Grand Avenue in St. Paul was once the place where The Great Gatsby writer F. Scott Fitzgerald attended dance classes and St. Paul’s elite came to shop and dine. These days it is one of the most popular shopping districts in the Twin Cities. Walking along the pedestrian-friendly avenue you will not only stumble upon locally and nationally owned shops, restaurants and services, but you will encounter stunning architecture of classic homes with 90 percent of them built prior to 1939. Grand Avenue was named one of Forbes’ Prettiest Neighborhoods in America, and with a strong sense of community, you are sure to feel welcomed to the grandest area of the Twin Cities.
Spend the early hours of your day on Grand Avenue and Lexington Parkway. Energize by ordering the TexMex or Cajun breakfast at the Uptowner Cafe. Don’t fill up right away because the avenue is full of tasty places you’ll want to try as you explore. Take a couple steps next door to Bravo! Café and Bakery for bubble tea, or Lavazza Italian Coffee for their famous cream puffs with homemade whipped cream custard. Then take some time for yourself by relaxing at one of several salons and spas. You can get a new hairstyle, massage, manicure, eyebrow wax or all of the above at Juut SalonSpa, the original Aveda salon. Or go to Hush Studio for a therapeutic massage.
Have kids with you? Your child will enjoy visiting Creative Kidstuff to shop for toys and participating in the music and movement class for parents and children. The Red Balloon Bookshop is a popular children’s bookstore that hosts story time events. Sixth Chamber Used Books also carries children’s books and toys, and you might even find a good read for yourself. If you’ve worked up an appetite head to Cafe Latté, a cafeteria-style restaurant serving salads, soups and sandwiches made with fresh made bakery bread. If you’re craving something sweet, have a piece of their coveted turtle cake.
All sorts of locally owned gift and clothing stores line the historic Grand Avenue shopping district. Stop at Karma for modern bohemian styles, Atelier 957 for a variety of artisan designs, Trade Winds for fair-trade clothing, or Bombshell for plus size designer fashions. For a getaway dining experience, head to what feels like the lake cabin at Tavern on Grand. The northwoods lodge themed décor and some of the best walleye in town will give you a taste of Minnesota. If you want to taste another part of the world, dine at Shish, an award-winning Mediterranean café. For dessert, head to Grand Ole Creamery and enjoy one of their 200 homemade flavors of ice cream as you lounge underneath the pinstripe awning.
Also consider: Selby & Snelling
Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, grew up in St. Paul. His father ran a barbershop at the corner of Selby and Snelling avenues, which is now the game room of O’Gara’s Bar and Grill. This corner, just a couple blocks away from Grand Avenue, is rich in history and is also adorned with charming, locally owned boutiques. You’ll also find great eats here, including a hearty breakfast at The Neighborhood Cafe, or famed Blucy burger at The Blue Door Pub.