A drone shot of the Mississippi River in St. Paul

What to Expect from St. Paul’s Key Neighborhoods

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A drone shot of the Mississippi River in St. Paul  / Paul Vincent

What to Expect from St. Paul’s Key Neighborhoods

By Erica Wacker

When someone put “Keep Saint Paul Boring” on a T-shirt in 2017, the city’s proud residents didn’t shy away from its sense of humor. They embraced it.  

After all, locals know that St. Paul isn’t actually boring, what with its world-class museums and theaters, professional sports teams, eclectic neighborhoods, historic charm, and beautiful scenery. They just aren’t the type to brag about it. 

To help find out if St. Paul’s singular brand of boring is right for you, here is a look at its key neighborhoods.... 

Palace Theatre exterior

The historic Palace Theatre  / Visit Saint Paul


Median home price: $272,500

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 10 miles 

Smaller and more historic than downtown Minneapolis, St. Paul’s city center stands proudly on its own merits. Big events draw crowds, from Minnesota Wild hockey games and national acts at Xcel Energy Center and Palace Theatre to free music in Mears Park, major touring musicals at the Ordway, and minor league baseball at CHS Field.

Amtrak and Metro Transit light rail trains converge at the beautiful Union Depot — right around the corner from a weekly farmer's market — and upscale restaurants like Saint Dinette, Meritage, and Apostle Supper Club make for destination-worthy date nights. Family fun awaits at the Science Museum of Minnesota, Minnesota Children’s Museum, and Minnesota History Center

The winter patio outside Waldmann Brewery in Saint Paul

The winter patio outside Waldmann Brewery in Saint Paul  / Paul Vincent


Median home price: $280,000  

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 2.5 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 10 miles 

St. Paul’s first neighborhood (a.k.a. the West End) extends from downtown to Crosby Farm Regional Park, with West 7th Street running down smack down the middle. The corridor was once home to a streetcar, the rails from which can sometimes be seen peeking through the asphalt.

A modern streetcar is set to start operating in 2032. Until then, folks can visit the trendy restaurants and vintage stores along the route by car, bus or on foot. Bad Weather, Waldmann Brewery and Summit Brewing also carry on the area’s brewing legacy for the many young families and hop heads that call it home. 

A family takes a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi River

A family takes a riverboat cruise on the Mississippi  / Paul Vincent


Median home price: $248,450 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 1.5 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 12.5 miles 

Visitors often question this neighborhood’s name, given its geographic location south of downtown St. Paul. But natives know it comes from the West Side’s position on the Mississippi, making it the only St. Paul neighborhood on the “other” side of the river.

This culturally diverse, family-friendly enclave is best known for its Mexican heritage, with top-notch taquerias along Cesar Chavez Street. For scenic sights, explore the riverfront Harriet Island Regional Park or hop aboard a Padelford Riverboat cruise.

The best views of St. Paul can be seen from the North High Bridge overlook off Smith Avenue — great for anyone who needs to be close to downtown, but prefers a quiet, neighborhood-y feel. 

A Victorian mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul

A Victorian mansion on Summit Avenue in St. Paul / Kent Kanouse, shared under CC BY-NC 2.0


Median home price: $415,000  

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 4 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 8.5 miles 

St. Paul’s two most famous streets, Grand Avenue and Summit Avenue, start their westward journeys through this charming slice of the capital city. Considered the longest stretch of Victorian-era homes in the country, Summit Avenue was home to lumber barons, railroad tycoons, and other movers and shakers in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Start at the James J. Hill House and work your way west; walking tours will point out the former homes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis, and Garrison Keillor.

One block south, Grand Avenue is a well-worn destination for independent shops and a wide array of local eateries. Many consider Cathedral Hill Saint Paul's most "walkable" neighborhood. A mix of rentals, condos, and single-family homes make it a good fit for anyone who craves a more scenic and slow style of big city living.  

The campus at Macalester College

Macalester College 


Median home price: $396,350 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 5 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 8 miles 

Bordered by the Mississippi River to the west, Highland Park to the south, Union Park to the north and Summit Hill to the east, Macalester-Groveland is truly in the center of everything. Anchoring the neighborhood is Macalester College, bringing with it all the amenities of a liberal arts college campus.

