Have you ever asked yourself, ‘What are the Twin Cities?’
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With over 180 parks, 16 lakes, and 200 miles of recreational paths and the nearby Mississippi River, the Twin Cities of Minnesota state are greener than green. Saint Paul and Minneapolis are both divided by the great Mississippi River, providing an excellent opportunity for the parks and recreation to flourish and bloom. Both cities are amazingly beautiful, and you’ll find no shortage of things to do in the Twin Cities.
St. Paul, MN, USA residents love outdoor activities. Lush green parks and the eco-lifestyle make people go into the great outdoors, even in winter. The city has introduced a new, better, and expanding light-rail transit system along with green buses. It’s an amazingly time-saving and eco-friendly way to get around the city.
Minneapolis, Minnesota is just as dedicated to going green as its sister city. The city has partnered with energy companies in order to reach broader horizons for energy efficiency and renewable energy.
If you like to admire nature closely, then you’ll find tons of Twin Cities activities to keep you busy. The beautiful river, thriving parks, and eco-friendly environment will make you feel miles away from the metropolitan lifestyle. All in all, you’ll find plenty of things to do in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
Best Time to Visit St. Paul
While the residents of the Twin Cities love going out all year-round, the best time to visit Minneapolis, Saint Paul is from June to August. It’s when the temperature reaches around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. At this time, lakes and parks are filled with locals and visitors looking for fun things to do in the Twin Cities.
Minneapolis, St. Paul attractions are in full swing in summer. Huge festivals and large farmer markets take over the cities.
However, if you would rather visit the city in a comparatively quieter time, early fall is an amazing time to visit. As the leaves change colours, every corner becomes the next perfect spot. The comfortable temperature also allows more options for diverse activities.
Winters in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota are frosty, but they bring abundant deals from hotels and airlines. This makes the winter season a great time to visit St. Paul on a budget.
Top Things to Do in St. Paul
You’ll never be wondering what to do in Minneapolis, St. Paul. As the state capital, Saint Paul is very different from other cities in Minnesota. It is laid out spaciously and is built over terraces above Mississippi. This town has an atmosphere of an old and historic frontier town. It’s a unique city, and you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in St. Paul.
When you’re looking for things to do in St. Paul, MN, the jewel in St. Paul’s crown is the amazing “Cathedral of St. Paul”. St. Paul s Cathedral overlooks the downtown region of the city, so it’s a perfect detour if you’re looking for things to do in downtown Saint Paul.
St. Paul is filled with sustainable historic activities. Let’s have a look at how you can make your time memorable in this green city.
Explore Downtown, Stroll the Historic Summit Avenue and Visit St. Pauls Cathedral
If you are wondering of things to do in St. Paul, MN near the fall season, you can always go sight-seeing for leaves; you’ll witness all sorts of colours along Summit Avenue. As it brings you a blend of nature and history in one place.
Would you believe that this is home to the longest and largest collections of breathtaking Victorian buildings in the United States? Out of 440 of its original mansions, 373 are still standing strong in Saint Paul, giving this place an unexplainable vibe.
From the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century, millionaires of Saint Paul Mn lived in these mansions. The avenue begins with the mesmerizing Cathedral of St. Paul, a scaled version of Saint Peter’s Basilica of Vatican City. This marks the city’s highest point downtown.
The Landmark Center is one of the most distinguished buildings in this area of Saint Paint Mn. The Landmark Center was opened in 1902 and acted as a United States Post Office, Courthouse, and Custom House for Minnesota State.
To learn about Minnesota history, the James J Hill Mansion can be toured from Wednesday to Sunday. It is the former home of railway mogul James J Hill, and is one of the most impressive examples of historic houses in the area.
After a visit to the James J Hill Mansion, head to Wabasha Street to explore the Wabasha Street Caves and to learn more about Minnesota history in Saint Paul Mn. The Wabasha Street Caves are all about mobster stories and ghost legends.
One of the top things to do in downtown St. Paul is to visit the Minnesota History Center. The Minnesota History Center is open from Tuesday to Sunday and has lots of interactive exhibits about Minnesota history and the history of the United States. If you are wondering about things to do in St. Paul Mn with kids add the Minnesota History Center to your itinerary.
