Saint Paul, Minnesota- the other half of the Twin Cities aka “one of the coolest suburbs of Minneapolis to visit while you are here for the Super Bowl” according to a 2018 news report. All joking aside, the Minnesotan capital is an eclectic city mixing both contemporary amenities with historical charm. St. Paul displays its history on the banks of the Mississippi River through its many museums and architecture, while simultaneously offering modern cuisine and attractions. St. Paul is always bustling with its multitude of sporting events, concerts and exhibitions, but you don’t have to break the bank to see all this city has to offer. Below are our a few of our favorite free things to see in St. Paul.
1. See the animals at Como Zoo
This a great zoo with lots of free parking available (if you don’t mind a little bit of walking to the entrance). There is a box for donations if you feel moved to do so, but it is optional. You can see many different animals from all over the world! Arctic, Jungle, Plains and Desert animals are all available to view year round just to name a few. Every exhibit is very kid friendly, and there are even special exhibits that arrive throughout the year (although a few have had a small fee). A great stop for anyone that wants to embrace their “wild side”.
2. Stroll through the gardens at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory
These gardens are located at the same property as the Como Zoo. There are so many cool exhibits here- a sunken garden with plants that change seasonally, a room full of ferns, edible plants and spices, a bonsai tree exhibit and even an outdoor Japanese garden to walk through!
3. Visit the State Capitol
The building was recently restored by the state and looks gorgeous! While admiring the building’s architecture, there is a large park surrounding the building filled with paths and memorials to explore, learn and reflect. Inside, you can take a free self guided tour including the Rotunda, the Senate and House of Representatives Chambers and so much more!
4. Free Brewery Tour
With a plethora of craft breweries to explore around St. Paul, you won’t have a hard time finding a new favorite brew! Summit brewing is one that offers free tours where you can see the facilities and learn all about the brewing process.
5. Visit the Markets
To get your fresh fruits and veggies, check out the St. Paul Farmer’s Market! During the summer months (May- October) you can find the market in downtown St. Paul on most Saturdays or Sundays. Check out the Farmer’s Market website for the schedule. If you aren’t visiting on a weekend, check out the indoor Keg and Case market! This market is in a historic brewery and features local restaurants, shops and breweries!
6. Union Depot
A transportation hub for thousands of travelers, Union Depot is a must see. They offer public tours on Tuesdays at 11am. There are also exhibits that change regularly that you can visit and learn about the history of the Twin Cities, Minnesota, and transportation. There is even a scavenger hunt you can do to make sure you don’t miss anything!
7. Stop by the Cathedral of St. Paul
This huge cathedral is rich with history. It showcases beautiful architecture and art while overlooking downtown from a hilltop. There are public tours available Tuesdays- Fridays at 1pm.
8. Walk along historic Summit Ave
This is a gorgeous street with hundreds of preserved Victorian Era homes! You can learn about the history of many of the buildings on the Visit St. Paul website.
9. Visit the Minnesota History Center
If you have a Bank of America card, you can visit this museum for free during the first weekend of each month. There are many exhibits to explore and even a fantastic spot to view the State Capitol!
10. Walk along the Mississippi River by Kellogg Park and Raspberry Island
There are so many great sculptures and trails here that allow you to walk, bike or scooter alongside the Mississippi River. You can also just sit, relax and watch the steamboats go by. A wonderful spot for a picnic!
Have you visited or plan to visit St. Paul soon? We would love to know what you thought about the city!