The Good and The Bad - 11/13/2010
I've lived in Minnesota my entire life (39 years) and my family has been here for generations. Although I've travelled the world I will always be a permanent Minnesotan. I lived in St. Paul for 25 years. Saint Paul is an amazing city, much easier to navigate than Minneapolis.
Public transportation is simple and straight forward. Lots of people are now opting to use bicycles year round (yup, even in snow) and the city has made adjustments along streets to accommodate those who choose to bike. St. Paul has a long bike path along the Mississippi that extends to numerous other cities in MN.
There is a lot of culture, from the diverse ethnic groups of people living in the city to the cultural entertainment provided by the Landmark center, Science museum, Ordway Theatre, Festival of Nations. There are Irish, German (septoberfest), Hmong, Mexican (cinco de mayo), Italian, Norwegian, etc... cultural events year round.
It doesn't matter what season it is. St. Paul winters offer the "winter carnival", holiday lights in the park, ice sculptures, skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sliding, and snowshoeing. If you prefer staying indoors during the winter DT St. Paul has lots of shops connected by a skyway system so you never have to step outside in the cold.
As with any large city you will find low crime areas of St. Paul and high crime areas. You will find low income areas and high income areas. Some areas of St. Paul are more historic, such as the railroad island neighborhood on the East Side of St. Paul and the Grand Ave/Summit area of St. Paul which has the longest stretch of Victorian homes of anywhere in the country.
Some Minnesotans are nice and some not-so-nice, just like most anywhere else. People are people...
The weather: summers can be hot and humid, average is about 80 in the summer and 20-30 in the winter. Sure, St. Paul has hotter summers and cooler summers just like warmer winters and colder winters (yup, St. Paul has seen -20 days). The hottest part of summer is going to be late July and August, the coldest part of winter will be January and February.
St. Paul has lots of lakes with beaches, lots of walking and biking paths, lots of shops from antique to trendy.
Cost of living will also vary, depending on the area of St. Paul you choose to live. The trendier areas like Grand, Summit, St. Clair will cost a pretty penny but W. St. Paul and East St. Paul, being more run down are less expensive, averaging about 120,000/home.