Local Highlights

Minneapolis vs. St Paul: What’s the Difference?


The Twin Cities may be two of the most wholesome yet underrated cities in the United States. Perhaps the residents have decided to remain humble about Saint Paul’s historic charm and Minneapolis’s vibrant neighborhoods so they can keep it all for themselves. Although they are sister cities that share scenic views of the Mississippi river and the lush foliage that borders it (you’ll fall in love with the warm fall colors), each metro area has its own unique feel. When it comes to living or leasing in Minneapolis vs. Saint Paul, we at Common have the details on what makes each metro area so special.

The Outdoors

Where do we start? The Twin Cities are known for their well-kept parks, trails, sports facilities, and other public spaces. If Minnesotans appreciate one thing, it’s being able to enjoy the outdoors for as long as they possibly can. Minneapolis seems to have a constant, lively buzz of people doing activities around the lakes while  St. Paul, offers a more serene escape.

Minneapolis Outdoors

The Chain of Lakes comprises Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet— each one the center of its own walking and biking trail as well as a leisurely activity scene. Need some physical activity? Grab your friends and play sand volleyball at Bde Maka Ska, previously known as Lake Calhoun. Looking to get on the water? Rent a canoe on Lake of the Isles. Lake Harriet also has a bandshell that hosts some pretty fun, local concerts right on the water. We can’t forget to mention Minnehaha Falls, which is a waterfall in the middle of town.

St. Paul Outdoors

The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a serene place to immerse yourself with wildlife and nature. With over a dozen gardens, you can experience the beauty of hundreds of different plant species. Visit Crosby Farm Park to feel like you are deep in the woods yet somehow right in the center of St. Paul. It has  stunning views of the Mississippi River and plenty to do for hikers, walkers, bikers, and picnickers. According to the non-profit, Trust for Public Land, St. Paul ranks number two in the nation for the best park system. Speaking of which, a visit to Hidden Falls Regional Park will place you in the center of St. Paul’s enchanting outdoors.

Sports Venues

Minneapolis and St. Paul have several state-of-the-art sports facilities with dedicated fans and mounds of fun surrounding them. While Minneapolis’s sports venues are in close proximity to each other downtown, St. Paul’s are a little more spread out— both offering incredible experiences. 

Minneapolis Sports Venues

Home to the Minnesota Vikings Football team, U.S. Bank Stadium holds 66,000 seats in a wide-open, architecturally unique dome in downtown Minneapolis. Just a mile from the football field lies Target Field, where you can catch a Twins game. Soak up the beaming views of the Minneapolis skyline on a warm summer day. Lastly, Target Center is also within walking distance and hosts NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and four-time WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx. 

St. Paul Sports Venues

If there’s one thing you need to know about Minnesota—it’s that it’s considered the State of Hockey. Watching NHL’s Minnesota Wild at Excel Energy Center should be a bucket list item for all Minnesota residents. St. Paul is also home to Allianz Field where you can watch the Minnesota United FC major league soccer team. There is always an opportunity to immerse yourself in the excitement and unity of Minnesota sports fans.


For a state that’s known for its chilly winters, the restaurant patio and brewery scene absolutely explodes once the weather is nice. Summers are taken full advantage of here in the Twin Cities, and your weekend won’t be complete without a visit to an  amazing brewery. Minneapolis’s brewery scene calls for tons of hopping around, as many of them are located near other bars and restaurants. The twin city of Saint Paul, we’d say, is more “chill,” but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a phenomenal craft beer scene.

Minneapolis Breweries

Bauhaus Brew Labs is located in the Northeast neighborhood and boasts a trendy, colorful atmosphere nestled in an old warehouse. Another brewery in the heart of Northeast is 612 Brewery, where you’ll catch live bands on their patio on a delightful sunny day. There’s such a long list of Minneapolis breweries, it’s hard to pick just a few, which is why we can’t leave without mentioning La Doña Cervecería, a unique Mexican microbrewery that has a mini soccer field in the back.

St. Paul Breweries

As we mentioned, the twin city of St. Paul has more of a neighborhood feel than a bar-hopping scene— check out Bad Weather Brewing with a group of your friends and hang on their huge patio for the day. Looking for a funky spot to bring someone from out of town? Lake Monster Brewery is a hip spot for some delicious suds. Circling back to the outdoor lovers, Wabasha Brewery is a great one to bike to, as it is close to the river and other trails.

Farmers Markets

It’s necessary to visit all of the farmers’ markets you can in the Twin Cities. What with the skyline views of downtown Minneapolis and the historic neighborhoods of St. Paul, it would be silly to spend a Saturday morning inside. 

Minneapolis Farmers Markets

The art district of Northeast puts on a great farmers market, where you’ll find food trucks, live music, sustainable goods, and delicious homemade treats. Did we mention the views? Minneapolis has some of the best–especially in the Mill District of downtown where the Mill City Farmers Market lives. Tour the Mill City Museum and take in panoramic views of the Mississippi and all of Northeast’s old industrial buildings. 

St. Paul Farmers Markets

There’s just so much charm in St. Paul neighborhoods, which is why St. Paul Farmers Market is at the top of our list as it’s been in operation for over 150 years. Located in the heart of Lowertown, it’s one of the best places to eat in St Paul as well as purchase local produce and goods while enjoying some live music. West Side Farmers Market has been featured in Food & Wine Magazine’s Perfect St. Paul Food Day as “Petite yet Powerful.”

Arts and Theater

From museums and theaters to art fairs and elaborate murals, the Twin Cities celebrates artists and different cultures We’ve been told that the Twin Cities have the most theater seats per capita in the Midwest, but we don’t want to brag.

Minneapolis Arts and Theaters

The Northeast district is filled with old and newly renovated industrial warehouses on beautiful cobblestone roads. Sitting within these industrial buildings are an abundance of art studios. One of the most popular art fairs in Minneapolis is Art-A-Whirl, which is a three-day event involving hundreds of artists that visitors can interact with through studio tours, demonstrations, and other activities. You might be familiar with the cherry and spoon exhibit in the Walker Art Center’s sculpture garden—a Minneapolis staple. Let’s not forget the Guthrie Theater, which has three state-of-the-art stages that show some fabulous productions.

St. Paul Arts and Theaters

With St. Paul’s rich history, a plethora of museums have blossomed. Located in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota’s Museum of American Art holds some incredible pieces of work that reflect not just St.Paul’s impressive history, but America’s. Stop by the Science Museum of Minnesota for a whirlwind of fun with hands-on activities and other events. The Ordway Theater also puts on some pretty outstanding shows.

There you have it—a perfectly balanced pair of two wonderful cities. Both encompass history, architecture, culture, and the arts in an entirely united yet individual way. Minneapolis is the largest of the two, and where it has more zest,St. Paul has history; where Minneapolis has liveliness,St. Paul has charm.

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