Did you know that this place was known as “Pig’s Eye Landing” and only had its name changed when a missionary called Lucien Galtier built a log chapel dedicated to Saint Paul? Well, that’s the story of the second-largest city in the state of Minnesota.
Explore the most livable city in America and be in awe of the culture and character of Saint Paul. Your adventure will be complete with family-friendly activities, historical tours, outdoor adventures, and a visit to the best entertainment venues.
Check out the best things to do in Saint Paul:
1. Play All Day With Your Kids at the Minnesota Children’s Museum
Let your little ones experiment and try new things! The Minnesota Children’s Museum is a great destination for kids to engage in hands-on exhibits and test their limits in special areas. They can explore the maker space, giant spiral slide, wacky car wash, outdoor galleries, laser maze, and more.
What you should know:
- Since there’s a huge variety of exhibits in multiple floors, it’s best if you can shop and dine as there’s also a nice restaurant slash toy shop on site.
- While Minnesota Children’s Museum offers a convenient parking space, you should come early to secure a spot.
- Admission: $12.95 for ages 1-101, and FREE for children under one, including the museum members
2. Visit the Cathedral of Saint Paul
Be one of almost 200,000 guests who come and visit the Cathedral of Saint Paul every year. This Roman Catholic cathedral is not just the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. It is also a historical landmark – one of the most prominent buildings in the city – and the center of spiritual worship.
Take a guided tour to learn about the history, art, and architecture of the Cathedral of Saint Paul. The tours normally take an hour and are offered with a Cathedral docent Tuesday through Friday at 1:00 p.m.
3. Check out the City’s Sidewalk Poetry
Art speaks where words are unable to explain. But in this case, the words can clearly communicate the creative genius of those who contributed in this installation.
Saint Paul’s “Everyday Poems for City Sidewalks” is a beloved spot where the sidewalk is made more meaningful with its poems. It is said that more than 1,000 installations have been made from 2008 to 2016. Poets can join the city’s occasional contests if they aspire to have their works immortalized on the city’s sidewalks. And if you’re the visitor, don’t forget to look down and snap a shot.
4. Photograph the Victorian Homes at Summit Avenue
Be in awe as you explore the long stretch of Victorian-era homes in Summit Avenue! If you are into architecture, this is probably one of the best things to do in Saint Paul for you.
Back in the days, Summit Avenue was the ideal home spot for men who made fortunes in the dry goods, lumber, and railroad industry. They had their homes designed in such a way that it had long rows instead of compact blocks, and it looked good for horse-drawn carriage rides.
- The famous architect Cass Gilbert (who was also the designer for Minnesota State Capitol) designed a total of eight houses at Summit Avenue.
- Not everyone is happy about Summit Avenue. American fiction writer F. Scott Fitzgerald once described this stretch as a “mausoleum of American architectural monstrosities.” In addition, the creative master of American architecture Frank Lloyd Wright also said it was the “worst collection of architecture.”
5. Walk Around the Como Park Zoo & Conservancy
If you’re looking for the best free things to do in Saint Paul, you can put Como Park Zoo & Conservancy in your itinerary. Here, you can explore, observe, and discover the many plants and animals and develop an appreciation for the presence of living things in our lives.
Some of the most loved spots include:
- Lily Pond
- Ordway Gardens
- Sunken Garden
- The Gates Ajar
- Giraffe Feeding Station
- Pollinators Exhibit
- Cafesjian’s Carousel
If you’re looking for art, you may also keep your eyes open for the Gorilla Sculpture, St. Francis, Little Giants, and Granite Frog.
6. Be Inquisitive in the Minnesota Museum of American Art
Discover the unique voice of American artists from the 19th century to the present by visiting the Minnesota Museum of American Art. The museum holds more than 4,500 artworks and even has artist-led studio classes where you can learn and have fun.
Address: 350 Robert Street North, St. Paul, Minnesota (Pioneer Endicott)
7. Take Your Family to Mears Park
Find tranquility in Mears Park, the oasis in the center of an art community. The beautifully landscaped park features a man-made flowing stream, birch trees, and flowers – a perfect setting for a family outdoor lunch or picnic.
Go here during summer so you can catch the Thursday night concert series. Be on the lookout for other music festivals as well such as the Twin Cities Jazz Fest and Concrete and Grass Music Festival.
Mears Park is located between Sibley and Wacouta and 6th and 5th Streets.
8. Attend the Minnesota State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair also called the “Great Minnesota Get-Together” is an annual celebration that attracts millions of guests annually. The fair has definitely come a long way, as it only began as a simple fair in 1854 aiming to highlight agriculture and encourage farming in the region. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the area.
The Minnesota State Fair this 2020 is from Aug. 27 to Labor Day, Sept. 7. Enjoy lots of fairgrounds events, grandstand shows, and commemorative art!
9. Be Entertained at Can Can Wonderland
Is a historic building only good for dusty books or centuries-old artifacts?
Well, Can Can Wonderland proves you can still enjoy a new life in an old factory! This amusement center, which was home to the American Can Company in the 80s, offers a lot of activities for you to try such as the arcade games and indoor mini-golf.
10. Catch a Concert at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium
The Roy Wilkins Auditorium is a 5,844-seat arena designed by the renowned architect Clarence W. Wigington in 1932. It is mainly used for rehearsals, social and competitive dance, as well as for concert, speaking, or sporting events. Some of the most legendary acts in the auditorium include David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen.
There are plenty of activities for you to try in Saint Paul. What are you waiting for? Pack your bags and plan a trip now!
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