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Saint Paul and Minneapolis
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Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Sail along the mighty Mississippi River on a riverboat by the banks of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and let your mind drift back to a bygone age.

Perhaps to a time when these two great Twin Cities were notorious as a hot bed for gangsters, gals and whisky runners during the Depression era.

Delve further back in folklore to military exchanges and the Civil War, or imagine what life was like for the tribes of American Indians who settled here.

Such stirring memories are all captured at the dozens of tourist attractions in Saint Paul and further west in Minneapolis, now both thriving modern destinations in the proud state of Minnesota.

These neighbouring, yet independent cities, comprise the second largest economic centre in the Midwest, behind Chicago. Both steeped in history with a unique personality and character.

Saint Paul is charmingly old world. Dubbed a European city in America, or simply elegant beyond expectation.

Saint Paul has 26 miles of riverfront - more than any other US city - and its marinas and riverboat excursions travel back to a time of explosive growth as the Mississippi's northern most port when steamboats played a key role in becoming the state's centre of government and commerce.

The Wabasha Street Caves reflect a massive stretch of sandstone caverns used for everything from Prohibition-era bootlegging and speakeasies to cheese making and mushroom growing.

Stroll down Summit Avenue, a boulevard boasting the longest stretch of intact Victorian architecture in the United States. Celebrated residents once included the great American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby.

Did you know that the famous singer Prince was born in Minneapolis? So too cartoonist George Schulz, best known as the creator of the comic strip Peanuts, featuring the characters Snoopy and Charlie Brown.

Schulz went to live in Saint Paul and recognition of their legacies are dotted across the city in sculpture and name, including the legendary Fitzgerald Theatre.

This Midwest cultural capital showcases the finest in performing and visual arts. From classic to modern and avant-garde, in breathtaking venues.

Each year seven million visitors come to see world renowned performances of symphony, opera, Broadway hits and more. The Ordway Theatre is one of the jewels in the crown.

With a constant array of festivals in parks and performance halls, there's always a good time on hand.

Getting around is easy by whatever means. Light rail connects vibrant neighbourhoods while boarding a train at Union Depot is a fusion of grand antiquity and modern convenience. Newly remodelled to its 1920s splendour, this transit centre is a hub for Amtrak, light rail, charter bus or bike rental right within the city's Lowertown neighbourhood.

Find retail therapy and a thrill-ride rush at the Mall of America, which together with the Nickelodeon Universe, comprises the country's largest indoor shopping mall and theme park.

Down by the river go on a kayak, canoe or play golf at Highland National where Charles Schulz used to play and where you'll find a Snoopy-shaped bunker.

Savour a little authentic flavour at five-star restaurants, casual bistros and cafes which have built loyal followings with creative cuisine and service which define 'Minnesota Nice' - a stereotypical quality of the locals.

Take a brew-cation in the city where beer has flowed like the Mississippi for more than a century. Incidentally, there are more than 50 breweries and brew pubs.

The Minneapolis metropolis is known as the City by Nature, a clever branding slogan which does exactly what it says on the tin! Urban chic and natural beauty combining to offer the best of both worlds.

Explore the Chain of Lakes, part of a series of linked park areas called Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, or visit attractions such as St Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge.