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what is the best place to live in or around the Twin Cities for families?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
We are doing some research about moving to the Twin Cities. My DP has not lived in St Paul since he was 13 (in the 1980s) and he says that so much has changed since then.

In your opinion what is the best neighborhood to live in for crunchy arty families in either Mpls or St Paul? And also, what might be the best little town for families outside the cities that's not too suburban.

About us: We are two adults and a small boy who like old houses and who would love to raise some chickens (if we lived in the country) and have a garden (anywhere we lived). We don't have zillions of dollars to spend but DP does have a good job there right now so it looks like we will be able to afford to buy a midrange house ().

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beautifulboy View Post
We are doing some research about moving to the Twin Cities. My DP has not lived in St Paul since he was 13 (in the 1980s) and he says that so much has changed since then.

In your opinion what is the best neighborhood to live in for crunchy arty families in either Mpls or St Paul? And also, what might be the best little town for families outside the cities that's not too suburban.

About us: We are two adults and a small boy who like old houses with a lot of character and who would love to raise some chickens (if we lived in the country) and have a garden (anywhere we lived). We don't have zillions of dollars to spend but DP does have a good job there right now so it looks like we will be able to afford to buy a midrange house ().

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
Well, luckily most of the area is pretty crunchy. We live in St Paul's west side neighborhood, which isn't particularly crunchy but is quiet and has good access to what we need (work, parks, museums, local & organic food). In St Paul, most of my crunchy friends live in the Como area. South Minneapolis is also home to many crunchies, Longfellow & Powderhorn especially. I have an affinity for NE MSP since it is kinda artsy-fartsy and on the younger hipper side. Really just depends on which 'hood speaks to you and what your budget is. And guess what - you CAN raise chickens in the cities! The architecture here is fabulous so you won't have to worry about that. I live in a duplex that was built as a duplex, over a hundred years old, with beautiful original woodwork complete with columns, picture rail, and built in buffet.
I haven't traveled much outside of the cities, but for a small town on the outskirts of the TC area, I enjoyed visiting Anoka in the north metro (supposed the inspiration for Garrison Keillor's Lake Wobegon). They have an actual historical downtown, not just a bunch of strip malls and shopping plazas. I have also heard that Northfield is cool (not sure if you are looking for a little town within commuting distance or for homesteading in the future?).
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the feedback! If we move outside the cities we would be looking for a small town that is within commuting distance. We have lived in NYC for almost 10 years now and are not sure that we want to live in the city anymore.
post #4 of 14
South Mpls is great. Lots of crunchy families.

We live in W St Paul and we love it.
post #5 of 14
Do you have any inkling which direction you might want to go if you are looking for a small town outside the cities? I live southwest of the twin cities. I have a couple of acres, chickens, a big garden (um, most years), and my kids attend a FABULOUS little charter school. It's not the crunchiest area, but there are lots of things I love about where I live, and I have a fabulous group of like-minded friends. I do have to drive a little way to get to the closest natural food store, but OTOH, I can pick up organic milk straight from the farm when I'm taking my kids to their guitar lessons

There are some pretty good deals on hobby farms in my area right now. But if your DH is going to be working in St. Paul or in the north, this probably wouldn't be a good area for you to live- the commute wouldn't be good, especially in the winter.
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi Annethcz
I don't know much at all about the geography of the area yet but if outside the city we would have to live within commuting distance of Minneapolis.....on the map it looks like DP's office is near University of Minnesota Minneapolis on Washington Avenue South, sort of south of where Dinkeytown is on the map if that makes sense.
post #7 of 14
Oh...and I do have six chickens here in W St Paul.
post #8 of 14
We live in a tiny suburb called St. Anthony Village. Initially we liked the area bc I could bike to the U in about 30 minutes, bus in about 45 min, or drive in 20 min. So tons of options.

It is near NE Mpls and the Eastside co-op. Since it is a suburb and not technically in Mpls, the school system is different (better IMO- wayyyyy better funded although of course fewer choices). You can still open-enroll into a charter school if you want a specialized school.

We love that we have a huge yard (0.4 acres a double lot) so we have a big garden plus DS has tons of space to play.

There is a very active NE Mpls/St Anthony MOMS groups, which I personally am not in. I tend more towards the AP group's playgroups. The AP group stuff tends to be in S. Mpls. I am ok with the 15-20 min. drive though.

If we were going to live in the city, we would either live in the Mac/Grove or Como neighborhoods in St. Paul, or somewhere in S. Mpls. But honestly the (sometimes) crappy schools and the tiny lots aren't worth it to us at this point.

