I've lived in Mpls for over 6 months and figured it was about time to pay the city (population roughly 281,000) a visit rather than passing through on the #84, #21, or #3 bus back to the not-so-big apple. There were certainly a number of bustling commercial nooks along the way that caught my eye, but it was a nice sunny Saturday, so I rode from NE down to the bike trail that goes from UM to Highland and then from there down Summit to Cathedral Hill and back while checking out a few coffeeshops and grabbing a late lunch (ended up being dinner after passing by the intersection I was looking for and spent more time in Cathedral Hill, which I can't complain about). I could have easily devoted a thread to the stately homes, views of the river, and trail users on the way to Highland but I had places to go.
Highland doesn't start out as all that promising, but the parking garage at the typical sprawling intersection was interesting, but that didn't result in less parking lots.
Ah, here we are.
Some great coffee here: I had to stop off after my almost 1 hour ride.
Traversing Summit eastbound.
Summit was lined with tons of beautiful homes that could have taken up a lot more of my time.
Parking lot not quite as nice as the structure which makes it easy to see why the neighborhood is called Cathedral Hill.
Inside of Nina's Coffee Cafe.
The Happy Gnome gastropub where I'll have to stop next time: over 75 microbrews on draught.
North across the highway for some pho, but I got lost and what with the clusterfuck that University is without light rail construction I ended up not trying my roomies' recommendation for *the* best pho around at Pho Cai Dao (sp?) which was a block or so away, but I was tired, hungry and instead just went with what was close by without spening more time in this awkward depressing area: iPho.
I like the old name "Saigon Restaurant" better, but it's the same place where Mr. Bourdain got his pho fix. I usually opt for bahn mis myself, but pho is great especially in winter. Don't be scared of the tripe and unusual (for non-Vietnamese) meatballs.
This is about as pretty as it gets around here, minus the tire shop, which is much more indicative of this drab, car-oriented corridor.
Now it's back out west on Selby before ending my trip on a commercial block on Marshall just up the street.
Kopplin's was another coffeeshop stop and I came away impressed with that St Paul offers in this department, not to mention that I'll have to dig into out the food and bar scenes too. Since we all love lists, this place made it on the Atlantic's "America's Coolest Coffeehouses
After stopping in here it was time to head back; I cheated and took the bus, then light rail, had some food and drinks at a downtown izakaya, and then just biked a mere 15 min back home. I have to admit, I viewed St Paul as a city that didn't offer very much but I'd figure that I'll get around to it someday. It's more sleepy, sure, and there doesn't seem to be a cheap artsy neighborhood there, which is my ideal neighborhood, but with the newer establishments I visited that are at least on par with what's on offer in Mpls, I'd say it's on its way to to offering wider variety of Mpls counterparts while maintaining it's own identity. I'll be going back and probably sooner than I expect.