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Old 06-30-2012, 08:29 PM
 
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I have been reading this forum for a while now. Thanks for lots of great information. I'm in the process of possibly accepting a job in downtown St Paul. Before I decide to accept the offer or not, I am trying to get a feel of where to live.

Background information. Male, single, early 30's, looking for an urban lifestyle, quick commute. Will be looking to rent a one bedroom apartment to begin with, but will be interested in purchasing a place after a year. Rough price of $1200-1500/month for rent depending what utilities are included.

It looks like the best options are Lowertown in St Paul, Mill District, and Warehouse District in Minneapolis. I want to live in the city, and not really interested in suburbs at this point. Calhoun Square also looks nice, but seems like it could be a more troublesome commute. Am I missing any other options? Any thoughts on nice apartments in any of those places (or any other you suggest).

Thanks!
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Old 06-30-2012, 10:30 PM
 
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A couple other options: The Arts District, which has lots of new condos going up, on University Avenue just west of Highway 280. It's right on the new LRT line that will take you to downtown St Paul starting 2014. Also, Grand Avenue has lots of apartments. It's a walkable n'hood with lots of shops, restaurants and bars, with many people in their 20s-30s living there. Cathedral Hill, adjacent to Grand Ave., is even closer to downtown, and is similar.
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Old 06-30-2012, 11:52 PM
 
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If you're working in downtown St. Paul, want an urban lifestyle, and a quick/easy commute, I'd definitely recommend Lowertown. The Minneapolis neighborhoods would probably feel more urban, but Lowertown is becoming a great option for those seeking urban living and the upcoming Lunds in the Penfield project in Lowertown will add to the livability of the area. I'd rather be able to walk to work than have the marginal increase in urbanity in the Minneapolis neighborhoods.
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Old 07-01-2012, 05:46 AM
 
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I would explore what is available in downtown St. Paul before committing to a place there. St. Paul isn't the "urban experience" you see in most towns that size. Just make sure you have the access you want to stores, etc. Ben's suggestions are better options even though they are more suburbanish and not in downtown. Even downtown Minneapolis still doesn't offer the "urban experience" like you find in Chicago, New York, etc. as it's pretty quiet down there after 5:00 PM.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Minnesota
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My brother got a place in West St Paul for a while. I visited a former neighbor who also lived on the "west side" (south of the river bend), and her neighborhood looked nice. Then there's Summit Hill which is just up Kellogg Blvd to the west of downtown. Not quite Summit itself, but pleasant enough when you go through it. I thought about a place on St Clair when my job was in downtown St Paul.
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Old 07-01-2012, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Columbus OH
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Hopefully you'll have a chance to spend time checking places out to see what appeals most to you. Based on the quick commute concept, Lowertown and Grand Avenue (near Dale & Victoria) should be good fits. You may also want to consider Mpls, but the commute hassle may outweigh any advantages (as manbearpig said). Uptown would be a tough commute, unless you really like the 21 bus!
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Old 07-01-2012, 10:22 AM
 
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Thanks everyone. I will have a little time to visit before I move, but it will not be a ton, so I wanted to focus my attention. I looks like everyone pointed to areas that will be served by the light rail. That was my thoughts too.

One question I have, and it seems to be brought up a lot, is that lowertown and some areas of downtown Minneapolis are "dead after five". What exactly do you mean? There seems to be lots of bars and resturants in lowertown that i assume will be open after five. Where do people go for nightlife in the city if the downtowns are sleepy? Is the singles scene better in one place or another?

The closeness of Lowertown, the reviews of the places around lowertown on yelp, and the light rail/ballpark/development plan has be very interested. Will these visions have any chance of reality?
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Old 07-01-2012, 01:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bd8802 View Post
One question I have, and it seems to be brought up a lot, is that lowertown and some areas of downtown Minneapolis are "dead after five". What exactly do you mean? There seems to be lots of bars and resturants in lowertown that i assume will be open after five. Where do people go for nightlife in the city if the downtowns are sleepy? Is the singles scene better in one place or another?

The closeness of Lowertown, the reviews of the places around lowertown on yelp, and the light rail/ballpark/development plan has be very interested. Will these visions have any chance of reality?
I think it's just that both downtowns (especially here in St. Paul) are known more for commerce than community. By most accounts, Uptown in Minneapolis has the greatest concentration of nightlife in one area.

I agree that lowertown's appeal is based at lot on its future potential for all the reasons mentioned. There is a lot of attention focused on it right now, and a lot has already been done. Currently Grand Ave has a more bustling nightlife, but Grand Ave is a commercial strip within a mainly residential area, and pretty far from the incoming light rail.

Another area you might consider is the stretch of West 7th between Kellogg & Smith Ave. This area is basically on the opposite end of downtown from lowertown, with a lot of bars and restaurants, especially near Xcel Center. Part of it is known as uppertown, and it has a lot of historic housing - still within walking distance of downtown and the future 4th St. LTR station.
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Old 07-01-2012, 02:44 PM
 
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If you're familiar with NYC, think like lower Manhattan. Even though there's over 1.5 million people in Manhattan alone, (parts of) the financial district can still feel really dead at night, while other parts of the city are truly 24/7. Obviously NYC is a whole different league and ballgame than MSP, but trying to give you an example of the dynamic people are talking about.

The Minneapolis central business district definitely has some of this. There are bars, restaurants, etc around the CBD, such as along Nicollet Mall, that will have a liveliness through dinner, but much of downtown Minneapolis is dead as early as 8 pm or so during the week. There may be some stuff going on along the Theater District on Hennepin or the bar-heavy areas around the North Loop and Target Field after that, but Nicollet Mall and other major streets east of it that would have a lot of activity during the business day, can get really dead at night, and, depending what streets/blocks specifically, on weekends. Anecdotally, right around when I first moved to Minneapolis, I was catching a bus on Nicollet Mall at around 10 pm during the week -- I think it was a Wednesday -- and I was caught off guard by how utterly dead Nicollet Mall was at 10 pm.

There's still a lot going on as far as nightlife is concerned downtown in Minneapolis though. The main bar and singles scene is in the North Loop around First Ave. There's also a big bar scene in Uptown.

I talk mostly about Minneapolis because I live in Minneapolis and that's where most of my experience is. Despite being "twin" cities, it can be a PITA to get between the two cities and I have much less experience with St. Paul. However, from the experience I do have with St. Paul, and just what I know of it, downtown St. Paul has even more of that dead-after-business dynamic. However, it's made a lot of progress to be more livable recently, especially the areas around Lowertown. When the Lunds opens up in the Penfield, hopefully that will help St. Paul keep making progress. Rent will be cheaper in St. Paul. The areas along Grand Ave in St. Paul are kind of like St. Paul's version of Uptown.


IMO, I'd rank the liveliness of neighborhoods' bar/singles scenes as follows:

1. North Loop
2. Uptown
3. Grand Ave
4. Lowertown/Downtown St. Paul
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Old 07-01-2012, 04:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StanleyVegas View Post
Another area you might consider is the stretch of West 7th between Kellogg & Smith Ave. This area is basically on the opposite end of downtown from lowertown, with a lot of bars and restaurants, especially near Xcel Center. Part of it is known as uppertown, and it has a lot of historic housing - still within walking distance of downtown and the future 4th St. LTR station.

I lived in this neighborhood for many years. In addition to the bars and restaurants, there is a beautiful Park, Irvine, just a couple blocks off of 7th.

The area is also well served by public transit.
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