Saint Paul, the State Capital, is a gorgeous, slightly mellower counterpart to its fraternal Twin City of Minneapolis. Cruise down the mansion-lined Summit Avenue to take in the mansions. Stroll down Grand Avenue, studded with its charming spots and make absolutely certain to save a generous amount of room for all kinds of delicious food. What used to be a quiet city is now packed with new and exciting restaurants and breweries. Here’s how to make every minute in one jam-packed, delicious day count.
8 am: Coffee at Cafe Astoria
Stop by this little coffee shop, just a few steps off West 7th Street for a phenomenal coffee drinks first thing in the morning. The Thai tea brûlée is a decadent breakfast treat. There are also a few baked goodies to choose from and freshly made crepes for breakfast.
Or take a cup to go and wander around nearby, historic Irvine Park, a quiet and beautiful collection of historic homes. Or take a bike ride or drive up the hill and down Summit Avenue, the longest stretch of Victorian Homes inside the U.S. It’s up here that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s old home still stands.
11 am: Brunch at In Bloom
It’s worth holding off on eating until the decadent goodies of In Bloom are open and available. The daily brunch includes a bologna sandwich topped with a slice of salty, gooey cheese, sunny egg, smattering of micro greens, all on an egg bun. Chef Thomas Boemer and his team prepare everything in the restaurant over the massive hearth. It’s one of the best new fine dining restaurants of the year, and an Eater Award winner. Sip a crisp, modern spritz and order the leek and mushroom dutch baby for a savory follow up to the sandwich, or a sweet treat of toasted marshmallow.
1pm: Keg & Case
After brunch, tour this new food hall, it’s possible to spend hours inside this easy-to-navigate former keg house at the historic Jacob Schmidt Brewery. There’s Five Watt Coffee, Bogart’s Doughnuts, Spinning Wylde’s gourmet cotton candy, Sweet Science’s divine ice cream, piles of barbecue from Revival Smoked Meats, wild mushrooms growing right inside a towering glass case, and so much more.
3PM: Happy Hour at Meritage
Right in the heart of downtown, Meritage has all the glamor of a Parisienne brasserie. There’s a sidewalk patio overlooking the busy street and nearby parks, but the bar seats are an excellent spot for an elegant happy hour. Sip a refreshing bubbly cocktail and feast your eyes upon the wealth of fresh seafood options. Freshly shucked oysters and an order of the extraordinary frites with béarnaise sauce are exquisite. The professionally, polished service make the experience all the richer.
6pm: Dinner at Saint Dinette
Just a quick jaunt across town, Saint Dinette is one of those restaurants that can bend to every dining whim. Looking for a casual spot for a burger before a nearby Saints game? Check. Looking for an impressive date night destination with delicately plated French-influenced fare? Check. Need a spot to meet up with friends for divine cocktails and exemplary service? Check. There’s no wrong answer at Saint Dinette.
9pm: Late night at Ox Cart’s rooftop bar
Chef Justin Sutherland has been everywhere since competing on Bravo’s Top Chef. This arcade and bar is what he calls an extention of his living room. Downstairs there is every kind of diversion from old school Mario Bros on the Ninetendo Box to pin ball and four person air hockey. Upstairs is the spot to really take advantage of summer. Grab a munchie-friendly food, like a cheesy, pepperoni studded muffin, or massive piece of bacon, and a few boozy snowcones to fuel an epic game of bags surrounded at this super fun rooftop bar with incredible Saint Paul views.