The Como Neighborhood of Saint Paul is bounded to the west by Snelling Avenue, and to the east by Dale Street and a stretch of Lexington Avenue, and to the north and south by Larpenteur and Maryland avenues. Como is an urban departure from its western neighbors near the river.
This ethnically diverse Como neighborhood, is similar in structure to Highland Park, with recreational activity thriving around the lake. The solidly middle-class residential area offers the opportunity to get more house for your money than in Highland while still enjoying biking and walking trails, a community golf course, pool, and, of course, the Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.
When it's minus 25 degrees, and the rest of the folks in the Twin Cities are fantasizing about someplace warm, all Como residents have to do is step next door to the tropical park inside the glimmering glass Victorian Conservatory of Como Park. With one million visitors each year at the zoo alone, Como rates as the most used park in the seven.county metro area. Easily accessible to residents by bike or foot, most of Como's attractions are free, although there are modest entrance fees to visit the conservatory, use the pool, or play golf.
Known as St. Paul's Garden District, the park also features miles of trails, a Japanese garden, a band shell and extensive picnic grounds. Throngs of picnickers enjoy summer evenings much as they did at the tum-of.tfle.century when they rode out to the lake in horse-drawn omnibuses.
While the neighborhood surrounds the park and Lake Como, none of the homes are lakeside, although many of them enjoy lake and park views. The oldest houses were built on the lake's west side, some of them as summer villas for visitors from the South. A row of impressive 19th-century Victorians overlook the southern shore of Lake Como. Later waves of building in the 1940s, '70s, and '80s added Craftsman homes with sun-porches as well as moderately-priced bungalows close to Snelling Avenue. Today, about one-third of the houses are less than thirty years old. Two-thirds of the homes in the district are owner.occupied.
On the western edge of this neighborhood lies the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, which is viewed alternately as an asset and a liability. A perennial controversy at State Fair time has to do with those residents who allow fairgoers to park in their yards. While this brings in extra cash for some, it also clogs traffic and turns the usually tranquil neighborhoods into noisy parking lots for almost two weeks each August.
The Midway shopping area is close by and has banks, groceries, and discount stores; Rosedale Shopping Center and the shopping centers along Highway 36 are to the north in Roseville.
Web Sites: www.district1O.comopark.com, www.comopark.com, www.ci.stpaul.mn.us, www.tcfreenet.org
Area Code: 651
Zip Codes: 55103, 55108, 55117
Post Offices: Como Station, 2286 Como Avenue Rice Street Station; 40 Arlington Avenue East (all post office branches can be reached at 800-275-8777).
Police: Western District Patrol Team North, 651-292-3512; South, 651-292-3549
Emergency Hospital: United Hospital, 333 Smith Avenue North, 651-220-8000
Library: Hamline Branch, 1558 Minnehaha Avenue West, 651-642- 0293
Community Resource: Como Community Council, 1556 Como Avenue, 651-644-3889
Community Publications: St. Paul Grand Gazette, 651-699-1462; St. Paul Pioneer Press, 651-222-5011, www.pioneerplanet.com
Transportation: Bus Lines: 5: Downtown/State Fairgrounds/Inver Grove Heights; 12: Downtown/Rosedale/Roseville; 17: Dale Street/Rosedale; 95E: Downtown Minneapolis/Bandana Square/ Downtown St. Paul
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