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The Gateway Cities: Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

www.exploreminnesota.com

Explore the Twin Cities

Minneapolis and Saint Paul are well known as the Twin Cities, but they are certainly not identical twins. Saint Paul's European-style architecture, for instance, is a contrast to the modern skyscrapers of Minneapolis. The third sibling, suburban Bloomington, is home to world famous Mall of America. MSP Skyline

These differing architectural styles also give the metropolitan area diversity in personality, attractions and entertainment. Minneapolis, the "city of lakes," is a lively mixture of theater, entertainment, professional sports, dining and shops. The capital of Minnesota, Saint Paul, is well-known for its Ordway Center for the Performing Arts and its historic and cultural attractions. For travelers with an artistic bent, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Walker Art Center, and the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden present classical and modern art.

Classical revivals and new productions are featured at the Guthrie Theater while the Hennepin Avenue theater marquees advertise Broadway plays. Nearby smaller theaters produce comedies, dramas and avant-garde plays. The renowned Minnesota Orchestra offers a mix of classics and a pop series, or you can enjoy the latest sounds in the Warehouse District, an eclectic mix of nightclubs and restaurants.

An extraordinary growth of arts, theater and museum infrastructure in Minneapolis will transform the cultural scene in the Twin Cities, already one of the finest in America. It involves major expansion of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Guthrie Theater, the Walker Arts Center, and the Children's Theater.

Summit Avenue, the longest street of Victorian mansions in America, leads to Saint Paul's downtown cultural corridor. Visitors can explore Saint Paul's at the James J. Hill House (commemorating the founder of the Great Northern Railroad), the Cathedral of Saint Paul, the Minnesota State Capital and the Minnesota History Center. Children will enjoy experimenting at the Minnesota Science Museum or testing their skills at the Minnesota Children's Museum. For an evening our, a Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra concert or a Broadway play at the elegant Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, followed by dinner at a Rice Park restaurant, is a perfect combination.

On the bank of the Mississippi River is Lampert's Landing, the most northerly port on the river for the Delta Queen, a luxury stern-wheel turn-of-the-century-style cruise ship. The Mississippi River and its banks are a great source of recreation. Visitors can travel the route of explorers on paddlewheel excursion boats, experience American frontier life at historic Fort Snelling, or visit the home of Alexander Ramsey, Minnesota's first territorial governor, located a short distance from the river.

The Twin Cities offer something for everyone. Beer lovers will savor tours of Minneapolis and Saint Paul breweries. Railway buffs will enjoy seeing historic rolling stock and models at Bandana Square. The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum at Chanhassen has 900 acres of display gardens, plant collections, woods, bogs and prairie. Gaming and entertainment are just a short drive away at two American Indian casinos.

The Mall of America has put the Twin Cities on the map as a shoppers' paradise. The largest shopping and entertainment center in the United States boasts 520 shops, an amusement park, nightclubs, and even an aquarium. Nowhere else in the world can you find Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Nordstrom and Sears under one roof. The Mall of America is truly the ultimate shopping experience.

The recent opening of a light rail transit system connecting the Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) with downtown Minneapolis to the north and Mall of America to the south will revolutionize public transit in the Twin Cities. This new train, The Hiawatha Line, will enable MSP passengers to quickly and easily travel to hotels in Minneapolis and Bloomington as well as to shopping at Mall of America.

Nationally acclaimed for its high quality of life, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan area offers both small-town hospitality and big city entertainment. Real cities. Real America.

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