Excitement and enjoyment await in beautiful North St. Paul, Minnesota! With so much to see, do, and consume—from museums, parks, and zoos to upscale restaurants, stunning islands inside the Mississippi River, and even a ghost tour through history—there’s something for everyone to appreciate.
Take a solo trip, tour the city with friends, or bring the whole family…it’s all just waiting to be experienced! Beauty, exploration, and unforgettable memories are sure to earmark your visit while you discover all the amazing things to do in North St. Paul, Minnesota.
Free Attractions in North St. Paul, MN
First on our list of great things to do in North St. Paul, is a trip to the Como Zoo. This family-friendly attraction is open daily, 10am-6pm! Come learn about and enjoy the variety of animals who call Como Zoo home, visit the century-old Conservatory, and take a stroll through the beautiful Sunken and Japanese Gardens. The Como Zoo and Conservatory is waiting for your visit, year-round! (Note: Advanced registration is currently required and can be obtained here.)
St. Paul Farmer’s Market
Come to the CHS Field in Lowertown to experience the unique brightness and bustle only a farmer’s market can offer! The St. Paul Farmer’s Market is open on Saturdays, November-April from 9am-1pm, and both Saturdays and Sundays the rest of the year. No fee is required to attend this outdoor market, though you may find yourself wanting to partake of the delicious fare offered by the vendors!
Harriett Island Regional Park
This beautiful island park is a great place for a family picnic, a riverside hike, and an opportunity to take in the beautiful sight of the St. Paul skyline! One of the many free parks throughout the area, this is a great way to get out and see the sights.
Restaurants in North St. Paul, MN
Looking for a delicious seafood experience after a day of exploring all the exciting things to do in North St. Paul and its surrounding area? Look no further than The Oceanaire! This popular fine-dining dinner restaurant offers a variety of both familiar and experiential dishes, from crab cakes and shrimp scampi to seared tuna and Korean Barbecue Salmon. If seafood’s not your thing, try The Oceanaire’s 28-day dry-aged ribeye, or one of the other prime cuts available on the steakhouse menu!
The Capital Grille
In the mood for a hearty, adults-only meal in style? Then The Capital Grille might be the place for you! Enjoy a delicious wine or cocktail from the drink menu while you peruse the appetizer choices of fresh seafood and savory bacon or prosciutto dishes. Indulge in a dinner of steak, chicken, lamb, or seafood, and cap off the evening with a delicious dessert as sweet and unforgettable as the evening! Or, if you’re in need of a meal before the evening rolls around, stop in for a fancy, filling lunch from a menu that includes seafood, steak, and burger options. One thing’s for sure, no matter when you visit, you’ll leave The Capital Grille feeling satisfied!
The Downtowner Woodfire Grill
The Downtowner Woodfire Grill invites your family to drop by for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! This lovely, ambient restaurant offers a variety of items, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options; the menu ranges from classic breakfast fare to satisfying lunches and delicious dinners prepared in their own oak-burning wood-fire grill, using an ancient fire-roasted cooking style. As if that wasn’t fabulous enough, you can watch your meal being prepared in the open kitchen while you enjoy the beauty of this renovated restaurant. A perfect place to make memories with friends and family around the table!
Casper & Runyon’s Nook
Stop in at Casper and Runyon’s Nook to satisfy that burger craving! Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, this hole-in-the-wall restaurant is a fantastic place to grab a delicious burger—and brush up on your bowling skills! Enjoy a classic all-American burger with a side of fries, indulge in some chicken wings, or enjoy a sandwich, “Nook Dog,” or a pizza. The only limit is your appetite!
The Café Latte
Looking for a tasty lunch and a sweet treat for the whole family? Stop in at The Café Latte for all your food and dessert needs! With made-to-order sandwiches, daily soups, and pizza, you’re sure to find something for every hungry mouth on their menu…and you can top it off with their fresh daily variety of cakes, cheesecakes, tortes and tarts, and more!
The Buttered Tin
Next on our list of awesome things to do in North St. Paul, Minnesota is to dine at the Buttered Tin. In need of a breakfast, brunch, or lunch spot that caters to the vegetarian and vegan diet? The Buttered Tin has you covered! With a variety of standard breakfast fare including burritos and Huevos Rancheros, as well as a spread of menu items for those with dietary restrictions, this delicious eatery is the perfect place for people of all needs to enjoy a meal together!
Cultural and Educational Activities
Ghostly Private Tour of St Paul
Intrigued by the spooky? Experience the occasionally-sordid and forever-fascinating history of the St. Paul area on this two-hour guided tour through the city’s most haunted downtown locations and its darkest past; learn more about the mobsters and bootleggers who once ran the city, and experience firsthand the places where some of St. Paul’s grisliest history came about!
Minnesota History Center
Looking to gain a broader appreciation for the history of Minnesota in a fun, family-friendly environment? Take a trip to the Minnesota History Center! With a variety of permanent and changing exhibits, this location provides plenty of enjoyable, interactive activities for the young and old alike, including concerts, lectures, family days, and other special events; in addition, you can always find things to explore in the Minnesota Historical Society library and archives included in the museum.
Science Museum of Minnesota
If you’re interested in science, collections, conservation, and research, then the Science Museum of Minnesota may prove to be one of your favorite things to do in North St. Paul! Featuring numerous exhibits both temporary and permanent, this ever-changing museum has something for everyone to explore and enjoy! A wonderful learning and experiential opportunity, the museum invites you to drop by any time year-round!
Unique and Unusual Locations in North St. Paul, MN
The “Questionable Medical Device” collection in the Science Museum of Minnesota.
Take a trip to the Science Museum of Minnesota to observe this collection—which was once its own location, “The Museum of Quackery and Medical Frauds.” Here you’ll learn all about the fascinating and often outlandish “medical devices” that peppered our not-so-distant past. You can even still use the outdated phrenology machine to “map” your intelligence and personality by the bumps in your skull. Now that’s a souvenir worth holding on to!
The Center for Lost Objects
Last, but not least on our list of awesome things to do in North St. Paul, Minnesota is to stop by The Center for Lost Objects. Looking for something memorable to take home from your trip to North St. Paul? The Center for Lost Objects is a fun and fascinating experience…one of the most unique things to do in the North St. Paul area! This open art gallery and curiosity shop offers plenty of unique, odd, and one-of-a-kind items to behold and bring home. Depending on the timing of your visit, you may also be able to attend one of the many classes, live figure drawings, or musical performances hosted on-site as well!
A Memorable Destination
All of this, and there’s still so much more to explore in North St. Paul and the broader St. Paul area! What are some of your favorite experiences, restaurants, and unique finds that make North St. Paul a memorable destination? Or, if you haven’t visited yet, what are you looking forward to the MOST? Let us know in the comments!
Still looking for more fun adventures? Then checkout all the great things to do in the Twin Cities!
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.