The Best of the Midwest: What To Do In Minneapolis & St. Paul
One of the largest metropolitan areas in the Midwestern U.S., — the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul (located across the Mississippi from one another) – teems with activity and culture.
Here are some top recommendations for how to make the most out of your visit to this dynamic area.
Take in Minneapolis’ vibrant arts scene
Minneapolis is home to many small galleries, arts co-ops and studios as well as major art centers such as the Walker Art Center (www.walkerart.org), Minneapolis Institute of Arts (www.artsmia.org), The Museum of Russian Art/TMORA (www.tmora.org/) and the Weisman Art Museum located on the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities campus (http://weisman.umn.edu/).
Enjoy the city’s energetic outdoor activities scene
Minneapolitans spend a good chunk of the year under snow, but that doesn’t mean they hide in their cozy homes all winter long. Regional parks offer ample trails for snow shoeing and cross-country skiers. Though there are no black diamonds, downhill skiers and snowboarders can find fun slopes within a short drive outside the city limits. When Minneapolis thaws in the spring, its happy residents flock to the three most popular urban lakes Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles to bike, jog, roller-blade, swim, or canoe.
Take in a game at the new state-of-the-art baseball stadium
Target Field (http://mlb.mlb.com/min/ballpark/index.jsp), the new home of the Minnesota Twins was named best ballpark in America by ESPN Magazine and has received countless other accolades for its environmentally friendly and artistic design. The Minnesota Vikings (yes, Favre too) still play at the nearby Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (http://www.msfc.com/).
Shop and eat along Grand Avenue
St. Paul’s historic Grand Avenue is where you’ll find trendy clothing and home goods shops, restaurants and coffee shops. Stop into the renowned Café Latté, an upscale cafeteria-style restaurant, for a bite to eat.
Visit St. Paul’s Museums
Run by the Minnesota historical society, the Minnesota History Museum has permanent interactive exhibits (great for the kids) and several special exhibits per year. The also have a performing arts series (all based on Minnesota themes). The nearby Science Museum of Minnesota is a state-of-the art facility that has a variety of permanent exhibitions as well as travelling exhibits from around the world. They also have a massive Omintheater that shows science and nature films. Though the museum is geared for kids, adults will enjoy it just as much.
Soak in the culture at the Del Sol district
St. Paul’s large Hispanic population has set up residence in the colourful Del Sol district. Be sure to stop by El Burrito Mercado for authentic Mexican food and handicrafts. This neighbourhood hosts a large Cinco de Mayo celebration each year.
Tour the Cathedral and the Capital building
The Cathedral of St. Paul and the Minnesota State Capital Building are both located in St. Paul (and actually resemble each other quite a bit). It’s possible to go on guided tours of either or just walk around (with somewhat limited access) these impressive buildings yourself.