In all of St. Paul, no neighborhood has exploded in popularity quite like St. Paul’s West 7th neighborhood.
In just a few short years, I’ve watched this neighborhood transform from a sleepy blue collar neighborhood to an up-and-coming foodie’s paradise, rich with history and packed with some of the trendiest spots in town.
It’s almost surreal to me seeing the crowds that now descend upon West 7th’s popular bar and restaurants each weekend. That’s because I can still remember touring some open houses in this neighborhood, just a few short years ago. At the time, their realtors were practically begging me to buy. (Since then, those prices have pretty much doubled and tripled across the board.)
Nostalgia aside, West 7th has undoubtedly become one of the coolest parts of all of St. Paul. In this guide, let me to show you my favorite spots!
Map of Places to Visit in West 7th, St. Paul
I made this map to show all of my local picks for the best places to visit in West 7th:
A Quick History of West Seventh
Like most of the Twin Cities, West Seventh is packed with history.
The neighborhood was first settled in 1838, after “Pig’s Eye” Pierre Parrant a few other squatters got forcibly removed from Fort Snelling by the U.S. Army. (More on this crazy history in our article about the founders of Minneapolis.) Their battles with the army continued though, and Pig’s Eye’s settlement was again destroyed by the army in 1839.
The land was eventually transferred to John R. Irvine in 1843. Irvine built a cabin in the area and eventually a sawmill. Within five years, the area became a steamboat docking port surrounded by warehouses. This area, known as the “Upper Landing” became a popular stop for boats traveling along the Mississippi River.
In 1849, Irvine donated a portion of his land to the city of St. Paul. This area quickly became one of the most fashionable residential districts in the Twin Cities. Today, this area is a hidden gem known as Irvine Park, and you can still find the beautiful 1800s mansions built by notable residents like Alexander Ramsey, William Rainey Marshall, and LaFayette Emmett.
Just like today, the neighborhood back then was built mostly around Old Fort Road, a historic Native American and fur trading path which ran along the Mississippi to Fort Snelling and early Minneapolis. (Today, that road is known as West 7th Street, and it remains the heartbeat of this vibrant neighborhood.)
Fun trivia: This history officially makes West 7th the oldest commercial corridor in the state of Minnesota.
In the years that followed, West 7th became a bustling immigrant neighborhood. In the 1860s, many Germans arrived to the area, followed by Czechs and Poles in the 1870s and Irish and Scandinavians in the 1880s. By 1900, the neighborhood turned into St. Paul’s bustling “Little Italy.”
Each one of those groups left a mark on the area that you can still find today. The German influence is still seen in the neighborhood’s many breweries, notably the stunning old Schmidt brewery building. Many Irish pubs still line West 7th Street. And to this day, the neighborhood still has most of the best Italian food in St. Paul.
Basic Layout of the Neighborhood
The neighborhood runs along 7th Street Weest for about 3 miles. Except for a small patch of land near Crosby Farm Park, the neighborhood’s boundaries are neatly efined by Instate 35E to the North and West, the Mississippi River to the South, and Kellog Blvd to the East.
The Fort Road Federation officially separates the neighborhood into three areas:
Looking at their map, Area 1 is the section closest to downtown St. Paul. This is the densest part of the neighborhood, and is often bustling with activity from Minnesota Wild Games or concerts at the nearby Xcel Energy Center. Area 1 is packed with bars, restaurants, and attractions like the Minnesota Science Museum, Irvine Park, and the Mississippi River Walk.
Area 2 is the middle of West 7th. Here you’ll find a lot more houses, plus a solid collection of restaurants and attractions, like the old Schmidt Brewery and the Keg and Case market.
The action starts to die down a bit in area 3. Most of this area is single family homes, with a few interesting restaurants and breweries scattered throughout.
West 7th Attractions
Upper Landing Park: This park starts at the intersection of Eagle Parkway and Shepard road. You’ll find grassy space, paved bike trails, and walking paths that overlook the beautiful Mississippi River. Once on the trails, don’t forget to check out Red River Kitchen at City House, which houses one of my favorite patios in St. Paul!
Seventh Street Truck Park: This bustling indoor food truck market/bar sits just across the Xcel Energy Center and is known to get pretty lively any time there’s an event going on.
Irvine Park: This tucked way historic site is an urban oasis, and one of the best hidden gems in St. Paul. The small park is arranged in a square around a historic water fountain, all under the canopy of ancient oak trees and in the shadows of dozens of historic 1800s mansions built by some of St. Paul’s most prominent residents.
Schmidt Artist Lofts: This massive brewery features stunning architecture and can be seen towering over the West 7th neighborhood from nearly every angle. Originally built in 1855, by 1936 the Schmidt Brewery was the 7th largest brewery in the United States. The brewery closed in 1990 and was eventually converted to artist lofts in 2012.
