Home Buying in Minneapolis>Question Details

Brie, Home Buyer in San Francisco, CA

I am looking to purchase a home in the next 6 to 12 months in MSP, coming from San Francisco. What are the top 3 neighborhoods you recommend?

Asked by Brie, San Francisco, CA Thu Mar 14, 2013

1. I will be working with the university and my sister will be working the the state gov't. We'd like to be fairly close to work, either by drive or rail.
2. We like older homes with a lot of charm.
3. We like neighborhoods that are very walkable, have a shopping area with grocery, tea/coffee shops, large parks, busy with pedestrians, farmer's markets, great restaurants, and some boutiques. The cuter, the better.
4. Since we don't know MSP very well, please provide boundaries of the neighborhood so we can get a better idea.
5. If you are familiar with the Inner Sunset, Cole Valley, or North Beach in San Francisco, this will give you an idea of the kinds of neighborhoods we like.
Thanks for any help!

Help the community by answering this question:


Love seeing the Agents and Brokers reach out :). I think I have a good & unbias prespective for you. Grew up in the Twin Cities and lived here for 26 years. Lived in Russian Hill for 7 years, then moved back a year ago.

The recommended areas are pretty good (except for St. Paul), but all are certainly different than SF. It's probably best to recoginze that Minneapolis is completely different and you will not have the same SF feel whereever you end up. But you can afford land/house here, but will need to drive/ take transportation pretty much everywhere.

Minneapolis does offer space & has many lakes & parks. May through July and Sept & October it is truly a magical place and no place I'd rather be. January through mid-March, I'd probably rather be anywhere else on the planet.

I'm also in your situation and looking at the following areas:

Linden Hills
South Minneapolis
Or get a condo in downtown

Hope this helps!

0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 18, 2013
Hi, there, Brie,

I can help you with this. I am a certified relocation specialist with the number one broker in the Twin Cities. Translation: I am supposedly an expert on taking someone from "i don't have a clue where I want to live" ....to......"wow, this is perfect", all in record time. Transferees normally expect us to accomplish 3-4 months worth of work inside of their 2 available weekends to fly out here. Just a little humor, but it is the truth.

LIsten, you asked the right questions. And quite frankly you seem to have a firm handle on what you want. IN order to help you properly I would like to do this the proper way if you'd like to get help efficiently instead of haphazardly. I would begin by asking you to click on my website below, and either give me a call or at least shoot me an email. I will send you two documents that will get you started in the right way. Then once you have the foundation, I will have a couple more questions and then give you the next step. You will be pretty amazed at how fast it will get you right on the edge of what you want and need.

And no worries, Brie, I am not trying to capitalized on anything here. I'd truly be glad to help you get on the right track. If you want my assitance all the way through, that can happen. The good thing is that here in Minnesota you do not pay us for our services. So you may as well find an experienced real estate professional and utilize their talent and expertise. It will certainly make your journey much simpler and smooth.

Have a great day, Brie!

2 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 14, 2013
Thank you all for these insights. I will be reading more in depth about your suggestions in the upcoming week. I appreciate your help.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 16, 2013
Hi Brie, This is Morgan, I am an RSS Realtor with Matt Engen of RE/MAX Results. I agree with Kevin, there are many good hoods around Mpls and St Paul with walkability, public transportation, shopping.

I have a brother in San Fran now that has been there for 15 years so I visit a bit and another brother that lived in SF for a year and came back to Minneapolis. The brother that came back to Mpls ended up buying a big old home in the Wedge neighborhood, AKA Lowry Hill East. This neighborhood is just south of downtown bordered by Hennepin and Lyndale Avenues. If you look on a map it resembles.. what else... a wedge! There is a great Co-op, many shops, artists, and restaurants. From my limited knowledge of North Beach, I think the Grand Ave area in St Paul would be a great fit especially because this is in between the U of M and the state offices for you both to commute. My third suggestion would be Uptown this wouldn't be optimal for commuting but most resembles, to me, the San Fran vibe.

That being said, Mpls is made up of 81 different neighborhoods and St Paul has many options too so there is a vast array to choose from. As Kevin, I'd also be thrilled to show off our cities and give you a whirl wind tour of urban living in the midwest... If there is any other questions I can answer from afar or if you visit the area please don't hesitate to be in touch as I'm happy to help any way I can.

Best of luck with your home hunt.

Morgan Whitman
Realtor working with Matt Engen
of RE/MAX Results
M: 612.747.4079
buy. stage. sell.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
I moved here from the West Coast more than 25 years ago and I wouldn't live anywhere else than the Twin Cities.

