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Around Town: Artist Michael Birawer

Around Town: Artist Michael Birawer

Michael Birawer's contemporary urban art depicts iconic scenes from cities around North America—his native Saint Paul being a major muse, of course.

1st National Bank

The neon red “1st” sign atop the 1st National Bank building is arguably the most recognizable feature of the Saint Paul skyline. The building, currently the third tallest in the capital city, was completed in 1931 and housed what is believed to be the world’s first modern skyway.

Cossetta’s

Cossetta’s has been slingin’ Italian food in Saint Paul since 1911, so it’s no surprise that the West 7th joint is an icon. Though the days of feeding the stonemasons working on the Cathedral and the Capitol building are long over, Cossetta’s is still a hot spot for downtown visitors looking for great pizza and cannolis.

Fitzgerald Theater

Originally called the Sam S. Shubert Theater, the Fitzgerald Theater opened in 1910 in the wake of the Industrial Revolution and rise of the Progressive Era. It would be renamed The World Theater and transformed into a movie house over the next 70 years. After bringing his radio program (“A Prairie Home Companion”) in 1981, Garrison Keillor led the charge to rename the theatre in honor of American author and Saint Paul native, F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Gopher Bar

Gopher Bar is a dive bar through and through. Born in the 1933 Post-Prohibition boom, the joint has been serving up no-nonsense coney islands and brews to equally no-nonsense patrons for nearly 10 decades.

Mancini’s

Saint Paulites have been going to Mancini’s since 1948 for a taste of the finest steak and seafood in town. The classic restaurant has stayed true to its Italian roots, and frequently hosts various fundraisers for the community.

Mickey’s Diner

Mickey’s is so fine, it blows everybody’s mind—and has since 1939. The legendary diner has been featured in a variety of movies and television shows. Stop by at any time (literally any time, it’s open 24/7) for some hearty pancakes and a chocolate malt.

State Fair

If you’ve been to the Fair, you know there’s simply nothing like “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.” The largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance, folks flock to the Saint Paul area from far and wide to experience the epic showcase of food (often fried), animals, music and everything in between.

O’Gara’s

O’Gara’s on Snelling was a staple in the Saint Paul community from 1941-2018. These days, you can get a taste of O'Gara's at their fairgrounds location in the summer or at the MSP airport restaurant.

Rice Park

Older than New York City’s Central Park, Rice Park has been dazzling locals and visitors alike since 1849. The park is the center stage for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival and hosts a variety of festivals, concerts and events throughout the year. Birawer’s depiction features the popular Wells Fargo Winter Skate event, open for free during the winter.

St. Clair Broiler

One of the first restaurants to offer open-flame broiled burgers, “The Broiler” was a popular Saint Paul spot from its opening in 1956 to its recent closing in 2017.

The Nook

If you want an authentic Saint Paul juicy lucy, there’s no place like The Nook. Locals and visitors have been getting their fix of the iconic Nookie Burger since 1938—even Barbara Streisand has given her stamp of approval.

Turf Club

Named in 1950 for the nearby stables, racetrack and clubhouse, the Turf Club had a reputation for being the Twin Cities’ “foremost place for country two-stepping long before line dancing became a pop-culture phenomenon.” The bar remains one of the most popular venues for live music to this day.

W.A. Frost

W.A. Frost finds its home in the Dacotah building, a space built in 1879 and inhabited by a pharmacy owned by the current restaurant's namesake—W.A. Frost. The building was purchased in 1974 during a spur of restoration efforts in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood and W.A. Frost the restaurant was born. Here, you can enjoy fine dining amidst beautifully restored fixtures and furnishings from around the world.

Xcel Energy Center

The State of Hockey has a fitting capital in Saint Paul, especially since its Xcel Energy Center is home to the Minnesota Wild. “The X” replaced a long line of historic hockey venues in downtown Saint Paul in 2000, including the St. Paul Civic Center and St. Paul Auditorium.

Other iconic spots featured in Birawer’s paintings:

Chestnut & West 7th

Downtown

Grandview Theater

Hamline & Grand

Raymond & University

St. Peter Street

Victoria & Grand

West 7th Drug

Check out Birawer's website for information on how you can bring home a painting of your favorite Saint Paul spot. As always, let us know your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #MYSAINTPAUL.

Cossetta’s Alimentari Restaurants/Dining Cossetta’s Alimentari
Fitzgerald Theater Attractions/Things to Do Fitzgerald Theater
Mancini’s Char House Restaurants/Dining Mancini’s Char House
Mickey’s Dining Car Restaurants/Dining Mickey’s Dining Car
Minnesota State Fair Summer Promo Partner Minnesota State Fair
W.A. Frost Restaurants/Dining W.A. Frost
Xcel Energy Center Attractions/Things to Do Xcel Energy Center