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Top Rated Attractions in Minneapolis/St. Paul

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Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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.

Lake of the Isles

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.

Minnehaha Regional Park

This is one of the most spectacular urban delights of south Minneapolis. Winding its way from the south shore of Lake Harriet, Minnehaha Creek cuts a 5-mile path along 50th Street on its way to the Mississippi River. Picturesque Minnehaha Parkway, running parallel to the creek, is a splendid drive featuring lush gardens and large shade trees. The route can also be traversed by foot or bike via the trails. The culmination of the gurgling and bubbling creek as it rushes to meet the mighty Mississippi is the cascading splendor of Minnehaha Falls and 170-acre magnificent Minnehaha Park. One of the city's most-used stretches of parkland, it features several large picnic grounds, formal gardens, playing fields, hiking trails, and undeveloped natural areas. Four different staircases, made of local stone, lead from the uplands to various spots along the creek bottom. There they connect to a trail that follows the creek to its confluence with the river across from St. Paul's Hidden Falls Park. A separate paved trail connects the park to historic Fort Snelling State Park. Of special historical significance is the John H Stevens House Museum that was recently moved to park grounds south of the Falls.

Mill City Museum

Once the largest flour mill in the world, the Mill City Museum aims to showcase the ins and outs of the intricate process of milling. The flour milling industry was one of the top industries in Minneapolis and the museum will show visitors the vast history of flour production. Walkthrough the old factory and take in the sights. Don't forget to check out their classes, lectures and many other special events that take place throughout the year.

Cathedral of St Paul

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.

Minnesota State Capitol

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.

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