Twin Cities’ Best Sights
Best Places to Witness the Power of Hydroelectricity: Minneapolis as we know it today got its start at St. Anthony Falls (West River Pkwy. between Hennepin Ave. S. and Portland Ave. S., 612/333-5336, visitors center Apr.–Nov. daily 8 a.m.–6 p.m.), the only waterfall on the Mississippi. You can also see the falls from the Stone Arch Bridge (Portland Ave. S. and West River Pkwy.) and easily fill a day with all there is to see and do on the riverfront.
Best Place to See Contemporary Art: The Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden (1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, 612/375-7600, www.walkerart.org, Gallery hours vary, Gallery $10 adults, $6 students and teens, $8 seniors, garden free) brings leading artists and performers to the Twin Cities.
Best Place to See Twin Citians in their Natural Environment: In just about any weather, locals are drawn to the Chain of Lakes (612/230-6400, www.minneapolisparks.org) in South Minneapolis, to walk, bike, canoe, sail, and sit in the sun.
Best Expression of the Twin Cities’ Many Cultures: With a Mexican grocery, a Middle Eastern buffet, a Scandinavian tchotchke shop, and more, the Midtown Exchange (Lake St. and 10th Ave., Minneapolis, 612/872-4041, www.midtownglobalmarket.org, Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–8 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.–6 p.m.) showcases the cities’ many cultures better than any museum or exhibit could.
Most Peaceful Cultural Landmark: The Cathedral of St. Paul (239 Selby Ave., St. Paul, 651/228-1766, www.cathedralsaintpaul.org, Sun.–Fri. 7 a.m.–7 p.m., Sat. 7 a.m.–9 p.m.) generously welcomes all visitors to enjoy it quietly as a place of worship, a stunning architectural design, and an important part of St. Paul’s history.
Most Enjoyable Way to Learn About Minnesota’s History: History becomes fun for the whole family at the very well-curated Minnesota History Center (345 Kellogg Blvd. W., 651/251-3000, www.mnhs.org/historycenter, Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Tues. till 8 p.m., Sun. noon.–5 p.m.; Labor Day–Memorial Day closed Mon., $10 adults, $8 seniors and students, $5 children 5–17).
Best Place to Start a Tour of St. Paul: So much of downtown St. Paul’s architectural beauty is arranged around tiny Rice Park (4th St. and Market St., daily dawn–11 p.m. ) that a thoroughly enjoyable tour can be had within a single block.
Best Place to Aspire to the Life of a Railroad Baron: St. Paul’s toniest address has long been Summit Avenue. A stroll along the 4½ miles of shady streets streatching from downtown St. Paul to the Mississippi River is a treat for history and architecture buffs.
Best Place to Enjoy Consumer Escapism: It’s no surprise that the Mall of America (60 E. Broadway, Bloomington, 952/883-8800, www.mallofamerica.com, stores open Mon.–Sat. 10 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; mall opens daily at 7 a.m.), while popular year-round, is busiest on frigid winter days.
© Tricia Cornell from Moon Minneapolis & St. Paul, 1st Edition