Saint Paul also has many restaurants, stalls, and shops for tourists. You can look at the historic houses all you want. Buy a few souvenirs from the Minnesota History Center, eat something amazing and make memories. A day in downtown Saint Paint Mn, and along Summit Avenue stands firm as one of the best things to do in St. Paul Minnesota.
Check Out St. Paul’s Exceptional Neighborhoods
The city’s amazing neighbourhoods are brilliant places to go in Saint Paul Mn. They bring a unique vibe to the city’s value and some localities are working hard to provide visitors and residents with a better and more sustainable lifestyle. One amazing area is the Uptown neighbourhood of St. Paul.
If you are visiting here in August, make sure to attend the famous Food Truck Festival that occurs in Lowertown, St. Paul. It is one of the best St. Paul activities for foodies.
As the name suggests, this festival showcases more than forty food trucks. These food trucks will bring you delicious street dishes, including pizzas, papaya salads, mini gourmet donuts, and crispy, fried snacks.
The best part? It features live music and the event is free. Listen to melodious songs and dance your heart out. This festival has plenty of games, giveaways, and gifts. A lot of fun and amusement is guaranteed.
Also located in Uptown, is Como Park. This destination is home to Como Lake, scenic trails, picnic areas, and the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. A visit to Como Park rivals the Minnesota History Center as the best places to go in St. Paul with kids.
Make Memories at The St. Paul Winter Carnival
Minnesotans are fun at heart. Even some of the coldest temperatures in Minnesota State cannot keep residents inside. Instead they chose to embrace the mesmerizing beauty of white winter by celebrating it with a unique festival. The St. Paul Winter Carnival is an annual event, and one of the state’s top things to do. MN residents would agree.
Most tourists visit St. Paul during winters only to attend this fabulous festival which continues into the night. So, if you’re looking for things to do in St. Paul at night, the festival lights are a beautiful sight.
Going into full winter spirit, this festival brings unique winter celebrations to the St. Paul, Minneapolis region. It includes an ice palace, skiing, and snowshoeing. This carnival shows how to have fun in harsh, chilly weather. It is rightly called the Coolest Celebration on Earth, and when you’re looking for St. Paul, MN attractions, you know you won’t find another one quite like it.
St. Paul has been celebrating this winter gala since 1886. Family-friendly activities and events have made it a one-of-a-kind event over the years. Bringing community pride to the city, the natives celebrate this event with increasing zeal and zest every year.
Most events, activities, and stuff to do in St.Paul are free at the festival. Just make sure to bring warm clothes to fight the ice-cold winter of St. Paul. Also, bring camera gear to capture the picturesque snow.
Top Things to Do in Minneapolis, MN
Explore the Chain of Lakes
If you are wondering, “what is Minneapolis known for?”, it’s known for its great outdoor areas. Part of that is due to the 10,000 Lakes which Minnesota has within its borders and which Minneapolis has five of. So, if you’re looking for things to do in downtown Minneapolis, consider the Chain of Lakes. It is free to explore and is open year-round.
Each lake has different Minneapolis activities to offer. If you’re up for a bit of boating or burning off some energy, Lake Calhoun will probably be more your speed. If you’re looking for live music or to spend the day at the bird sanctuary, then Lake Harriet is probably closer to what you’re looking for. And if you’re just looking for a quiet place to have a picnic, take a stroll, or take in the scenery, then Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake, or Brownie Lake will all be able to fill that niche.
Experience Minnehaha Falls Regional Park
Named after the stream and 53-foot waterfall, Minnehaha Falls Regional Park is a beautiful place to see and one of the top tourist attractions in Minneapolis, St. Paul area. You can take a trip into the gorge to see where the waterfall empties.
If you’re feeling more adventurous or if you’d like to get a spot of fishing in, then you can head to the beach for a fantastic view of Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River.
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Minneapolis with your family, then Minnehaha Falls still has your back. The park has multiple historic houses, an off-leash dog park, a wading pool, and a disc golf course.
Even if you’re not sure what you’d like to do, the 50-mile Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway will most likely have something that catches your eye on your quest for fun places to go in Minneapolis.
Tour the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Working in conjunction with the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the top Minneapolis attractions. It’s open every day from 6 AM until midnight, so you can explore the art in broad daylight or see the sights after dark. While self-guided tours are always an option, if you’re there on the weekend then you can get a free guided tour at noon.
Not only is it beautiful, but landscape architects have worked to make sure that the sculpture garden is as sustainable as it can be. The land not only supports the art, but also the wildlife and the plant life, and stormwater is managed as a resource rather than a waste product.
