What’s Doing in the Twin Cities
Although the name “Twin Cities” may give the impression that the adjoining towns of Minneapolis and Saint Paul are similar in appearance and nature, the two are anything but. Located in the eastern part of central Minnesota near the Wisconsin border, the two cities are steeped in their own distinct cultures, each with characteristics harking back to their respective origins.
Minneapolis is a bustling, modern metropolis in the Midwest, somewhat smaller than many large U.S. cities. Meanwhile, many aspects of Saint Paul pay tribute to its name and Catholic roots, with classic Victorian architecture interspersed with contemporary structures. The visitor should be forewarned, however: while the Twin Cities are not identical twins, they do indeed exhibit multiple signs of sibling rivalry.
The competitive nature of the bordering cities dates back to their founding in the 1600s. The two cities even built dueling cathedrals, the Basilica of Saint Mary’s in Minneapolis and the Cathedral of Saint Paul, at the dawn of the twentieth century. Some of the rivalry, however, was tempered in the 1960s, when the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball and the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League arrived in the Twin Cities. As the teams both identified with the entire state rather than a single city, they brought together feuding citizens of two different places into a singular fan base.
These differences notwithstanding, the area can be thought of as a single destination. The Twin Cities together are one whole slice of northern Midwest culture, melding the inherent charm of Minnesota with the power of the Mississippi River that runs through them.
WHAT TO DO
Our visit to the Twin Cities starts in Saint Paul, the state capital, where the buildings are older and the history is rich.
The Landmark Center, a castle-like structure built in 1902, is the home of numerous cultural and arts organizations including venues for music, theater, and dance. Here the visitor will find the Schubert Club Museum of Musical Instruments; the Landmark Gallery, a permanent exhibition covering the history of Saint Paul and the Landmark Center; and the “Uncle Sam Worked Here” exhibit, an interactive display that showcases significant periods and events of American history, such as prohibition, immigration, and wartime.