Keg and Case Market: Located in the old keg house of the Schmidt Brewery, this building is now a super trendy indoor market packed with restaurants, coffee shops, gift shops, ice cream, and a brewery.
High Bridge Dog Park: The City Pup made me include this one. 😉 The High Bridge Dog Park is one of the most popular dog parks in St. Paul. It includes a 1,000+ ft. long dog run and great glimpses of the St. Paul Skyline.
Bay Street Burger Dive: From the creators of Smack Shack, this recently revitalized dive bar now serves one of the most underrated burgers in MSP.
Bennett’s Chop & Rail House: A low-key neighborhood steakhouse and bar. They specialize in steaks and seafood, but also have plenty of classic American menu items and a large drink selection.
Burger Moe’s: Casual burger spot known for its lively patio and great burger specials.
Bread & Boba (Keg & Case): Located inside the Keg & Case Market, this small shop sells big bahn mis sandwiches, plus a variety of bubble teas.
Cossetta’s: A massively popular Italian restaurant with a history dating back to the early 1900s. This huge two story space serves delicious Italian food cafeteria style. (Which tastes way better than it sounds!) Don’t miss the Italian market or dessert shop!
DeGidio’s: Classic Italian sit-down atmosphere that’s always an excellent choice. The tortolloni bolognese pasta is legendary!
Day by Day Cafe: A neighborhood staple for a casual breakfast. When the weather is nice, they’ve got a seriously underrated patio!
Downtowner Woodfire Grill: More upscale sit down restaurant. They focus on anything you can cook over the restaurant’s giant wood fire grill, including steaks, kabobs, pork chops, burgers, and more.
Golden Chow Mein: A hole in the wall Chinese restaurant specializing in… you guessed it, Chow Mein.
Hope Breakfast Bar: One of the most popular spots in the entire Twin Cities for breakfast and brunch.
Louis Ristorante & Bar: Located above Cossetta’s and owned by the same family, Louis’ offers a more upscale Italian experience. The rooftop “taverna” is a fantastic spot to grab a drink.
Mancini’s Char House: A neighborhood favorite steakhouse. Complete with red vinyl booths, a huge wooden bar, and all sorts of other details that will make you feel like you stepped back in time to the early 1900s.
Mojo Monkey Donuts: A neighborhood favorite spot for craft donuts.
Mucci’s Italian: Lily’s personal favorite Italian in the Twin Cities. This unassuming neighborhood spot isn’t even labeled on the outside. But inside, they cook up some of the best chef-driven pasta and pizza anywhere.
New Bohemia: Fast casual restaurant specializing in sausages, with a lengthy beer selection. Attached to the Truck Park, which usually brings a lively atmosphere.
O’Cheeze (Keg & Case): Once a hugely popular local food truck specializing in grilled cheese, they recently opened a brick and mortar location inside the market.
Parlour St. Paul: A “cheffy” bar and restaurant that serves some truly incredible food, include some of the most famous burgers in the entire Twin Cities.
Sweet Science Ice Cream (Keg & Case): Delicious craft ice cream inside the market.
Pajarito: A highly reviewed Mexican restaurant with upscale Mexican dishes and craft cocktails, in a beautiful industrial chic atmosphere. Don’t miss the melted beauty that is the queso fundido!
Phi Chay Thai Cuisine: Fantastic spot serving authentic Thai food in a cute little building. My personal vote for the best Pad Thai in St. Paul.
Pimento Jamaican Kitchen (Keg & Case) Pimento once won Food Network’s “Food Truck Wars” reality TV show. Today, they’ve got a few locations in the Twin Cities, including inside St. Paul’s Keg & Case Market. Either way, don’t miss these absolutely delicious Jamaican bowls.
Revival (Keg & Case): Some of the Twin Cities’ best Southern BBQ, plus a fantastic craft drink menu.
Tavial Grill: An awesome family owned taco joint. They serve some of the city’s best tacos in a casual atmosphere.
Tori Ramen: A ramen noodle spot right on West 7th Street, housed in an old railroad car!
Woodfired Cantina (Keg & Case): Local celebrity chef Justin Southerland’s new Mexican spot. They’ve got one of the largest wood-fired kitchens in the United States!
Zamboni’s Pizza: A casual pizza shop that serves some of the best pizza in St. Paul. Extra popular before or after Minnesota Wild games.
Burger Dive at Bay Street Grill: Just off the main 7th Street, this bar recently got new owners that brought one of the most tender, cheesy, and incredible cheeseburgers in all of the Twin Cities to the menu.
Eagle Street Grill: A huge, happening corner bar facing the Xcel Energy Center. Known to get extremely popular before and after Minnesota Wild games.
Grand Seven: Neighborhood corner spot with cheap drinks. Seems to be popular with the biker crowds.
Joe & Stan’s Pub & Grill: Joe & Stan’s is a classic neighborhood sports bar, with some serious specials. Friday Prime Rib Dinner anyone?
