Looking around the Twin Cities

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Price of gas got you down? If you were planning a road trip this summer, but then thought better of it, fear not! There are plenty of beautiful vistas and scenes of historical import right here. Why not get to know your home state a little better by visiting the observation decks around the Twin Cities?

University Avenue and the Minneapolis skyline seen from the State Capitol.
The best view by far is to be had at the State Capitol. Climb 60-odd stairs, and you are rewarded with a panoramic view of Saint Paul, and an up close and personal view of the Capitol’s golden horses. The St. Paul skyline is right there before you, the Cathedral of St. Paul is within clear sight, and the Minneapolis skyline is hazy in the distance. The roof of the Capitol is only accessible on the free official tour of the building, and only if the weather permits. But this 45-minute tour is one that every Minnesotan should take.

If you’re in the mood for something more modern, try the Guthrie Theater. The Guthrie boasts an outdoor observation deck called the Endless Bridge. One of the largest cantilevered decks in the world, the Endless Bridge juts out more than half a block from the rest of the building, and provides views of the Stone Arch Bridge, St. Anthony Falls, the Mill City Museum, and the University of Minnesota. Up on the 9th floor, you will find the Dowling Studio, an indoor observation area whose windows are curiously yellow. The Studio showcases the river, as well as downtown Minneapolis and the Metrodome. Access to both areas is free, and during events each area opens its wet bar. The new part of 35W seen from the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie.

For a truly educational experience, try the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul. Access to the Elements Terrace on the 6th floor is free, there is a 25 cent telescope to view the river, and kids love the musical stairs that lead up from the main level. At the front of the museum is the Mississippi River Visitor Center where you can learn all about our famous river’s ecosystem.

Located on the 31st floor, the observation deck at the Foshay Tower in Minneapolis affords the highest view. A ticket will set you back $8 per person, but also gets you into the Foshay Museum. For more scenic sites around the Twin Cities, check out the Laura Jane Musser Plaza at the Minnesota History Center in St. Paul and the 20.21 Restaurant & Bar at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.

Marinda Bland lives and writes in the Twin Cities, and is well-traveled enough to appreciate a good view.

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