4 Top Midwest Shopping Neighborhoods
Saint Paul: Grand Avenue
In the late 19th century, Grand Avenue boasted the city's first electric trolley car and stately homes of well-heeled citizens. F. Scott Fitzgerald caroused there in the 1920s. But vacant buildings and crime pocked the main 25-block stretch by 1960. To reverse the blight, entrepreneurs formed a volunteer association and started breathing life back into the neighborhood.
Today, more than 200 boutiques, coffeehouses, ice-cream parlors, restaurants and other businesses reside on and near Grand Avenue. Residents come here for fresh coffee, financial planning advice, doctors' appointments and church services; shoppers indulge in baked goods, upscale restaurants and unique specialty shops -- such as Garden of Eden (left), which sells custom-scented lotion, shampoo, conditioner and oils.