27 Fun Things to Do in St. Paul, Minnesota

Is St. Paul the Better of the Twin Cities?

Over the years, the Twin Cities have gained national attention for being the midwest center for arts, music, theater, culture, incredible cuisine, and nearly 20 Fortune 500 companies, making it a great place to live and work. While Minneapolis is the bigger of the two twins, I think St. Paul is underrated and a great place to live or spend a weekend.

St. Paul has some incredible biking and walking trails, colleges, sporting venues, restaurants, and breweries. St. Paul is an incredible city with so much to offer. Relatively speaking, it’s a smaller city of just 305K residents, but there is a lot of beauty, history, art, and culture packed into this city!

St. Paul

1. Tour the Minnesota State Capitol

Take a free guided tour of Minnesota’s Capitol building and learn about its history, art, architecture, and the state government. The Capitol building was built in 1905 and has the second-largest self-supported marble dome in the world. You’ll also see beautiful marble, murals, paintings, and golden horses on the roof.

St. Paul
St. Paul
St. Paul
St. Paul

2. Check Out a Brewery

St. Paul has a handful of great breweries, many with beautiful patios and great food! Some of our favorites are Waldmann, which has excellent Germany-inspired pretzels and sandwiches. We also love the St. Paul Brewery, which has a uniquely decorated outdoor patio that feels like you’re in an I Spy book. I recommend the pumpkin beer, it’s very subtle and refreshing. A few other great options are Bad Weather Brewing, Summit Brewery, Wabasha Brewing and Yoerg Brewing Company.

Great Things to do in St. Paul, Minnesota
Great Things to do in St. Paul, Minnesota

3. Visit the Science Museum

The Science Museum is an incredibly diverse museum. You’ll find dinosaur bones, sand from beaches all around the world, a section on human anatomy, exhibits on Minnesota animals and geography, and a five-story tall giant astronaut! You can easily spend 2-3 hours exploring this great museum. Purchase your tickets here.

St. Paul
St. Paul

4. Walk Around Keg and Case

Keg and Case, located inside the 1855 historic Schmidt Brewery site, is currently a marketplace filled with great food, a brewery, and unique experiences. Grab a drink on the top floor at Clutch Brewery, check out a florist and candy store, grab pickled vegetables and dried pasta, delicious wings or meatballs, and much more. It’s a great place to walk around and spend an afternoon.

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5. Tour the Alexander Ramsey House

Take a tour of the Alexander Ramey House museum, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ramsey was the first governor of Minnesota Territory and the second governor of the state of Minnesota. Built in 1868, the Alexander Ramsey House is a Victorian masterpiece.

St. Paul

6. Enjoy the Cathedral’s Gardens

The Cathedral of St. Paul is gorgeous year-round, with intricate stained glass windows and a massive dome ceiling. It’s especially stunning in the spring and summer when flowers and pink trees are bursting with vibrant colors. It’s free and all are welcome to enjoy it.

Best Things to Do in St. Paul Minnesota
Best Things to Do in St. Paul Minnesota

7. Visit Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory are absolutely beautiful and completely free all year. Bring the kids to walk around and see the giraffes and tigers, or visit the warm and humid gardens to warm up on the coldest days of winter. Both the zoo and conservatory are free year-round, but you’ll need to reserve your time slot in advance, which you can do here.

Best Things to Do in St. Paul Minnesota
Best Things to Do in St. Paul Minnesota

8. Eat Italian Treats at Cossetta’s

Cossetta’s is one of my absolute favorite places in St. Paul. This Italian market and eatery have been around since 1911. You’ll find quality ingredients to make your own Italian meal, like dried pasta, meatballs, and a large assortment of cheese. Or, grab something to eat in their upstairs dining area, like pizza, soup, eggplant parmesan, or cookies and cake.

Waterfalls in the Twin Cities
Waterfalls in the Twin Cities

9. Chase Waterfalls

Shadow Falls and Hidden Falls, located just a few miles apart, are lesser-known St. Paul gems. Shadow Falls is tucked into Shadow Falls Park on Summit Avenue. There is a tiny parking lot, which fills up quickly in the summer. You shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding free street parking though. The path is not clearly marked and it is very steep at times. Hidden Falls is much easier to get to. The dirt path is flat and the waterfall is a short walk from the large parking lot.

St. Paul

10. Tour the James J. Hill House

Take a tour of the massive James J. Hill House, built by railroad tycoon James J. Hill. Learn what life was like for the Hill family, their workers, and guests. Grab your tickets in advance here.

11. Visit the Minnesota History Center

If you love history, you’ll want to visit the Minnesota History Center. This museum and library offer inspiring exhibits, programs, and live performances. Learn more about Minnesota’s history and purchase tickets here.

