Downtown

Whether you're planning every minute of your Saint Paul vacation or just find yourself with a free hour between meetings, the list of fun things to do ranges from art galleries to historical sites to professional sports to zoos . Where to begin all depends on what you're in the mood for, but we've got plenty of great tips to get you started - indoors, outdoors, and all along our 26 miles of Mississippi Riverfront.

Amusement and Water Parks

Como Town

1301 Midway Pkwy Saint Paul, MN USA / 651-487-2121

An outdoor family park with more than 18 rides and attraction sfor kids ages 2-12. Enjoy the bumper cars, family swing, frog hopper, and tea cups. Como Town also features new interactive rides that can't be found anywhere else in the upper Midwest; like Como Town Driving School, Sky Glider, and Fire Brigade. This beautifully shaded four-acre park is adjacent to the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Open May-September.

Extreme Sandbox

1901 Glendale Road Hastings, MN USA / 855-344-4386

The first and only recreational heavy equipment adventure in the Midwest! Extreme Sandbox allows people the opportunity to experience the thrill of operating heavy equipment in a safe and controlled environment. Our expert instructors will give you hands-on guidance through our precision obstacle courses and activities. This is a once in a lifetime experience to dig and play in a big kids playground!

Mall of America

60 East Broadway Bloomington, MN USA / 952-883-8800

Located just 10 miles from Saint Paul, Mall of America is the largest retail and entertainment complex in the nation. It features 520 stores, 50 restaurants and attractions galore. Nickelodeon Universe is in the center of the complex, and is the largest indoor family theme park in the US, and offers over 30 remarkable rides. Since opening its doors in 1992, Mall of America has revolutionized the shopping experience and become a leader in retail, entertainment and attractions. Mall of America is one of the top tourist destinations in the country as well as one of the most recognizable brands.

Nickelodeon Universe

60 East Broadway Bloomington, MN USA / 952-883-8600

Nickelodeon, the #1 entertainment brand for kids, and Mall of America®, the nation's premier shopping destination, have joined forces to create a one-of-a-kind theme park. Located in the center of Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe® features seven acres of unique attractions and entertainment. Meet the Nick characters, experience new rides, visit unique retail shops and much more!

Museums and Historical Sites

Alexander Ramsey House

265 S. Exchange St. Saint Paul, MN / 651-296-8760

Enjoy a glimpse into family and servant life in the 1870s. One of the nation's best preserved Victorian-era homes, the Ramsey House features carved walnut woodwork, marble fireplaces, crystal chandeliers and many original furnishings. Pick up Victorian- era souvenirs in the Carriage House gift shop. Year round tours Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call for holiday hours. Reservations recommended.

American Assoc. of Woodturners Gallery of Wood Art

222 Landmark Center, Saint Paul, MN / 651-484-9094

Located in downtown Saint Paul's historic Landmark Center, the AAW Gallery of Wood Art offers an often surprising and always engaging view of contemporary works created in wood. The gallery also features educational exhibits, a display of vintage lathes, and a gift store offering woodturned items by local and regional artists, books and DVDs. The gallery is sponsored by the American Association of Woodturners. Regular Hours: Tues - Fri 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun 12 p.m. - 3 p.m. and by appointment. Admission is free. Donations are welcome. Call 651-484-9094 for information on scheduling a group tour and woodturning demonstration.

Cathedral of Saint Paul

239 Selby Avenue. Saint Paul, MN / 651-228-1766

Constructed from 1906 to 1915 as the mother church for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, the Cathedral has become a treasured landmark, a venue for cultural events and a serene place for meditation. The magnificent exterior recently underwent a $35 million restoration, including the copper dome that soars 306 feet high. The interior of the Cathedral is a decorative masterpiece containing unique pieces of sacred art, including three rose-stained glass windows and four large mosaics.

Historic Fort Snelling

200 Tower Ave., Saint Paul, MN / 612-726-1171

Discover an 1820s military outpost that once stood as the focus of a small settlement but now exists as the center of Minnesota's Twin Cities metropolitan area and a top tier historic site. The Historic Fort Snelling restored stone fortress opens its gates to welcome you to frontier life. Imagine that the year is 1827, and as costumed guides greet you, that you've just arrived via steamboat up the Mississippi River.

