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Must Visit Attractions in Minneapolis/St. Paul

, 14 Options Found

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.

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.

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.

This grand beaux-arts church was the nation's first basilica, taking 20 years to complete. Built during the tenure of Archbishop John Ireland, the enormous white marble building is a marvel to behold. It is 120 feet wide by 278 feet long supporting 133-foot twin towers in the front. One of the towers houses a 3000-pound bell that can be heard for miles around. Over the altar, an ornate dome rises 250 feet and the 56 rank pipe organ echoes throughout. Guided tours are offered every Sunday morning.

In close proximity to the Walker Art Center sits what many consider one of the boldest and most unique displays of art in the country, if not the entire world. Inaugurated in 1988, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a showcase for more than 40 works of art including major sculptures by George Segal, Ellsworth Kelly, Jenny Holzer, Henry Moore and Franz Lipschitz. The entrance to the 11-acre garden is bordered by Ampersand, a pair of colossal granite columns by Martin Puryear. The garden's centerpiece is the 'Spoonbridge and Cherry' sculpture and fountain by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The small conservatory is also home to a Frank Gehry-designed giant fish with scales of glass that rests on its tail.

Opened in 1902 as a federal court building, this lavish Victorian architectural masterpiece sits facing St. Paul's Rice Park. Constructed of pink granite and red tile roofs, it boasts multiple turrets and gables along with other fanciful details. The richness continues inside with a five-story courtyard lit by a massive skylight and extravagantly appointed rooms with 20-foot ceilings, marble fireplaces and carved mahogany. Besides office space for numerous arts organizations, the Landmark Center is home to the prestigious Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Ramsey County Historical Society and the Schubert Club. The St. Paul Cafe, an excellent spot for lunch, is located on the first floor.

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.

This multiple-use structure, a full block of retail shops, the Marquette Hotel and offices connected by a sizable vestibule, whisked downtown Minneapolis into a new era. The massive edifice is comprised of four blue-glass covered buildings at its base that come together 12 stories later to form a 777-foot skyscraper, the tallest building in the Twin Cities. Opened in 1973, its Crystal Court immediately became a pulsating indoor town square. Eight stories above the pink granite floor is a white metal canopy covered with hundreds of clear Plexiglas pyramids, hence the name Crystal Court. Trees, flowers, benches and shops elegantly bring to life the vitality of this unique space, also home to Basil's Restaurant. The city's skyway system converges on the court and thousands of pedestrians pour through it every day. The IDS Center, named for Investors Diversified Services, now American Express Financial Advisors, is one of the nation's preeminent skyscrapers. The tower's highly reflective blue glass, haughty lobby and sleek construction make it a true architectural classic.

The history of this area dates back 2000 years. The park offers a great panoramic view of the Mississippi River and downtown St. Paul. Enclosed by metal rail fences, six ancient Indian burial mounds rest within the rich soil of the park. An old reconstructed aerial beacon, used for many years by aircraft approaching the Holman Field airport across the river, stands near the mounds. In 1776, a man named Jonathon Carver discovered what is now known as Carver's Cave. Inside the cave, he found ancient artifacts and hieroglyphics. Plaques posted nearby tell the detailed stories of these historical landmarks. This popular park is open to everyone, including families, skateboarders, hikers, bikers, and groups of friends. CallSend SMSAdd to SkypeYou'll need Skype CreditFree via Skype

Summit Avenue, stretching from downtown St. Paul to where the city meets Minneapolis, is a melting pot of architectural styles. This boulevard is lined with historic buildings dating back to the 1850s and is named as one of the greatest streets in America. Admire Victorian, Tuscan and Neocolonial mansions on a walking tour that offers an intriguing glimpse into the lives of its owners. The James J Hill House is one of the largest family residences in the state while Stuart House, one of the oldest. Iconic attractions on this avenue also include the Cathedral of Saint Paul, University of St. Thomas and Minnesota Governor's Residence.

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory opened in 1873 and is spread across 759 acres (307.16 hectares). Owned by the city, it features a large cat exhibit, a seal island, a primate facility, a zone for aquatic animals, African hoofed animals and a polar bear exhibit. It is a great place for family outings where you get to learn in a fun-filled environment. Since it is a huge space, chances are that you might miss out on some attractions which are just an added incentive to come back again. Explore their various themed gardens, take a ride on the historic carousel, or visit the children's gallery and check out their frog conservation exhibit. Don't miss out on Como Town, their amusement park, as well.

Uptown is a bustling hub of entertainment, dining and shopping in Minneapolis. It is also home to more than 30,000 residents. Guests find that Uptown makes an enjoyable destination for a leisurely stroll through the streets or a day trip to explore to a different facet of this vibrant city.

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