The twin, specifically the evil twin, the subject of seminal literature from Beowulf to Poe to Wonder Woman. Who hasn't pulled an all-nighter cramming for the big test on Wonder Woman #175? This amazing segue brings us to the short list of twin cities. Dallas-Fort Worth, Raleigh-Durham, Ulm-Neo-Ulm (Germany), and Minneapolis-St. Paul. Poor second named cities. Has there ever been a wildly popular soap opera named Ft. Worth? A Monty Python sketch about Neo-Ulm. Okay, Durham outshines Raleigh when it comes to awesome baseball movies, but the second named cities are vastly relegated to playing second banana. But then there's St. Paul, Minnesota. Home to the coolest named sports franchise in the country, The Minnesota Wild (and ESPN's onetime pick for the best overall sports venue – The Xcel Energy Center – also cooly named), St. Paul has plenty of cred right there. But add Charlie Brown (creator Charles Schulz grew up in St. Paul and Snoopy first appeared in the St. Paul Pioneer Press) and BOOM, it's on.
St. Paul, named for the Patron Saint of Truth, therefore has a tall legacy to live up to. St. Paul shines as a model of opportunity for small business and private-sector jobs – with 3M, Ecolab, and the venerable but uncertain Ford assembly plant (the oldest still in operation) as corporate residents. Barbra Streisand proclaims St. Paul as her preferred place for a burger (Casper and Runyon's Nook).
St. Paul, with a population of 285,000 is a scant 9 miles from Minneapolis and 13 miles from Bloomington, with the Mall of America – technically, America's number one destination with 40 million visitors – that's right, number one – is really in the center of so much.
Downtown: Normally, downtown write-ups are saved for last as they are frequently the most extensive. Downtown St. Paul, however, is a bit more tranquil than most city “centers,” except when the Wild are playing. Home to many dog parks, including Rice Park (one of the nation's oldest and popular for weddings), St. Paul is less hopping and more peaceful, with exceptional public transit. It is still a bit pricey though. Studio apartments go for around $675, 1 bedroom for $1,000, & 2 bedrooms (not super common) for $1,250. Downtown is not overly crowded so don't be too concerned about parking. Most apartments offering both reserved spaces and parking garages for minimal additional charges.
Greater East Side: As St. Paul's most populous neighborhood, larger apartment accommodations are the norm here. Many 3M employees make the Greater East Side their homes. Lake Phelan and Beaver Lake are nice spots for relaxation. Chain and quick service restaurants as well as corner pubs dot the nightlife landscape on the Greater East Side. One Bedrooms for $650, two bedrooms for $800, three bedrooms for $1,000, 4 bedrooms for $ 1,150, and 5 bedrooms (yes) around $1,300 – not that there are dozens of those monsters.
Summit-University: Home to the Cathedral of St. Paul, one of the most impressive religious structures in the country, Incredible diversity is present in Summit-U and the markets, shops, restaurants, salons, and such make this a tapestry of experiences – not just Asian. Many aspects of the proud immigrant community are on brilliant display. Tiny studios sub $600 - $700, 1 bedrooms for $750 - $900, nicely updated 2 bedrooms with in unit washers and dryers for $1,200, and 3-4 bedrooms available here too from $1,300.
Saint Anthony Park: Known as SAP, Saint Anthony Park hosts the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota and Luther Seminary. Lots of students – some partiers, some decidedly not. SAP is historically one of the wealthier neighborhoods of St. Paul and abuts the Minneapolis State Fair Grounds. Check out the Victorian mansions and fried Twinkies, all in the same walk. 1 BR $700, 2 BR $750 - $900 (up to $1,100 in one of the converted, upscale homes and $1,250 in one of the vastly priced new developments) 3 and 4 BR also available – does everybody in St. Paul live the Jon and Kate lifestyle?
Thomas-Dale: A small neighborhood with many markets and restaurants lining the streets. Check out the farmer's markets here or revel in the neighborhood's nickname, “Frogtown.” Thomas-Dale is one of St. Paul's more affordable neighborhoods with 1 bedroom apartments around $600, 2 bedroom apartments around $800, 3 bedrooms for $1,050 - $1,200, and 4 bedrooms at approximately $1,250.
West Seventh: Sort of the hub of St. Paul's nightlife, there are an impressive number of places of worship, taverns, and a few alcohol treatment facilities in the “West End.” Alary's has a free shuttle to the Xcel Energy Center and, apparently, is the only St. Paul bar to have beer pong. For this reason, the West End is a recommended neighborhood for all hedonistic apartment hunters. 1 bedroom apartments for $725 - $950, & 2 bedrooms for (crazy range) $775 - $1,500 without glaring distinctions. At the higher end, the apartments are often highly incentivized (two months free, free washer and dryer, get to play goalie for the Wild for a period, etc.).
The airport designator is MSP (Minneapolis-S. Paul). That means 2/3 of it is ruled by St. Paul.
It is a very pet friendly city. St. Paul has a disproportionate number of rentals that have specific amenities for cats and dogs.
If you were to spend just 10 minutes in each store at the Mall of America, and you saw them all, it would have taken you 86 hours – but no sales tax on clothing in MN, so that makes up for your time.
Try a Juicy Lucy in as many places as you can. And there are a lot.
St. Paul was originally called Pig's Eye. There's a brewery in St. Paul with that name – request a tour.