Fun things to do in Saint Paul

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    by apuleuis
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    Wabasha Street Caves

    by apuleuis Written Oct 17, 2014

    These man made caves have been used for growing mushrooms, storing cheese, storing debris, as a night club, as a disco, and you can even have your wedding reception these. Oh, but a few murders happened there so is haunted if you don't mind. Interesting tour, made especially interesting by a really good tour guide. My husband was really interested in the haunted aspect (its been in a few shows). We did the basic tour for $6

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    Saunter down Summit

    by goodfish Updated Jul 21, 2014

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    The American Planning Association recently recognized Summit Avenue as the best-preserved street of Victorian residential architecture in the country. Stretching from the Cathedral of St. Paul to the Mississippi, there are over 370 structures representing a dozen or so different styles; Queen Anne, Beaux Arts, Tudor, Victorian, Colonial, Classical and Renaissance Revival, to name a few. The Minnesota Governor's residence is here as well as a rowhouse once occupied by author F. Scott Fitzgerald. The most impressive is the enormous, 42-room James J. Hill House, built in 1888-91 for the founder of the Great Northern Railroad. The thing has something like 13 bathrooms...and that's 12 too many to clean. Maybe that's why no one lives there anymore? Whatever. Tours are available for the inside of this one; see my next tip for the scoop.

    You can drive the avenue but the best way to really enjoy it is to pick a nice day and hoof it. Most of the homes line both sides of a 16-block area from Selby Avenue (near the cathedral) to Lexington Parkway and you can just park along the street. The restaurants and shops of Grand Avenue are just the next block over - hop over for a bite and/or beverage (a Summit beer, perhaps?) and a little browsing for laid-back afternoon. Even if you're not into architecture, it's a fun walk - especially in the fall. Here's a handy self-guided walking tour:

    http://www.bigboytravel.com/minnesota/stpaul/summit-avenue-walking-tour

    MN Governor's Mansion, Summit Ave, St. Paul Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN Summit Ave, St. Paul, MN F. Scott Fitzgerald rowhouse, Summit Ave.
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    St Paul Winter Carnival

    by goodfish Updated Apr 30, 2014

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    The St. Paul Winter Carnival was the brainchild of local business leaders, in 1886, as a way of dispelling an NYC reporter's description of their city as "Another Siberia - unfit for human habitation in the winter." With activities and attractions such as blanket-tossing, toboggan rides, parades and an ice castle, the chilly, 2-week carnival was warmly received and has become a much-anticipated yearly tradition in the Twin Cities community.

    The carnival still runs for 10 days and has a large list of happenings around St. Paul. These include ice and snow sculpture competitions, evening Torchlight parade, ice skating, sledding and other sporting events, beer tasting, fireworks, food, dances and all sorts of fun stuff. It even has its own royalty - King Boreas, the Queen of the Snow and their court - and their infamous foe, the Vulcan Crewe. You can thaw out your toes and catch a band at LandMark Center or stop into any of the bars and restaurants in the downtown area.

    Check the website for dates (roughly the last 10 days of January), details and event listings.

    Ice sculptures in Rice Park Memorabilia from carnivals past Skating at LandMark Center Ice bar
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    Landmark Center

    by goodfish Updated Apr 15, 2013

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    This imposing Romanesque-Chateauesque structure in the middle of downtown was once the upper midwest's Federal Courts and Post Office building. It was completed in 1902 at the cost of $2.5 million and was only a week away from demolishment when rescued by the good citizens of St. Paul. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, it has been beautifully restored and serves as a public events center as well as home to several non-profit arts and cultural agencies and small (free) museums. Particularly impressive is the airy, 4-story central atrium, and several upper-level courtrooms with lovely hand-carved cherrywood and marble embellishments and stained-glass ceilings.

    Music, art exhibits, family events…check the website for current calendar, directions and hours. Free guided tours are available on Thursdays and Sundays or just drop by for a lookabout on your own. Do be aware that big events and wedding receptions could restrict access to parts of the building.

    Additional tip: one of our favorite microbreweries, [http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/1b643b/] Great Waters, is just kittycorner from the center on St Peter St.