From your description, I'd like to recommend Summit Avenue/Grand Ave. in St. Paul, Lynden Hills in Minneapolis or Uptown/LynLake in Minneapolis. You might also consider Highland Park in St. Paul or Nokomis (East or West) in Minneapolis.

The Twin Cities are generally not walking towns, although some neighborhoods are better than others. The extremes in temps keep people from walking as recreation from December through mid-April. Both cities have a number of large parks, and you can't drive anywhere in Minneapolis without having to detour around a lake, creek, park or school.

There are a number of large and small farmer's markets open usually from May 1st until Oct. 31. I'm not sure what you mean by 'great restaurants.' They're everywhere, from little ethnic hole-in-the-wall places to James Beard Award winning cutting edge and chef driven places.

Summit Ave. (see above) has the longest stretch of Victorian homes in the country. The Twin Cities has the only urban federally recognized National Scenic Drive in the country.

If you would like, I'll be happy to send you listings from these neighborhoods so you'll get a better idea of style, size and price.

Stephanie Fox
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 14, 2013
1. Lowertown- http://www.lowertown.org/LRC/index.html
2. North Loop- http://northloop.org/
3. Linden Hills- http://www.linden-hills.com/

We would love to help you with all of your real estate needs!

Sandy Erickson Real Estate Team
Keller Williams Integrity Realty
Direct: 651-269-3487
Email: Kayla@SandyErickson.com
Website: http://www.ericksonteamhomesearch.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Feb 7, 2014
Are you still looking? I would recommend neighborhoods for you based on the zip codes, its easier to search them this way. I'm assuming the state government agency is in St. Paul and the university is the UofM. Try these zip codes: 55419, 55417, 55416, 55410, 55116, 55105. The other parameter I would use to find the charm factor is "tudor" as these seem to be popular home styles with loads of amenities. Happy hunting!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Feb 3, 2014
I think south Minneapolis is perfect for you. I would look at Nokomis, Longfellow, Kenny, Armtage, Tangletown just to name a few. Call if you want me to send you a list of homes for sale in those areas.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Dec 15, 2013
Hi Brie!

Have you moved to MPLS yet? If you are still in the investigation phase, I would love to give you and your family a tour of some areas that fit your description- I have a few in mind that I think you would really like. While we're not San Fran, we have some truly charming areas here in the City of Lakes- old, well built homes with loads of detail and charm, and a focus on local-living with walking a key element to city living. Let me know if you want to set up a personal tour of the area!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 12, 2013
Longfellow, Kenny, Tangletown, Lowry Hill,
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 29, 2013
Hi Brie!

It looks like all Realtors have their favorite areas. More important ... finding your favorite area. I work with one of the largest, and most experienced, relocation groups worldwide. We can help you with every facet of your move including selling your current home. When we tour relo clients like you we not only visit homes for sale but parks, shopping districts, schools (if appropriate), etc. so you can get a real sense of what you get for the money in each area. Many of our clients in your situation opt for six months in our executive housing so you can really learn about the various areas that may work for you.
Web Reference: http://www.mywra.net
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
Hi, Brie!!!

While I'm not specifically familiar with these areas of SF, I think I know what you're getting at!
We have many areas of MSP that fit the criteria you describe.

That said, the neighborhood that might be ideal with regard to vintage housing, light rail/bus public transportation and places to walk to as well as access to cultural events in both downtowns, might be the University area of Minneapolis. These specific neighborhoods include Como, University and Prospect Park. There's also mid-city industrial area that might work, but the housing inventory there might not be as plentiful.

There are also some St. Paul neighborhoods that might do, especially given the near completion of the University Ave. light rail being imminent. I would suggest St. Anthony, Como (not the same as the Mpls Como :D), Merriam Park, Macalester/Groveland or Highland. All have a great walking score.

And, just FYI, we are not allowed to talk about demographics in these neighborhoods, but your questions are couched around the very criteria to which we can legally refer!!! If you need crime info or other demographic info, I'm afraid that must be sought out by you. Lots of places to find it on the internet, though!!!!!

Good luck and let me know if you need any more help~
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
Hello Brie,

Thank you for your great question! I love San Fransisco's little Italy area as well.

Given your unfamiliarity with our state and the difference in neighborhood development from San Francisco, I can recommend several options for you. I cut my teeth on helping people move to Minnesota from other cities and have toured many clients through the metro area prior to showing property to give them an idea of neighborhoods and benefits of living here. If you wish to know more I'm happy to provide further information at any time.