I want to point out that there are plenty of great schools in Mpls and St. Paul. But there are also bad ones, and they are regularly rezoning things and changing how they do the school choice process due to budget issues, so you could buy a hous somewhere thinking you would be able to get into a certain school, and then by the time your kid is in school, have it no longer be a choice for you. Just something to keep in mind. OTOH, Mpls and St. Paul have several public montessori schools, which I would love to be able to get DS into, and we don't have that option in the suburb.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by deditus View Post
I have also heard that Northfield is cool (not sure if you are looking for a little town within commuting distance or for homesteading in the future?).
I live in Northfield, and while it would be a long commute to Mpls. in winter, a lot of people here do it. We are just far enough out not to be a suburb (yet ), and have a nice historical downtown, lots of victorian houses and the like. It has two very good liberal arts colleges, St Olaf and Carleton, that lend a certain flavor to the place. There are lots of historical and arts related events throughout the year, a grocery coop and plenty of farms within driving distance for whatever you might need. We have a community garden, and lots of home gardeners. You can have chickens in town, too. PM me if you'd like any more details.
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hi All

Thanks for all of the replies this summer (when I started the thread).

 

We visited the Twin Cities this summer, we were there for 4 weeks and stayed in a corporate apartment owned by DP's work.  We decided that we want to live in the city if/when we move there (it looks like we are waiting for DP's work to confirm and then we will move there by next summer).  

 

In St Paul we really like the Mac/Groveland and St Anthony Park neighborhoods.  In Minneapolis I think it will be around Calhoun Lake or Lake Harriet, or up near the Walker (not sure what this neighborhood is called).  

 

My questions now center around schools and general feel.  I am about to begin researching specific schools, I hear that Minneapolis has 'school choice' and a lot of charter schools ....but we would like to ideally walk/bike to school when the weather is mild so the neighborhood school will be a determining factor to what we choose.  I am also curious about the Waldorf School in St Paul.  Does anyone know this one?

 

Maybe I should start another post, but maybe someone will read this one so I'm trying here first....

 

Thanks in advance for your replies! ! ! !

:)

 

post #11 of 14

  http://www.movoto.com/mn/891-stryker-ave-west-st.-paul/651_3984317.htm

 

The house right next to me if for sale! I think that this house will sell for much less. Really cute and old and you can have a garden and chickens (I do!).

 

And it is really a three bedroom, although the rooms aren't large.

 

My children go to the local enviromental school. Garlough Enviromental Education Magnet ISD 197 and they went to Dodge Nature Preschool. We love both of these. And the middle school is now a magnet too.

 

www.dodgenaturecenter.org/ 

 

http://www.garlough.isd197.org/se3bin/clientschool.cgi?schoolname=school174 

 

post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beautifulboy View Post

Hi Annethcz
I don't know much at all about the geography of the area yet but if outside the city we would have to live within commuting distance of Minneapolis.....on the map it looks like DP's office is near University of Minnesota Minneapolis on Washington Avenue South, sort of south of where Dinkeytown is on the map if that makes sense.



Many years ago both DH and I worked in that part of town.  I lived in the Mac Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul.  The U ran an express bus to campus and I got to work in about 10 minutes via the bus.  I really enjoyed the neighborhood; it was very walkable and super pretty.  Most of the lots are pretty small which might not fit your ends and I can't speak to the kid friendliness of it (it's definitely not kid hostile as it was very safe and most of my neighbors had kids). It would be at the top of the list if I ever moved back.  

post #13 of 14

I like Eden Prarie or Edina. Might be a commute to Minneapolis though, but very beautiful places. DH's parents live in Golden Valley and MIL goes to Minneapolis 6 days a week, I don't think it's too far for her. Golden Valley is a nice place, but I certainly get lost in it.

post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by beautifulboy View Post

 

In St Paul we really like the Mac/Groveland and St Anthony Park neighborhoods.  In Minneapolis I think it will be around Calhoun Lake or Lake Harriet, or up near the Walker (not sure what this neighborhood is called).  

 

My questions now center around schools and general feel.  I am about to begin researching specific schools, I hear that Minneapolis has 'school choice' and a lot of charter schools ....but we would like to ideally walk/bike to school when the weather is mild so the neighborhood school will be a determining factor to what we choose.  I am also curious about the Waldorf School in St Paul.  Does anyone know this one?

 

Maybe I should start another post, but maybe someone will read this one so I'm trying here first....

 

Thanks in advance for your replies! ! ! !

:)

 



THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE I LIVE!!! (Mac-Groveland area) Small world!! I don't know too many specifics about charter schools, but there are at least 4 charter/magnet schools in the Mac-Groveland area. I loooooove our area, lots of parks and things to do with your kiddos, and it's a very family-friendly neighborhood!

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