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Mickey’s Diner – A Fun Joint for Families in St. Paul, Minnesota

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Mickey's Diner has everything a diner should have: greasy food, thick milkshakes, jukebox tunes, and cranky waitresses. Serving up good eats and free downtown parking 24 hours a day since it opened in St. Paul in 1939, this restaurant was designed to resemble the dining railroad cars of its time. I remember coming here as a kid from the Minnesota suburbs and falling for its train-like appearance and neon sign out front. Mickey's felt almost magical to me, like stepping into an imagined scene from my parents' childhood. I think it's why, to this day, I feel compelled to stop into any diner I stumble upon for some simple fare and retro ambiance.

Mickey's Diner St. Paul

Mickey's Diner in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The food

There's no children's menu but food is affordable at Mickey's Diner. Even picky eaters can find something they like here from hamburgers and B.L.T.s, to eggs and pancakes from their all-day breakfast menu. I found the fried chicken a little bland and dry but the burgers were a big hit with my teenage triplet niece and nephews. My sister wished she could have a second serving of Mickey's Mulligan stew. And although I'm not typically a baked beans kind of a gal, I gobbled up my side of homemade brown-sugared, not-too-mushy legumes. Of course, you'll want to get a shake or malt. Choose from vanilla, chocolate, banana, raspberry, or strawberry. They'll even split your choice in half (or thirds) for those with small stomachs or considerable restraint.

Mickey's Diner St. Paul

The “Classic” — Mickey's cheeseburger with a few hashbrowns & a little Mulligan stew (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)


I've got good news and I've got bad news. The good news is the mini jukeboxes perched on every table really work and play oldies by artists like Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, and Patsy Cline. The bad news is your 3-year-old (if he's anything like mine) will be so enthralled with this contraption that he will take only a bite or two of his grilled cheese sandwich. Instead he will insist on putting change into the machine again…and again…and again. Luckily, he will like to press the return change button more than actually playing music, so this activity won't cost much.

Mickey's Diner jukebox

Tabletop jukebox at Mickey's Diner

Mickey's Diner fame

Mickey's Diner might sound familiar to you and I'll tell you why. This restaurant has appeared on the Food Network's Unwrapped, Rachel Rays' Tasty Travels, Alton Brown's Feasting on Asphalt, and Roker on the Road. It's also been featured in movies like Jingle All the Way, A Prairie Home Companion, and the Mighty Ducks series. Or maybe you read about Mickey's in The Smithsonian, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated, Easy Rider, Playboy and Elle magazines. And now…surely Mickey's most exciting achievement…here is this story on! 😉

Read more about Mickey's Diner on TripAdvisor.

Where is your favorite diner? Tell us in the comments!

About Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama

Colleen Lanin, MBA, is the founder and editor-in-chief of the popular travel blog, She is an expert in travel with kids and without. As the author of the book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents how to make the most of traveling with babies and children. Colleen loves sharing tips on hotels, cruises, spas, theme parks, and global lifestyle topics. When she is not traveling the world, she lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

  1. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Jody – I’ve never been to the Mickey’s in Highland Park. I’ll have to check it out next time we’re in the Twin Cities! Now I’m off to read your post about the Starlite Diner…

  2. When I lived in St Paul we would make after-bar visits to the Dining Car downtown, or if we were coming from Bloomington we would stop at Mickey’s in Highland Park. Always loved that place…

    If you’re ever around Little Rock I found a great diner there a couple months ago- the Starlite Diner:

  3. Joann Woolley says

    I will def look it up when I visit the hometown next time! Sounds like my kind of fare ; )

  4. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Joann – I didn’t know you were from Minnesota! You absolutely must stop by Mickey’s with the kids the next time you head home!

  5. It is a dirty, greasy dump, with bad attitude .We arrived there 8-3-2019, with 5 people, with flexible plans to eat lunch there. We have been there many times before. We had discussed that we might have to split up, to find a seat. The man cooking, barked out, we don’t have room for 45 minutes to a hour. We said we could split up, although it wasn’t too busy, and plenty of room for parking. He said, sit wherever you want, you still aren’t gonna get waited on. That made leaving really easy, plus it’s even more greasy and dirty than ever. We have all swung that door open for the last time, and won’t return. Went to a Keys restaurant a few blocks away. Clean, friendly people, and good food. Easy choice for future breakfast . Choose carefully

    • Colleen Lanin says

      Hi Robert – Mickey’s Diner definitely has attitude! I kind of think of it as part of the ambiance. 🙂 I understand your frustrations, though. Still, it’s a fun place…if they can squeeze you in!

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