St Paul has been called "the last city of the east," making Minneapolis across the curving Mississippi "the first city of the west." Only a twenty-minute expressway ride separates their respective downtowns, but each has its own character, style and strengths. St Paul, the state capital - originally called Pig's Eye, after a scurrilous French-Canadian fur trader who sold whisky at a Mississippi River landing in the 1840s - is the staid, slightly older sibling, careful to preserve its buildings and traditions. Its residents are mainly German, Irish and Catholic. The compact but stately downtown is built, like Rome, on seven hills: the Capitol and the Cathedral occupy one each, monuments that keep the city mindful of its responsibilities. Minneapolis, founded on money generated by the Mississippi's hundreds of flour and saw mills, is livelier, artier and more modern, with skyscraping, up-to-date architecture and an upbeat and even brash attitude that never quite jeopardizes its essential affability. The mostly Slavonic, Nordic and Lutheran residents are spread over wider ground than in St Paul, with dozens of lakes and parks to underscore the city's appeal. The home-grown superstar Prince and the recording company Flyte Tyme cast a global spotlight on the local music scene.
Ever since Minnesota's beginnings these two cities have battled for just about everything, and interesting fights arise about which one is better.
MINNEAPOLIS is much more glossy and like a modern city. But it also has what comes with a modern city: crime. There is quite a large night life. The city is a good bit dirtier than it's neighbor Saint Paul and you'd best avoid Washington Avenue. Anybody who used to watch the Mary Tyler Moore show would know Minneapolis as it took place there. During the past 100 years Minneapolis has grown to be larger than Saint Paul, and if you read history books, Minneapolis was the city that was considered the cow town while people from Saint Paul gloated.
SAINT PAUL can be more likened to a classic European city. The streets may be confusing to some, but if you notice that they run according to the river it quickly makes sense. Saint Paul is also much more preserving of it's historic buildings, while maintaining a sense of freshness through more modern ones (IE Galtier Plaza). Saint Paul is obviously a well-cared for city as downtown is sparkling clean and the area's richest people live in immaculate houses on Summit Avenue. There are parks scattered throughout downtowin, giving the city a very relaxed feeling. Though Minneapolis is larger, Saint Paul has been growing at a more rapid rate for the past several years.
At any rate, both are cities are not bad to visit. Just make sure that you try to stay out of the wars between the two. People who fight about such matters are unbalanced.