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A Day In Como Park

August 30, 2014 7:00 AM

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Como Park is one of St. Paul’s oldest neighborhoods, and also one of the most storied. Whether it’s the submersion of a James-Younger Gang member at the bottom of the lake or the preserved streetcar station from 1905, the area is full of history and charm. Today, it’s the pride of Minnesota’s capital city, with attractions for all ages, parks and green space for exercise or a romantic stroll, plenty of places to eat and some of the most beautiful homes in the state. Here is a guide to help you get started.

Nelson’s Cheese and Deli
1562 Como Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55108
(651) 647-1288
www.nelsoncheese.net

It seems every person in the city (or whole state) has made it to Nelson’s at least once, and after trying one of the handmade sandwiches and soups, picking out some local cheese to take home and topping it off with and old-time soda, you’ll know why. Right off Snelling (with the MN State Fairgrounds practically across the street), Nelson’s has managed to maintain the charm of small town deli counters despite its popularity and high traffic.

Como Park

(credit: CBS)

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Drive
St. Paul, MN 55103
(651) 487-8201
www.comozooconservatory.org

One of St. Paul’s crowning jewels, the expansive zoo and conservatory and surrounding grounds are unmatched in their scenic beauty, activities for visitors young and old,and pure relaxation factor. It feels like a whole different world, one that you’ll never want to leave, and certainly not one in the middle of a large metropolitan area. At the zoo, you can hang with giraffes and buffalos, exotic fish, lemurs and many more creatures from around the world, and check out the expanded Gorilla Forest, which is the largest all-mesh gorilla enclosure in North America.

The attached conservatory is one of the best escapes in wintertime, taking you away to humid jungles, flowering gardens and flowing streams while snow covers the ground and winds rage outside. It’s great during the summer as well, when some of the most incredible flowering plants in the country can be viewed. The Japanese Garden, open from May through September, is one of the most tranquil places in the city and is a must-see before the season ends.

There is also an amusement park, Como Town, which is a great escape for families with kids. The park features rides fast and slow, roller coasters and derby cars, as well as food stands and other summer events.

Como Pavilion (credit: Colleen McGuire)

Como Pavilion (credit: Colleen McGuire)

Lake Como and Lakeside Pavilion
1360 Lexington Parkway N.
St. Paul, MN 55103
(651) 488-4920
www.comozooconservatory.org/ComoLake

Whether you’re going for a jog or a stroll, Lake Como is perfect for athletes, hand-in-hand couples or those simply spending an afternoon outdoors. It’s a beautiful destination, tucked away from major roads and highways, full of lush green trees and, of course, the lake itself. Take the paddle boats or canoes out for a trip across the water, or hang in the pavilion that has stood as the focal point for the lake since 1923. The pavilion is a destination in itself, hosting various events throughout the summer, including the popular Music in the Parks series and theater.

Related:  Best Neighborhoods For Trick-Or-Treating In Minnesota

Como Park Grill
1341 Pascal St. N.
St. Paul, MN 55108
(651) 646-9179
www.comoparkgrill.com

The type of neighborhood bar that every neighborhood should have, Como Park Grill serves up from-scratch burgers, wings and other accessible fare in a cozy setting with a fantastic patio. Televisions are available if you want to watch sports games, but won’t intrude if you don’t. For beer lovers, the tap list holds local favorites new and old, from Summit to Tin Whiskers, and there are often tastings and parties centered on the growing beer scene in the Twin Cities.

Como Lake Bed & Breakfast
1205 Como Blvd. W.
St. Paul, MN 55103
(651) 402-7930
www.comolakebnb.com

After a long day seeing everything there is to see in Como Park, settle down for the night in the picturesque bed and breakfast overlooking the lake. You won’t find a more quaint and comfortable stay in the middle of the city. The 1915 home in which the B&B is housed boasts beautiful woodwork, fireplaces, big windows facing the water and a beautiful porch on which to enjoy warm summer nights. The close proximity of the B&B to all of the aforementioned attractions means you can walk to any one of them, knowing that there is always a comfortable bed nearby.

Related: Walking Tour Of Minnesota’s Cathedral Hill Neighborhood

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at Examiner.com, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.

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