Open May through November. See website for hours of operation. Gift shop open year-round featuring history-themed items.

Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors and college students, $5 children 6-17, children 5 and under are free. Free parking.

James J. Hill House

240 Summit Ave. Saint Paul, MN / 651-297-2555

Guides of the James J. Hill House lead historic tours that help visitors imagine family and servant life in the Gilded Age mansion. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway, owned this historic piece of Minnesota architecture on Summit. Completed in 1891, the red sandstone residence is well-known for its rugged stone exterior, massive scale, fine detail and ingenious mechanical systems. This is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike. For information on public walking tours, group walking tours, special events and field trips, visit the James J. Hill House website for more information.

Tour admission: $8 adults, $6 seniors and college students, $5 children ages 6-17; Free for children age 5 and under and for MHS members. Hours: Open year round Wed through Sat 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.; Sun 1 to 3:30 p.m. Closed major holidays. Reservations recommended.

Julian H. Sleeper House

66 S. Saint Albans St., Saint Paul, MN / 651-225-1505

In 1993, Dr. Seth C. Hawkins purchased the historic Julian H. Sleeper House to relocate his museum collection of Gilded Age (1865-1899) decorative arts, formerly the Gowie-Nomand House Museum in New Haven CT. The house has nine exhibition rooms and displays include Gilded Age decorative arts including furniture, lighting, wallpaper and carpets. There is an extensive collection of President Garfield memorabilia, Roseville pottery and vintage postcards. Julian H. Sleeper was an important local hotel owner and entrepreneur. Tours are available year-round but are by appointment only, as this is a private residence. Tour fee $7 per person. House can handle groups of 20 or fewer. Call 651 225-1505 to schedule your tour appointment.

Landmark Center

75 West 5th Street, Saint Paul, MN / 651-292-3233

Historic Landmark Center was built in 1902 and originally served as the Federal Court House and Post office for the Upper Midwest. Today, Landmark Center serves as a cultural center for music, dance, theater, exhibitions, public forums, and hosts countless special events, proms and weddings. Onsite attractions include Anita's Cafe, Landmarket Gift Shop, and several museums and exhibits, including the AAW Gallery of Wood Art, the Schubert Club Museum, ongoing exhibits by the Ramsey County Historical Society, an interactive interpretive exhibit "Uncle Sam Worked Here" and the offices for several of Saint Paul's premier arts and culture organizations. The building is also home of the Saint Paul Visitor Information Center. Landmark Center offers public and private tours.

Minnesota Children's Museum

10 West 7th Street, Saint Paul, MN / 651-225-6001

Minnesota Children's Museum is sparking children's learning through play. Infants through children age 10 can explore seven galleries packed with hands on activities and enjoy special events.

Minnesota Historical Society

345 Kellogg Blvd. W., Saint Paul, MN / 651-259-3000

The Minnesota Historical Society is a non-profit educational and cultural institution established in 1849. Its essence is to illuminate the past as a way to shed light on the future. The Society collects, preserves and tells the story of Minnesota's past through museum exhibits, libraries and collections, historic sites, photos, letters, maps, a wealth of genealogical information, educational programs and book publishing. Through its 26 historic sites and museums, the Society offers opportunities for thought-provoking entertainment, learning and fun. Visit the MHS website to learn more about its programs and historic sites.

MHS building hours:
Closed Mondays.
Tuesday - Friday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Sunday Noon-5 p.m

Minnesota History Center

345 Kellogg Blvd., W., Saint Paul, MN / 651-259-3000

History comes to life at the Minnesota History Center with fun, hands-on exhibits and programs for all ages. Ride in a spaceship, weather a tornado, climb a grain elevator or explore a house room-by-room. Two museum stores offer Minnesota-made gifts and books. Enjoy lunch at the museum's Café Minnesota, which features a menu that highlights sustainable, local ingredients.

Open year round. Museum and Stores Hours:
Tuesday 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. (free admission 5 - 8 p.m.)
Wednesday - Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday noon - 5 p.m.

