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Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum's mostly 20th-century collection contains the world's largest assemblage of works by Marsden Hartley and Alfred Maurer, as well as paintings and prints by Georgia O'Keefe, Arthur Dove and Robert Motherwell. However, many critics consider the building itself to be a stunning piece of art. Designed by Frank Gehry, the flamboyant 1993 building is possibly the most talked-about structure in the Twin Cities. The museum's collections are displayed in galleries the New York Times has referred to as possibly the five best rooms for art viewing in the world. Admission is free. Visit the website for updates and additional information.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts boasts an impressive selection of Impressionist paintings. Originally constructed in 1915, the Institute has been amazing gallery-goers with its substantial collection of over 85,000 pieces of American and European artists' works for roughly a century. Works on display here range from those by such legends as Matisse and Kandinsky to Picasso and Rodin. In addition to American and European paintings, there is also an excellent Asian collection.
Some of the city's largest and most elegant homes frame Lake of the Isles. This man-made lake is well stocked with panfish, attracting anglers of all ages in the warm months as well as the cold. Swimming is not advised, but the setting is delightful for sunbathing, a picnic or reading a book under a large shade tree. In winter, park officials designate skating areas and erect a warming house. Walking, jogging or biking around its 2.7 miles of shoreline provides outstanding views of the downtown and the surrounding neighborhood. The serene atmosphere of Lake of the Isles makes it the lake of choice for canoeists. The southern portion of the lake is connected to the city's largest lake, Lake Calhoun, by a quiet channel.
The Summit Brewing Company has come a long way since it first came into business in 1986 - its beers are now some of the most popular in St. Paul. Some are seasonal (such as the Summit Maibock and the Summit Oktoberfest), while others are available all year round. You can tour the brewery from Thursday to Saturday, but reservations are required for group weekend tours.
One of the country's largest and most spectacular churches, the Cathedral of St. Paul sits high on a hill (aptly known as Cathedral Hill) overlooking downtown and the Mississippi River Valley. The structure opened in 1915, although extensive interior work continued for several more years. The massive copper dome is 300 feet above the nave's floor and the walls are covered in pale Minnesota granite. A pair of carillon towers flanks the building's Summit Avenue façade and the sanctuary seats 3000 worshipers. Guided tours are offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1p.
Housing a collection of more than 100,000 objects and 500,000 documents, this is a must-stop for residents and tourists alike. The dramatic setting alone is worth the trip. Inside the History Center, past times are alive and well. 'Minnesota A to Z,' an ingenious depiction of various aspects of Minnesota life over the past 150-plus years, will jog the memories of longtime residents. Kids can climb inside a full-size boxcar and replica of a grain elevator. Changing exhibits use interactive techniques, recordings and videos to make history lessons interesting.
The State Capitol, considered by many to be one of the nation's most beautiful, is a spectacular structure designed by local architect Cass Gilbert. Opened in 1905, it took six years to be built, and cost USD4 million. The building, modeled after St. Peter's in Rome, features a stunning 220-foot (67-meter) marble dome and an extravagantly detailed interior. Built on a hill overlooking St. Paul, the top of the front steps yields a breathtaking view of downtown. Sheltering Minnesota Senate, Minnesota House of Representatives and the offices of the Attorney General and the Governor, the capitol harbors opulent chamber rooms and elaborate murals, while the glorious, gilded chariot lodged at the entrance presides over the area's landscape. A striking canopy of pride and poignancy, the Minnesota State Capitol is the crowning glory of Saint Paul.
A great place to hike, bike, ski, fish, canoe or just take in nature, Fort Snelling State Park offers a wealth of outdoor activities. Filled with trails that link Minnehaha Park and the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, other attractions here include Gun Club Lake, Snelling Lake, and Pike Island, which sits at the convergence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. The park also hosts numerous events, and one popular trail leads hikers to the historic Fort Snelling. A day-use only park, visitors should consider beginning their visit with a trip to the Thomas C. Savage Visitor Center.
Spread across about 500 acres, natural habitat is the emphasis in this vast zoo. The animals are here but they often have wide-open spaces in which to roam, so be patient when looking for them. To aid in the spotting of animals, visitors may ride an overhead monorail. Five themed trails lead visitors around. The Minnesota Trail focuses on animals native to the state while the Tropics Trail includes encounters with Komodo dragons, leopards and gibbons. The Northern Trail features wolves, moose, musk oxen, Siberian Tigers and wild Asian horses. An IMAX theater is also on site.