Every city has its unique attractions, and that goes double for Minneapolis. Why? Because just across the Mississippi River, St. Paul offers up some incredible spots of its own. Whether you’ve lived in the Twin Cities for your entire life, or you’re planning an amazing vacation to the Twin Cities, you’ll want to add these Minneapolis-Saint Paul marvels to your bucket list.
1. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture garden is home to one of the most iconic sights in all of Minneapolis: Spoonbridge and Cherry. This famous sculpture draws crowds throughout the year, but there are plenty of other interesting sculptures to see in the park. And because it's free to visit, you have no reason not to add this to your Twin Cities itinerary.
2. Minnehaha Falls
Minnehaha Falls is one of the most unique attractions in all of Minneapolis. After all, how many major cities can claim a 53-foot waterfall within city limits? This spot lives up to the fanfare surrounding it. It's a beautiful place for a hike, with a long staircase leading down to the base of the falls. Even if you decide not to venture down the steps, the park is a wonderful place to take a picnic lunch or a good book.
3. Hidden Falls Park
The quiet waterfall in this St. Paul park is not quite as impressive as the nearby Minnehaha Falls. But the peaceful park has a beauty all its own. And when you consider just how busy Minnehaha gets on a summer afternoon, you'll be thankful that this quieter waterfall park exists for those who want to escape the crowds.
4. Mill City Museum
The Twin Cities are home to many interesting museums. Mill City Museums is one of the best. Built into the ruins of an old flour mill, this beautiful building is full of Minneapolis history. Through many fascinating exhibits, you'll learn how the city got its start, all while exploring some eerily beautiful ruins.
5. Science Museum of Minnesota
On the other side of the river, the Science Museum of Minnesota stands as one of St. Paul's best attractions. The museum is full of interesting attractions, from dinosaurs to a musical staircase to special exhibits throughout the year.
6. Lake Calhoun (Bde Maka Ska).
Or Lake Harriet. Or Lake of the Isles. Or really, any of the 13 lakes that are within Minneapolis city limits. In the summer, sailing, kayaking, and swimming are popular on these city lakes. The fun doesn't stop when they freeze, either. There are many activities that take places on and around the lakes throughout every season of the year.
7. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
In warmer months, Como Zoo is a wonderful place to spend some time outdoors. Wandering the grounds looking at animals is free of charge, and there are plenty of places to stop and rest along the trails. The outdoor gardens are full of greenery. When it's cold outside, the park is still an incredible place to visit. The sunken garden is truly breathtaking, and the lush tropical plants that make up the indoor gardens are a sight to behold.
8. Walker Art Center
Since you'll be in the area when you visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, you might as well pop into the Walker Art Center. This museum is full of fascinating contemporary works that will give you a new appreciation for art. Take an afternoon to stroll through the galleries and do some people watching. You won't be disappointed.
9. Fort Snelling State Park
Fort Snelling is an historic and beautiful park located in St. Paul. The fort itself dates back to 1820 and it’s a fascinating look at life in Minnesota nearly 200 years ago. Beyond the buildings the grounds are absolutely beautiful, with many hiking and biking trails crisscrossing alongside the Mississippi River. If you enjoy crossing state parks off your bucket list, Fort Snelling is a great place to start in Minnesota.
10. Stone Arch Bridge
This is another Minneapolis landmark that is a must-see for anyone visiting the Twin Cities. It's a former railroad bridge that dates back to 1883. Today, it survives as a pedestrian bridge. It's a popular place to walk in sight of the Mississippi River and downtown Minneapolis. But it may be even better viewed from afar, where you can see the span of its 21 arches.
11. Minnesota Children's Museum
If you've got little ones, they're guaranteed to love their visit to the Minnesota Children's Museum. Special exhibits mean there's always something new to see, but the permanent attractions are well worth a visit at any time of year. Kids can climb and play, all while learning about the world around them.
Ok Minnesotans, are there any Minneapolis-Saint Paul marvels you’d add to the list? Out-of-towners, is there anything in the Twin Cities you’d like to see that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments below!