We all love lists, and the media certainly loves indulging us. On City Pages’ Best of the Twin Cities 2017 list, you may be surprised to learn the best suburb title was given to a little-known city, South St. Paul. Yep – as confusing as it is, there are cities in the metro with directional additions to our capital city: West St. Paul, North St. Paul and South St. Paul. There is no East St. Paul, only the East Side neighborhood, which is the northern border of South St. Paul. Have we confused you enough yet? Just reference the map below.
As can be seen, South St. Paul is an eastern suburb, neighbors with Mendota Heights and incredibly close to downtown St. Paul. The city has around 20,000 loyal and proud residents, many of whom have lived in South St. Paul for their entire lives. This is one of those communities where people seem to know everybody. The Friday night home football games in the fall are community events, almost as busy as mornings at the local coffee shop, The Black Sheep. Kidding with that last one – but Black Sheep is definitely worth checking out if you’re passing through. Other recommended cuisine: Angelo’s pizza and the Coop's fried chicken.
With its prime location along the Mississippi River, South St. Paul was built around the meat packing industry. One of the only remaining signs of this, however, is the school’s mascot: the Packers. The city’s homes were built for its largely blue-collar population, although there’s a wide range of home styles. Yards are sizeable, and some boast million dollar views of the river. There are several stunners hidden in pockets throughout the city; after all, meat packing was a lucrative operation. For more on the city’s history, the Pioneer Press ran an interesting piece a few years back.
So, what makes it City Pages’ Best Suburb? Well, the list points to affordability, character and proximity to downtown St. Paul. It’s a great place to add to your list of potentials if you’re dealing with sticker shock from homes in Minneapolis or St. Paul, though prices here have also been inflated a bit (from very, very low) over the past couple years. Residents have access to amazing views and a plethora of wildlife (many eagles and other large birds over the river), while nearby 494 grants access to most anywhere within a half hour. Additionally, small businesses abound in South St. Paul, unlike its neighbor to the west (aka West St. Paul’s overflowing Robert St.) Like City Pages points out, there’s really nothing artificial about the place.
If you’re interested in checking out South St. Paul, I’d love to be your guide. Email or call (952-258-3100), and we can chat. Alternatively, the city’s annual celebration, Kaposia Days, is right around the corner, with events from June 23-25. The parade on the evening of the 23rd is a great introduction to the character we’ve been referencing.
Library image from southstpaul.org