This walkable St. Paul neighborhood along Grand Avenue (from Lexington Av. to Dale St.) boasts historic charm and modern flair. Just west of downtown St. Paul, the street is lined with bookshops, galleries and restaurants serving everything from porterhouses to pastries. Parking is plentiful in two large garages.
Shop: For the chef in your life? Cooks of Crocus Hill (877 Grand Av., 651-228-1333) peddles everything from intriguing gadgets to luxe linens. Thinking about the kids? Step into Red Balloon Bookshop (891 Grand Av., 651-224-8320) for classics and local favorites, or find a handcrafted gem at the wonderfully diverse Mischief Toy Store (818 Grand Av., 651-493-3307). For special souvenirs, browse the truffle counter or olive oils, vinegars and honeys at Golden Fig Fine Foods (794 Grand Av., 651-602-0144). The Grand Hand (619 Grand Av., 651-312-1122), an artists’ gallery, has jewelry, pottery, wood and ceramics by locals.
Eat and drink: The Lexington (1096 Grand Av., 651-289-4990), a recently remade relic from the Prohibition era, is both a classic steakhouse and an elegant bar with a happy hour touting blue scorpions and Korean chili fries. Brasa (777 Grand Av., 651-224-1302) adds some soul to the street with its mouthwatering lineup of rotisserie meats, masa cakes and collard greens. Don’t forget to save room for dessert from Grand Ole Creamery (750 Grand Av., 651-293-1655), Cafe Latte (850 Grand Av., 651-224-5687) or Bread and Chocolate (867 Grand Av., 651-228-1017).