There's plenty of landmarks and institutions that we drive by or walk past often, but have you ever been inside? Here's some famous Minneapolis and St. Paul buildings which offer free guided or self guided tours.
The Minnesota State Capitol has daily free tours, beginning on the hour every hour until one hour before closing. See the art collections, and weather permitting, go outside on the roof for a close-up view of the four golden horses that adorn the front of the Capitol.
Interested in local television? TPT, Twin Cities Public Television, offers tours once a month from November through April on the first Saturday of the month. Tours start at 10, 10.30, 11 and 11.30 a.m.
Downtown Minneapolis' most beautiful building, the Minneapolis Central Library, has several innovative design features, and an art collection, which are usually off-limits to the public. Register online or by phone for a tour of the Minneapolis Central Library. Would you have thought that above the silver wing, that the building has a green, grass covered roof? No, me either. Tours begin on December 1 until February 25, and reservations are required.
Museums and art galleries traditionally offer tours, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts has some of the best. Tours are offered daily at the MIA, no reservations are required, and you can choose between a tour of the museums' highlights, or one of the tours that focus on just one part of the vast collections.
The Guthrie Theater offers several tours, which are not free, but the best value is the free audio tour - download the Guthrie Theater's tour podcast for free from their website, put it on your iPod and explore at your own pace.
If your only experience with City Hall is paying parking tickets, you might not be aware of the history of Minneapolis' and St. Paul's city halls. St. Paul Court House, an art deco extravaganza dating from St. Paul's gangster days, with a 60 feet tall onyx statue of Native Americans with peace pipes offers a free self-guided tour, and guided tours can be requested via the city website. Minneapolis' City Hall and Court House is less dramatic inside, but the history of the building is just as interesting. Guided tours of Minneapolis' courthouse start at noon on the third Wednesday of every month.
Minneapolis Central Library. You'll need to go on a tour to see the top of that silver wing. Photo Clara James