Independent eateries abound here, from the classy, Southern European-inspired Estelle and Bar+Cart cocktail lounge to the casual Roots Roasting coffee shop and Due Focacceria deli. Young families snatch up homes in Mac-Grove for its parks, stroller-friendly sidewalks, rec centers, and highly rated schools. 

Juicy Lucy burger The Nook

The Nook, St. Paul / Courtesy Visit Saint Paul


Median home price: $466,000 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 5.5 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 9 miles 

This high-end neighborhood is highly sought after for its convergence of retail and restaurants, and direct access to trails and parks along the Mississippi River on its south and west borders. Visit local favorites like La Boulangerie Marguerite, The Nook, and Cecil's Deli, and enjoy their proximity to multiple grocery stores, including Lunds & Byerly's and St. Paul's only Trader Joe's. 

Popular brunch and dinner stops such as Highland Grill, Centro and Ichiddo Ramen hit the spot before or after a movie at the classic two-screen Highland Theatre. Some of the hottest real estate in town can be found at Highland Bridge, a new, 55-acre multi-purpose development featuring condos, rowhomes, senior living, retail and public gathering spaces. Highland Park also has a wide range of home styles, from the midcentury ramblers that line the south end to grand Tudors alongside the Highland National Golf Course.  

The waterfall at Shadow Falls Park in winter

Shadow Falls Park / Erika Van Krevelen, courtesy of the National Park Service


Median home price: $315,288 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 6.5 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 6 miles 

Another private college, the University of St. Thomas, leaves its mark on this upscale riverfront neighborhood. Large, early 20th century homes are the primary housing stock here, with commercial corridors along Marshall and Selby avenues occupied almost exclusively by local merchants.

On the east end of Selby at Snelling, vintage fashion and home decor lure shoppers to peruse the shelves at Succotash, Lula, Everyday People and Betty’s Antiques. Along Mississippi River Boulevard, runners and cyclists enjoy a separated path and stunning overlook at the end of Summit Avenue. Look for the discreet entrances to Shadow Falls Park for a secluded, scenic hike through the woods.

Merriam Park is also noteworthy for being the most westward neighborhood in Saint Paul, making it a perfect fit for anyone who needs quick access to Minneapolis. 

Exterior of Como Conservatory and the Centennial Garden

The Como Conservatory's Centennial Garden is a stylized nod to traditional European landscape gardens / Visit Saint Paul


Median home price: $302,000 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 3.5 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 9 miles 

Home to the Minnesota State Fair and Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, Como may be St. Paul’s most visited neighborhood. It’s also a great place to live, with a healthy mix of affordable midsize homes and apartments. In addition to the free zoo and conservatory, Como Park boasts a lake with boat rentals and public pavilion, a golf course-turned-ski area in the winter, outdoor pool, amusement park, and winding, wooded trails.

At the end of August, more than 1 million people flock to the State Fairgrounds on Como’s western edge for food, fun, and people watching at the annual Great Minnesota Get-Together

Urban Growler owners Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak

Urban Growler owners Deb Loch and Jill Pavlak / Courtesy of Urban Growler


Median home price: $332,500 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 8 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 6.5 miles 

Closer to Minneapolis than it is to most of St. Paul, St. Anthony Park is perched on the city’s northwest corner adjacent to the University of Minnesota, making it a popular neighborhood for college students and faculty alike. The grid pattern that dominates most of the city is not welcome here, with the curvy Como and Raymond avenues serving as the area’s main thoroughfares.

Good food and drinks are abundant at hot spots including Herbst Eatery & Farm Stand, Urban Growler Brewing, Nico’s Taco Bar and Colossal Cafe. The annual Independence Day parade and all-day party is the best in town.

With a distinctive "small-town" feel and mix of stately and modest homes, Saint Anthony Park is perfect for those craving a quaint, close-knit community. 

Minnesota United FC fans at Allianz Field, St. Paul

A fan toasts the Loons at Allianz Field  / Dana Hernandez


Median home price: $268,088 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 5 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 7 miles 

While it’s only been in existence since 2019, it’s hard to remember what the corner of University and Snelling avenues looked like before Allianz Field staked its claim as the home of Minnesota United FC. The soccer stadium’s sleek, round frame lights up in bright colors each night, casting a glow on the surrounding Hamline-Midway neighborhood. But residents know that the up-and-coming Midway was cool long before it went pro.

