“St. Paul is the last great city of the east and Minneapolis is the first great city of the west.” — Mark Twain
Although it’s an older quote, Twain’s wisdom still holds true for the Twin Cities. But, St. Paul and Minneapolis are more like fraternal twins than identical.
Even though most people who visit both Minnesota cities can tell there is a difference, it can be hard to articulate.
Here are the three main things you need to know before relocating to St. Paul.
St. Paul is a Big Small City
Some people say that Minneapolis is a wannabe Chicago or New York City, and St. Paul is a “cooler” Des Moines. In terms of data, St. Paul has 5,818 residents per square mile, and Minneapolis has a density of 7,019 people per square mile. This puts into perspective quantitative reasoning for the greater “big city” feeling a lot of people get in Minneapolis versus in St. Paul.
People in St. Paul aren’t in a contest to be the most cutting-edge or the trendiest. Life runs at a slower pace in St. Paul than in Minneapolis. While its sister city favors the new, St. Paul is more open to tradition. St. Paul generally has older buildings and more Victorian and Edwardian style homes. Minneapolis is also laid out like a traditional city grid with blocks, where St. Paul is a little more all over the place, with streets that bend and curve and change names two to three times while you’re on them.
St. Paul is More “Settled Down”
St. Paul is slightly more “mature” than Minneapolis. St. Paul has more homeowners than Minneapolis, with more married couples, children and seniors. Some describe St. Paul as more like brunch on Sunday, while Minneapolis is more like a nightclub on Saturday night.
Even though St. Paul and Minneapolis are both homes to prestigious, nationally ranked colleges like St. Thomas (St. Paul) and the University of Minnesota (Minneapolis), Minneapolis still attracts younger people. The city is also more creative and nightlife centric than St. Paul, which could be due to the students at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. But both cities offer a ton of options for things to do.
Art, Theater, Music Venues, Dive Bars, Parks and Sports: St. Paul Has a Lot to Offer
Some might say that entertainment and food in Minneapolis are overpriced and even pretentious at times. But in St. Paul, practicality and affordability are favored over what the latest trend is. St. Paul does have options for craft cocktails, sustainable foods, and other modern city essentials. It’s also home to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and the Penumbra theatre company. St. Paul is home to dozens of beloved dive bars scattered throughout the city. For music, the Xcel Energy Center, Ordway Concert Hall, and Turf Club are just a few of the city’s most popular venues.
St. Paul is also home to many outdoor green spaces, like Hidden Falls Regional Park and the Como Park Conservatory. Sports lovers will also enjoy the stadiums of St. Paul, along with the dozens of different sports leagues, from hockey to roller derby.
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