As a native Minnesotan, I have a lot of love for the Twin Cities. Growing up in North St. Paul, MN left a lot to be desired so I found myself venturing out to the cities the second I had access to a car. I’m going to do a three-part series on my top five lists for three popular Minnesota cities: St. Paul, Minneapolis (might have to do top ten for this one!), and Duluth. This is part one and I will release the next two on Sunday June 10th and then Sunday June 24th and when the third part is released, I will also announce my Minnesota themed giveaway – but only my newsletter subscribers will have access to it, so make sure to go subscribe in my sidebar!
Without further ado, here is my top five things to eat, drink, and do in St. Paul, MN (I promise they’re all Instagram friendly and wallet friendly – perfect for any college student).
- Mickey’s Diner
Price: Under $10 for a meal
Mickey’s is the classic diner experience. Located in a dining car in the heart of downtown Saint Paul, it’s the perfect place to stop for any occasion – and it’s open 24 hours, 7 days a week. My go to is some fries, a malt, and a grilled cheese. Also, scenes from all three of the Mighty Duck movies were filmed here, so it’s hard to top that.
- Cold Front Ice Cream
Price: Under $10
As far as I know, this is the only place in the Twin Cities to get an ice cream flight (and for less than $5!). I don’t remember exactly which flavors my friend and I got, but they were all good and I’m sure you can’t go wrong with any of their options. They also do specialized fountain drinks. Half of the year it’s “too cold” to get ice cream, but if you’re a true ice cream fan, you’ll trudge through the snow to make it to Cold Front.
If you’re looking for a unique dining experience and great Italian food, look no further. Between their amazing pasta options and even more amazing array of desserts, there is something to make everyone happy here – and with great prices. Cossetta’s isn’t like a normal sit-down, it’s more of a cafeteria style restaurant where you pick what you’d like to eat (pasta, pizza, etc) and then check out and head to find a table.
- Blue Door Pub
I might be a fake fan since I’ve only actually been here once. However, I feel like a true fan because I haven’t been able to find a burger better than their Blucy – a beautiful concoction of bleu cheese, garlic, and pickles on an amazing burger. They have multiple variations of their Blucy and I personally can’t wait to go back and try one of the other ones.
Price: As cheap as $1
There are hundreds of candy stores, but Candyland in St. Paul is the best, in my honest opinion. The second you walk in, you are greeted by the aroma of their freshly made Chicago Mix popcorn, and their display of treats is to die for. They have tons of classic candies, old and new, to choose from. Right outside the shop, you can get a photo with one of the Peanuts characters, because the creator of Peanuts and Snoopy, cartoonist Charles Schulz, grew up in St. Paul!
These are all less than $10 with the exception of Cafe Astoria, if you choose to get one of their amazing smoothie bowls or crepes.
- Cafe Astoria
Coffee. Crepes. Smoothie bowls. What more could you want? Oh, also everything is aesthetically pleasing to boot. I would recommend the 24K Gold latte and Smores latte for sure.
Get an iconic Groundswell MN cookie and a coffee to sip while you check out their array of cute local goods!
- Quixotic Coffee
Get the white lightning and savor it. Then, buy a second one. Also, maybe a third. This is the best cold brew I’ve ever had and I would almost consider moving back to Minnesota just to have it in my life more often.
- Claddagh Coffee
A cute little Irish cafe – it has a really comfortable atmosphere and the downstairs is adorable. They have some really nice ladies working there and unique coffee and snacks.
- Cahoots Coffee Bar
I’m not gonna lie, Cahoots is a little dinky. But I think that’s what makes it so comfortable to sit and have a long talk with someone in. So, grab a snack, maybe a Turkish coffee, and settle in.
- See the skyline from Harriet Island
Hands down the best place to see the skyline from, sunrise, daytime, or sunset.
- The Mississippi River – from the Padelford Riverboats
I may be a little biased because I worked here for two summers, but truly, there is no better way to experience the Mississippi River than by taking a cruise on one of the Padelford Riverboats in the summer. Between their margarita cruise (did someone say 2-for-1’s?!), their longer lunch & lock (4 hours and the chance to see the lock system), a romantic sunset dinner cruise with award winning brisket, or just a simple public cruise (don’t forget to buy some popcorn), you are sure to have a great time on the river.
- Walk around Grand Avenue
Price: free (if you can avoid the temptations of all the cute stores)!
Grand Avenue has just about everything you could want: cute stores, good restaurants, and cool houses. If you happen to come during Grand Old Day, even better!
- Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
Price: free (but feel free to donate)
I will say that while I’m not a fan of zoos, I am a big fan of Como’s Conservatory. As well, if you’re there on a weekend, you can take a ride on their really beautiful carousel.
- Hidden Falls Park
Hidden Falls is funny because I never found the waterfall. Really. My friends and I wandered for a few hours, enjoying the Mississippi Bluffs, but never located this darn waterfall. If you see it, letcha girl know.