Travel Tips: Minnesota, USA

Minnesota, USA

As we phase back into some sort of normalcy following the COVID shutdowns, international travel may still be questionable for some time. I encourage you to use this time to explore the wonderful opportunities at home for residents of the United States.

Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota and surrounding areas have some of the best sites and are just out our doorstep, right in our backyards. Below are some of those that I can personally recommend for both locals of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as for everyone else who might want to venture to our lovely state!

Many of these sites I’ve visited during my lifetime. As a home educator, these sites were explored and included in our educational studies.

I’ve just begun my journey to discover what they currently offer–and how the pandemic has impacted the experience. Once I’ve personally visited a site, I’ll include a blog page with photos and discussion on my highlights. The places below are just a start… check back often for updates and additions!

Minnesota Areas Explored

Twin Cities Metro

Farther Afield

ART

CULTURAL & RELIGIOUS

HISTORICAL

NATURE & ZOOLOGICAL

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis

Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis

Foshay Tower, Minneapolis

Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis

Mary Tyler Moore Sites: Minneapolis

Minneapolis Institute of Art: Mia, Minneapolis

Minneapolis City Hall & Hennepin County Courthouse, Minneapolis

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Minneapolis

Minneapolis’ “Chain of Lakes” in the “City of Lakes” –

Mississippi River Front, Minneapolis

Norway House, Minneapolis

Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Walker Art Center is a multidisciplinary contemporary art center in the Lowery Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota, just south of downtown.

  • Vineland Place, Minneapolis, MN 55403; (walkerart.org)
  • Check back for more details – coming soon

Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis

Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is an art museum located at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The museum was founded in 1934 and is named in honor of art collector Frederick R. Weisman. Originally based in Northrop Auditorium, it moved into its current building in 1993 in a building designed by internationally renowned architect, Frank Gehry.

  • It looks out over the Mississippi River, by the Washington Avenue Bridge at 333 East River Parkway, Minneapolis, MN 55445 (wam.wmn.edu)
  • Check back for more details – coming soon!

Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis

Museum of Russian Art, a nonprofit museum in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, is the only major institution in North America devoted entirely to Russian art and culture from the entire scope of Russia’s history.

  • 5500 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis 55419; (tmora.org) Address is just off of 35W and Diamond Lake Rd.
  • Check back for more details – coming soon!

The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis

Bakken is a museum located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, founded in 1975 by Earl Bakken, the co-founder of Medtronic. Inspiring passion for innovation, the exhibits present a concise history and explanation of electricity and electromagnetism.

  • 3537 Zenith Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55416, USA (thebakken.org)
  • Check back for more details – coming soon!

Mill City Museum

Mill City Museum showcases the milling industry of Minneapolis. Part of the Minnesota Historical Society, visitors get the opportunity to see 19th-century flour milling machines, view vintage advertising, sit at a huge dinner table outfitted to feed a wheat harvest crew, trace the journey of wheat from farm to market, design your own cereal box, and meet a history player from the city’s past. It is recommended that you allow some extra time to explore the Mississippi riverfront and nearby shops and restaurants.

  • 704 South Second Street, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (mnhs.org/millcity/visit)
  • Mill City Museum is currently closed until November 2021 due to the pandemic. Check back for details coming once they open and I get the opportunity to visit.

St. Paul, Minnesota

Minnesota State Capitol

Cathedral of St. Paul

The Landmark Center

St. Paul City Hall & Ramsey County Courthouse

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory are located in Como Park, St. Paul, near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The park, zoo and conservatory are owned by the City of Saint Paul and are a division of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation.

  • The zoo and conservatory are FREE! Check out website for updates on reservations.
  • The site also includes ComoTowne, a family-friendly amusement park home to rides, concessions and General Store and and Cafesjian’s Carousel, build in 1914, complete with antique wooden horses. Fees for these options.
  • 1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul, MN 55103; Just east of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. (comozooconservatory.org); (ourfaircarousel.org); (comotown.com)
  • Check back for more details – coming soon!

Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul

Minnesota History Center is a museum and library that serves as the headquarters of the Minnesota Historical Society. It is near downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota, and is considered one of Minnesota’s finest public buildings. Easy access off of 35E and I94.

  • 345 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102 (mnhs.org)
  • It is currently open to visitors. Check the website for details.
  • Check back for more details – coming soon!

James J. Hill House

James J. Hill House was completed in 1891 as the home of James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway, and his family. Part of the Minnesota Historical Society, it is a National Historic Landmark. The 36,000-square-foot gilded mansion provides guided tours, art exhibits and special events.

  • It is scheduled to re-open June 3, 2021.
  • 240 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55102 (mnhs.org/hillhouse)
  • Check back for details; coming soon!

Ramsey House

Alexander Ramsey House is a historic Victorian house museum in Saint Paul, the former residence of Alexander Ramsey, who served as the first governor of Minnesota Territory and the second governor of the state of Minnesota. Part of the Minnesota Historical society, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969.

