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Still significantly rural, with horses, barns and agriculture, the bedroom community Inver Grove Heights, part of West St. Paul, attracts people who enjoy large suburban lots with space to park that motor home, horse, big rig or farm equipment. Residents used to head over to neighboring South Robert Street in West St. Paul for shopping, but a few new businesses in Inver Grove Heights give residents basic amenities closer to home. About 5,000 students pursue AA degrees and career programs at Inver Grove Community College.
As of August 2017, the average apartment rent in Inver Grove Heights, MN is $895 for a studio, $1,009 for one bedroom, $1,137 for two bedrooms, and $1,277 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Inver Grove Heights has increased by 5.9% in the past year.
Commerce in West St. Paul and Inver Grove Heights clusters along several miles of utilitarian South Robert Street, and while dominated mostly by chains, a handful of unique restaurants hangs on. The family-run Granny Donuts keeps the pastry case full of fresh doughnuts, fritters and other classic pastries. The friendly owners give children two free doughnut holes skewered on a coffee swizzle stick.
Pho Saigon serves big, steaming bowls of pho noodle soup topped with a fresh garnish of bean sprout, cilantro and jalapeno peppers. On weekdays, the restaurant stocks the lunch buffet with favorite Chinese and Vietnamese dishes and American cafeteria-style desserts like mini cream puffs and Jello salad. Beirut Restaurant and Deli may be the best restaurant in West St. Paul. A fixture on South Robert since the 1980s, Beirut serves Lebanese food in an attractively decorated dining room and offers take-out containers of deli favorites like hummus and pita, baba ghannouj and kabobs served with garlicky sauce and flat bread. Sit down and savor shawarma, spinach pie or fried eggplant dishes. On weekends, belly dancers and live music add to the cultural experience. A fair number of Lebanese immigrants settled here in the early 20th century, and Beirut keeps their heritage alive in West St. Paul.
Another group of immigrants, from Mexico, have a large presence on Robert Street. Pineda Tacos and El Taquito Taco Shop, which also runs a popular food truck, serve simple, tasty Mexican food with a mild kick for Midwestern palates. West St. Paul welcomes Hispanic residents and visitors, and many local businesses advertise bilingual sales help.
In Inver Grove Heights, the family-owned Mississippi Pub serves burgers and bar food and hosts wedding parties and school sports fundraiser events. A large outdoor patio takes the party outdoors in warm weather. B52 Burgers & Brew caters to big appetites. Its Mother of All Burgers tips the scales with two pounds of beef and tops that with two eggs, pork, cheese, BBQ pork, bacon and more. Holy Cow, the "mini" version, has a half-pound patty.
In pre-settlement days, native Dakota and Ojibwe tribes crossed the rolling landscape we today call West St. Paul to get from important cultural sites in Mendota to the Kaposia villages in South St. Paul. Settlers took over in the 1850s and many of the city's streets bear their names today. The old part of the city, close to the Mississippi River, features modest turn of the century housing on city lots lined by sidewalks. The south part of the city remained a market farming area until after World War II. Two farms remain: Orchard Hill, a small apple orchard that sells pre-picked fruit at very reasonable prices, and the model farm at Dodge Nature Center.
Inver Grove Height's historic Rock Island Swing Bridge, the last toll bridge in the Twin Cities, has been preserved as a historic site, where pedestrians can stroll partway across the Mississippi River.
Cars rule here, and South Robert Street operates as a fast route directly into downtown St. Paul or to the Interstate 494 freeway loop around the Twin Cities. Metro Transit operates bus routes through West St. Paul and into Inver Grove Heights. Taxis and Uber can always be called for a ride. The airport and Mall of America are just 20 minutes away from Inver Grove Heights. The North Urban Regional Trail, also known as the River to River Greenway, runs through West St. Paul and provides both recreation and a safe bike commuter route.
Young families have discovered that West St. Paul offers close-in housing in quiet, convenient neighborhoods at a much lower cost than many other first-ring suburbs. A two-bedroom apartment rents for $700 a month.. Area big-box retailers in the low-low prices category dominate this area's retail scene, keeping retail, gas and grocery prices competitive or a touch lower than the area average.
A few unique businesses hide along the strip. In business since 1926, Regina's Candies sells locally made classic candies, including hand-dipped chocolates, peanut brittle and holiday favorites. The shop's St. Paul location houses the candy factory, and in October an annual open house lets visitors see the magical production process.
Twin Cities Magic and Costume comes alive every October as prospective ghouls seek specialized makeup, costumes and accessories. The Twin Cities Theater, magic and zombie community keeps the place alive (or undead) year-round. In Inver Grove Heights, Gerten's Garden Center sells bedding plants, trees and garden ornamentation.
Only one major grocery option, Cub Foods, serves the two cities. The big box superstores offer competition in this department. Both cities host farmers markets in the summer.
Olivia Irvine Dodge, philanthropist and heir to the Weyerhauser timber fortunes, donated her childhood home on Summit Avenue to become the Governor's Mansion. She also gave West St. Paul its soul by preserving her personal property here for future generations. The 462-acre Dodge Nature Center encompasses a working traditional farm, stocked with heirloom livestock breeds; an apple orchard; an award-winning preschool that practices nature-based education; and a nature center with a raptor aviary. Dodge Nature Center welcomes the public for hiking, bird watching and seasonal nature programs. The property's hiking trails, quiet ponds and lovely forests preserve an important piece of natural and regional history. Across Charlton Street from Dodge, Garlough Park features a disc golf range and quiet, tree-lined walking trails. The YMCA operates a community swimming pool in West St. Paul that features water slides and concessions.
Mountain bikers head to Harmon Park Reserve in Inver Grove Heights to ride the turns and banks of its technical and challenging off-road bicycle trail. In winter, the bike trail doubles as a snow shoe route.
Townhomes for Rent in Inver Grove Heights, MN
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