Did you know Saint Paul is second in the United States for higher education institutions per capita? Whether you’re on campus for a meeting, studying late into the night or showing your folks around for the weekend, this college town has a lot to offer. Here are the best places around each campus to grab a bite or caffeine boost.
This small liberal arts university is nestled in the Selby neighborhood of Saint Paul, just a stone’s throw away from all the shopping and dining that Selby at Snelling and Grand Avenue have to offer.
Cahoots Coffee Bar
A cozy nook with plenty of desk space and quirky décor, this café is an amazing study spot. Not to mention the amazing selection of coffee, treats, tea and Mediterranean snacks.
With plenty of space to spread out, work on your laptop or sit with friends, this hangout spot is known for all-day breakfast and classic American comfort food.
Just a few blocks from the university, this warm and casual pizza joint offers pies, pasta and hoagies. It’s great for groups, college kids and families.
Minnesota’s first university has much to boast about in the field of academics, and the local grub isn’t too shabby either.
The Black Hart of Saint Paul
The Black Hart is Saint Paul’s resident LGBTQ soccer bar in the Midway neighborhood. Planning a night out with friends? Check out their calendar for drag shows, burlesque, BINGO and karaoke.
Fuel up with Turkish comfort dishes after a hard day’s work in this snug dining spot less than a block from campus.
Just a block away from campus, this cozy but modern spot is great for grabbing a bite, sipping a latte or getting some work done. Stop in Wednesday evening for their open mic night and Thursday for their concert series.
With lots of table space and free Wi-Fi, Groundswell is the perfect spot to crack down on some schoolwork. Not to mention their aesthetically-pleasing specialty coffee and vegan-friendly menu—because no study session is complete without posting on Instagram.
This casual yet authentic Korean cafe uses thoughtfully-sourced ingredients and makes for a great meal with family or friends —come for karaoke when you really want to get the party started.
Metropolitan State University
Located by Swede Hollow Park, Metro State has a front-row seat to the very best of Saint Paul’s East Side.
The Goat Coffeehouse
This chill hangout spot is the perfect student lounge just across the street from campus. Serving up breakfast and lunch, they even have a reservable conference room for your meeting or study needs.
Swede Hollow Café
Just down the block, this quaint café serves coffee and pastries, as well as breakfast and lunch. It’s a great spot for anything from a post-exam celebration to a quiet study date.
Your mom and pop will love this mom and pop classic featuring authentic Italian cuisine in a cozy, old-fashioned atmosphere. The weekday lunch buffet is great when that midday hunger hits between classes.
Need to brush up on your history? Yoerg was Minnesota's first commercial brewery, founded ten years before Minnesota became a state in 1848. While the original brewery closed its doors in 1952, Yoerg was recently revived in this historic building right across from the Metro State campus.
Mitchell Hamline School of Law
Studying law is hard work. Here are the best places to energize close to this campus off Grand Avenue.
Billy's on Grand
Billy’s has an exciting atmosphere and big neon beer signs—two markers of a fun spot for any group of collegiate scholars. It’s spacious and offers a big menu of American fare, with a sprawling patio that faces all the Grand Ave action.
A casual eatery specializing in slow-cooked, Creole-style cuisine, Brasa has plenty of options (including vegetarian and gluten-free) for the hungriest of college students. With a warm but modern upscale interior, it’s also a great spot to take out-of-town visitors.
Bread & Chocolate
With a spacious interior and a menu featuring a variety of pastries, sandwiches and fair-trade espresso drinks, this family-owned bakery and coffeehouse is an iconic Grand Avenue stop.
This Saint Paul staple is a great spot for pizza, sandwiches and house-made desserts. The cafeteria-style setup is reminiscent of your undergrad days, but don’t worry, the food is worthy of a distinguished law student such as yourself.
Saint Paul College
This mid-size college in the Cathedral Hill neighborhood is nestled into one of the most gorgeous areas of Saint Paul. Stop by campus to experience the city’s most historic area and all the gems it has to offer.
The Happy Gnome
With 89 tap beers and 300 rare single malt scotches and whiskeys, those of age certainly have their options at The Happy Gnome. Whether it’s a night out for drinks with friends or a dinner with family, this contemporary and upscale spot is a must for Saint Paul College locals or visitors.
Nina’s Coffee Café
Located in Cathedral Hill’s stunning Blair Arcade Building, this cozy café is a local favorite for both coffee and breakfast. It’s definitely the kind of place you want to show off to out-of-towners.
Known for gourmet burgers, Red Cow is a great place to sit back, enjoy one of 36 craft beers and soak in the sun on their charming outdoor patio.
The University of St. Thomas, Macalester and St. Catherine’s University
These three private liberal arts schools are located within less than a mile of each other, so it’s no surprise the area has a wide variety of great stops for food and drink.
Black Coffee and Waffle Bar
College students love a good brunch to rally after a long evening of… studying. This comfy stop right by St. Thomas is famous for excellent coffee and freshly made waffles topped with goodies both savory and sweet.
Blue Door Pub
This relaxed spot close to St. Thomas is a classic weekend stop for college kids. Come to try Minnesota’s famous stuffed Juicy Lucy, stay for the expansive beer and wine list.
A classic campus coffee joint right by St. Thomas, this chill café offers fair-trade brews as well as homemade pastries and sandwiches. And of course, don’t miss out on the free Wi-Fi.
Everest on Grand
Great for groups, students and visitors alike, this Tibetan-Nepalese eatery is just a short walk from Macalester college. It offers a variety of veggie and vegan options, including a killer lunch buffet.
This fun, laid-back pub is right off the Macalester campus and offers a large array of tap beers—not to mention a pool table and jukebox. Oh, and don’t miss the $3.50 burgers every Monday night.
Izzy’s Ice Cream
Whether it be a date, a day trip or a cause for celebration, Izzy’s is always a treat. This cheery and bright ice cream specialist draws in crowds of tourists and locals alike with its range of creative flavors.
A true hidden gem—this unassuming cafe is directly across the street from St. Thomas and features a copper-top bar and innovative cuisine. Stewart’s is a great place to take the parents or just enjoy a solo meal after a long day.
University of Minnesota - Saint Paul Campus
Home to the university’s college of food, agricultural and natural resource sciences, the small but vibrant Saint Paul campus has a lot to offer. Here are the best places to stop when you’re at the U.
Every college student needs their coffee—and with a full espresso bar and nitrogen-infused cold-brewed coffee on tap, Colossal Café has got your back. Offering pastries as well as hearty breakfast and lunch, Colossal is a trusty stop for dwellers of the Saint Paul campus.
Right on campus, this café features both Mediterranean & American dishes—from kebabs to falafel and burgers. When you get hungry mid-day, look no further than this humble but heavenly café.
A spacious sports bar that’s great for groups, serving up pizza and other bar food alongside pool tables, darts and shuffleboard—what more does a college kid need?