food Scene in St. Paul Is Unbeatable

Smash Burger in a Takeout Container from Just Us in Minnesota. Photo by Instagram user @just_usmn

Photo via @just_usmn

If you’re a foodie or just someone who loves trying new cuisine, St. Paul has the restaurants for you! Get African and Mediterranean dishes like Chicken Fantastic and Yassa Chicken at Afro Deli and Grill. Order unique American dishes like Mushroom Toast or the 300 Dollar Burger from Holman’s Table. Visit New Bohemia Wurst and Bier House, a German restaurant in Downtown St. Paul that has vegan dishes, 24 local sausage options, and handmade buns and pretzels. Stop by just/us to feast on Pineapple BBQ Smoked Ribs, ‘Shroom Mac, or Hot Honey Butter Chicken Wings. Satisfy your Italian food cravings with Lasagna Mucci or Buttered Noodles and a slice of Tiramisu from Mucci’s. Order the Teriyaki Ton Ramen or Shredded Char Siu Ramen with a Honey Dew Boba Tea at Ishita Ramen. Or grab some Chips & Citrus Jalapeño Salsa as a holdover before your Beef Tinga Burrito or Carnitas Tacos arrive at Catrina’s Mexican Grill!

Enjoy a Night Out in St. Paul

Concert Going on at Wilebski's in St. Paul. Photo by Instagram user @luxhomesmn

Photo via @luxhomesmn

The fun doesn’t have to stop at sundown in St. Paul! Gather some friends and head to The Nook for some burgers and bowling! Drink alcoholic milkshakes while playing arcade games or mini golf at Can Can Wonderland, a one-of-a-kind, award-winning mini-golf course in the repurposed American Can Company factory. Head over to Wilebski’s Blues Saloon on Tuesdays and Fridays for live blues music. Brew your own beer and wine at Vine Park Brewing—the only brewery in the Midwest where you can brew your own alcohol with professional help. Enjoy an outdoor concert and shop at the local vendor market at Keg & Case. Or get a signature burger and local beer while cheering on your favorite team at Alary’s Bar in downtown.


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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.