Linden Hills is a great family and young professional neighborhood with shops and restaurants in walking distance and the most family friendly of the Minneapolis Lakes as well as other shopping and ammenities nearby. Just on the West-Southwest area of Lake Harriet, the most southern in the chain of lakes just south of downtown Minneapolis, Linden Hills is easily accessible by freeway but you may prefer the drive around the chain of lakes including Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles for it's beauty and tranquility. I often use this route instead to get to the downtown area or freeway access during rush hour.

Another option close to Linden Hills is Edina, there are many ammenities available and you can find some great homes, there are restaurants and shopping as well, but Edina is more of a sprawl and the walk score is better in some niches than others.

Crocus Hill in Saint Paul is closer to downtown St Paul but still between the University of Minnesota, and close to most other Universities, as well as close to downtown St Paul where most of the Government office buildings are located. This neighborhood is a gem, widely prized for the homes and the walk score is great with families and young professionals mixing with students from the Law School proximal to great restaurants and shops galore. One block South of Summit Avenue, this is a great place to live and access to freeways or drives/bus/transit to both areas is easily available. Grand and Victora Avenues are the hub of Crocus Hill and an easy walk through this pedestrian and bike friendly city.

The next neighborhood on the list would likely be the Macalaster Groveland area commonly called Mac-Groveland. Macalaster College is located in the heart of this area just blocks away from St Thomas University, St Catherine's University, William Mitchell Law School and not far from several others. There is a great walk score here as well since Grand Avenue continues to offer shopping, restaurants and coffee shops along its length through the city. Summit Avenue continues through this area with beautiful stately homes and the neighborhood is very family oriented with lots of young professionals residing here as well. This area of St Paul is equidistant from both downtown St Paul and downtown Mpls, easy commute access from many directions.

Just near to that is Merriam Park, continuing west toward the river, also a good place to land with proximity to shops, restaurants and ammenities. The drive to downtown via Summit Avenue is beautiful in any season and you can take the East River Road straight to the University of Minnesota without getting on a freeway or having to stop at many stoplights. Just North of that area is St Anthony Park east along highway 280 and just north of I-94.

Just West of the Mississippi River is the Longfellow area with a great family feel with many great coffeeshops and restaurants, not far from the light rail which is also soon to be completed to downtown Saint Paul. There is also the Hiawatha Avenue drive which takes you directly downtown Minneapolis if you prefer to drive rather than take the light rail. The University of Minnesota is both on the East and West Bank of the River just East of downtown Minneapolis, so very accessible. Also, the Cooper and Howe neighborhoods are worth a look, there are some great homes and a surprise restaurant in the middle of the neighborhood here and there.

The near Northeast has been a hotbed of development along the river with condos, townhomes and retail and restaurants lining the main thoroughfares. It is right next to the University of Minnesota and lots of student housing just East of Hennepin Ave as it heads across the River but lots of ammenities and easy commute to Saint Paul from there as well. There are also older homes and an arts community tucked in the neighborhood.

Let me know if you'd like additional information, I can send you a relocation packet if you like, or provide you with a tour should you decide to check out the neighborhoods in person.

You can check this all out and read about the walk score of these neighborhoods as well as the benefits of using an Exclusive Buyer Agent on my website at:

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
Only 3 C'mon! Haha

1) Linden Hills- This neighborhood is between Lake Calhoun & Lake Harriet. Uptown & Lowry Hill East on the other side of the lake are great too, and you will be a little closer to the main farmers market I go to off of Lyndale in the summer time. Uptown is where the nightlife and restaurants are. Very different crowd than Downtown brings (but boy we have some amazing food in downtown). Just google "farmers market Minneapolis" and it will pop up. In general though this is one of my favorite areas.

2) Mac Groveland(Macalester Groveland)/Highland- Just south of 94 and East of the Mississippi these 2 are right next to each other. Mac Grove-land I am a really big fan of. Close to the River, and close to Minnehaha Park. This IS the park to go to for South Minneapolis. Lake Nokomis is not far and also a great lake.

But boy the housing in Mac Groveland is amazing! I think if you drove some of the neighborhoods and looked at the houses it is tough to beat. Of course that equates to this area being pretty expensive! For what you are talking to me about this neighborhood needs to be on your list starting out.

And I think as some of the others stated Grand Ave. is kinda "it" for the St. Paul side. I have lived on the St. Paul side my whole life and never really done anything downtown. The xcel is there for sports, and there are some cool bars I go to. I think Harriet island is pretty cool too.

I guess I am just saying Downtown St. Paul is boring to me. I have always been an uptown and Downtown Minneapolis guy. Either way the great news is that everything is so close to each other! One of my favorite things about the Twin Cities that I think you are going to really enjoy too.

