Don’t miss out on these must-see, must-do attractions throughout the area

Image courtesy of Running Aces Casino & Racetrack

Parks & Trails Galore
The Twin Cities blend the best of nature and urban into one seamless landscape that makes the most of work and play days. Acres of green space, miles of bike trails and a long list of lakes combine forces to create our one-of-a-kind destination. At the Chain of Lakes, activities abound throughout the year. Rent a canoe, go ice fishing, take a leisurely stroll or rent some wheels through Nice Ride MN, our citywide bikeshare program. South Minneapolis is home to the picturesque Minnehaha Falls, a perfect photo-opp in the heat of summer or at its mid-winter freeze. Get a spectacular view of the Minneapolis skyline from the walkable Stone Arch Bridge and stroll the cobblestone streets of St. Anthony Main. Come summer, be among the first to see the newly renovated 15-acre Minneapolis Sculpture Garden when it reopens with great flair in June. In the winter, stroll through St. Paul’s Rice Park, where you can ice skate amidst thousands of lights adorning trees and one giant evergreen. If you’re lucky you’ll catch the Saint Paul Winter Carnival there, too.

Tax-Free Shopping
Shop ‘til you drop, play a round of mini-golf, ride a roller coaster and enjoy a gourmet meal, all without stepping foot outside. Mall of America, the largest entertainment and shopping destination in North America, is an enormous, four-story venue with something for everyone. Kids go crazy for Nickelodeon Universe, a year-round indoor amusement park offering rides for toddlers to thrill-seeking adults. Refresh your wardrobe at Nordstrom, Burberry, Fabletics or any of the other 520-plus shops. Dine at Hard Rock Café, CRAVE or Cantina Laredo, or stop by the LEGO Store, the American Girl store or SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium for endless entertainment. To get some extra mileage out of your tax-free shopping day, head to Albertville Premium Outlets in the northwest suburbs or to Twin Cities Premium Outlets in the southeast. Boutiques more your style? Edina’s 50th & France neighborhood, the North Loop in Minneapolis and St. Paul’s Grand Avenue never disappoint.

Architectural Stunners
Designed by Cass Gilbert, the recently restored Minnesota State Capitol has again opened its doors to showcase its Renaissance Revival beauty. The classically styled building, which boasts the second largest self-supported marble dome in the world, features 23 different types of stone, including 16 varieties of marble from around the world, and Minnesotan granite and limestone. The exterior of Minneapolis’ Basilica of St. Mary is as spectacular as its interior. Named the first basilica in the United States by Pope Pius XI in 1926, this stunning structure has become a beloved emblem of the Twin Cities. Each year, the Basilica Block Party music festival draws in crowds of massive proportions to benefit the cultural epicenter. Don’t forget to visit the Cathedral of Saint Paul to tour another of the metro’s most historic religious landmarks, where you can experience a Sunday mass complete with recently renovated pipe organs.

Image by Daniel Brakke

Wagers & Races
Place your wager at Minnesota’s horse-racing headquarters, Canterbury Park. Known as one of the last great racetracks in America, this park goes beyond your run-of-the-mill horse track and offers simulcasting, poker, blackjack, Texas Hold’em and a variety of other table games. Just north of the metro you’ll find Running Aces, with a cutting-edge, 24-hour Vegas-style card room, restaurant, live summer harness racing and year-round simulcast wagering on horses. If traditional Vegas-style casinos are more to your liking, the Twin Cities area has three to choose from: Treasure Island, Mystic Lake and Little Six.

Wild Kingdoms
Not one, but two amazing zoos call the Twin Cities home. Como Zoo—Minnesota’s oldest zoo—hosts more than 60 species and is always free (although donations are gratefully accepted). Situated next to the zoo is the incomparable Marjorie McNeely Conservatory featuring one of the most beautiful sunken gardens you’ll ever see. The Minnesota Zoo offers a variety of exotic animals as well as daily feedings, demos and shows, such as the Tropical Reef Dive Show, World of Birds Show and the Monk Seal Demo.

Find Your Beat
Whether you are familiar with our well known natives (Bob Dylan, Prince), ones you might not have known were from here (Soul Asylum, Hüsker Dü), or those more current to the scene (Atmosphere, Doomtree), there’s one thing they all have in common: Minnesota roots. And there’s no better place to enjoy live music than First Avenue, which is well known as Prince’s favorite venue to perform in. (It’s also the setting of the late star’s film “Purple Rain”). The Turf Club, Varsity Theater, Dakota Jazz Club and Fine Line Music Cafe are other establishments where you just might hear the next generation’s leading artist.

Amusement Parks

Valleyfair: The upper Midwest’s largest amusement park. Open seasonally.

Nickelodeon Universe: Nearly 30 rides for thrill seekers of all ages in the heart of the Mall of America. Open year-round.

ComoTown: For tinier tots and youngsters in a quaint St. Paul neighborhood. Open seasonally.

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