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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.
Updated Apr 15, 2013
Address: 75 West 5th St., St Paul MN
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.
Updated Apr 15, 2013
Address: Harriet Island Regional Park, St Paul, MN
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.
Written Nov 26, 2012
Address: along Summit Avenue
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.
Written Nov 25, 2012
Address: 240 Summit Avenue Saint Paul
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.
Updated Nov 25, 2012
Address: 239 Selby Avenue
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
Written Aug 31, 2012
Phone: (612) 726-1171
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.
Updated Apr 6, 2011
Address: 239 Selby Ave., Saint Paul, MN 55102
Phone: (651) 228-1766
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!
Written Apr 5, 2011
Address: 1029 Hudson Road Saint Paul, MN 55106
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
St Paul RiverCentre
175 West Kellogg Blvd., # 501
Saint Paul, MN 55102-1299
Roy Wilkins Auditorium
175 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN. 55102
Phone: (651) 265-4800
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: See above - downtown St Paul.
Phone: See above
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.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Harriet Island, St. Paul, MN 55107
Saint Paul Hotel Saint Paul
3 Reviews and 258 Opinions Great hotel, charming decor, good bar, good food. If you're in St. Paul, this is the place to stay!...