A roundup of some of the best places to see Minneapolis and St. Paul fall colors

Image by Josh/flickr

Say what you want about Minnesota seasons, but the changes make for the most beautiful scenery. This is especially apparent during the fall months when Mother Nature changes her wardrobe from forest green to a palette of blazing golds, oranges and reds. Here’s a list of our favorite “runways” in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

A collection of trees with fall colors at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.Image by Kevin T. Houle/flickr

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

If Mother Nature had its own Mona Lisa, Sistine Chapel ceiling or Starry Night canvas in the Twin Cities, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum would be it. The arboretum’s green spaces spread out for more than 1,200 acres, and their gardens, tree collections, prairies, woods and trails are sprouting with more than 5,000 plant species and varieties. No frills here, just natural beauty at its best.

An overlook of the St. Croix River during the fall with a cruise boat on its waters.Image by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources/flickr

St. Croix River Valley

A short 20 mile drive from downtown St. Paul will bring you to one of the state’s most prized towns and locations—Stillwater in the St. Croix River Valley. The charming city on the banks of the St. Croix River has been voted one of America’s Most Picturesque Small Towns by USA Today Travel and one of America’s Best Towns for Fall Colors by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Traverse the trails by the river lined with towering rocky facades or hop aboard a public cruise from St. Croix Boat & Packet Co. for some wining, dining and sightseeing (just pretend that rhymes better than it does).

A pond and trees during fall at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge.Image by USFWSmidwest/flickr

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

This slice of natural heaven south of Bloomington blankets 14,000 acres and stretches for nearly 70 miles along the Minnesota River. The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge‘s protected land provides a critical and safe habitat for migratory waterfowl, fish and other threatened wildlife, including coyotes, bald eagles and trout. If you are looking to get lost in the splendor and beauty of the outdoors in the heart of the city, look no further.

A bridge over the creek down from Minnehaha Falls at Minnehaha Regional Park.Image by Corey Anderson/flickr

Minnehaha Regional Park

How do you make a lush display of fall colors even better? By tossing in a 53-foot waterfall that crashes over limestone bluffs. The accompanying trail and creek that winds their way through a dense forest before reaching the Mississippi River don’t hurt, either. Check out the explosion of color at Minnehaha Regional Park, and then head over to Sea Salt Eatery for some of the best seafood around and Sebastian Joe’s ice cream.

A lake lined with trees during fall at Fort Snelling State Park.Image by NatureNerd/flickr

Fort Snelling State Park

Like the 64 count box of Crayola Crayons from your elementary school days, Fort Snelling State Park is overflowing with color. One of the state’s top 10 tourist attractions, the park sees an average of more than 400,000 visitors every year, and its 18 miles of hiking trails, 5 miles of biking trails and canoe rental options offer a myriad of ways to get out and see the fall foliage.


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