Moving to St. Cloud MN – what you need to know!

You’ve decided you want to live in Minnesota to enjoy the lakes and brave the brutal winters. Perhaps you’re new to the state or just looking to relocate to a bigger/smaller city and you’ve picked St. Cloud MN! 

What you need to know:

  • The St. Cloud area includes St. Cloud & Waite Park (they kind of blob into one another). Go across the river and you’re in Sauk Rapids, with Sartell tucked in nearby. St. Joe is a few miles down the road. An hour drive will get you to the Twin Cities, Alexandria and Willmar. 

  • St. Cloud settles along both sides of the Mississippi River. The hospital is on the river, as is the university, walking trails and parks. There are 3 bridges that will aid you in crossing the river.
  • There’s a mall! You can find ample choices for attire and munchies across many genres. Not all of the spaces are filled, but you still have many options to shop for the perfect things. Or just go for an indoor stroll as the mall is set up as loop with anchor arms – perfect for a climate controlled stroll when the weather gets gnarly cold (it will happen). 

  • There are 4 chicken restaurants, ample pizza places (Gary’s is a local fav), and a one of a kind burger joint that has been serving rapid serve burgers for 3 generations (Val’s – go once, you’ll be addicted!).

  • Dairy Queen will supply you with tasty frozen treats (two in St. Cloud, one in Sauk Rapids) but only during the warm months – March to November. Mr. Twisty is another local frozen treat go to place with two locations – St. Cloud & Sartell plus an ice cream food truck! They too close in the winter months. If you’re craving soft serve in the form of Dairy Queen in winter you’ll have to head out of town or head over to Culvers, McDonalds, or Wendy’s. 

  • There are 5 dog parks in the area – three in St. Cloud, one in St. Joe & one in Sartell. You can read more about them in this blog post. 
  • Petco & Petsmart are the duo of dog friendly supply places, you can also gear up & get supplies for your pup at Menards, Fleet Farm, Runnings, and Mimbach Fleet Supply. (There are also two Targets and two Walmarts, a Costco and Sam’s Club.)
  • Aim for a stroll along the revamped Beaver Island trail that winds along the river, or pop out to Quarry Park for a stroll amongst the trees and retired quarries (they are stocked with trout!) or head out to Sand Prairie Wildlife Management Area to walk into a large grassy area with your dog. There are tons of other parks to explore. In town they come in various sizes from wee to many city blocks. A short drive will bring you to countryside and additional parks to explore with your pup. 

Although a city (population 68,462 as of 2019 census estimates) St. Cloud retains the feeling of a smaller quaint town, especially once you navigate away from the main road arteries, old downtown and the mall area. There’s a giant library, and a large very pretty flower garden to explore (pups not permitted in the upper garden) and tons of charm in old downtown.  Tri County Humane Society is the local animal rescue and are active in the community with a fundraiser walk in September. Check out the art crawl downtown in the spring & summer months, visit the Benton County Fair (late July / early August) take in the HUGE car show in August (on the 22nd this year).  Fourth of July Fireworks are launched from the river and can be viewed from many areas. 

When the weather gets cold, strap on your ice skates and head to Lake George. Or head to the slopes – Powder Ridge Ski Resort is only about 20 minutes away in Kimball! More of a sledder? Grab your sled and scope out the local hills – there’s some monsters in town!

What about dog friendly places?

The St. Cloud MN is sort of dog friendly. If you want to bring your pup out and meet up with friends for a drink or food you’ll be limited to the available outdoor patios. (Inclement weather & winter will have your pup staying home as they aren’t allowed inside.)  Otherwise you’ll have to meet up with friends at one of the dog parks or have a bbq and invite them to your yard.  

If you want to snag a brew or some noms with your pup here are some patios you can pop over to: 
(Call ahead to see if patio seating is available – some patio spaces are quite small!)

  • Milk & Honey Hard Ciders (St. Joe)
  • White Horse
  • Lincoln Depot
  • 7 West Taphouse
  • Molitor’s Quarry Grill & Bar (Sauk Rapids)
  • Bad Habit Brewing (St. Joe)
  • Beaver Island Brewing
  • Old Capital Tavern (Sauk Rapids)
  • Bello Cucina (St. Joe)
  • Olde Brick House
  • Blue Line (St. Cloud only / Sartell location not dog friendly)
  • Panera Bread
  • Pepperjax Grill
  • Coyote Moon Grille
  • Pickled Loon Bar & Restaurant
  • Green Mill Restaurant & Bar
  • Rock Creek Coffeehouse (Sauk Rapids)
  • Grizzly’s Wood Fired Grill
  • The Local Blend (St. Joe)
  • Jules’ Bistro 

If you’d rather stroll a shop, Petsmart & Petco are going to be your top choices (plus your pup can pick out the perfect toy or treat!). JoAnn Fabrics has a dog friendly sticker on their door and Arrow Ace Hardware did confirm being dog friendly when inquired. More research will be done! Best bet is to call ahead to double check if the shop is dog friendly or not. 

St. Cloud MN has a plethora of offerings – from antique stores, boutiques, to big box find them everywhere stores, to the historical society, and ample parks and walking paths. Take in a movie at the theater, stroll the mall, get your car washed, eat as much chicken you can handle (or burgers or sandwiches) and visit the neighboring towns that make up the St. Cloud MN blob – Sauk Rapids, Sartell & Waite Park with St. Joe right down the road. Snag your pup for a stroll in one of the many parks, or head to the Mississippi River for a swim.

Did I mention there are tons of nearby lakes you can explore too? Warner Lake in Clearwater is popular and has a dog friendly beach area. Not all lakes have beaches, but many have public water accesses where your dog can jump in on a hot day. Or drop in your boat and take your dog on a cruise around the blue waters. 

Tons of awesome things to do, explore, see and eat in St. Cloud MN! All the things you didn’t know!

Ready for a session that’s urban in theme? Let’s stroll around downtown St. Cloud! Visit the contact page for all the ways to get your session set up!

We’re in a blog circle! Next up Nicole Hrustyk of Pawtraits by Nicole shares tips on what to do with your dog in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

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