For many out-of-towners, the Twin Cities are synonymous with the Mall of America. Many believe that the mall is the area’s greatest attraction, but Minneapolis and St. Paul are full of incredible beauty, from natural wonders to amazing man-made structures. These 11 marvels are some of the best in the Twin Cities, and they must be seen to be believed.
1. Minnehaha Falls
It's not often that a major metropolitan area has a waterfall right within its city limits. It's even more rare that the waterfall is as beautiful as Minnehaha Falls! This 53-foot waterfall is beautiful during every season of the year, and it's a Minneapolis wonder that everyone needs to visit at least once.
2. Stone Arch Bridge
This 2,100-foot-long bridge is the only one of its kind along the Mississippi River. Built in 1883, the bridge is made up of 23 impressive arches that can only be truly appreciated in person. If you walk or bike across this pedestrian bridge, you'll be greeted with incredible views of both downtown Minneapolis and St. Anthony Falls.
3. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
As the home to what is perhaps Minnesota's most famous landmark, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a must-see marvel that defines the city. The crown jewel in the garden's collection is the Spoonbridge. You can't appreciate its size unless you see it for yourself.
4. Basilica of St. Mary
With its ornate architecture and dramatic interior, the Basilica of St. Mary is incredibly beautiful. That alone makes it a Minneapolis marvel, but did you know it was the first basilica built in the United States? Stop by to take in its beauty and history for yourself. You definitely won't regret it.
5. Mill City Museum
Minneapolis was built on the milling industry. In its early days, the city used its location on the Mississippi River to transform itself into the flour-milling capital of the world. Mill City Museum is a excellent look back at that history. Not only that, but roaming its ruins is a fascinating - and slightly eerie - way to appreciate the early days of Minneapolis.
6. Cathedral of St. Paul
If the Basilica of St. Mary is the Minneapolis entry into the most beautiful church contest, this is St. Paul's. Standing tall on Cathedral Hill near downtown, it is the third-largest completed cathedral in the United States. Visit to take in its imposing height, as well as the incredible beauty that lies inside.
7. Chain of Lakes
Minneapolis is nicknamed the City of Lakes, and for good reason: there are 13 lakes within its borders, as well as many other waterways. Perhaps the best place to take it all in is by visiting the Chain of Lakes. These five beautiful bodies of water offer incredible recreational activities, from swimming to canoeing to fishing. Hiking trails make them perfect for those who want to stay active, while plenty of grassy areas ensure that you'll always find somewhere to relax.
8. Theodore Wirth Regional Park
This 740-acre park is the largest in Minneapolis. Because of its size, you can be sure that you'll find something to do, no matter when you visit. There are sports fields, ski trails, picnic areas, and more - and that doesn't even include the beautiful scenery you can access, all while being in the middle of a city.
9. Hidden Falls Regional Park
Minneapolis isn't the only Twin City with a waterfall. While it may not be as impressive as Minnehaha, St. Paul's Hidden Falls has something that Minnehaha does not: peace and quiet. While it is still a popular park, it is mostly free of the large crowds you'll find at the Minnehaha Falls. Take a meandering walk along its paved trails, and then find the small, spring-fed waterfall known as Hidden Falls. Its quiet beauty will give you a new appreciation for St. Paul.
10. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
The zoo portion of this attraction is great, but you'll really marvel once you reach the conservatory. This huge, glass-paneled building is filled to the brim with lush plant life. Outside, several gardens combine to offer a peaceful sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
11. Indian Mounds Park
Visiting Indian Mounds Park is a beautiful way to see downtown St. Paul at a distance. If you go in the evening, you'll have a chance to see the lights of the city like you haven't witnessed them before. And don't forget to take a walk along the mounds - these ancient burial mounds have been here for thousands of years, and they're an incredible piece of Minnesota history.
What are your favorite Twin Cities marvels? Let us know your favorite spots in the comments below, and don’t forget to share your photos on the
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