Visiting St. Paul? Or new in town? Here's the top 10 things to do in St. Paul.
Como Park is one of the oldest, and the largest in the city of St. Paul. There's a lake, a conservatory and a small amusement park in Como Park. Como Park is best known for Como Zoo, a small zoo with a impressive collection of animals, although most sadly live in rather small enclosures. Como Zoo and the Marjorie McNeely conservatory both have free admission, but asks visitors for a small donation.
The Science Museum of Minnesota is a large science, technology and natural history museum on the bank of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul. Several galleries and regular traveling exhibitions, all with plenty of interactive displays and experiments, keep things exciting for children and adults. There's a number of impressive dinosaur skeletons, galleries devoted to electricity, medicine, Minnesota's wildlife and geology, questionable medical devices, mechanics, and more.
Izzy's Ice Cream is some of the best ice cream in the Twin Cities - if not the best. Their ice cream factory and parlor in Merriam Park is solar powered, and they use almost exclusively local produce for their 40+ flavors of ice cream. And the most important factor? It's as fresh as can be, and simply delicious. Available at the Izzy's Ice Cream parlor in St. Paul, and several local markets across the Twin Cities.
Sadly, you can only do this for 12 days every year. But it's the highlight of the summer for many people. The best thrill rides, greasiest deep-fried food on sticks, the most nostalgic 80s bands, the most farm machinery and all the fun of the fair is in St. Paul at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in the 12 days leading up to Labor Day.
Grand Avenue is St. Paul's shopping district. A couple of miles of mostly independent shops, stores, restaurants and coffee shops line Grand Avenue. It's a fine place to spend a Saturday afternoon, and look out for special events like Grand Old Day, Paws on Grand, and the winter Grand Meander.
An extremely rare Native American burial site is located in Indian Mounds park, high on the Mississippi River bluffs overlooking downtown St. Paul. The site is thought to be at least 2000 years old, and the area originally contained upwards of 30 burial mounds. Many were destroyed when modern St. Paul was being developed, but six survive and are preserved in Indian Mounds Park.
Another, more recent, part of St. Paul's history can be seen at the Wabasha Street Caves. South of downtown St. Paul, these caves were used by bootleggers and gangsters for storing illegal liquor, and for holding parties in the cavernous spaces. Tours of the caves are held twice a week, as well as swing dancing classes, haunted tours, gangster-themed events, and other special events.
Built on one of the highest points of the city, a bluff overlooking downtown St. Paul, the magnificent Cathedral of St. Paul is an inspiring place to worship, or simply visit. The century-old structure is fashioned almost entirely from Minnesota stone, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful cathedrals in America.