Macalester-Groveland, affectionately known as Mac-Groveland is a thriving western St. Paul neighborhood that is known for its several colleges and universities, including the titular Macalester College. Grand Avenue has become a desirable shopping destination with an eclectic mix of shops, many of them locally-owned and operated. The housing is a mix of Tudors, Queen Annes, Craftsman Bungalows, and other early 1900 architectural styles commonly found in St. Paul at the time. The population is roughly 19,000. Mac-Groveland has something for everyone, and it is a welcoming neighborhood.
You can learn more about Mac-Groveland here.
The Mac-Groveland neighborhood started out as part of Fort Snelling military reserve and was not allowed to be developed at the time (prior to the 1850s). Many plots were sold for farming and orchards soon after, but innovative transportation ideas (railroad and streetcars) and the influx of higher education institutions soon transformed the area from agricultural to more urban.
Interestingly enough, a residential area called Tangletown also developed around this time immediately to the west of Macalester College. It is called Tangletown (as is its Minneapolis counterpart) because of the winding streets. It's a small pocket contained within the Mac-Groveland neighborhood.
Mac-Groveland has since become a nice blend of residential, academic, and commercial, maintaining a nice balance of all three.
Summit Avenue to the north, 35E/Ayd Mill Boulevard to the east, Randolph Avenue to the south, and the Mississippi River to the west.
Highland Park, Tangletown, Summit Hill, Lexington-Hamline South.
Groveland Park is home to the only ice rink in St. Paul with an outdoor Zamboni. It also has a baseball field and is a nice place to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Mattocks Park (441 Macalaster St., 651-266-6400) is a neighborhood park that is popular with the locals. There is a children's area as well as plenty of space for athletics--including two tennis courts and a half-court basketball court. There is also an open space as well in which to enjoy other activities.
Carmelo's (238 Snelling Ave. S, 651-699-2448) believes in making everything from scratch, including their bread and pasta just as their grandfather, Carmelo, would have wanted it. It feels like you're stepping into a trattoria when you go inside, and it's a great place to relax with a plateful of pasta and a glass of wine. They have a gluten-free menu as well, so those with gluten sensitivities can still enjoy eating here.
Everest on Grand (1278 Grand Ave., 651-696-1666) serves a mix of Northern Indian and Nepalese food ranging from pakoras to momos to all kinds of curries. They offer a popular buffet every day so you can sample a little bit of everything. They have a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options, and you'll want to visit more than once to try all the tempting options.
French Meadow Bakery & Cafe (1662 Grand Ave., 651-789-8870) was the first certified organic bakery in the nation in 1985 (the Uptown Minneapolis location). They have been pioneers in providing delicious organic and locally-produced food. They have plenty of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options, and you will enjoy every bite when you eat here, no matter what your dietary restrictions are.
IndoChin Vietnamese Restaurant (1702 Grand Ave., 651-690-2728) offers authentic Vietnamese fare in a casual and comfortable atmosphere. They use only the freshest ingredients, and they are passionate about Vietnamese food. They are the neighborhood restaurant to go to when you have a pho craving that is just itching to be satisfied. They have several Chinese dishes if you're more in the mood for kung-pao chicken, and they have plenty of vegetarian options as well.
Khyber Pass Cafe (1571 Grand Ave., 651-690-0505) is an Afghani restaurant that features food that is influenced by several different cuisines, including Greek, Indian, Chinese, and others. It is flavorful and intense, but not hot as the spices are given on the side so customers can add to their hearts' content. They believe in using organic ingredients and cooking as healthily as possible, which means little oil, no artificial enhancers or preservatives, so their food is fresh and delicious. Tea is an important part of Afghani culture, so order a cup of Afghani tea to sip while you enjoy your meal.
Pad Thai on Grand (1681 Grand Ave., 651-690-1393) is a family-owned Thai restaurant that offers bold flavors that will excite your palate. They have friendly service and tasty dishes, ranging from deep-fried vegetarian egg rolls to the titular pad thai to a vast array of curries. They can make the dishes mild and they can make them spicy, but they're always fresh and delicious.
Shish A Mediterranean Grill & Cafe (1668 Grand Ave., 651-690-2212) prides itself on using fresh local and imported products in preparing their Middle Eastern dishes. They have many vegetarian options as well as a wide variety of kebabs. Start your day off right with a Turkish coffee and a Mediterranean wrap.
Avalon on Grand (1652 Grand Ave., 651-690-2885) is known as one of the finest gift shops in Minnesota and off-beat, too. It is a family-owned store, and they offer a wide variety of products, including cards, furniture, pillows, and picture frames--to name just a few. They take orders over the phone, and they are happy to gift-wrap.
