My Best Kept Secrets of St. Paul

While I’m usually cooking up a storm as the Kitchen Star on Twin Cities Live, they recently asked me to to share my favorite places to hang out with my kids. I immediately thought of these three neighborhood places in St. Paul.

Click here to watch the March 25, 2014 Twin Cities Live segment with my Best Kept Secrets.


Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store
2050 Marshall Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55104

About Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store: Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store is a store in St. Paul where there are operational trains running and interactive train tables where kids can try out all the trains.  They also host birthday parties and story times.  Check out their Emmy-winning train television show in the Twin Cities on Saturdays at 2:30pm on channel 45!

What I love: As a daughter of a train master, I get a bit nostalgic about trains.  I’ve taken my dad there and kids and grandparents alike arrive in wonder.  I love that the kids can really try out the trains and everything is there to purchase if you want.  This is a perfect place to meet up with someone and have a playdate-the kids play close and there are benches where you can sit and chat.

ArtStart’s ArtScraps Reuse Store
1459 St. Clair Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55105

About ArtStart’s ArtScraps Reuse Store: ArtStart is a non-profit arts organization that provides art education in schools and the community.  Their reuse store, ArtScraps sells donated scraps, overstock, factory rejects-things normally going into the landfill and resells them to anyone interested in reusing the materials for projects or art.  The proceeds of the store go to the school and community programs of ArtStart. They host birthday parties, summer camps and even adult craft parties. They are also celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year!

What I love: Everything is so inexpensive, you can literally buy things by the bag or bucketful! Each time I go, there are new things.  One of my favorite things to buy is fabric and I recently just bought some awesome vintage fabric to make napkins.  I love that it inspires creativity, I let my daughter grab a bucket and she grabs things she likes-buttons, beads, glitter, old pictures and then we go home and make projects!

The Ran Ham Bowling Alley at the Nook
490 Hamline Avenue South
St. Paul, MN 55116

About the Ran Ham Bowling Alley at the Nook: I know you love the Nook and their amazing burgers, but do you know what’s in the basement at the Nook?  A bowling alley! The Ran Ham Bowling Alley has several lanes and you get to do old-school scoring!  They have bumper bowling and a ramp for the kids who can’t roll the ball yet.

What I love: The Nook is our family’s favorite restaurant. Going there for our birthdays has become a family tradition.  As most parents know, going out to dinner with kids can be a bit chaotic especially if a wait is involved.  At the Ran Ham Bowling Alley you can call ahead and reserve a bowling lane, do some bowling with your family, order your Nook burgers at the bar and eat right at the lane.  And bonus, kids eat free with paid adults on Sunday!

In celebration of these wonderful places in St. Paul, I have a great giveaway for you! Follow the Rafflecopter instructions to enter.  For a blog comment entry, tell me the place you’d most like to check out and why! Contest only open to those living in Minnesota. Prizes must be picked up at each location by the winner.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

18 thoughts on “My Best Kept Secrets of St. Paul

  1. I would love to check out Choo Choo bob’s with my son. He road the light rail and north star train this weekend and loved it!

  2. Tough call but I’d say the Reuse store. I’ve never been there but totally buy all similar bargains when I find them elsewhere but I don’t find that stuff often.

  3. Choo Choo Bobs! My boys ages 5 and 8 love the place, and I must admit I like it also, I check out all the train pieces to see what my kids are missing to add to their collection.

  4. I have been to The Nook; however I’ve never had a chance to do the bowling thing. ArtScraps would be a fun place to hit with my Pinterest loving daughter!

  5. I would love to go to the Ran Ham Bowling Alley at the Nook. First of all, it’s been years since I have bowled. I’ve heard about The Nook’s burgers but never had them, and the bowling alley sounds just like one from Brooklyn Center where I grew up.

  6. I’ve wanted to check out ArtScraps for the longest time–there was a store like that in Maine, where we once lived, and it was a great place for random crafting/art supplies.

  7. All of those places look great! I think both of my kids would love Choo Choo Bob’s. I can’t believe we’ve never checked it out.

  8. I would love to go to any of them because I’ve never been. To be complete honest the only place I’ve heard of was the nook.

  9. Oh the kids and I would love to check out ArtStart’s ArtScraps Reuse Store! We have never been there. And Choo Choo Bob’s is amazing. Definitely one of our favorite places to frequent in St. Paul.

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