As much as I love a good day trip outside of the city, there’s something to be said about exploring your own backyard. That backyard this time being St. Paul. Attending college in St. Paul, it made me have a strong love for the city. It’s charming, has a ton of character, and has some amazing places to visit and explore! Even though I don’t live in St. Paul anymore I’ll hop over the river any day to visit!
One of my favorites areas to actually visit in St. Paul is Downtown/Lowertown. It’s not your typical bustling downtown but there are some gems hidden over there. So if you have a morning, afternoon, or even an hour or 2, head over to the downtown area and pick a few things from my list below – or have a day and do them all! 🙂
An Instagrammer’s dream, Cafe Astoria is known for its beautifully made lattes! They also have delectable smoothies bowls and crepes. Right now, they have plenty of outdoor patio seating, making it a great stop while the weather is nice! I’ve had the 24k latte as well as a simple maple latte – their coffee is good, the staff is super friendly, and the ambiance is very welcoming. It’s definitely one of my favorite coffee shops in the metro!
St. Paul Farmer’s Market
On Saturdays and Sunday’s head down over by CHS Field for the popular St. Paul’s Farmers Market. Shoppers will find locally grown fresh produce and a variety of items from local, small-batch food makers. Think bottles juices, kombucha, syrups, sauces, spices, flowers, skincare products, pet treats, and more! You’ll always find something to take home. They open at 7am on Saturdays and 8am on Sundays!
After the farmer’s market, walk down a couple of blocks to Union Depot! They just debuted a new 2020 sculpture inside and 4 new murals in their parking garage! A fun photo op, but also a great excuse to visit such an iconic location! Wander inside, check out the cool exterior and interior and then make a picnic lunch with finds from the Farmers Market! They have a Rail View Picnic Area where you can watch the trains come and go!
Upper Landing Park
If it’s nice, keep walk down toward the river and take a stroll on the riverwalk to Upper Landing Park! It’s a favorite stop of mine. The views of the river, bridge, and downtown is something you can’t beat. It also leads you to a long trail for you to walk, run, or bike along the Mississippi!
Red River Kitchen at City House
Right next to Upper Landing Park, you’ll see the Red River Kitchen at City House. Once a municipal grain elevator, this building transformed into a beautiful new restaurant and event venue! Boasting a season menu and local beer and wine, this is a great choice to end the day with their patio seating right on the river. Perfect for catching a beautiful sunset.
Branded as a handsome apparel and gift store – Scout is seriously a favorite stop in St. Paul. They carry a variety of casual outdoorsy brands and focused on environmentally conscious materials. Mostly men’s & unisex style, they have an awesome assortment of gifts and apparel. If you had an ounce of adventure in you, you’ll definitely find something for you here! It’s located on a quaint corner right next to Cafe Astoria and Hope Breakfast Bar!
Hope Breakfast Bar
I think Hope Breakfast Bar will be one of my favorite breakfast restaurants in the city now! It has an amazing set up with an outside patio in the street, but also their building is set up with a large garage door to make indoor/outdoor seating still feel safe if you were to choose to sit inside. Their menu is creative and adventurous, and wow does the food live up to its description! I tried the chicken and waffles the first time I went and it was insane. To top it off it was drizzled in jalapeno syrup – it was so good! Try one of their signature lattes too. I had the Lumber Jack which was maple espresso with milk and black pepper or try the Breakfast at Tiffany’s – it’s topped with rose petals!
St. Paul Saint’s Game
Even though the MLB isn’t inviting fans right now to games, did you know the Saints are? They have a complete COVID Readiness plan ready to welcome you. Masks are required, social distancing seating is in place, and they are also doing cashless payments! If you’re looking to fill your void of summer baseball, I think this is a great option to try! The ballpark is so beautiful and easily accessible to several places in Lowertown too.
Everyone knows this iconic Minneapolis burger joint but did you know they have it in St. Paul too?! Right off of West 7th in Downtown, cozy up at a table by the window and watch the activity outside at Parlour. The ambiance is perfect for St. Paul – cozy, charming, and historic. They nailed it on the decor, but really let’s talk about the burgers now. You must try their Parlour Burger. A mixture of ground chuck, ribeye, and brisket, topped with white American cheese this burger can be found on several “best burger” lists. And rightly so! Complete the meal with their fries and swiss Aioli dipping sauce. It’s the perfect spot for date night or catching up with a friend!
Ending with another Freebie for you – Rice Park is one of my favorite spots to drive by or visit ANY time of the year. Surrounding by the iconic St. Paul Hotel, George Latimer Central Library, and Orway Center, this park boasts a beautiful fountain, gorgeous string lights during the holiday, and is the location for the winter carnival! Pack a picnic here in the summer, stroll through after seeing an event at the Ordway in the fall or come splendor at the Christmas lights while dining at the St. Paul Hotel. In my opinion, it’s one of the most beautiful parks in St. Paul!
While I’ve barely scratched the surface on the downtown and Lowertown area of St. Paul, these 10 picks will put you in spots where it’s easy to continue to explore! 🙂 These spots are also easy to explore all year round too – St Paul always has something going on no matter the season! So.. Did I miss a favorite spot of yours in this area? Let me know!