    Landmark Center, St. Paul, MN Atrium, Landmark Center The Schubert Club Museum The Gallery of Wood Art
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    Céad míle fáilte! The Irish Fair of Minnesota

    by goodfish Updated Apr 15, 2013

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    This August weekend festival is the largest free celebration of Irish culture in the U.S. and great fun for all ages. We usually go for the killer lineup of bands but it’s easy to fill an entire day taking in exhibitions from our dozen or so area dance schools, cruising the Irish Marketplace, cheering on the hurlers, or watching Gaelic football and sheep herding. Contests (“Best legs in a kilt” is a favorite) craft workshops, story telling and the ever-popular “Couch Potato Zero-K” (3 feet from start to finish; no running allowed) are just a few of the other ways to fritter away a sunny weekend afternoon. Food? Lots. Beer? You betcha.

    The fair is held in Harriet Island Regional Park in St Paul: a nice walk across the Wabasha bridge from downtown hotels. Food and drink is on the usual festival-type ticket system: purchase books of them at one of the ticketing tents and use them to pay for your Guinness and boxty. See the website for current dates and other information.

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    Victorian Houses at Summit Avenue

    by kemisteryoso Written Nov 26, 2012

    When I am taking some photos of the James Hill mansion I noticed there are elegant Victorian houses along Summit Avenue. The are in good shape and well restored. Some looks haunted and creepy looking though.

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    James Hill Mansion

    by kemisteryoso Written Nov 25, 2012

    Well James Hill is one of the powerful and wealthiest figure of America's Gilded age. He's a one good example of being a simple worker then got famous and rich in the end. He has so many businesses before from coal and iron ore mining, electric, waterpower development, shipping, agriculture to transportation and banking and finance.
    His mansion symbolized success with a Richardsonian Romanesque style. The mansion was completed in 1891 and it is the largest and most expensive home that time. It is 36,000 sq.ft on five floors with 13 bathrooms, 22 fireplaces, 16 crystal chandeliers, a two-story skylit art gallery and a 100-foot reception hall.
    It is the resident of the Hills until 1916 and then it became the Cathedral's office until it was acquired by the Minnesota historical society. It is a national historic landmark in the US.

    view from the back of the mansion
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    Cathedral of Saint Paul

    by kemisteryoso Updated Nov 25, 2012

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    Also known as the National Shrine of the Apostle Paul. It is the co-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, along with the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. I love church architecture, every place I go I always look for Churches. It's good to check out the church when its deserted or not much people wandering around. I went there Veteran's day so I got lucky. The Cathedral set majestically on a hill overlooking downtown and the state capitol. I was captivated by the symmetry of the church's exterior and when I saw the inside I was speechless. The intricately designed central dome is supported by 4 massive pillars in square position guarded by the huge statues of the four gospel writers St. Mark, Luke, John and Matthew. Extravagant high ceiling, golden altar, beautiful painted walls everything I see is incredible so intricate and detailed.
    It is such a magnificent piece of architecture and such a beautiful landmark in St. Paul one shouldn't miss.

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    Visit Fort Snelling

    by etfromnc Written Aug 31, 2012

    When soldiers arrived at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers to build Fort Snelling (originally known as Fort Saint Anthony), the westernmost fort built by the U.S. government after the War of 1812, they quartered at a site about a mile away called Coldwater Spring. It is considered the first settlement of European people in Minnesota. The spring provided fresh water for the fort for nearly 100 years, and over time it was also inhabited by merchants, frontiersmen, and Native Americans from the region. It still flows at the rate of 144,000 gallons a day.

    The site was abandoned by the Bureau of Mines in the 1990s, and bureau office buildings were allowed to fall into disrepair.

    Now the National Park Service has embarked on a multi-year project to restore the site as an urban wilderness as part of the 72-mile Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. When finished, visitors can experience the spirit of the wilderness in a truly urban setting.

    When I lived in North Dakota, I had the opportunity to participate in a couple funerals at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery so I am very pleased to have found out that any portion of this area, which I think is actually on an island at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, is being restored.

    To learn more about the Coldwater Spring restoration, please view
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwQZYsqVMEQ&feature=player_embedded#!

    Coldwater Springs
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    Cathedral of Saint Paul

    by goodfish Updated Apr 6, 2011

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    As I noted on the intro page, Father Lucien Galtier established the first church of St. Paul in the rough-and-tumble settlement of Pig's Eye in 1841 and gave the future city a bit more dignified name. Built in the early 1900's, the present Cathedral of St. Paul is a long way from Father Galtier's humble log and bark chapel.