J R Mac’s Bar & Grill: Another West 7th dive bar known for its specials and casual hangout. Don’t miss bar bingo!
Keenan’s Bar and Grill: Small neighborhood dive bar with lots of drink specials, a jukebox, pinball, and a pool table.
The Liffy Irish Pub: Classic Irish Pub. From the turn-of-the-century heavy doorways, to the metal tin ceilings, and most importantly, the massive wood paneled bar that’s stocked with more Guinness and whiskey than any human should ever need.
Patrick McGovern’s Pub: Huge Irish pub with a maze of rooms, patios, and more. Very popular on weekends.
Shamrock’s: Irish pub and sports bar known for its wings, burgers, and free shuttle to the Xcel Energy Center for Minnesota Wild games.
Skarda’s Bar: Another neighborhood corner dive, located right along West 7th Street.
Skinner’s Bar: Several blocks off the main street, this little dive bar is tucked away among the West 7th houses. The unassuming location allows them to serve lots of cheap beer. (They always have a ~$2 B.O.M.B. aka beer of the month.) Not to mention, they quietly have one of the best dive bar menus around, with some truly solid pizza, wings, and more at affordable prices.
Seventh Street Truck Park:The previously mentioned indoor food truck market that has tons of beers and drinks for sale. The food menu includes everything from Mexican food to Pizza to BBQ Ribs.
The Spot Bar: From the moment you see the rustic, wood-paneled exterior of this tiny neighborhood bar, you know what you’re in for. Inside, you’re greeted with all the warmth and coziness that you’d expect from a true neighborhood bar.
Tom Reid’s Hockey City Pub: Tom Reid’s is a Minnesota hockey bar, through and through. From the countless hockey jerseys decorating the wall to the hardcore Minnesota Wild atmosphere, Tom Reid’s is always a great place to catch the game.
Cafe Astoria: Cafe Astoria is without question the trendiest coffee shop in the neighborhood. From their 24K Gold flaked drinks to a delicious menu packed with smoothie bowls, delicious crepes, and more. This is arguably the most popular coffee shop in the west 7th neighborhood for a reason.
Caribou Coffee: Okay, normally I wouldn’t include a chain coffee shop on this list. But with this Caribou’s location right next to the Upper Landing Park, it’s the perfect spot to crab a coffee before taking a morning stroll along the Mississippi River.
Claddagh Coffee: If you’re looking for that classic neighborhood coffee shop atmosphere, Claddagh Coffee might be your best bet in West Seventh. The homey space includes plenty of tables and booths for sitting, plus an entire downstairs basement perfect for shutting out the world and getting some work done.
Five Watt Coffee (Keg & Case Market) The only coffee shop inside the Keg & Case Market is a great one. Five Watt always serves up unique and delicious coffee drinks that will have you coming up with excuses to come back, again and again.
Fresh Grounds: A neighborhood coffee shop with an inspriring mission. This nonprofit company focuses on giving opportunities to young people who have experienced homelessness, disabilities, and other challenges to employment.
Bad Weather Brewing: With its large corner location and garage doors that open up right to the action on West 7th Street, Bad Weather is definitely the most popular taproom in the neighborhood.
Clutch Brewing (Keg & Case Market): The only brewery inside the Keg & Case Market, Clutch brewing is located on the market’s second story catwalk. Perfect for grabbing a craft beer and watching all the action happen down below!
Summit Brewing Company: Summit is actually one of the largest breweries in the state of Minnesota, but you might not know it from this unassuming taproom, located in an discreet office park.
Vine Park Brewing Company: The only brewery in the Twin Cities that offers brew your own beer! This isn’t a traditional taproom. Instead, guests join a class that involves a multiple week-long process to brew their own beer.
Waldmann Brewing: This German brewery is housed in a historic home. In the winter, they turn on the fireplaces and offer a cozy, homey atmosphere. And in the summer, the patio opens up and reveals one of the most relaxing beer gardens around.
Bearded Mermaid Bazaar: A unique vintage clothing store with sporadic hours.
Center for Lost Objects: A really cool curated collection of antiques, vintage clothing, and more. Always worth a stop to see what kind of treasures are in stock.
Maharajas: Honestly, I don’t know what the story with this place is. It’s been there forever, and looks like a total dive, but recently expanded. From my few trips inside, it’s a catch-all gift shop with a little bit of everything. T-Shirts, Minnesota Wild memorabilia, smoking paraphernalia, and more.
Scout: A unique clothing store that once upon a time had to temporarily close after some yahoo literally drove a car through it. But its now back and better than ever!
St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store: An authentic and fantastic thrift store in St. Paul.
Wescott Station Antiques: One of the best antique stores in St. Paul, with an impressive collection of sports memorabilia, brewery collectibles, and antique furniture.