Photo Credit: Jonathan Miske
If you read anything about the Twin Cities, you’ll pretty quickly realize Minneapolis tends to overshadow St Paul.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to love about the more laidback of Minnesota’s twin cities.
St Paul is experiencing some much-needed population growth due to an influx of cultural, culinary, and entertainment attractions drawing many young professionals to the area.
But it can be hard to know exactly where to start when planning a move to a city of this size. That’s why we’ve prepared this guide with all the essential information required for planning a move to St Paul.
- Which St Paul neighborhoods are most affordable?
- Which neighborhood in St Paul is the best fit for me?
- How long is the commute in St Paul?
- How’s the walkability, bikeability, and public transportation in St Paul?
- How dangerous is St Paul?
- Where can I find apartments and houses in St Paul?
- How much will it cost to move to St Paul?
- Don’t forget, all of these things need updating!
- What’s fun to do in St Paul?
And if you’re looking for more info on moving to St Paul, check out our St Paul move cost guide.
- St Paul’s population is 304,442, which makes it the 64th most populous city in the country.
- As of early 2018, St Paul’s average 1-bedroom rent was $1,202 which makes it the 34th most expensive 1 bedroom >rent in the United States.
- And even though it’s the state’s capital, the cost of living in St Paul is pretty much on par with the national average.
Before we get into the fine details, why not familiarize yourself with St Paul’s landscape a bit by watching this drone footage?
St Paul’s recent revitalization has done a lot to breathe new life into a city many had deemed “dead” just a few years prior.
Much of the success of the city’s surge in popularity has come from it’s “all roads lead to downtown” mentality.
As you can see, the centralized neighborhoods are all clustered around the Downtown area, creating high walkability and adding value to the surrounding areas.
If you want a more in-depth look at what each of these areas has to offer, check out this St Paul Neighborhood Guide.
And to get an idea on which areas in the city you can afford, check out this rental price map.
Here’s a rough idea of exactly how expensive these areas are
- If you’re working with a tight budget, look towards places like Summit Hill, Thomas Dale, and the North End for apartments that run around $771 – $900.
- More middle-of the road places with average rents between $953 – $1,212 are going to include Midway, Battle Creek, and the West Side.
- And if price isn’t much of an object you might want to look at Downtown, Highland, and Saint Anthony, but be aware that average rent here will fall around $1,262 – $1,498.
Rent prices are only part of the equation; you’ll also actually want to enjoy living there.
We all want to live in an area that fits our own personal style and the Zip Tapestry tool from Esri is the easiest way to find out where those places are.
As an example, if we search for the zip code of Saint Anthony (55108), we’ll see a list of the three most prominent demographic sections in the area. It’s super useful!
Okay, now that you like your neighbors, let’s make sure you’ll be able to get to work on time.
Only 1.8% of Twin City commuters use public transportation. Driving is the dominant form of transportation because this is Minnesota and winters are pretty terrible.
Of course, the copious amounts of snow are also one of the biggest driving inconveniences.
Another major reason so many drivers live in St Paul is to commute to Minneapolis and other nearby cities.
But commute times are fairly average and commuting around the area is nothing compared to other cities like Los Angeles or Washington DC.
For most of you, plan on having a car. But if a car isn’t an option, the City of St Paul has you covered.
Whether you’re walking, biking, or taking the bus, St Paul has great options across the board.
A walk score of 58 is pretty solid and means you’ll be able to navigate a good chunk of the city via sidewalks and walkways.
You may not be able to get everywhere from every neighborhood, but the whole all roads lead to the Downtown design of the city definitely helps with walkability.
A good bus system helps too
St Paul’s public transit score of 47 is fairly average for a city of its size.
MetroTansit also has an extremely useful Trip Planner that’ll help you determine what routes you’ll be taking and how much transportation time you should plan for.
And if you plan on using public transit in both of the Twin Cities, here’s a comprehensive list of Minneapolis/St Paul routes.
St Paul is Great for Cyclists
St Paul’s 62 bike sore means the bike transit infrastructure is pretty solidly above average.
In fact, St Paul has been recognized for having an extremely bicycle friendly community by the League of American Cyclists.
St Paul MetroTransit even has a cycling guide to help you get around the city on two wheels.