Check the Minnesota History Center website for holiday schedule. Admission: $10 adults, $8 seniors & college students, $5 children ages 6-17; free for children age 5 and under and MHS members. Parking is available in the History Center lot for $5 (members receive a discount). Think of the History Center for your special event! This premier site combines the time-honored traditions of both large and small meetings, weddings and celebrations with stunning architecture and contemporary styling. To inquire about facility rental, call 651-259-3030 or email specialevents@mnhs.org.

Minnesota State Capitol Historic Site

75 Rev Dr MLK Jr Blvd. Saint Paul, MN / 651-296-2881

See the Minnesota Legislature in action in the historic House and Senate chambers. Original furnishings and vivid colors of the restored Senate, House, Supreme Court and Rathskeller Cafe add to your experience of this working masterpiece by acclaimed architect Cass Gilbert. Come and experience Minnesota Government like never before at the historic State Capitol site! Free guided tours are offered Mon - Sat 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. and Sun 1 p.m. - 3 p.m. Special themed tours offered for a fee; check calendar for details. Tour groups visit the Quadriga, or golden horses, on a weather permitting basis. Hours: The State Capitol Building is open year round Mon - Fri 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. - 3 p.m.; Sun 1 p.m. - 4 p.m. Cafe Hours: Mon - Thurs 8 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. and Fri 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Please note: The Rathskeller Cafe is only open during the Legislative session.

Minnesota Transportation Museum

193 Pennsylvania Ave. E, Saint Paul, MN / 651-228-0263

Experience history in motion at the Minnesota Transportation Museum! Visit the Jackson Street Roundhouse, Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway, Minnehaha Depot, and Twin City Lines classic buses for an experience the whole family and kids of all ages will enjoy. Learn about old time modes of transportation while you create unforgettable memories with those around you. The Minnesota Transportation Museum is the perfect destination for a fun night out. For more information, schedules, special events, and tickets, call or visit the Minnesota Transportation Museum's website.

Science Museum of Minnesota

120 W Kellogg Blvd Saint Paul, MN / 651-221-9444

Experiment. Discover. Investigate. The Science Museum of Minnesota's mission is: turn on the science: realizing the potential of policy makers, educators, and individuals to achieve full civic and economic participation in the world. The Science Museum offers one-of-a-kind exhibits, larger than life Omnitheater films and a priceless collection of nearly two million artifacts from around the globe make the Science Museum of Minnesota a must see destination for all ages. Explore the various unique permanent gallery spaces where you'll learn about the Mississippi river, see an ancient Egyptian mummy on display and a pair of two-headed turtles in the Collections Gallery, and check out the collection of dinosaur fossils on display. Prepare for a day of memorable science fun as you explore your changing world. Other amenities include numerous dining options on site and a gift shop.
Hours:
All week: 9:30 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.

Sibley House Historic Site

1357 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Mendota, MN / 651-452-1596

Once a hub of the fur trade, today the Sibley House Historic Site is part of the Historic Fort Snelling campus. The location serves as a great place to learn about relations between fur traders and American Indians, Henry Hastings Sibley (who was Minnesota's first Governor), the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862 and the historical restoration efforts of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Tour the Sibley family's home, the Cold Store and Faribault House Hotel. Gain a bountiful amount of knowledge while learning about the role of Dakota hunters and trappers in the fur trade.

Sibley House is open May 28 through Sept. 5. Hours: Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The Schubert Club

75 W. Fifth St, Saint Paul, MN / 651-292-3267

The Schubert Club Museum holds a world-class collection comprised of over 100 historic keyboards, hundreds of instruments from around the world and letters and manuscripts of over 100 famous composers. For an educational and exciting day with the family, stop into the Schubert Club Museum! Museum hours: Sun - Fri noon - 4 p.m. Admission to the museum is free.

Twin City Model Railroad Museum

1021 Bandana Blvd., Saint Paul, MN / 651-647-9628

Visit the Twin City Model Railroad Museum's large 3,000 square foot operating model railroad. It features many local scenes, landmarks and famous trains from the 40s and 50s. The museum and historic site also has one of the area's greatest collections of railroad art, a gift shop and a new museum video! The new "Thomas the Wood Train" play area enchants all kids that visit! Enjoy the world famous O-Scale train exhibit!
Hours: Tues - Thurs 10 a.m .- 3 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Sun Noon - 5 p.m. Refer to the Twin City Model Railroad Museum website for an event schedule, or to arrange for group tours and seek more information.

