The Twin Cities and Rochester form sophisticated urban areas featuring professional sports teams, a world-class theater scene and must-see museums. But there are many attractions not on a regular tourist list that make up part of the region's personality. We've found four fascinating spots for you to check out.
Named by USA Today as “One of 10 Great Places to Discover These Cities Secrets,” the Wabasha Street Caves were carved out of sandstone along the south shore of the Mississippi River. While they are technically mines, because they are manmade, these caves have been used for many activities, including growing mushrooms, storing food and serving as speakeasies during Prohibition. Today, the caves host weekly swing dances and tours related to the caves’ notorious speakeasy and gangster past.
The Twin Cities are home to a number of arts festivals, but the Fringe Festival is a celebration of live theater that is a whole different breed by itself. In the belief that every artist should have an opportunity to have his or her story told, the show lineup is determined randomly by pulling numbered ping-pong balls out of a bingo cage. No show is more than 60 minutes long and no ticket is more than $12. This year's festival is scheduled for July 30 - August 9.
Museums of history and art are great ways to educate your kids, but when it's time to have fun, head to the Minnesota Children's Museum. Founders Kate Donaldson and Suzanne Payne vowed that there would be no "Do Not Touch!" signs on any of the displays. Interactive exhibits like Earth World and Rooftop ArtPark encourage kids to learn by doing. Daily drop-in activities like face-painting provide additional opportunities for educational play.
Explore the beauty of land and wildlife at this 320-acre park and nature center. More than eight miles of hiking trails cover diverse terrain featuring a variety of grass and wildflowers. The Nature Center's Exploration Hall is home to 35 species of animals along with a 1,700-gallon aquarium and an indoor honeybee hive. Get a brand-new perspective when you visit in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
Have you made a recent discovery of a previously unknown local attraction? Tell us about it in the comments!