And things are still improving with the Saint Paul Bicycle Plan currently working to expand the bikeable areas of the city.
But if you’re thinking of how you’ll be getting around the city, you’ll also want to take into account the crime rate.
So, the crime score in St Paul is 10 out of 100 which, yeah, isn’t great
But you should always look at stats like these with a certain amount of perspective.
All cities have their rough areas and most of the crime in St Paul is property crime, not violent crime.
This forum has an interesting discussion on areas of the city to avoid.
Alright, let’s start looking for a place to live.
Your first consideration when apartment hunting should be ameneties
Look, the movie Fargo exaggerated a ton of stuff, but it absolutely nailed just how frigid Minnesota winters can be.
So yeah, you’ll want to be equipped to handle some very cold temperatures so your place should definitely have heat, but A/C is somewhat optional.
Due to the heating needs, you’ll probably have a fairly hight average gas cost per month. Take that into account when budgeting for an apartment.
And you’ll probably also want a place with a washer/dryer since carting laundry around in the middle of a snowstorm is pretty unpleasant.
Where to start looking
Nobody actually likes looking for apartments, but it has to be done.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of all the best places to look, each with in-depth search options so you can find a place that fits all your needs.
And though it might not seem like it, there are actually a ton of great, cheap places to find on Craigslist that doesn’t typically get posted elsewhere.
Note: This DOES NOT mean you should trust Craigslist implicitly. Here’s their own guide on how to recognize potential scammers.
St Paul’s Rental Market
The St Paul rental market is in decent shape, but it’s still a landlord’s market.
Within the first few months of 2018, the average rent in St Paul has increased by 3.9%.
Unfortunately, the vacancy rate in St Paul isn’t doing great. At 2.7%, it’s slightly above the national average of 2.3%, but that’s not saying much. You’ll need to be aggressive if you want to land a great apartment in St Paul.
Minnesota Rental Law
And since it’s a landlord’s market, you’ll want to know about all of your rights to avoid being taken advantage of. Here are some resources.
- Minnesota Required Landlord Disclosures
- Minnesota Security Deposit Limits and Deadlines
- Minnesota Tenant Rights to Withhold Rent
- Minnesota Landlord-Tenant Laws
But maybe you’re looking to settle down a bit. In which case, St Paul has some pretty great suburbs.
The Twin Cities are recognized as having some of the best suburbs in the nation, which should make finding one that fits your needs fairly easily.
The current median home value in St Paul is $192,500, which is a 13% increase from the previous year.
Woodbury was voted one of the best suburbs in the country and with good reason! According to Niche, this place excels on almost every level including schools, real estate market, and diversity while also being located within commuting distance of both St Paul and Minneapolis.
Use our moving cost calculator to estimate your moving costs to St Paul.
Also, if you are coming from out of state, be sure to have a look at our out of state moving guide for more info and tips.
Parking Permits for Moving Vehicles
If you’re moving somewhere within the city where you don’t necessarily have your own parking space you’ll likely need a parking permit.
Use this link to find out how to request a St Paul Residential Parking Pass.
Welcome to the Twin Cities! Now that the difficult stuff’s taken care of, there are just a few minor, yet important, things to handle.
- Voter Registration: This is important! If you want to feel like you have any sort of say in what happens in your community, be sure to register to vote in St Paul.
- Driver’s License: It’s also a good idea to update your ID with your new address as soon as possible at the St Paul DMV.
- Out of State Vehicle Registration: And if you’re bringing a car with you, you’ll need to get some Minnesota license plates.
- Trash & Recycling: Seeing as you probably don’t want to be stuck with a pile of garbage in your home, you should figure out how to set up waste management in St Paul.
- Make Friends and Meet New People: This is probably the hardest part of moving, but the internet has some great resources like Meetup for meeting people with similar interests and r/saintpaul for keeping up to date with things happening in your community.
If you’re looking to get a feel for what interesting activities a city has to offer, a good first stop is their visitor’s site which, yeah, is going to be a bit touristy but it’ll also give you a foundation of things to do.
When it comes to looking for bars and hangout spots, it can be hard to make universal recommendations, but lists like these are a great starting point.
And if you’re the outdoorsy type, the St Paul Parks and Rec site has a full list of the fantastic places in the city to see green things.