The smaller “twin,” Minnesota's capital city charms visitors with Victorian-Era mansions, a concentration of museums and the 1905 capitol topped by four golden horses. Check out our guide for tips on what to do, where to eat and where to stay.
Advertisement
Sunken Gardens at the Como Zoo and Conservatory. Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Sunken Gardens at Como Zoo and Conservatory
| Credit: Blaine Moats

Do 

Bell Museum

Check out a green roof, digital planetarium, restored wildlife dioramas and hands-on exhibits at the museum's spacious $79.2 million home on the University of Minnesota's St. Paul campus. bellmuseum.umn.edu

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

The 384-acre grounds feature outdoor gardens, a conservatory with seasonal flower shows, the Como Town amusement park and a zoo, where Polar Bear Odyssey and Gorilla Forest habitats give visitors up-close animal views. comozooconservatory.org

Fitzgerald Theater

Built in 1910, the ornate 1,050-seat theater hosts concerts and other events such as the National Geographic Live speaker series.

Minnesota Children's Museum
Minnesota Children's Museum
| Credit: John Noltner

Minnesota Children's Museum

Exhibits like Super Awesome Adventures, with a green-screen climbing wall and laser maze, delight kids at the renovated space. mcm.org

Minnesota History Center

Our Home: Native Minnesota shows how Minnesota's Native communities have retained cultural practices, teachings and values.  minnesotahistorycenter.org

Minnesota State Capitol, St. Paul
Minnesota State Capitol
| Credit: Bob Stefko

Minnesota State Capitol

The cleaned-until-glistening marble exterior underlines the care put into a four-year, $310 million renovation. Take a self-guided tour or a free 45-minute tour of the 1905 building, designed by Cass Gilbert, architect of the U.S. Supreme Court. mnhs.org

Minnesota State Fair

Billed as The Great Minnesota Get-Together, the Midwest's most popular fair draws some 2 million people over 12 days from late August to early September. mnstatefair.org

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Minnesota Opera perform at this recently expanded space, which also presents national shows like touring Broadway productions. ordway.org

Science Museum of Minnesota

On the riverfront, the museum's permanent exhibits, like The Mississippi River Gallery with a towboat, mix with top traveling shows. smm.org

Summit Avenue Walking Tour

Follow the footsteps of 19th-century barons of industry on these 90-minute seasonal tours of the mansion-lined neighborhood overlooking the Mississippi River Valley. sites.mnhs.org

Union Depot

Glittering chandeliers, transportation-theme murals and a fine-dining restaurant have brought new life to the once-overlooked transit hub inside a Beaux Arts building. uniondepot.org

Xcel Energy Center

A foghorn blares each time the Minnesota Wild score a goal at this built-for-hockey venue. But the great acoustics also draw musical acts. xcelenergycenter.com

Eat and Drink

Cafe Latte

Three-layer chocolate turtle cake smothered with caramel and pecans tempts diners at the gourmet bakery-cafe on Grand Avenue. cafelatte.com

Cossetta Alimentari

For more than 100 years, the aroma of simmering tomato sauce has enticed diners to this pizzeria and pasta bar. cossettas.com

Grand Ole Creamery

Come for the New York-style pizza and stay for the giant scoops of ice cream served in fresh waffle cones. (The Black Hills Gold is a must-try.) grandolecreamery.com

Hyacinth

Items come and go by the season at the Mediterranean-inspired gem serving the likes of grilled prawns and fresh pasta. hyacinthstpaul.com

J. Selby's

The vegan fast-casual restaurant serves reinvented American favorites, such as cauliflower buffalo "wings" and soft serve N'ice Cream. jselbys.com

Keg and Case Market
Keg and Case Market
| Credit: Ackerman + Gruber

Keg and Case

Go hungry to this stylish food hall in an old brewery. The rock-star vendor lineup includes Pimento Jamaican Kitchen (for slow-roasted jerk pork) and Clutch Brewing Company (for small-batch ales and lagers). kegandcase.com

Mucci's Italian

Old-school Italian—spaghetti with meatballs, lasagna, deli sandwiches—shares the menu with seasonal gnocchi and creative pizzas. muccisitalian.com

Revival

Southern hospitality comes to St. Paul in the form of juicy fried chicken, tender pork shoulder and creamy mac 'n' cheese. revivalfriedchicken.com

Tongue in Cheek

The eclectic menu features both vegetarian dishes as well as meals from animals raised humanely and sustainably. Try steamed pork buns, ramen, ricotta doughnuts or brunch specialties like Heeere's Johnny, with braised pork, eggs Benedict and pickles. tongueincheek.biz

W.A. Frost restaurant St. Paul
W.A. Frost
| Credit: David Nevala

W.A. Frost and Company

A tree-shaded patio outside and fireplaces inside make for a mellow mood for fine dining. Local ingredients shine in items such as lamb chops with chimichurri. wafrost.com

Stay

Covington Inn

The romance of sleeping aboard a houseboat makes up for the somewhat tight quarters. From the upper deck, enjoy the skyline reflecting on the Mississippi River. covingtoninn.com

Celeste St. Paul Hotel + Bar

The 71-room boutique hotel reclaimed a former convent that also housed the city's first fine arts school. Expect both modern comforts and historic architectural details. celestestpaul.com

The Saint Paul Hotel
The Saint Paul Hotel
| Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki/Redux

The Saint Paul Hotel

Since 1910, elegance has been the hallmark of the 255 rooms and suites at this downtown landmark known for its European-style furnishings, lobby cocktail bar and indoor palm trees. saintpaulhotel.com

More information  visitsaintpaul.com