Fein Violins (1850 Grand Ave., 651-228-0783) specializes in making and restoring fine stringed instruments. Violins, of course, but also violas and cellos. If you are looking for the stringed instrument of your dreams, this is the place to go.
I Like You (416 Snelling Ave. S, 651-340-9710) is a cheerful, eclectic gift shop owned and staffed by artists. They offer cards and gifts made by local artists, and their atmosphere is one of general bonhomie. They have paintings, jewelry, bath products, and Minnesota-themed products. The atmosphere is relaxed and the staff is friendly and helpful. You can find the perfect gift for anyone here.
Irish on Grand (1124 Grand Ave., 651-222-5151) has something to satisfy every Gaelic need you might have. They have claddagh rings and Celtic crosses galore (plus other jewelry, too) as well as clothing, CDs, family crests, body care, and much more. If you want something from the Emerald Isle, this is the store for you.
Just Truffles (1363 Grand Ave., 651-690-0075) is a premier shop that only sells hand-dipped truffles that are wax-free and preservative-free. Each one is a luxuriant indulgence that takes chocolate to the next level. When world-renowned tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, was alive, he loved their truffles, and they named one after him--Tenor Temptation. They have several other famous admirers, and it's easy to understand why.
St. Paul Cheese Shop (1573 Grand Ave., 651-698-3391) sells, you guessed it, cheese. It's right there in the name! They also sell sandwiches, some of which they call Melts, different assortment of trays (including cheese trays, of course), and bread and crackers. They also deliver, so you can have your cheese brought to your house for you.
Sunrise Market & Cafe (1085 Grand Ave., 651-487-1913) has been a staple of Minnesota for four generations, and they opened at their current location in the last decade. They sell quality products and foods, both local and imported, and they have a new line of gluten-free pasta noodles and pizza. On the cafe side, they serve flatbreads & pizzas, pastas, and cold sandwiches. They also have a freshly-made porketta that goes nicely with a pint.
Groveland Tap (1834 St. Clair Ave., 651-699-5058) is a chill place offering pub food, beer, a pool table, and a jukebox. It's a neighborhood bar where everybody knows your name, and if you want to order a pound of wings, you got it! They make the Minnesotan-created Juicy Lucy spicy and call it the Cajun Lucy. It's the perfect place to hang with a couple of your friends, enjoying a beer and watching a game on one of their several televisions.
Sweet Pea's Public House (472 Snelling Ave. S, 651-698-0100) is a neighborhood pub where you can just grab a beer and a burger with your buddies for a fun night out. They offer comfort food including the two Minnesotan classics, tuna hot dish and tater tot hot dish, pasties, and other tasty pub foods. They're known as the friendliest pub in St. Paul, so it's service with a smile.
ArtStart/ArtScraps (1459 St. Clair Ave., 651-698-2787) supports and nurtures local artists, both adults and children. They off art classes year round as well as camps that teach about different kinds of arts from around the world. They are passionate about creativity and art, and they are committed to spreading their knowledge and technique to as many people as possible. They also have a store (ArtScraps) where they collect things considered waste by other people and repurpose them into art materials.
Art With Ellen (104 Snelling Ave. S, 651-331-9791) has been teaching joyful creativity through art to children for over thirty years. She believes in interactive learning, and she uses clay, chalk, and other tactile tools to help her youngest students learn art concepts.
Crocus Hill Studio (1661 Stanford Ave., 651-238-6926) offers flower-arrangement classes by two women who are passionate about the beauty in a well-crafted bouquet. They also have flower happy hours in which you can socialize and create flower arrangements at the same time.
Edgcumbe Recreation Center (320 Griggs St. S, 651-695-3711) offers after-school activities and educational programs, an open gym, sports for adults and youth, yoga, fitness memberships, and plenty more. They also regularly host community events.
Groveland Recreation Center (2021 St. Clair Ave., 651-695-3714) has educational programs, ice skating, athletics for adults and youth, open gym, and several other programs including one called S'more Fun which is a recreational childcare program for children within the ages of K-5th grade.
Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center (130 S Macalester St., 651-696-6000) is part of Macalester College, and it is currently under renovation. The aim is to add a new Art Gallery, new Art History classrooms, and to update the Concert Hall among other improvements. It has proudly served the campus community artistically for more than 45 years, and they will be able to do it even better once the renovations are complete.
My Little Art Museum (1242 Edgcumbe Rd., 415-867-8418) was started by a French-American woman (born in France) who wanted to share the culture and art of her native country. She offers art classes for children that are taught in French.