But for me, and what it sounds like you too, Grand Ave. is the hangout spot. Summit Ave. is a fun drive where you can look at old Mansions. It is not where you will live.

3) The first two are the most expensive areas that have the urban feel and "old Victorian charm" houses. They also have the most amenities for you. If you can afford the housing I am confident you would pick 1 of the 2. I have a little feeling that says you will go with my first answer and end up around uptown.

At least if I were to do some virtual tours for you ( I basically tour homes you like privately and send video to you), or just drive you around neighborhoods this would be our first day out. I like to take relocation clients through the areas for a day and pretty much just hang out. You can always choose to do this yourself, but I find that relocation clients like having some local explain the knowledge of this cities. It does really help a lot if I am simply just answering questions.

Also, in the world of technology I usually send links and have a lot of conversations like we are now. I am the guy that researches and sends you material on neighborhoods. You google any of these areas I speak of and there is a ton of material on them. Then we start looking at price points and seeing if the housing available matches your budget. It is just the game of trying to find the best neighborhood for your budget right? All of this can be done with technology before you get to MN. It is just how you like to work.

And by the way, we love our lakes in Minnesota. I have been trying to figure out where to put that remark.

4) Since I have no idea if your budget can afford these neighborhoods my wild card would be NE Minneapolis. This is the one area that I can say has rising stock and fast. My whole generation of young adults loves it. It may not have the prestige or well known amenities like the first 2 of my picks (you live under a rock here if you don't know these areas), but from an affordability standpoint I think you do get the most for your money here.

5) You can also look at the West side of the Mississippi River at: Longfellow, Cooper, and Howe. A little cheaper areas, but you still are close to everything and are looking at the old Victorian Houses.

That should get you started Brie. If you start looking online at these and have some questions feel free to contact me directly off of Trulia. I don't know how it works in California, but in Minnesota the seller's do pay our commission so it is free to work with us.

But what I have found is that most consumers have zero interest ever hiring a realtor upfront. I tend to agree, because that is what I would do myself. What I suggest is "test-driving a realtor" during the information stage of your process. I can answer any questions you have, talk price points, and pretty much be your main contact here. You get to see how I work, respond to email, and communicate. God knows you don't need a fancy contract to just talk haha! If we just don't mesh then nothing lost you can move on.

I believe in building relationships and trust. This is a huge financial decision you are making buying a home in Minnesota, and I want to show you the customer service deserved.

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
Hi Brie,

Thanks for your question. Over the last several decades, I have worked successfully with a lot of relocation clients. There are several areas with charming older homes and nice shopping areas near both the Minneapolis and St. Paul University Campuses. To do a good job of identifying areas, I need to know which campus will you work at. You can reach me at fritz@fritzhomes.net, or 612-965-2212.

Fritz Von Yeast, Realtor
Better Homes and Gardens All Seasons

P.S. I think you'll like the Twin Cities. The scenery is wonderful, and the people are very nice.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
Look at the vast knowledge from all of these Realtors! Brie, you really did get great responses from many great Realtors in the area that know what they are talking about. It makes me proud to see the quality within our Realtor community!

I hope when you're ready to make the move, you think of one of us.

Kevin Bumgardner

0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Mar 15, 2013
That's a very big question. The best answer will be in the form of a long conversation OR it will come from a local agent that is a great listener, and less of a great talker. ;)
Many more important factors come into play than the main ones that you listed here.

A great tool that some of the best agents use, is a "lifestyle profile" tool that allows us to learn what you like and dislike in your home, but also in all the aspects of your life. Be sure that you work on finding a good agent more than on trying to find the right neighborhood.

Once you have identified a good agent that you can trust to listen to you, analyze your needs, and educate you on the local market, then you will be able to put your search in their able hands, and your life will be much easier.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 14, 2013
The rail options are increasing now with the new line almost finished going by the University. That ties you into several great areas including The Mall of America. Grand Avenue in St Paul would be a nice area as well as the uptown area in Minneapolis. Minneapolis has some of the best walking/biking trails in the country around its many lakes. Como area of St Paul again has a trail around the lake and feeding into the zoo. Let me know when you are in town and I can show you around to see what you like. I can also set you up a search in those areas as well.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 14, 2013
Great question Brie!
There are some good areas in both Minneapolis and St Paul that could meet those needs. I'd be more than happy to give you a tour when you're in the area. I have many ideas around the Grand Ave area in St Paul or along Selby. You might also like many of them in SW Minneapolis...all depends on what kinds of shops and eateries you enjoy. We can talk about it too.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Mar 14, 2013
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