If you want to enjoy upscale living in Minneapolis without the price tag, discover a neighborhood where the Minneapolis cityscape towers above tree-lined streets and chic shopping centers. Resting in the heart of St. Louis Park, the suburban community of Blackstone
lies just 4 miles west of downtown Minneapolis for the perfect combination of convenience and small-town character.
Featuring rows of fresh housing developments on the west side and high-end shopping plazas to the east, Blackstone showcases the unique atmosphere of 21st-century Minneapolis. Business professionals come here for the easy commute and affordable housing, and young families enjoy a quiet getaway from the busy streets of the Twin Cities.
Restaurants & Nightlife
Whether you're looking for fast-food staples or fine dining, head to the northeast corner of Blackstone for a generous spread of restaurants and bars ranging from upscale international cuisine to Irish pubs and local cafes. Quite a few popular chains have found their way into the newer retail area, but you can still find some local eateries that demonstrate Blackstone's eclectic character.
For your daily sandwich spot, make your way to Urban Sub. Prices may be a bit steeper than the nearby Subway and Jimmy John's, but this locally owned spot uses some of the freshest ingredients in the neighborhood. When in doubt, order the Westside Italian Sub, a hearty sandwich made special with thick slices of tomato and melted provolone. What really makes these subs fantastic is the fresh-baked bread; it's soft, full-bodied and never soggy.
Head to Rojo Mexican Grill near the West Side strip for a casual dinner with your neighbors. The carne asada tacos never skip on flavor, and locals know Rojo has some of the strongest margaritas in town. If you still have room, be sure to try the fried ice cream for dessert.
Once you park your car in the free, heated underground parking ramp, the authentic brews and classy European decor of Cooper Irish Pub transport you to Ireland for the night. For a Minnesota favorite, order the walleye and chips with a pint of Guinness. If you're feeling adventurous, try the Premier Bloody Mary, a specialty concoction with elaborate garnish that includes a slider on a stick.
History & Culture
A group of Minneapolis industrialists first started building St. Louis Park for retail, industrial and residential use in 1890. The original town was built further south along the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railroad, now known as CP Rail, while the area north along the railway would later become the Blackstone neighborhood.
Although the historic railroad still stands as a neighborhood landmark, you only find museums to the east in central Minneapolis. For a taste of local culture, take a public painting class at Brush Studio with a glass of wine. Don't miss the neighborhood summer picnic organized by the Blackstone neighbors group each year.
Resting near the Interstate 394 and Minnesota 100 interchange, Blackstone provides an easy commute for drivers. Take the freeway straight into central Minneapolis, or catch a Metro bus at one of the neighborhood's many stops. You can also call Uber or your favorite Twin Cities taxi company for a quick ride to downtown.
Enjoy free street parking throughout the neighborhood as well as free West End garage
parking in the retail area. If you prefer to bike, keep in mind that Blackstone doesn't have any bike lanes. You're sure to see bicycle enthusiasts out for a leisure ride along Cedar Lake Road, but most residents drive around the neighborhood. Blackstone creates a safe environment for walking through the retail area or along residential sidewalks.
Despite an upscale atmosphere that feels more like Edina than St. Louis Park, Blackstone's cost of living falls well below average for the Minneapolis metro area. You'll find a fair number of apartments with a median rent of about $930 for a one-bedroom apartment. Public transportation remains affordable with bus fares hovering around $1.75 for access to the metro area. However, keep in mind that a ride during rush hour costs $2.25. Expect to pay around $5 to $7 for a pint at local establishments like Cooper Irish Pub. When it comes time to fill your tank, get ready for gas prices that are roughly 10 percent cheaper than the national average.
Blackstone lies just minutes from the diverse shopping in downtown Minneapolis, but you find all your mainstays within the neighborhood boundaries. From high-end fashion boutiques to a flurry of national brands, Blackstone's shopping district clustered along Park Place Boulevard and beyond provides endless opportunities for shoppers with a few extra bucks to spend. If you're looking for thrift shops and other bargain havens, take a short drive north to neighboring Golden Valley.
Whether you want dinner and a movie or a lady's day out, take a stroll through the tightly packed national boutiques at The Shops at West End to find upscale staples like Anthropologie and Lululemon. Take advantage of the free parking garage before exploring the strip on foot.
For more local fare, head to family-owned Continental Diamond to satisfy your fine jewelry needs. As you enjoy complimentary snacks and beverages, the staff work with you to find or create a perfect engagement ring that fits your budget. The high-quality gold pieces and gemstones have been attracting locals for decades, but the real draw is the shop's well-trained associates who treat each customer like royalty.
When you need to pick up your groceries, find all your dinner ingredients at Cub Foods or purchase bulk food at Costco. If you're looking for local picks from the summer harvest, be prepared for a short drive to the Minneapolis Farmers Market in central Minneapolis.
When you want to read a book under an old oak tree or let your kids play tag on the grass, head to Blackstone Park in the northwest corner of the neighborhood. Tucked behind an installment of beautiful row houses,
this hidden green space features a playground, a small picnic pavilion and a paved walking path for your morning jog.
The grassy areas in Blackstone Park and throughout the neighborhood also create an ideal environment for walking your pooch. In addition to Blackstone's tree-lined streets, an expanse of wetlands in the neighborhood's southwest corner maintains a green environment during the summer months.