Stonebridge Gardens Fine Art LLC (280 Mississippi River Blvd., 651-792-6005) features the work of a botanical artist who portrays the mysticism of nature in a realistic fashion. She is known for her meticulous attention to detail in her pet portraits and her wild life paintings. She has won several awards for her art.
Art at Ramsey (1700 Summit Ave., 651-398-6227) is a juried art fair that happens every year in December, featuring fine crafts and fine art by several dozens of local (and from the rest of the Upper Midwest) artists. It is held at Ramsey Middle School and sponsored by St. Paul Public Schools Community Education in cooperation with Artists' Circle.
Edgcumbe Spring Craft Bazaar (Edgcumbe Recreation Center, 320 Griggs St. S, 651-695-3711) is a free showcase for local artists and crafters. Concessions are available, and it's hosted by Crocus Hill Creatives in spring (March 24th this year).
Flavors of Macalester-Groveland (Grand Ave., between Snelling Ave. and Cambridge St., 651-695-4000) celebrates all that makes Mac-Groveland special. It's hosted in late September, and it features local artists, local community organizers, a climbing wall, children's activities, and other festivities. It's a way to get to know your neighbors, have some fun together, and discuss the future of the neighborhood.
Mac Grove Fest (Groveland Park, 651-695-4000) happens in early September and is a celebration of the businesses, organizations, artists, and residents who make Mac-Groveland a great place to work and live.
As Mac-Groveland has several universities and colleges, there are plenty of bus lines that run through the area (63, 70, 74, 83, 84, 87, 134, and 144). You can find the schedules and the fares at Metro Transit.
The neighborhood is also served by the METRO Green Line.
The Snelling Avenue Rapid Bus Transit is another option.
Groveland Park Elementary School (2045 St. Clair Ave., 651-293-8760) is a close-knit community school with all the resources of a larger more urban school given its proximity to so many universities and prestigious community programs. For example, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has the CONNECT program which allows them to offer free musical lessons to selected public schools, including Groveland Park. They are committed to a rounded education.
Ramsey Middle School (1700 Summit Ave., 651-293-8860) has an emphasis on the global perspective. They are an IB MYP school, and they focus on helping their students think critically about issues that affect their community and the world. They have a French immersion program as well as part of their global emphasis. They are the first middle school in St. Paul to acquire IB MYP accreditation, and they integrate it into every facet of their teaching.
Randolph Heights Elementary School (348 S. Hamline Ave., 651-293-8780) is a community-based school with very dedicated parents. They are an accredited Core Knowledge, and they teach their students a wide array of subjects, and beyond this basis, they also provide classes in technology, arts, and other subjects. They are rightfully proud of their library which has 40,000 books in annual circulation.
St. Thomas More Preschool (1065 Summit Ave. , 651-224-4836) is a private Catholic school dedicated to helping its youngest students learn and grow in a safe, exciting, and nurturing environment. In addition to their core curriculum, they also art, music, Spanish, and other enrichment classes.
St. Thomas More Elementary School (K-5) (1065 Summit Ave., 651-224-4836) is a private Catholic school that realizes for younger students, learning is best achieved through experience, preferably through multiple sensory inputs. They have a strong focus on combining faith with interaction in the world, and the students learn everything from Power Point presentations to computer research to creating and performing skits in the wide-ranging curriculum.
St. Thomas More Middle School (6-8) (1065 Summit Ave., 651-224-4836) is a private Catholic school that knows this is an important transitional time in a young person's life. The curriculum in integrative and diverse, and the school is committed to advocating for their students and working cooperatively with the students' parents.
Macalester College (1600 Grand Ave., 651-696-6000) was established in 1874, and they are focused on ensuring their students are capable leaders once they leave Macalester and enter the real world. It is a private liberal arts college that believes in preparing their students for their place in a diverse and increasingly global community through rigorous questioning, community service, and teachings in a wide array of subjects. It is a crowning jewel in the Mac-Groveland neighborhood.
St. Catherine University (St. Kate's) (2004 Randolph Ave., 651-690-6000) is a private Catholic liberal arts university focused on recognizing the accomplishments of women and how they learn and teach. They offer a BA program for women, and adult BA and graduate programs for all students. They believe in robust discussions, multiple perspectives, and fostering a sense of community.
University of St. Thomas (2115 Summit Ave., 651-962-5000) is a private Catholic liberal arts university that is the largest private university in Minnesota. They have over 100 undergraduate majors with the opportunity for cross-discipline coursework. They have a great student-to-teacher ratio, and they encourage their students to think critically. They have partnerships with Fortune 500 companies, and their alumni are active in finding internships for current students. They have a robust athletics system as well, and they have won several conference championships.