Today's Star Tribune features an op-ed submitted by a Lowertown resident named Amy and her reaction to last Sunday's story about the work we'd like to see happen along 5th Street as part of the Downtown Investment Strategy. I don't mean to sound hyperbolic when I say that what she wrote is one of my favorite things I've ever read. We've linked to it below and I'd love for you all to take a look. We couldn't agree with her more that our downtown has so, so much to love. Our goal is to capture that magic and multiply it across more of downtown.

We've also shared a story this week from the Sahan Journal that features a profile of Yen Fang, the owner and pastry chef behind SoYen, Lowertown's newest and hottest bakery. Only open since mid-March, SoYen is already amassing lines around the block from folks eager to pick up one (or several) of their brioche donuts before they sell out.

Finally, keep reading for a link to a great clip from last week's episode of Almanac with Bill Lindeke talking more about the Downtown Investment Strategy, as well as a look at the week of events including the Fraser Festival this week and the Saints Happy Hour on Tuesday.

Take care and enjoy the weekend,


P.S.: We're hiring! Our team is ready to grow and we're looking for a bright and motivated executive assistant / project manager to join us! If you or someone you know is interested in learning more you can find the full job description here.

OPINION EXCHANGE | Counterpoint: What's already great in downtown Saint Paul

Don't let coverage of 5th Street's struggles bring you down (or mislead you).

The March 31 news article "Imagining a new life for 5th St." was typical in that it describes a problem in downtown Saint Paul and how city leaders intend to fix it. Such articles are necessary, but I worry that — if people only read such articles — they will never know what's already great about life in downtown Saint Paul.

Having moved into a condo near Mears Park last year, my husband and I have been living the downtown Saint Paul life, and we have never been happier. We can walk everyplace and have gone months without driving. We can go out for morning coffee at the Lost Fox, the Buttered Tin, or Saint City Catering. We get fresh vegetables and flowers at the farmers market every weekend for ridiculously low prices.

Read more from the Star Tribune

The hollow street in the core of downtown Saint Paul

Downtown leaders have high hopes for lackluster 5th Street, which links Xcel Energy Center with Lowertown.

A trip down 5th Street spotlights many of the struggles downtowns have experienced across the country even before the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic: vacant office buildings, shuttered storefronts, declining property values, sidewalks populated by the homeless.

But to St. Paul leaders, that walk also is ripe for envisioning a more vibrant downtown — and strategizing how to manifest it.

Offices could be converted to apartments with the help of state and city incentives. A street reconstruction could make it safer and better for pedestrians. Multimillion-dollar redevelopments of the Xcel Center and Central Station could bring new life to key parts of the neighborhood.

Read more from the Star Tribune

Almanac - Downtown Saint Paul

UMN's Bill Lindeke discusses a proposal for revitalizing downtown Saint Paul.

Watch the full clip from Twin Cities PBS

SoYen Desserts' brioche donuts draw long lines in Saint Paul

SoYen Desserts in Lowertown Saint Paul, a new bakery launched by Yen Fang, features brioche donuts, Japanese cheesecakes, and crepe cakes.

Yen Fang’s palate was shaped by the Hmong treats she ate growing up. But it took a trip to New York, where she tried a Japanese cheesecake, to inspire her first business.

SoYen Desserts recently held its grand opening at 275 4th St. E. in Lowertown St. Paul, where it is drawing lines out the door for Fang’s hand-rolled brioche donuts, as well as her cheesecakes, crepe cakes, panna cotta, and congee.

“It’s a little bit of Italian, a little bit of Thai, a little bit of Hmong,” Fang said. “It’s everything I like and I just hope that the community comes in, that whatever they eat they also like, because it’s SoYen.”

Read more from the Sahan Journal

Alary's Bar in downtown Saint Paul to reopen with new owner

Alary's Bar, a fixture in downtown Saint Paul since 1949, is coming back.

The bar, which has been through many changes since its inception as a burlesque club, closed in June of 2023. Rumors at the time were that there was a new owner and that the concept would change.

We now know who the new owner is, and fans of the Chicago Bears bar will be happy to know that it will continue to be Alary’s and will operate a sports bar.

Bill Collins, owner of Camp Bar on Robert Street, has purchased the art deco building, and as a Chicago native, plans to change very little.

Read more from the Pioneer Press

Here's a glance at what's happening downtown this week.

A full look at what's coming up can be found on our event calendar. Check it out!

Apr. 5-7

On Your Feet!


Apr. 5

Ms. Dorothy Shelby & The Sky's The Limit

Papa Legba's Lounge

Apr. 5

Radio Joe & The Jazzbos

MetroNOME Brewery

Apr. 5

Dan + Shay

Xcel Energy Center

Apr. 5

After Dark: St. Paul's Hilarious Comedy Improv Show!

Camp Bar

Apr. 6

Capital City Village Bazaar Extravaganza

Union Depot

Apr. 6

Fraser Festival


Apr. 6

Minnesota Wild vs. Winnipeg

Xcel Energy Center

Apr. 6


Palace Theatre

Apr. 6

Sundays at Landmark: Urban Expedition Brazil

Landmark Center

Apr. 8

Free Yoga at Union Depot - Sculpt

Union Depot

Apr. 9

St. Paul Saints Happy Hour

Lowertown/CHS Field

Apr. 9-14

Saints vs Iowa Cubs

CHS Field

Apr. 10

Clash of the Controllers

George Latimer Central Library

Apr. 11-13

2024 NCAA Men's Frozen Four

Xcel Energy Center

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Fraser Festival at Saint Paul RiverCentre is a sensory-friendly event for people of all abilities

The Fraser Festival was designed to offer a Disney World-like experience in a sensory-friendly environment that would support neurodiverse children and their families, organizers said.

Read more from the Pioneer Press

Are you following the Alliance on Facebook? What about Instagram?

Make sure you're following the Downtown Alliance on social media to stay up to date on all the latest downtown events and news. Plus, we do love giveaways, so you never know when you could end up with tickets, swag or other great downtown prizes. 



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