What is the difference between Minneapolis and St. Paul?
Over the past three years I have lived in each City. I should note: I didn’t grow up here. The cities are only a ten minutes drive between city centers, and the neighborhoods mesh pretty seamlessly in the middle so there is not so much a stark distinction between the two as a gentle gradient.
Saint Paul is considered more ‘quiet’ and staid. The demographic is maybe a little bit older. Downtown is generally quiet, though there a some things to do there. There are a handful of private colleges within Saint Paul, so there are these pockets of college students within the neighborhoods. There are a lot of very old, very expensive houses, especially along Summit avenue. There are old and rich people that live in these houses. Saint Paul is predominantly home to the Hmong, Latino and Black communities, which is really cool. There are two Hmong markets, great south east asian food, and Asian grocery stores all over the place. There is also some very stark and very disheartening segregation between these minority neighborhoods and the more wealthy, white neighborhoods. Saint Paul has the Minnesota river flowing through it on the south side and the Mississippi on the west, there are a few small lakes and parks but nothing really impressive and there are not many very good places to swim or hangout outside in the city.
Minneapolis is much more cosmopolitan. Downtown MPLS is a bit larger than downtown Saint Paul and there is more to do there. The neighborhoods feel a bit more integrated and interesting. I live in North East Minneapolis now, which has Black, Latino, Somali, Indian and White residents living in it. It is the most diverse neighborhood I have ever lived in and it is really cool. Minneapolis has Lake Calhoun, Lake of The Isles and Cedar Lake which are great as well as parks like Minnehaha falls and Theodore Wirth among others. The University of Minnesota is in minneapolis so there is a pretty large, consolidated student population around there.
Both cities have sports venues: Saint Paul has the hockey team and a minor league baseball team, Minneapolis has the VIkings and the Twins.
The general rule is: if you like to go out and do things, go to restaurants or clubs or whatever, move to Minneapolis, if you want to find some place to raise a family, or buy a two million dollar house, move to Saint Paul, but you will find exceptions for each of these.