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Visiting St. Paul 9/14-9/16

Hi. My husband and I (and 1-year-old son) will be in St. Paul for the first time this weekend for a wedding. We will be staying at the St. Paul hotel (without a car) and are looking for area attractions and dining recommendations for the weekend. Specifically...
*Dinner for 2 on Friday (low-key atmosphere, top-quality food and service)
*Breakfast or Brunch Saturday (child-friendly, walkable if possible, but taxi okay)
*Outdoor activity Saturday afternoon (with light lunch/snack option nearby); prefer walking (with stroller)
*Early breakfast Sunday as we have a late-morning flight

Unfortunately, I've had very little time to research the area but want to make the most of our time there. I thought this would be the best place to get some quick (but trusted) recommendations. Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  1. Definitely hit the St. Paul Farmer's Market on Saturday morning. Harvest time is here and it will be a fun and beautiful place for you all to walk to from the hotel if the weather is nice.

    1 Reply
    1. re: RedPepper

      Thanks---that sounds like the perfect activity before the late-afternoon wedding. I appreciate your suggestion.

    2. Unfortunately, downtown St. Paul is pretty thin for good food right now. Au Rebours the best French in downtown just closed. Kincaid's is an upscale chain and is everything you would expect with decent service and passable food. St. Paul Grill is probably the class of the field in DT St.P as a Hotelly supper club, power lunch establishment. Margeuax would be a little bit of a walk with a stroller but I have had a fine meal there and it would be more family freindly.

      My advice, take a cab out of downtown (this is not a real cab friendly town, hailing cabs in downtown St. Paul is pretty unrealistic) and there are much better offerings. Heartland is a James Beard worthy establishment that sources all of their ingredients locally and will be dynamite food. The Glockenspiel on west 7th st, the main drag between downtown and the airport, has really good german fare. There are lots of great asian eateries on University Ave. Mai (My?) Village is good and the interior is beautiful, but there are others where the food is star not the atmosphere. Others would be more qualified to comment on what's best in that area than me.

      2 Replies
      1. re: GastronautMN

        I checked out the Heartland web site and it looks like a great spot. Our son will not be with us, so hopefully they have a nice, relaxing atmosphere (we rarely have quiet nights out!). Thanks for taking the time to reply.

        1. re: GastronautMN

          Breaking News: I don't know if this affects your plans, but Margaux closed last evening.

        2. My husband & I stayed at the St Paul hotel for our anniversary and also tried to stay in the neighborhood. Their brunch at the St. Paul Grill was actually really good.. and probably $15/pp. Their menu is on the St Paul hotel website (let me know if you want a link).. but read the fine print. In addition to the meal you get a nice plate of fresh fruit, a GIGANTIC cinnamon roll, and champagne,oj, or mimosa. It's not really snooty, and you get a nice view of their flower garden.

          We had dinner a pazzaluna (across the street to the east) the night before. Split a pizza w.cheese curds on it and split a side of broccoli rabe. Not the most culturally interesting place in St Paul (seems kind of like a chain restaurant), but the food was good.

          Totally agree - go to the Farmer's Market. St Paul is the best one around (and we kind of have a lot of them around here). They'll have quick breakfast foods, but not sit down meal.

          I agree that you should try cabbin' it or catching a ride w.friends somewhere, though. Downtown St Paul has pretty buildings, but they're mostly offices or art studios, and dead on the weekends. Saturday afternoon (if it's warm), maybe head to Minneapolis Sculpture Garden or Como Park? We also have lots of other parks & lakes and green land around here, but I think it's going to be chilly this weekend.. hopefully someone will come up with something awesome for you.

          1 Reply
          1. re: reannd

            Hmmm...maybe we should fuel up at the hotel brunch before hitting the farmer's market. Thanks for your suggestions. I think we'll investigate some of the local parks and lakes as well. As long as we are bundled up (and it is not raining), we should be fine. We are also Midwesterners, after all!

          2. As previous posters have noted, there is not a lot happening in downtown St. Paul food-wise. Another option for dinner is Tanpopo Noodle - which would probably accommodate your child as well. It would be a long walk from the St. Paul Hotel but it's doable. I think that the walk is relatively safe, but it would be a bit "quiet" between the hotel and the restaurant.

            I think that the idea of Farmer's Market is a good one. If you are going to take a taxi, I'd recommend either of the recommendations by reannd (Como Park or Minneapolis Sculpture Garden - which also has Loring Park right next to it) or the Uptown area of Minneapolis. You'll have a great choice of food in Uptown and it's a quick walk to either Lake Calhoun or Lake of the Isles. There are boat rentals and a small kid's playground on Calhoun (at W 32nd St. and East Calhoun Blvd).

            Places links:

            -----
            Heartland
            1806 St. Clair Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105

            Glockenspiel
            605 7th St W, Saint Paul, MN 55102

            Tanpopo Noodle Shop
            308 Prince St, Saint Paul, MN 55101

            St Paul Grill
            350 Market Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

            Pazzaluna
            360 St. Peter St, St. Paul, MN 55101

            Margaux [CLOSED]
            486 N Robert St, St Paul, MN 55101

            Kincaid's Fish Chop & Steak
            380 St. Peter Street, St. Paul, MN 55102

            Mai Village
            394 University Ave W, Saint Paul, MN 55103

            1 Reply
            1. re: bob s

              Great suggestions. Do you know how long the taxi ride is to Uptown? (Just trying to see how much we can squeeze in before the 5pm wedding.) Thanks!

            2. Will you have your child with you for all the meals? I have a 1-year-old and I know cabs are tricky because of the car seats. Tanpopo definitely is kid-friendly and while the food at Cossetta's is not real exciting, it is decent red-sauce Italian IMO and very child-appropriate. Another option downtown is Sakura, a sushi restaurant with other Japanese options. I haven't taken my son there but I would, if it were early. The Farmer's Market is a great suggestion and Rice Park, just outside your hotel, is a pretty little park. The Children's Museum in DT St. Paul has plenty of activities for toddlers, although it is a bit spendy at $8 per person. My son loves it. If you will have a chance to get into the Macalester or Highland neighborhoods let me know and I can suggest other kid-friendly spots.

              4 Replies
              1. re: sweetpig

                If you go to Cossetta's you might want to walk just a bit further south and see Irvine Park. It's a beautiful little park with a great gazebo surrounded by somne of the oldest homes in St. Paul:
                http://www.geomyidae.com/index.php?To...

                I see the Alexander Ramsey House (historic MN site) has an Irvine Park walking tour scheduled for the morning of the 15th. More info here: http://events.mnhs.org/calendar/index...

                EDITED: I had another note below re: how to bus instead of taxi'ing to the Como Park Zoo re: St. Paul Susie's recommendations, but apparently it's been deleted. Guess I should have talked about eating on the bus...anyway, just know it's easy as pie. There...food-related content!

                1. re: clepro

                  If you follow the link to the como zoo there is a link for the bus..... I'll have pie too.....

                  1. re: clepro

                    More great ideas---thanks! (And, I love pie!)

                  2. re: sweetpig

                    Child will be with us for breakfasts and lunch on Saturday (not dinner on Friday (!)). I think I will skip the sushi (unfortunately) as I am pregnant, but I'm definately leaning toward the Farmer's Market and, if time allows, the Children's Museum. Thanks for these great ideas!