    Third in a line of successive structures since that original chapel, the Cathedral of Saint Paul was designed by French architect Emmanuel Masqueray who also designed the co-cathedral of Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis and the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. It's a lovely building that dominates the skyline of downtown St. Paul and well worth a visit.

    Tours are given Mon - Fri at 1:00 or private tours can be arranged. You can often visit on your own during daytime hours, if there are no services or events going on, or attend mass. See website for services, visiting info, etc.

    Cathedral of St. Paul Sanctuary, Cathedral of St Paul Window, Cathedral of St Paul Cathedral of St Paul Side chapel, Cathedral of St Paul
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  • The Historic Mounds Theatre

    by pracmac Written Apr 5, 2011

    When you enter Mounds Theatre it’s like stepping into a dining and performance venue on a sunny cruise. From the moment you arrive until the show begins, you are invited to enjoy drinks at the bar and our version of a casino, on-deck fishing, tennis courts, putting green and, of course, shuffleboard. When the show begins, it is set as a two-hour excursion presenting a sampling of all the things you could enjoy on a full three-day or seven-day cruise. We begin with a virtual tour of the ship, followed by a lifeboat drill, leading into dinner service, during which the crew shares new versions of their favorite karaoke songs. After dinner, we present our version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” (told with the help of adapted TV theme songs). Then there is some dancing followed by dessert and some surprise performances, revealing unexpected talent from the crew. The activity continues from the moment passengers “board” until it is time to “disembark”. When you wish you were there, we are here to bring the fun and sun of a tropical cruise to you. Come join us – we’ll be expecting you!

    Knot a real cruise interactive dinner theatre play Historic Mounds Theatre Logo Real Haunted Tours
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    St Paul RiverCentre/Xcel Center

    by goodfish Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    St. Paul RiverCentre Convention Center is an enormous complex that houses three different venues - Rivercentre, Xcel Energy Center and Roy Wilkins Auditorium. It's in the heart of downtown and easy walking distance from downtown hotels.

    Xcel is home of the Minnesota Wild hockey team, Minnesota Swarm National Lacrosse League team, and hosts arena-sized concerts, skating exhibitions and other events. Newer and with much better acoustics than Target Center in Minneapolis, this is a great venue for concerts.

    RiverCentre is mainly a convention and exhibition venue.

    Roy Wilkins hosts smaller concerts, shows and events.

    Although adjacent to one another, all 3 have their own websites for ticket info, prices, location, etc. This is a BUSY place so if driving there for an event, get there early as getting into the parking ramp (fee), as well as getting out again, can take some time.

    Xcel Energy Arena:
    Xcel Energy Center
    199 West Kellogg Blvd.
    Saint Paul, MN 55102
    Phone: (651) 265-4800
    www.xcelenergycenter.com

    St Paul RiverCentre
    175 West Kellogg Blvd., # 501
    Saint Paul, MN 55102-1299
    Phone: 651-265-4800
    www.rivercentre.org

    Roy Wilkins Auditorium
    175 W. Kellogg Blvd.
    Suite 501
    St. Paul, MN. 55102
    Phone: (651) 265-4800
    www.theroy.org

    Xcel Energy Center, St Paul
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    Mississippi boat ride

    by Tom_Fields Updated Apr 4, 2011

    St. Paul's Padelford Packet Boat Company offers some fine narrated boat rides on the Mississippi River, which afford the visitor some great views of the city and a lot of good stories as well. If your time is limited (as mine was), this is an excellent way to learn about the city.

    Tour boat on the river Catch the boat right here at Padelford Landing Heading upriver... Looking back at the city
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    Ordway Theater

    by gregoryr1m Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    The Ordway Theater brings the broadway experience to St. Paul. Every year on the Sunday that follows Thanksgiving, Leo Kottke gives his annual concert at the Ordway Theather.

    Before the show, dine and any number of fine resturants down town St. Paul.

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    Peanuts On Parade

    by gregoryr1m Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    It's seasonal but if you're in St. Paul in the Summertime and you're a fan of the Charles M. Schulz character The Peanuts, take in Peanuts on Parade.

    Every year St. Paul dedicates it's town to one character from The Peanuts cartoon strip in honor of St. Paul native, Charles M. Schulz.

    Year 1: Snoopy and Woodstock
    Year 2: Charlie Brown
    Year 3: Lucy van Pelt
    Year 4: Linus van Pelt

    photo by Gregory Roth

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