Winter Guide: Arts & Culture

Categories: Winter Guide
Alexander Ramsay House.jpg
Alexander Ramsey and his granddaughter Laura Furness invite you in
Looking for a little history this holiday season? Our Winter Guide listings are filled with happenings around town to entertain the history buff in your social circle from grandpa to inquisitive kids. Tours listed range from holiday lights excursions to lessons on gangsters of yore, while historic sites will hopefully give you something substantive to do between holiday shopping and shuttles to the airport.


Alexander Ramsey House
265 S Exchange St, St. Paul 651.296.8760

Built in historic Irvine Park in 1872, the Ramsey House offers a glimpse of family and servant life from that era. The home of the first territorial governor is one of the nation's best preserved Victorian-era houses, and many original furnishings remain.

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Charles A. Lindbergh House
1620 Lindbergh Dr S, Little Falls 320.616.5421

Original furnishings and heirlooms have been preserved in the house where the aviator and Minnesota native spent his boyhood summers.

James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave, St. Paul 651.297.2555

Completed in 1891, this 42-room, red sandstone Gilded Age mansion was home to James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway. Today, the stained glass, a skylit art gallery, and carved woodwork remain intact.

The Landing--Minnesota River Heritage Park
2187 Hwy 101, Shakopee 763.694.7784

Now managed by Three Rivers Park District, the site features 40 historic buildings along the Minnesota River and costumed guides who re-create details of life in the river valley at the end of the fur trade to the industrial revolution, from about 1840 to 1890.

Minnesota State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul 651.296.2881

Year-round hours 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon-Fri; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sat; 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sun. Free guided tours on the hour.

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Split Rock Lighthouse
Split Rock Lighthouse
3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd, Two Harbors 218.226.6372

Completed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1910, the station now features a film and various exhibits on life at the lighthouse, navigation, shipping, commercial fishing, and North Shore tourism. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thu-Mon.


Alexander Ramsey House
265 S Exchange St, St. Paul 651.296.8760

Guided tours on the hour, with the last tour at 3 p.m. Group and educational tours on weekdays by reservation.

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James J. Hill House
James J. Hill House
240 Summit Ave, St. Paul 651.297.2555

Guided house tours every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Wed-Sat; 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sun. Neighborhood 90-minute walking tour proceeds up Summit Avenue to the Cathedral of St. Paul, covering the architecture, development, and social history of the neighborhood.

Landmark Center
75 W 5th St, St. Paul 651.292.3233

Free public tours of the beautifully restored old Federal Courthouse Thursdays at 11 a.m. and Sundays at noon. Books for self-guided tours also available. Free, call 651.292.3230 for more info.

Mall of America
81st St S and Hwy 77, Bloomington 952.883.8800

Holiday lights tours of the Twin Cities by MetroConnections take place Saturday evenings Dec. 11 and 18, leaving from the mall's North Side Transit Center. $28. 6 p.m. Reservations are required; call 612.333.8687

Minnesota Historical Society
345 Kellogg Blvd W, St. Paul 651.259.3000

The society's network of historical sites offers tours throughout the state.

Minnesota State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, St. Paul 651.296.2881

The Minnesota Historical Society offers free guided tours on the hour; self-guided tours are also available.

Wabasha Street Caves
215 S Wabasha St, St. Paul 651.292.1220

Historic Cave Tours cover the history of the Wabasha Street Caves (which includes stints as a mushroom farm, a speakeasy, and a dance club), 11 a.m. Sat and Sun, noon Sat and 5 p.m. Thu. Motorcoach tours include the St. Paul Gangster and Mill City Mobs Tours, which stop at several sites where infamous crimes took place, and the Saturday night Winter Lights Tour Dec. 5, 12, and 19 at 7 p.m.

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