If you’re looking for fun things to do in Minneapolis while also looking for some culture, then the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden won’t disappoint.
Where to Stay in St. Paul
There are lots of great places to stay in Saint Paul. Here are some of our favourites that offer easy access to the top things to see in Minneapolis, St. Paul region.
The St. Paul Hotel
This hotel promises luxuries with a touch of history, beautiful decor, 24-hour rooftop gym, valet parking, and much more. Ranked among the top hotels in the country, the Saint Paul Hotel is famous for its European inspired look and old classical charm.
The premium location, extraordinary services, comfortable accommodations, and elegance make this hotel unique and worth-staying. Just staying here could be classified as one of the top things to do in St Paul, Minneapolis region.
Corban Manor Inn
Where to Stay in Minneapolis, MN
Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown
If you’re especially looking forward to things to do in downtown Minneapolis, then the Radisson Blu is the perfect place to set up your home base for your stay. You’ll have all the amenities you need and you’ll be within easy walking distance of plenty of Minneapolis attractions. The building also has direct access to the Minneapolis Skyway.
Grand Hotel Minneapolis
With a GreenLeader Silver level, you can sleep easy at the Grand Hotel, knowing that you’re staying with a business that cares about its impact on the world. The Grand Hotel is also within easy walking distance of many of the cities best things to do, Minneapolis entertainment opportunities, and restaurants.
If you prefer a busier atmosphere with a bit more hustle and bustle, then basing yourself at the Graduate will scratch that itch. Across the street from a university campus, the Graduate’s lounge is always playing host to plenty of people, and it’s not unusual for it to host concerts.
Where to Eat in St. Paul
St. Paul is packed with remarkable food places. For vegans and vegetarians, here are a few top restaurants in St. Paul.
Featuring local, organic, and indigenous ingredients, Pizza Lucé brings you the best gluten-free pizza in town. Best vegan choices include Bruschetta and Rustler.
Aiming to provide gluten-free food, J Selby’s is one of the most popular vegan restaurant choices in St. Paul. Using organic ingredients, it brings you a variety of vegan dishes. Best choices include hash, dirt secret burger, and buffalo wings.
100% organic and vegan, this woman-owned local restaurant features amazing food with character. Visit this restaurant to give your tastebuds a unique experience. The innovative, made from scratch food will give a whole new experience. Popular choices include chicken gyro, Turkey shawarma, and a juicy lamb burger.
Where to Eat In Minneapolis, MN
One of the top things to do in Minneapolis, St. Paul region is to eat! There is an impressive culinary scene with some eco-conscious options.
The Bachelor Farmer
Dedicated to honoring Minnesota, the Bachelor Farmer is an eco-conscious restaurant that serves predominantly Nordic food. The menu changes from day to day, as all ingredients are organic and locally sourced, so the menu depends on what is available at the time.
Dangerous Man Brewery
If you are wondering what to do in Minneapolis, it never fails to pay a visit to Dangerous Man Brewery. This microbrewery and taproom, focuses on small-batch production beers and an ever-rotating tap list. It hosts frequent events, and there’s a private event space upstairs and a shop for merchandise and specially selected cheeses a couple doors down. For the chance to tour a few breweries with a hoard of new friends check out this 3-hour Craft Brewery Tour.
The Birchwood Cafe is a bit pricier, but the quality of the food is well worth the cost. With a menu that rotates based on the seasons, the Birchwood focuses on comfort food with locally sourced, organic, sustainable ingredients. It’s wheelchair accessible and offers vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options.
How Much Time Do You Need in St. Paul?
The answer to this question completely depends on your overall stay in Minnesota. If you are in the city for a specific festival, you might want to stay at least one whole day in the city to enjoy fully. Whereas, if you are visiting the city more generally, it should take you almost two to three days. If you plan on visiting both cities, then double that time.
However, if you plan to stay in Minnesota for a longer period, give Minneapolis or Saint Paul, MN at least a week to fully explore.
Have you ever been to Saint Paul Minnesota? Which events did you go and what is the best experience you had during your visit?
Author Bio: Kyle is the Co-Founder and Editor of Via Travelers. Via Travelers is a modern travel blog focused on helping you learn the best travel tips, travel hacks and itineraries to explore the world. Find your wanderlust. Follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter.