Exploring Saint Paul doesn’t have to cost you much. From zoos to festivals and tours, here’s a roundup of our free activities.
One of the state’s most-visited attractions is family-friendly, free and open 365 days a year. Como Zoo and Conservatory is an easy day of entertainment and education that doesn’t cost you anything, and make sure you snap photos of the 101-year-old Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, the Sunken Garden and the Japanese Garden to show off to everyone.
If you love history, then you’ll adore the Landmark Center. This castle-esque building in downtown Saint Paul began its legacy as a federal post office and courthouse. Famous gangsters were tried here, and two US Supreme Court Justices practiced here. The act that enforced Prohibition was written upstairs. Today, it’s a free arts and cultural center that’s ready to welcome you to Saint Paul.
The Minneapolis and Saint Paul parks systems rank as the top two in the nation, so Harriet Island is really the first of many free parks to check out (look into Indian Mounds Park, Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Crosby Farm Park for more). Have a picnic, hike the Mississippi River, photograph Raspberry Island or see if there’s an event happening at the park. As a bonus, you’ll get great views of the downtown skyline.
Cathedral of Saint Paul
The Cathedral of Saint Paul is the highest point of the city. Stop by anytime to check out the beautiful 101-year-old building -- see where John F. Kennedy sat when he attended Mass here, observe the shrine that represents countries across the world and take the free tour that happens every weekday at 1 p.m.
Summit Brewing Company Tours
The craft beer scene in Minnesota boasts more than 120 breweries, and Summit Brewing Company has brewed in Saint Paul since 1986. Take a tour of the facility and taste-test a few brews--all for free. Check out the tour schedule.
Renovated in 2012, Union Depot is a 1920s train station that today serves as a transportation hub, event center, architectural inspiration, bike shop and much more. The building is open to the public, and catch the free tour of the building every other Tuesday at 11 a.m.
Minnesota Museum of American Art
The Minnesota Museum of American Art has found it's home in the historic Pioneer Endicott building. The museum's history dates back to 1894, and the work it possesses reflects the American experience through the Twin Cities art scene.
Get your exercise and your sightseeing in the same go. Summit Avenue is the longest stretch of Victorian houses in the United States, and the houses are stunning in every season. Whether you choose to walk or bike ride down this historic street, make sure you stop at the James J. Hill House, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s home and the Mississippi River Overlook.
See what’s happening on our events calendar, because there’s always some kind of festival going on in Saint Paul. The season doesn't matter, and you'll often find free events that attract anywhere from 100 to 100,000 people: the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, Crashed Ice, LuckyPalooza, Grand Old Day, Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Mekong Night Markets, Music in Mears, Lowertown Blues & Funk Fest and the Japanese Lantern Festival are just the beginning of a line of festivals and events that happen here every year. Click here to browse the calendar.