The holiday season is coming and with it comes visits from out-of-town guests. Have fun showing them why the Twin Cities and Rochester are so special with trips to these top-rated area attractions. But here's a tip: you don't have to wait for company to get out of your apartment and see them yourself!
Ranked the #1 attraction in the Twin Cities by U.S. News & World Report Travel, Minneapolis Institute of Art, or Mia for short, has a stunning collection ranging from 40,000-year-old artifacts to the finest in contemporary art. Explore creativity during interactive Family Days or mingle on Third Thursdays with unique programs accompanied by food and beverage. Best of all? Admission is always free.
The Guthrie is the most famous stage this side of Broadway. Productions include classic dramas and musicals as well as thought-provoking contemporary works. When the stages are dark, get a close-up look at theater life with formal or self-guided tours. The Guthrie also houses a full-service restaurant and a relaxing lounge with spectacular views of the Mississippi River.
Thanks to the lively, unpredictable behavior of animals, no two visits to the zoo are ever the same. But Como Park has even more to offer than wildlife exhibits. The grounds feature more than a dozen breathtaking botanical exhibits, several athletic fields, an 18-hole golf course, a mini-water park, and picnic shelters and pavilions. Admission is free, but you'll be happy to give the $3 suggested donation.
In the 1960s the Grand Avenue Business Association began the task of restoring the once-elegant commercial district, turning it into what is now one of the most popular destinations in St. Paul. The 30-block stretch is home to a variety of boutiques and specialty shops, several of the city's best restaurants, and a residential area featuring a number of beautiful homes. Don't miss Grand Meander, the district's signature holiday event.
The sprawling 329-acre park began its life as part of the former Rochester State Hospital farm. Today it's a unique center for outdoor activities including hiking, cross-country skiing and bird watching. Exploration Hall has 35 varieties of live animals on view along with interactive opportunities like feeding fish.
Step back in time when you tour this magnificent estate and gardens. Built in 1911 by Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of the world-renowned medical complex that bears his name, the mansion is maintained as it was when Mayo and his wife resided there. For a real treat, take the tour in November or December when the mansion is decked out in its holiday finery.
What do you consider to be the top attraction in the Twin Cities and Rochester? Share your answer in the comments!