While Saint Paul often gets overlooked when it comes to guides about the Twin Cities, I’m quite smitten with this city I call home, which is why I decided to put together a list of my favorite spots in the area. This list is for those who may be visiting our state’s humble capital and are looking for recommendations about which Saint Paul spots to frequent. It’s also for any locals who need a little push to make the most of the delights right outside their back door.
This is far from an exhaustive list, so please share your own favorite spots in the comments to help add further resources to this guide! Your contributions are always welcome and appreciated.
This longtime dining spot is quintessential Saint Paul. Come for the patio, stay for the ambiance and the cocktails.
The best meal I’ve had all year was thanks to Myriel’s chef Karyn Tomlinson and her passion for ingredients and storytelling through food.
This is a great cozy date night spot that offers small plates and pasta, among other delicious bites.
I find myself thinking about their aperitivos and focaccia sandwiches way, way too often. They also do takeout which is perfect for impromptu gatherings.
This spot is home to delicious Mediterranean fare that’s both healthy AND great for those who are vegan or gluten-free.
This is another excellent casual eatery for authentic Mediterranean cuisine. They offer the best gyro in the city. Just trust me.
When Joe and I want pho, this is our favorite place to get it in the cities. (Thank you for the recommendation almost ten years ago, Satchel!)
Casual dining and pastries
The pastries here are great and so is the savory menu. I often come here to buy a few loaves of bread for the week (and to freeze for future enjoyment).
Pastries and desserts
A friend of mine brought these pastries over once and I couldn’t stop thinking about them afterward. If you are craving a little slice of France or want to spoil someone (or yourself) with butter and sugar, this is your spot.
This coffee shop is a Saint Paul institution. I come here to write and people watch.
This brewery has a great ambiance and is in a very bikeable location.
Italian market for dining and specialty groceries
I love the restaurant portion of Cossetta but as a home cook, I especially appreciate the abundance of specialty Italian goods at this Saint Paul institution. They have the best pizza dough and mozzarella cheese—once you taste it the first time you will go out of your way to pick it up in the future. I also often grab a plate of cookies to have on hand if we’re throwing together an impromptu gathering. And this is a great stop for food-related gifts as well!
Meat shop, specialty groceries, and deli sandwiches
The knowledgeable staff will help you with just about anything you need related to meat, and you can also pick up special grocery items like lard, bone broth, and fresh pasta while you’re there.
Cheese shop and deli
This cheese shop has a smaller footprint than others but there’s really good stuff here. The sandwich menu alone is worth the trip.
This shop carries a wide selection of traditional wines from across the globe, along with some natural and organic selections for those of us who are looking for something off the beaten path.
Market with dining, shopping, and groceries
This is a bustling indoor market with vendors offering a wide range of fresh grocery items and goods. I highly recommend making it an afternoon of shopping and taking the time to explore!
Women’s clothing and accessories
This beautifully curated shop carries unique pieces for your forever wardrobe.
Men’s clothing and accessories
A shop that carries high-quality menswear that will last a lifetime.
Men’s clothing, bespoke suits, barbershop
This Saint Paul institution provides high-end men’s clothing, bespoke suits, and a barbershop to boot.
This plant shop carries an incredible selection of cacti (and some select tropical plants) with everything you need to bring a little of the Southwest to your Northern home.
If you’re looking for an independent bookstore in our city this is the place to go!
This antique store is one of my favorites. It has accessible prices and three levels to explore!
This high-end antique shop is located in historic downtown Saint Paul and is well worth a stop if you’re in the market for a specific piece (or simply want to browse).
Outdoor winter market
This outdoor market is a must-visit for getting a jump on holiday shopping along with a hefty dose of Christmas cheer. It is quaint and adorable and very Saint Paul.
A Hidden Falls trek makes for a beautiful short hike. Walk down to the falls and continue as far as you’d like along the river. It’s gorgeous in the winter too!
A stroll down Summit Ave. in Cathedral Hill would set any Wit & Delight reader’s heart aflutter. Add a tour of the James J. Hill house and you’ll be transported to another time and era. I love to imagine the homes on Summit Ave. surrounded by the bluffs and trees that still stand today during the time when they were first constructed.
BY Kate Arends - November 24, 2021
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.