History of Downtown St. Paul: Whiskey and Steamboats:
Steamboats and the State Capitol of Minnesota :
In 1841, a Catholic chapel to Saint Paul was built on the bluffs above the landing, and the name of the settlement was changed to St. Paul.
In 1849, the Minnesota Territory was formalized with St. Paul as the capital.
Location and Boundaries of Downtown St. Paul:
Businesses and Skyscrapers in Downtown St. Paul:
The tallest building in downtown St. Paul is the Wells Fargo Place building, at 471 feet tall.
The most recognizable is the First National Bank Building on Fourth Street: it's the 1930s skyscraper with the red "1st" sign on the roof.
The Ramsey County courthouse's plain exterior belies the magnificent art deco interior. An atrium rising several floors is clad in black marble, showcasing the gigantic God of Peace statue.
Downtown St. Paul's Arts, Theater and Opera:
A small art gallery, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, is on the Mississippi river bank.
Minnesota Public Radio is headquartered in, and broadcasts from, in downtown St. Paul.
Shopping in Downtown St. Paul:
The main St. Paul Farmers Market is held on Saturday and Sunday during the summer in Lowertown, the eastern section of downtown. A satellite farmer's market is held in the Seventh Place Mall on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Attractions in Downtown St. Paul:
Rice Park, opposite the Landmark Center, hosts Winter Carnival events, and has sculptures of F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Charles Schultz's Peanuts characters. Mears Park is another attractive park and has free concerts on summer evenings.
The Rivercentre hosts conventions, festivals and music events.
As St. Paul is the state capital of Minnesota, the Minnesota State Capitol is in downtown St. Paul.
Eating and Drinking in Downtown St. Paul:
International options include Fuji-Ya, Pazzaluna, Senor Wong and Ruam Mit Thai Cafe, often touted as the best Thai restaurant in the Twin Cities. I haven't tried every Thai restaurant, but if it's not the best, it's very close.
Sports and Nightlife in Downtown St. Paul:
The major sporting venue in downtown St. Paul is the world-famous Xcel Energy Center. It's certainly very famous in the ice hockey world anyway. The Xcel Energy Center, or the X, also hosts conferences, music concerts and other sporting events.
Visitors to the Xcel Energy Center often have a drink at one of the bars on nearby West Seventh Street such as the Liffey, a popular Irish pub. Downtown St. Paul has a handful of bars and nightlife venues such at the Great Waters Brewing Company, Alary's Bar, Wild Tymes Sports Bar & Grill, and Station 4 rock club.
Transportation in and Around Downtown St. Paul:
Walking: The easiest way to get around is usually by foot. Downtown St. Paul is quite compact, and the skyway system connects most major buildings and attractions.
Driving: Parking ramps are plentiful but usually expensive.
Almost all street parking is metered. A rechargeable Parking Card is very handy if you often park at meters.Meters are free in the evenings and on Sundays.
Living in Downtown St. Paul
Homes in Downtown St. Paul are apartments, studios, lofts and condos. There are a few new high-rise condo developments, and old warehouses and commercial spaces converted into modern apartments and lofts.
Apartments in buildings on the skyway system are more expensive. Parking a car adds a significant amount to living costs.