Local Atmosphere

Saint Peter, MN
Admission Difficulty
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3 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: It's a fantastic community and there's more than you'd expect considering how small St. Peter is.

4 College Freshman

Local Atmosphere: St peter is a pretty small town with not too much but Mankato isn't too far away and there's almost always someone willing to drive there.

5 College Junior

Local Atmosphere: Small town but not exclusive. Many events on campus

3 College Senior

Local Atmosphere: In a small city, yet provides a good campus community

1 person found this useful Report
2 College Sophomore

Local Atmosphere: It's simply a small town!

1 person found this useful Report

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Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Steven Olson
Moorhead, MN
History and Scandinavian Studies
Grad Year
View all previous student authors

St. Peter is known for its tranquil neighborhoods on the weekdays and its rowdy streets on the weekends. The city itself has almost everything a student would need: groceries (conventional grocery store and a food cooperative), coffee shops, liquor stores, hair salons, Chinese and pizza joints, and a few bars. While some who come from larger cities may find this boring and rural, most Gustavus students are satisfied with the drive to Mankato being 15 minutes and the Twin Cities 90 minutes. Some students like this small-town feeling because it encourages more kids to stay on campus and partake in the on-campus activities sponsored by the student-led Campus Activities Board. This group of students creates and manages sporting, entertainment, and music events throughout the year. Because of this incredible group of students devoted to providing events on campus, there is almost always something to do with friends on Friday and Saturday nights–and almost always free. 

Gustavus's relations with the city are generally healthy. The police do patrol in marked and unmarked vehicles, and weekend parties are busted, with kids receiving citations, but most residents and students view each other in a positive light. The local transportation system is good at getting you from point A to B (the bus taxi system) with a cost of $1 per ride, but it doesn't run all the time and it's limited to the city of St. Peter. Conveniently, though, it runs for free on Friday and Saturday nights, shuttling Gustavus students to and from the bars in an effort to deter drunk driving. If you have friends at St. Olaf or Carleton, they're only an hour away and the University of Minnesota an hour and a half.

Facts & Statistics

Fun Local Trivia
  1. St. Peter could have been the state capital of Minnesota, had it not been for Joe Rolette. In 1857, he stole the legislation and prevented the governor from signing it into effect. Today there is now a park in the space once intended for the capitol building.
  2. When the town was hit with a devastating F5 tornado in 1998, most of the campus was completely destroyed. Even though the Christ Chapel suffered extensive damage, the eternal candle never went out.
Notable Natives
  • Horace Austin - sixth governor of Minnesota
  • Willis Arnold Gorman - second governor of the Minnesota territory
  • John Albert Johnson - 16th governor of Minnesota
  • Andrew Ryan McGill - 10th governor of Minnesota
  • Henry Adoniram Swift - third governor of Minnesota
Local Slang
  • Duck, Duck, Gray Duck : You know that childhood game known as "Duck, Duck, Goose"? It's "Duck, Duck, Gray Duck" in these parts.
  • Hair Binder: Hair tie
  • Pop: What Minnesotans call soda
Points of Interest
  • E. St. Julien Cox House
  • Linnaeus Arboretum
  • Seven-Mile Creek Park
  • Treaty Site History Center
Shopping Centers
  • Madison East Center
  • Mankato Heights Plaza
  • Mankato Historic Old Town District
Movie Theaters
Carmike Stadium Cinema 6
220 Stadium Road
(507) 625-3456
Movie Theaters
Cinemark Movies 8
1850 Adams St.
(507) 625-1929
Movie Theaters
St. Peter Cinema 5
621 S. Minnesota Ave.
St. Peter
(507) 931-5921
Major Sports Teams
  • Minnesota Timberwolves: NBA
  • Minnesota Twins: MLB
  • Minnesota Vikings: NFL
  • Minnesota Wild: NHL
Distances to Nearest Major Cities
  • Mankato, Minn.: : 10 minutes
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul: : 1 hour
Did You Know?
Every fall, the city hosts the Rock Bend Folk Festival, which is a weekend-long event that draws in crowds of people with the wide variety of food, vendors, and of course, music.

Student Polls

Rate the local atmosphere on the following topics    Based on 42 responses

Very poor
  • Cost of living
  • Dining
  • Friendliness of locals toward students
  • Museums/cultural attractions
  • Nightlife
  • Parking
  • Parks and recreation
  • Professional sports
  • Safety
  • Scenery
  • Shopping
  • Transportation

What is the local atmosphere like at your school?    Based on 42 responses

  • 5% Painfully remote.
  • 7% In or near a big city, but there's not much to do off campus.
  • 60% Small town with plenty of charm.
  • 29% Vibrant college town. There's no big city, but there are plenty of things to do off campus.
  • 0% City living at its finest. There's always something fun and interesting going on.

What is the proximity to other universities? Is there much interaction?    Based on 42 responses

  • 14% There aren't any nearby schools.
  • 52% There are nearby schools, but students do NOT interact much.
  • 33% There are nearby schools that students often interact with.

Can you see yourself living here after graduation?    Based on 42 responses

  • 31% No way.
  • 52% Maybe, if I could find a good job.
  • 17% Totally.



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