  • Three generations of the Ramsey family came to occupy the handsome native limestone home. In 1964, on the death of the last surviving family member, granddaughter Anita Furness, it was willed to MNHS, which Ramsey himself founded.
  • It is currently open to visitors with reservations.
  • 265 Exchange Street South, St. Paul, Minnesota, 55012 (mnhs.org/ramseyhouse)
  • Check back for details, coming soon!

Fort Snelling

Fort Snelling is a National Historic Landmark which resides on Dakota homeland, known as Bdote, with history spanning 10,000 years. Learn stories of the military fort and its surrounding area, home to a wide history that includes Native peoples, trade, soldiers and veterans, enslaved people, immigrants, and the changing landscape.

  • Part of the Minnesota Historical Society, Historic Fort Snelling is located at the junction of Minnesota Highways 5 and 55, one mile east of Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP). (mnhs.org/fortsnelling)
  • It is scheduled to re-open on June 4, 2021.
  • Check back for details; coming soon.

Bell Museum of Natural History

Bell Museum, Minnesota’s official natural history museum and planetarium, is now located on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. The Planetarium includes amazing journeys from the far reaches of the cosmos to deep inside the human brain. World famous wildlife dioramas explore the origins of the universe, the diversity of life on earth, and take a walk through the state of Minnesota. The Touch & See Lab engages all senses with 10,000-year-old fossils, living plants and animals, and more. The visitor can wander outside on our green roof and observation deck, and explore the learning landscape of native plants, geology gardens, and solar station. 

  • 2088 Larpenteur Avenue West, St. Paul, MN; North of the University of Minnesota, St. Paul Campus and near the Minnesota State Fairgrounds
  • Easy access off of Hwy 280 between 35W and I94. (bellmuseum.umn.edu)
  • Check back for details; coming soon!

Gibbs Farm, St. Paul

Gibbs Farm is a seasonal historic site with tours & costumed interpreters recounting a day in the life of a MN pioneer. Learn the story of the Gibbs family and early 1800s Dakota history because of the family’s unique relationship with them. Site contains Dakota tipi, a replica bark lodge, and a wild rice camp. The Gibbs family historic farmhouse, barns, and a replica of their first sod house, a one-room schoolhouse, farm animals, a heritage apple orchard, historic gardens, and a restored prairie grace the site are also on site.

  • Gibbs Farm is just north of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds and the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus.
  • 2097 Larpenteur Avenue West, St. Paul, MN 55113 (rchs.com)
  • Currently closed (5/12/21) to the public but open to registrations for summer camps.
  • Check back for more details – coming soon.

Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul

Science Museum of Minnesota, founded in 1907, is an American museum focused on topics in technology, natural history, physical science, and mathematics education. Dinosaurs, the Collectors’ Corner, Omnitheater, and more discoveries lie in store at the Science Museum of Minnesota in downtown St. Paul. Great family outing for a rainy–or very hot–day!

  • Now open for visitors! Advance reservations required.
  • 120 West Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul, MN 55102 (new.smm.org)
  • Check back for more details – coming soon.

Minnesota Transportation Museum

Minnesota Transportation Museum is a transportation museum in Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States. MTM operates several heritage transportation sites in Minnesota and one in Wisconsin. The museum is actively involved in preserving local railroad, bus and streetcar history.

  • The museum is currently open by reservation.
  • 193 Pennsylvania Avenue East, St. Paul, MN 55030 (transportationmuseum.org)
  • Check back for details; coming soon!

St. Louis Park, Minnesota

The Pavek Museum, St. Louis Park

Pavek Museum is a museum has one of the world’s most significant collections of vintage radio and television equipment. It originated in the collection of Joe Pavek, who began squirreling away unique radios while he was an instructor at Dunwoody Institute, Minneapolis, in 1946.

  • 3517 Raleigh Avenue, St Louis Park, MN, 55416; pavekmuseum.org.
  • At this posting, the Pavek is currently closed for renovations.
  • Check back for more details -coming soon!

Chanhassen, Minnesota – Farther Afield

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen

Paisley Park & Prince, Chanhassen

Collegeville, Minnesota – Farther Afield

Saint John’s University, Abbey & Church – Collegeville, MN

Elk River, Minnesota – Farther Afield

Kelley Farm

Oliver Kelley Farm is a historic farmstead in Elk River, Minnesota. It was once owned by Oliver Hudson Kelley, one of the founders of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. Part of the Minnesota Historical Society, the farmstead is a U.S. National Historic Landmark, which also places it on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • 15788 Kelley Farm Road, Elk River, MN 55330. It is about 30 minutes north of Minneapolis/St. Paul with the entrance off of Hwy 169, just north of Anoka and south of Elk River. Access most easily by car. (mnhs.org/kelleyfarm)
  • Currently scheduled to re-open June 3, 2021.
  • Check back for more details; coming soon!
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