Minneapolis and St. Paul offer visitors an exciting combination of culture and outdoor fun. The fraternal Twin Cities in Minnesota both have their roots on the banks of the Mississippi River. The river transported local timber and grain from across the Midwest to markets in the east. It powered the flour mills of the Pillsbury family, among others, in the early 1800s.
Since then, Minneapolis and St. Paul have spread from their riverbanks as waves of immigrants settled here and prospered. The cities have long been known as a bastion of stoic Scandinavians. These were made famous in Garrison Keillor’s tales of Lake Wobegon on public radio’s Prairie Home Companion. Yet, Irish, Germans, Eastern Europeans, Vietnamese, Hmong, Koreans, Somali and Hispanic people have also brought their traditions to the Twin Cities. They spiced up the cultural life far beyond what one might expect in the Midwest.
With such a mix, it’s no wonder critics have described the Twin Cities as a “white hot” dining destination. Scores of trendy eateries and ethnic dining as well as classic family-owned restaurants reflect the area’s cultural heritage. The state’s ultimate food extravaganza is the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul, the country’s largest state fair by daily attendance.
The Twin Cities are internationally recognized for their arts and cultural scene. It includes theaters such as the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, the Guthrie Theater and a multitude of smaller venues. Also, there are major art museums such as Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum and plentiful art galleries and events. Home to the late beloved musician Prince, the Twin Cities offer live music for every taste. There are two classical orchestras, jazz joints and tunes flowing from an array of clubs and eateries every night of the week. The cities also boast a crop of acclaimed authors whom you many bump into as you visit. Think of folks like Marlon James, Louise Erdrich and Kate DiCamillo.
History buffs love to wander the gorgeous historic neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul. F. Scott Fitzgerald grew up here, and lumber barons and the earliest politicos built their homes. Also, history is featured at the Minnesota History Center, Fort Snelling Historic Park and the newly restored state capitol building in St. Paul, among many others.
Seeking competition instead of contemplation? There’s plenty to enjoy with Minnesota Vikings football, Wild hockey, Twins and St. Paul Saints baseball. Also, check out Kicks professional soccer and teams at the University of Minnesota, too. Twin Citians love the outdoors and encourage visitors to not just spectate but participate and take advantage of opportunities to enjoy fun in the great outdoors few other cities offer. The Trust for Public Land named the cities’ parks and recreation facilities top in the nation. They also rank first among the country’s biking cities. What about winter? That’s when the cities invite visitors to ski, skate, cut holes in the ice to fish, or maybe just to settle into cozy restaurants to watch the snowflakes fly.