About This Place
Dignified and inviting to outsiders, St. Paul thrives on its past. With its concentration of state capital buildings, tree-lined streets and Summit Avenue’s Victorian homes, St. Paul glimmers with old-meets-new chic. Top attractions in St. Paul such as the Cathedral of St. Paul, the Alexander Ramsey House, the Minnesota History Center and Wabasha Street Caves beckon visitors with their rich histories and alluring stories.
Though St. Paul was once called Pig’s Eye after Pierre “Pig’s Eye” Parrant, tavern owner esteemed as the town’s first inhabitant of European descent, Minnesota’s capital city began its dignified rise after Lucien Galtier established the Log Chapel of St. Paul which became the Cathedral of St. Paul. Taking pride in a peak standing taller than the state capitol building and its 60-foot carved granite relief of Christ and the apostles, the cathedral held its first service in 1915 and currently hosts free tours Monday through Friday at 1 p.m. Two miles southeast, visitors can experience the city’s spooky side by visiting St. Paul attractions like the Mill City Mob tour, and Ghost & Grave tours of the Wabasha Street Caves.
Built in 1872, the Alexander Ramsey House is considered to be one of the most well-preserved Victorian homes in the country. Looking up, visitors see crystal chandeliers overhead, while marble fireplaces and some of the home’s original furnishings can be found throughout the residence. Servants dressed in period garb treat guests with fresh-made cookies.
Hungry visitors will commend St. Paul restaurants for their unpretentious, yet delicious offerings. Bread & Chocolate serves freshly baked muffins and pastries daily, and the weekly menu of scones, ranging from cherry almond on Monday to lemon poppy seed on Sunday, lures customers back for more. Downtowner Woodfire Grill, two miles east, is the epitome of fine dining in St. Paul. The restaurant offers Persian fire-roasted beef tenderloin, served kabob style with grilled vegetables and basmati rice. Happy hour runs from 3-6 p.m. Sunday through Friday, while on Monday and Tuesday bottles of wine may be purchased for half-price with dinner.
Although many St. Paul attractions are housed in Victorian-era homes or underground caves, visitors will find a number of outdoor things to see and do. The Bonsai Garden at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory boasts the largest public Bonsai collection in the upper Midwest and the Chipotle Edible Garden displays over 8,000 square feet of fruits, vegetables and herbs, some of which are used as food for the zoo’s animals. With an 18-hole golf course on site as well as a lakeside pavilion where summer visitors can experience the best in local and regional music, Como Park Zoo has plenty of things for adults and kids to do. After visiting one of the many featured exhibits such as Arctic fox, reindeer, bison and 475-pound Galapagos tortoise, zoo visitors can relax by the Como Pool with its 400-foot-long lazy river, aquatic climbing wall and designated children’s activity pool.