St. Paul
St. Paul
St. Paul
St. Paul

12. Enjoy the Excellent Food Scene

St. Paul has a great food scene with a variety of restaurants. You can find everything from Italian and Russian, to burgers and Thai. Some of our favorites include Red River Kitchen, Meritage and Moscow on the Hill.

13. Go Underground at the Wabasha Street Caves

Head underground and tour the Wabasha Street Caves, which were carved in the 1920s. Some of St. Paul’s most notorious gangers, like Babyface Nelson and John Dillinger, used these caves as a hideout in the 1920s. Over the years, these caves were used as a speakeasy, a place to grow mushrooms, store items, and even a nightclub. Today, these caves are used for private events and guided tours.

St. Paul

14. Take a Photo of the Landmark Center

The Landmark Center, completed in 1902, was once a courthouse and US Post Office. Today, it has a museum and gift shop and can be rented for private events and weddings.

Things to do in St. Paul

15. Walk Bruce Vento Trail

This regional trail spans seven miles from St. Paul to White Bear Lake. It has paved trails for walking and biking and a nature sanctuary. It also has one of the best views of the St. Paul skyline in my opinion.

St. Paul
St. Paul

16. Drink Beautiful Lattes

There are many great coffee shops in St. Paul. If you’re looking for something really special, check out Cafe Astoria for rainbow lattes and edible gold. They also sell delicious crepes, salads, smoothies, oatmeal, and much more.

St. Paul
St. Paul

17. Enjoy the Sunshine from Upper Landing Park

Upper Landing Park is a paved path that runs adjacent to the Mississippi River. Here you’ll find sculptures, lots of benches, and a large grassy space to relax or have a picnic facing the river.

St. Paul
St. Paul

18. Go Shopping

There are a lot of great shops in St. Paul. One of my favorites is Scout, which offers eco-friendly brands in a queer-friendly space. They have mugs, books, t-shirts, backpacks, and fun outdoor-themed gift items.

19. Walk Past F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Home

F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of the Great Gatsby, was born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota. His childhood home is not a museum, so you can’t go inside, but you can walk past it and imagine him as a young boy living here. He actually wrote This Side of Paradise inside this home in 1919. And if you love learning about Fitzgerald, take a walking tour to learn about the places he ate, shopped, and hung out.

St. Paul

20. Stay at the St. Paul Hotel

The St. Paul Hotel is a gorgeous hotel and event space. We went to the hotel for a wedding a few years back and it’s a gorgeous space. This hotel was built in 1920 and has elegant rooms and an awesome cocktail bar and restaurant.

St. Paul

21. Go to a Sporting Event

St. Paul is home to the Minnesota Wild (hockey), Minnesota United FC (soccer), and the St. Paul Saints (minor league baseball). I’ve been to a handful of games over the years and the energy never disappoints. It’s really more about the experience than winning anyway, right?

Best Things to do in St. Paul Minnesota

22. Take a Stroll at Phalen Regional Park

Phalen Regional Park is a beautiful park with a lake, golf course, beach, and the China Garden. It’s a popular place to walk, fish, kayak, and cross-country ski during the winter.

23. Visit the St. Paul Farmers’ Market

I love Farmers’ Markets and picking up fresh, locally grown fruit, tomatoes and flowers. The St. Paul Farmers’ Market has been running since 1854! It’s a great way to spend the morning while supporting local growers.

Things to do in St. Paul
St. Paul

24. Visit an Event at Union Depot

Union Depot is a really unique space because it’s both a public transportation hub for the Light Rail and buses, and an event center. Check their event calendar here and learn more about holiday markets, yoga classes, kids’ events, and more.

St. Paul
St. Paul
St. Paul

25. Wake Up at the Davidson

The Davidson is a luxury boutique hotel located on the gorgeous and historic Summit Ave in St. Paul. This eight-room house-turned-hotel has stunning views of the sunset overlooking the bluffs. My in-laws stayed here to celebrate their wedding anniversary and invited us over for champagne. It’s a beautiful space and the rooms are huge.

St. Paul

26. Enjoy James J. Hill Library

The James J. Hill Library was created out of Hill’s vision to provide the public with a reference library that supported cultural and economic growth. Today it’s both a research library and an event center.

St. Paul
St. Paul

27. See a Show at Fitzgerald Theater

This theater is the oldest active theater in St. Paul. It first opened in 1910 and currently offers live performances, musicals, concerts, and more.

St. Paul

Plan Your Trip to St. Paul

St. Paul is an incredible place and the Twin Cities often rank as one of the top places in the country for affordability, healthy residents, and great career opportunities. It’s really a great place to live. Looking for more inspiration? Check out my blog posts on MinneapolisStillwater, Northfield, and Duluth!

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