12 Things to Do in Saint Paul Besides the Republican National Convention

Last week I wrote about things to do in Denver (besides the Democratic National Convention0), and this week the country turns its attention to the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minneapolis.

While I’m a little less familiar with Saint Paul, I’ve still spent some time in the area.  I still have a few things left to do and see on this list, but here are my Saint Paul list of suggestions:

  1. Check out the Science Museum of Minnesota, across from the RiverCentre.  It is surrounded by parks and walkways, and is a wonderful spot to learn and to relax.
  2. Take a child or be a child yourself at the Minnesota Children’s Museum (7th Street, between St. Peter and Wabasha Streets).  This is one of the largest children’s museums in the country, and has lots of hands-on exhibits for kids and adults alike.
  3. The Minnesota Zoo (nearby in Apple Valley) is home to over 1,700 animals and 800 plant species, and a wonderful escape from the hectic pace of the world.  Get a great overview of the zoo from the monorail.
  4. Tour Landmark Center, and its majestic castle-like structure on Rice Park.  This was once the Federal Courthouse, and the site of some infamous gangster trials back in the 1930’s.
  5. Visit Landmark Plaza Park and the bronze statues of Peanuts characters Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Sally, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, Peppermint Patty, and Marcie.  Creator Charles M. Schulz was a Saint Paul Native.  (You’ll also find Peanuts characters located on various streets around the city.)
  6. Tour the Minnesota State Capitol on a hill overlook downtown Saint Paul, and take a gander at the largest unsupported marble dome in the world.  The capitol is home to some great art as well.  Tours are free.
  7. Relax and wander in Como Park.  Beautiful gardens, waterfalls, amusement rides, and more.  The Japanese Gardens are part of a program with Saint Paul’s sister city of Nagasaki, Japan.
  8. Valleyfair Amusement Park (in Shakopee) is 68 acres of thrills, and includes a water park.  This is the home of the Renegade, a world class wooden roller coaster.  Lots of options for all ages and all levels of thrill seekers.
  9. The Cathedral of Saint Paul (Summit & Selby Avenue) is modeled after Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  Its dome is over 306 feet from the floor to the tip of its cross.  (In photo at right.)
  10. Take a ride on the wild side with a gangster tour.  Sure, it’s a bit touristy, but you’ll get to visit some famous gangster crime sites, hideaways, nightclubs, and speakeasies, including Ma Barker’s home and Dillinger’s apartment.
  11. Drive down Summit Avenue and take a gander at one of Saint Paul’s most prestigious addresses.  It’s rife with beautiful residential Victorian architecture stretching fours and a half miles to the Mississippi.
  12. Go shopping at the area’s most famous indoor attraction – the Mall of America (in photo above).  The place is HUGE!  In fact, if it were all one level it would spread out over 35 city blocks!  There are over 500 shops, 50 restaurants, and 14 movie theaters.  But it’s about more than shopping, there is also Underwater Adventures (a walk through aquarium), NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway (a racing entertainment complex), Nickelodeon University and lots, lots more.

What are your recommendations of things to do is Saint Paul?  Please leave your suggestions in the comments.

Photo credit:  Flickr, Mall of America; Cathedral of Saint Paul


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Mary Jo Manzanares is a traveler, travel blogger, and podcaster. In addition to her blog, Traveling with MJ, she hosts the Where Else to Go podcast, and is the founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine. Her travel ethos is value luxury - luxury for real people - and her goal is to help travelers know when to splurge and when to save. Mary Jo has been a speaker at various industry events around the world. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Her most recent travels were to Stockholm, a Baltic cruise, and Universal Orlando Resort.

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