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Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis

6 Top Things To Do In The Twin Cities of Minnesota (2023)

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul metro area is commonly referred to as the Twin Cities. They are the most renowned cities in Minnesota and major tourist destinations. This metro area is the perfect balance between eco-friendly and city-cool destinations. Over 18 million tourists visit the Twin Cities every year, drawn to a place that boasts of outdoor fun as well as culture and delicious cuisine. The area was once known for the grand Mississippi River ports and flour mills. Home to many famous tourist attractions, a visit to the Twin Cities ensures a day of fun and excitement for the whole family. Here are the top things to do in the Twin Cities.

6 Top Things To Do In The Twin Cities of Minnesota

  1. Minnesota History Center

Begin your visit to the Twin Cities with the Minnesota History Center. Located on West Kellogg Boulevard, the Minnesota History Center is the perfect place to visit to learn about the history and features of this great Midwestern state. The museum is home to many permanent and changing exhibits that cover topics like how climate change is affecting the state to the Civil War. Additionally, the center also organizes many workshops, lectures, family activities, and other events that you can participate in. Some of the highlights of the center include the full-sized replica of the Jenny airplane that remains suspended from the ceiling of the central rotunda. You also get to take in some breathtaking views of the Minnesota State Capitol building, which is visible from the Great Hall.

Minnesota History Center

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  1. Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis

One of the quietest of all lakes in Minnesota is the Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. The Lake of the Isles is often also given the title of being the most beautiful lake in the state. This beautiful lake is surrounded by a path is specially designed for cycling and walking. There is also a road that takes you around the lake and is one of the most scenic drives in Minneapolis.

The lake is not that far from downtown Minneapolis. While the summer months are for boating and fishing, in the winter, you can enjoy ice skating atop the frozen surface of the lake. There is also a dog park nearby.

At the center of the lake are two wooded islands that are well-known protected wildlife refuges, and you can only check them out from a distance. There are many stately houses that dot the western side of the lake and are worth checking out.

  1. Minnehaha Falls

The Minnehaha Falls Park is an aquatic, natural oasis located a couple of miles south of downtown Minneapolis. This is one of the most photogenic places in the state. To perfectly capture photos of this stunning waterfall and surrounding landscape, you can check out two spots. The first is the upper viewing area that gives visitors a wonderful panoramic shot of the Minnehaha Falls, while the second spot is to head down the stone staircase to get an up-close shot from below the falls. After you are done clicking some gorgeous shots of the area, take some time out to explore the picturesque biking and hiking trails in the park. These trails are located along the majestic Mississippi River and prove to be an awesome experience. You can finish your trip to this photogenic spot by having a delicious meal at the Sea Salt Eatery.

  1. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is a popular family attraction in St. Paul. The Como Park Conservatory was built in 1915, and it is one of the biggest attractions in the city today. This is the perfect place to spend an entire day of fun for all ages. It is also budget-friendly as the entry is free, but donations are encouraged to help with the upkeep and functioning of the zoo.

The zoo is home to a variety of animals from all over the world, including monkeys and polar bears. One of the most popular animal interactions here is feeding the giraffes, and visitors of all ages can feed these gentle giants some Romaine lettuce right from their hands.

The zoo recently underwent an expansion of $20 million, during which a new Como Harbor exhibit was added. This is going to be a new home for otters, penguins, and two giant octopuses.

Apart from the zoo, there is a lot more to see in the park. While here, make sure you make a stop at the conservatory to check out a variety of heat-loving plants. A visit to this beautiful glass building will make you feel like you have stepped right into the tropics. The Sunken Garden is also another exhibit you must check out. This is a colorful area full of many beautiful and fragrant plants that continuously change throughout the seasons and is an excellent place for clicking pictures.

  1. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a famous park that is home to the state’s renowned giant spoon sculpture called Claes Oldenburg’s Spoonbridge and Cherry. This 11-acre park was established in 1988, and it is located near the Walker Art Center. The park is home to over 40 beautiful works of sculpture from the nearby walker Art Center’s collections. The crown jewel of the garden is the giant spoon, which is said to be one of the most photographed sites in Minneapolis. Throughout the year, the garden plays host to various outdoor educational activities and concerts for visitors of all ages.

The garden attracts millions of visitors every year who come from near and far to view the iconic works on display here, including Spoonbridge and Cherry. Other notable installations include Wind Chime by Pierre Huyghe and Hahn/Cock by Katharina Fritsch.

  1. Victorian Buildings on Summit Avenue

While in St. Paul, this is one place you should not miss. Summit Avenue in St. Paul is home to the longest and largest collection of Victorian buildings in the United States. Out of the 440 original mansions, 373 are still standing and are well-preserved. Constructed during the middle of the 19th century through the first couple of years of the 20th century, these mansions were once the homes of the millionaires of the city.

Stretching east to west, Summit Avenue begins from the most notable landmark in the city, the Cathedral of St. Paul, which is a scale version of the renowned St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City. From here, the avenue stretches 4.5 miles and comes to an end at the Mississippi River. Located close to the cathedral, you will also find the James J. Hill House, which was built by the founder of the Great Northern Railroad.

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