Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park, St. Paul
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at Como Park
Leave it to a free zoo and acres of green space to woo families. This is the only place in town where you can ski on a cold winter morning, stroll in a fragrant hothouse among tropical orchids for lunch, and then see a monkey. Life centers on populist pleasures—a municipal golf course, an aquatic center, and the Minnesota State Fair, arguably the best and largest in the country. But, says Ted Blank, district administrator for District 10 Como Community Council, “The foundation of our community is the residents. Como neighbors, some of whom have been here for generations and some who are new to the state, make it a vibrant, welcoming community.”
Dakota and Ojibwe followed hunting trails through what is now Como Park. When Europeans came, a farmer named the lake after the one in the Alps. But once the city enlisted public space guru Horace Cleveland, and the State Fair landed nearby in 1885, things really got green.
It’s eclectic, from Victorians to modern condos. Averages are slightly more than St. Paul’s, but still pleasantly affordable. And there’s quite a rental mix, too. If you like pre-war homes, Como is charming.
SCHOOLS TO NOTE
East of Como Park is this Catholic prep school for sixth through 12th grades. The academics are rigorous, but that doesn’t stop 96 percent of students from doing extracurriculars. hill-murray.org
Mounds Park Academy
Also east of Como Park, this pre-K through grade 12 independent private school teaches social responsibility—with a 100 percent acceptance rate to college. moundsparkacademy.org
Music in the Parks
Local bands of all genres play free concerts at the Como Lakeside Pavilion all summer. stpaul.gov