Wabasha Street Caves

215 Wabasha St. S, Saint paul, MN / 651-224-1191

The Wabasha Street Caves were transformed into an underground nightclub in 1933 called the 'Castle'. Today, the event center offers historic cave tours and big band music every Thursday night. The cave's tours lead the public through interesting locations with knowledgable guides and strikingly realistic scenery and costumes. Swing night on Thursdays attracts older couples looking for some good-old fun. The Wabasha Street Caves are the perfect blend of history for your company party, wedding, class reunion, etc.

Water Street Inn

101 Water St., S, Stillwater, MN / 651-439-6000

The Historic Water Street Inn, a bed and breakfast escape in the heart of downtown Stillwater, overlooks the St. Croix River and famous lift bridge. The Inn's 41 beautifully appointed guestrooms with whirlpools excite the imaginations of guests, while the fireplaces and balconies (which are available in most rooms) produce romantic vibes for couple retreats. Onsite dining options include the Water Street Inn's restaurant with American cuisine and thelavish Sunday Brunch and Charlie's Irish Pub. Think of the Water Street Inn for your wedding reception and meeting needs! Over 4,000 sq ft of flexible meeting space including a ballroom and River Foyer can accommodate up to 300 people. Free breakfast, onsite catering, free parking and Wi-Fi are available to guests.

Parks and Zoos

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Park

East 4th St., Saint paul/ MN

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary Park is situated on the north shore of the Mississippi, east of downtown Saint Paul. Once a significant spiritual site for Native Americans, the park includes a “spirit house” or a cave which is rumored to have been marked with incised etchings into the stone. While the etchings no longer can be seen (perhaps due to erosion from flowing water or ceiling collapses) the park is a step back in time. The 29-acre park became official in 2005 and efforts to restore native plant communities and wildlife have begun. Visitors can enjoy the park's bicycle trails, engage in birdwatching, or take a stroll and enjoy the beautiful natural scenery.

Como Park

1199 Midway Pkwy. Saint Paul, MN

Como Park has for over one hundred years provided an outdoor haven offering a variety of free or reasonably priced recreational activities for its visitors. Landscape designs of H.W.S. Cleveland and Frederick Nussbaumer (who was Superintendent of Parks from 1891 to 1922) provided the original framework for a space that would offer many affordable recreational activities, services, and educational opportunities for the surrounding community and visitors alike.

Today, the park has managed to fulfill this mission. The space continues to offer free admission to the zoo and the conservatory, a park shelter for rent equipped with electricity and a double grill, a historic streetcar station with an interpretative exhibit area, and a large pavilion equipped with electricity and barbecue grills.

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

1225 Estabrook Dr., Saint Paul, MN / 651-487-8200

Como Zoo and the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory offer a year-round close up look at the wonders of the plant and animal kingdoms. Como Zoo exhibits large cats, polar bears, gorillas, giraffes, sea lions, and much more. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory houses a spectacular collection of rare tropical orchids, palms, and stunning year-round flower shows. Visit this family-friendly destination to create memories and inspire appreciation of the natural world. Visitors can avoid parking hassles with a free shuttle service! The shuttle bus allows passengers to board at the staffed off-site parking lot at the Minnesota State Fair Grounds, located on the south side of Como Avenue across from the State Fair's Warner Coliseum and runs continuously 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. The buses are wheelchair and stroller accessible. Check the Como Zoo website for updated shuttle schedule information.

Summer Hours: 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. daily, Oct - April Hours: 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily

Minnesota Zoo

13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley, MN / 952-431-9200

The Minnesota Zoo is a family-friendly destination that exists to connect people, animals, and the natural world. Cutting-edge exhibits provide exciting experiences with animals and their habitats, introducing guests to species from around the globe. Education programs engage audiences with new content that they may have never known before. Conservation programs protect endangered species and preserve critical ecosystems. The Minnesota Zoo is a "wild" location for your next group outing, company picnic, rehersal dinner, meeting, wedding, reception or team building activity. There are several picnic sites and the education event center available for rental. You and your group can even rent the entire zoo property! Contact the Minnesota Zoo for more information. Open year round and located just minutes south of the Mall of America.

 

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