Coffee shops like Gingko and Groundswell, ethnic eateries including On’s Kitchen and Master Noodle, and entertainment venues such as Turf Club and Can Can Wonderland are among this vibrant neighborhood’s many draws. Hamline-Midway features mostly smaller bungalow homes, and is right on the Lightrail's green line, which will take you to downtown Minneapolis or Saint Paul. 

Hmongtown Marketplace in St. Paul

Hmongtown Marketplace / Paul Vincent


Median home price: $231,575 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 2 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 9.5 miles 

Formally known as Thomas-Dale, locals know the only true name of this part of St. Paul is Frogtown. Named for the sonorous swamp that was once here, this area north of University Avenue and the Minnesota State Capitol has long been a melting pot of German, Scandinavian, Polish and, more recently, Hmong, Vietnamese, Somali and Latino settlers.

Hmongtown Marketplace and Dragon Star Oriental Foods specialize in Asian goods, while restaurants along University run the gamut of African, Thai, Chinese, Burmese, Vietnamese, Cambodian and Cajun. The pride of place is palpable here, with families planting roots and sticking around for generations. 

Two adults and a child walking on a snowy trail lined on both sides with luminaries

Candlelight walk, Gateway State Trail, Mahtomedi, photo courtesy of Minnesota DNR


Median home price: $215,000 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 3 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 13 miles 

Running north-south through the middle of the North End, Rice Street is named after the man who established the St. Paul and Pacific railroad, the tracks for which form the southern border of this prideful part of St. Paul. The street was and continues to be the heart of the neighborhood, with restaurants like Mama’s Pizza, Taste of Nepal and Krungthep Thai ready to please a wide array of palates.

For an urban escape, check out the trails and stream coursing through the Trout Brook Nature Sanctuary, where the multi-use Gateway State Trail begins its 18-mile journey east to Stillwater. 

The St. Paul skyline at Indian Mounds Park

The St. Paul skyline from Indian Mounds Park


Median home price: $238,200 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 2 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 12 miles 

Just east of downtown St. Paul, this stretch of the Mississippi River is bordered by sacred Dakota land. Sites including Indian Mounds Regional Park, Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and the future Wakan Tipi Center honor the land, history and culture of the area’s indigenous people.

The neighborhood, presently known as Dayton’s Bluff, is now home to residents from all over the world. East 7th Street offers a taste of this diversity, with Mexican, Korean and Salvadorian restaurants all on the same block. Over a dozen murals have been installed along East 7th to establish the area as the Intertribal Cultural Corridor

Lantern Festival in the evening, Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul

Lantern Festival, Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul


Median home price: $224,326 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 3 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 13 miles 

A bronze bust of Olympic gymnast Suni Lee stands on the shore of Lake Phalen, a tribute to the first Hmong American to win gold. She grew up here on the East Side of St. Paul before becoming an icon to athletes around the world. Phalen Regional Park boasts St. Paul’s only public beach, plus a golf course, sailing lessons and 5K trail circling the lake.

Payne Avenue is the place to find great restaurants like the inventive Tongue in Cheek and iconic Brunson’s Pub. At the southeast corner of the neighborhood, don’t skip Hmong Village, where hundreds of vendors sell food, fashion, gifts and more. This close-knit neighborhood is truly the kind “where everybody knows your name.” 

Battle Creek Regional Park

Battle Creek Regional Park / St. Croix Recreation


Median home price: $242,050 

Distance to downtown St. Paul: 4 miles 

Distance to downtown Minneapolis: 14 miles 

A solid 50 percent of this East Side neighborhood’s land area is occupied by Battle Creek Regional Park. And that’s why people love it. Hilly, wooded trails wind through the scenic park, beckoning hikers and mountain bikers spring through fall and cross-country skiers in winter. (Note to Nordic skiing buffs: Battle Creek is the only park in St. Paul with snow-making capabilities.)

Businesses along Suburban Avenue on the north end of the neighborhood will meet all your daily needs, including grocery stores and chain restaurants, as well as local gems like Los Ocampo Mexican restaurant, Tea House Chinese restaurant and Ha Tien Asian supermarket. 

Median home prices based on Redfin data as of January 2024. 

Erica Wacker

Erica Wacker is a Midwesterner through and through, growing up in Illinois, going to college in Wisconsin, and settling down in Minnesota. She loves to run, travel with her family, and go to concerts to relive her youth.