Area code 651

Area code 651 is the telephone numbering plan code for Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the eastern suburbs of the Twin Cities. A dogleg portion also extends to the southeast along the Mississippi River to include cities such as Hastings. The region was the fifth area code created in the state in 1998, when it was carved out of area code 612.

Metropolitan area codes with 651 in dark green.
A map of Minnesota area codes.

From 1954 to 1996, 612 covered all of central Minnesota, stretching from border-to-border from Wisconsin to South Dakota. In 1996, nearly all of the 612 territory outside the Twin Cities became area code 320. This was intended as a long-term solution, but within a year, the proliferation of cell phones and pagers brought 612 back to the brink of exhaustion. It soon became apparent that the Twin Cities were growing far too quickly to stay in a single area code, forcing the creation of 651.

The dividing line between 612 and 651 largely follows the Mississippi River; generally, all of the metropolitan area east of the river transferred to 651, while the western half stayed in 612. An exception is the eastern half of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities' campus, located in Falcon Heights. Due to an integrated telephone system serving both the Falcon Heights campus and the main campus in Minneapolis, the entire U of M remained in 612 after the 1998 split.

The area code splits in the Twin Cities are unusual because they split along municipal, rather than central office, boundaries. This led to a sizable number of exchanges being divided between two area codes, and a few being divided among three.

Even with the Twin Cities' continued growth, 651 is one of the few urbanized area codes without an overlay, making St. Paul one of the few large cities where seven-digit dialing would still be possible. Under current projections, it will stay that way for the foreseeable future; the latest NANPA projections do not include an exhaust date for 651.[1]

The four Twin Cities area codes (612, 651, 763 and 952) comprise one of the largest local calling areas in the United States; with a few exceptions, no long-distance charges are applied from one part of the Twin Cities to another. Portions of area codes 320 and 507 are local calls from the Twin Cities as well.

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Minnesota area codes: 218, 320, 507, 612, 651, 763, 952
North: 320, 534, 715
West: 612, 763, 952 651 East: 534, 715, 608
South: 507
Wisconsin area codes: 262, 414, 534/715, 608, 920

Coordinates: 44°57′N 93°0′W / 44.950°N 93.000°W / 44.950; -93.000