Located in central Minnesota, St. Cloud is known for its friendly, small-town atmosphere. However, with more than 66,000 people living there, it also has enough urban amenities to make life very comfortable for its residents. The city is known for its beautiful parks, of which there are 95. The largest sits on what was once the airport, and covers more than 243 acres. The second largest university in the state is St. Cloud State University. The school enrolls more than 16,000 students each year. Being a northern school, hockey is the most important sport, and the Huskies are a Division I competitor, and have made it to the championship of their conference on nine separate occasions.
When you're looking for a place in St. Cloud, it is probably best to avoid looking during the winter. The St. Cloud winter is fairly harsh, and many people prefer to stay home and move in the summer instead. This means that there will be more apartments available in the summer than in the winter.
St. Cloud is a very friendly town, and you should find most landlords pleasant and easy to get along with. They're going to place a lot of value on meeting you in person, so make sure you make the effort to do so. If it comes down to someone just applying long distance and someone willing to go and meet a landlord in person, the edge goes to the person willing to make the trip in many cases.
If you're looking to get around St. Cloud, a car is the way to go. However, severe winter conditions here necessitate a cautious driving style and a set of winter tires during the colder months. It is also advisable that you exercise extreme caution if you move to town and haven't had experience driving in icy or snowy conditions in the past.
The Stearns County History Museum is a great way to learn about the place you've just moved. Granite City Days is a large summer festival that draws people from outlying areas as well as from St. Cloud itself. Probably the most well known dining and drinking establishment is the DB Searles Bar and Restaurant, which has four floors with four different atmospheres.
Saint Cloud kids love the AirMaxx Trampoline Park, which also features an arcade on top of the thousands of square feet of trampoline space. Musinger Gardens is a very relaxing place to spend an afternoon in one of the most well landscaped attractions in the entire city. The Paramount Arts District in the downtown core is another major point of interest. This is where the majority of the theatres and galleries are in town. Finally, the 150 year old Saint Cloud University has many historic buildings and exhibits that are worth a visit.
DB Searle’s Bar and Restaurant is worth a visit for the history alone. This restaurant has a history stretching back over 130 years. Every college town also needs a legendary local pizza parlour, and in St. Cloud, that title goes to the House of Pizza on 5th Avenue South. It is somewhat of a rite of passage when attending St. Cloud State University to eat at House of Pizza on a regular basis. Michael’s is a unique restaurant that serves authentic Austrian fare. RJ’s American Grill is a casual family restaurant that has a slightly more upscale atmosphere than what you find in many similar venues.
Granite City Food & Brewery is a place you must stop if you love beer. Their in-house brews are made with an attention to detail that shows through in every variety they put on tap. The Beaver Island Brewing Co. is another local microbrewery, and their taproom is open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and is the best place to go and discover first hand what is new in St. Cloud brewing. The Press bar and Parlor is a great bar that offers something different depending on which part of the bar you visit. If you just want a drink and a meal, you can stay downstairs. However, if you want to dance all night then head up to the upstairs dance floor.
Much of the best culture in the city is found at the University. For instance, the St. Cloud State University Theatre department programs an entire season of theatre that is professional-level, and well worth taking in. Pioneer Place on Fifth is one of the best places in town to head for a night out, as it features live theatre, live music, and even regular free, Monday night jazz shows. The Paramount Theatre and Visual Arts Gallery is another source of culture in downtown St. Cloud. In addition to a gallery, the Paramount also features a Visual Arts Center with available facilities for people who work in a wide variety of arts, and regular classes in many disciplines.
St. Cloud is home to a massive Pride Parade. Pride weekend takes place in mid-September, and there are events organized throughout the community to celebrate each year. There is a very large number of people in Minnesota with Norwegian heritage, and there are events throughout the state that celebrate that fact. In St. Cloud, this takes the form of the annual Sons of Norway Barnelopet, which is a free skiing event for youth. Summertime by George! Is a free music festival series that the local Rotary Club organizes. Finally, St. Cloud is also home to an ever-growing film festival that takes place in mid-November each year.
The Crossroads Center is your premiere shopping destination within the St. Cloud area. This mall features major anchor stores including a Macy’s and Sears. An ample food court also makes the mall an excellent place to come to grab a quick bite. Downtown Saint Cloud is a shopping destination in it's own right. Many of the buildings that the shops and stores are housed in are more than a century old. As a result, browsing through the various gift shops and boutiques is as much a historic tour of St. Cloud as it is a shopping trip.
Locally, activities like cross-country fishing, golf, and fishing are all popular thanks to the numerous great locations for enjoying those sports in the immediate area. When it comes to attending major sporting events though, St. Cloud residents support the St. Cloud State University Huskies. Most of the teams at the school compete in NCAA Division II, with the exception of the hockey teams, which are Division I competitors. Hockey is a very popular sport in St. Cloud, and the locals cram into the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center on game nights with regularity.
Exploring the Beaver Islands in the Mississippi by canoe or kayak is one of the most popular local outdoor activities during the summer months. Less than half an hour from the city is the Powder Ridge Ski Area, which is very popular with the student population during the winter months. Quarry Park and Nature Preserve is full of great trails for cycling, with more than 640 acres of land to explore. Also near to the city is the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. This truly massive park offers an unrivalled ability to be in nature without the intrusion of an urban environment.