Like many of you, we love visiting “popular” attractions throughout the Twin Cities like walking around the ruins at Mill City Museum, cheering on the Minnesota Wild at the Xcel Energy Center and shopping the day away at Mall of America. Beyond those “well-known” or “popular” attractions around the Minneapolis & Saint Paul metro you will also find attractions you may never heard of before… until now. Your free upcoming weekdays and weekends are about to be booked!
“The Quietest Place on Earth”
In 2005 and 2013, Orfield Laboratories in South Minneapolis was named “The Quietest Place on Earth” by the Guinness Book of World Records. Unfortunately, in 2015, the lab was sadly dethroned by Microsoft Lab, but even though it’s not a reigning world record, it’s still pretty dang quiet!
The anechoic chamber absorbs 99.99% of sound giving the room no echo and is used by manufacturers who test product volume and sound quality. To visit “The Quietest Place on Earth” you must book a tour, but you’re only allowed in for a short period of time because in the absence of outside noise, you become the sound and the silence can become maddening (what a thrill!). Reservations can be made Monday-Friday.
House of Balls
“We all posses the creative impulse and we owe ourselves the balls to express it”, said local sculpture, Allen Christian, about his House of Balls in Minneapolis.
For visitors, the House of Balls offers an unlocked door at any hour and invites them in to explore Christian’s unique sculptures and artwork in his gallery. Inside you will notice a large portion of the sculptures/artwork is made out of bowling balls, leaning to the fun name of the gallery. Before you leave, make sure to push the buttons by the doorway for a series of interesting insights from previous visitors.
Skyrock Farm & Carousel
20 miles west of the Twin Cities you probably wouldn’t be surprised to find rolling hills and stretches of beautiful farmland. What you would be surprised to find is a world renowned collection of antique 1800’s dance and fair organs playing the “happiest music on earth” at Skyrock Farm.
You can tour the Carousel Building where the organs are housed (and a beautiful working carousel), and learn from the owner, Bill Nunn, who knows everything you will want to know about these beautiful instruments. Beyond the organs and carousel you will be invited to watch the Nunn’s horses (Bill has been training horses for 30+ years) do high jumps and you will also get an up close and personal experience with the horses.
Old Muskego Church
The first Norwegian Lutheran church in the United States was built entirely out of oak logs in the area of Muskego, WI in 1844.
In 1904, the church was dismantled and moved to Saint Paul’s Luther Seminary where it was reconstructed and to this day sits as the Old Muskego Church. It can be found tucked away within the pines on the college campus close to a residential area in Saint Paul. Although they don’t have tours inside the church, you can visit the church and walk around the exterior of the building to marvel at its history.
@mows510’s Tiny Doors
Tiny mouse doors began popping up around Minneapolis in 2017 and are as cute as a mouse!
The street artist named Mows (pronounced, mouse) started placing the tiny doors throughout Minneapolis, bringing whimsy to plain buildings, alleyways, etc. You can follow his account on Instragam so you can find his latest creations as well as some from the past (if they haven’t been taken by his fans).
Exactly half way between the Equator and the North Pole you will find the 45th Parallel in Roseville; a distance of 3,102 each way.
A monument can be found slightly north of the corner of Cleveland Avenue and Roselawn Avenue in Roseville, marking this unique, imaginary line through the Earth. You can also find another boulder monument in Minneapolis near the intersection of Golden Valley Road and Wirth Parkway indicating the 45th Parallel.
The Salt Cave Minnesota
Salt therapy, also known as halotherapy (who knew!?), has been alleviating symptoms of asthma, allergies, anxiety, etc. for centuries.
The Salt Cave Minnesota, located in Minneapolis, is Minnesota’s first salt cave and offers individual salt therapy sessions for those looking for healing treatments as well as other services such as therapeutic massage, yoga and meditation. You can rent the cave for private therapy sessions, yoga classes, book club groups, business meetings, children’s gatherings and other uses.
“Vision of Peace” Statue
Standing 36 feet tall and weighing in at 60 tons, the largest carved onyx figure in the world, the “Vision of Peace” statue, can be found in the Ramsey County Courthouse in Saint Paul. The statue was inspired by a peace pipe ceremony that the sculptor, Carl Mills attended in Oklahoma and features five Native Americans sitting around a fire smoking their peace pipes.
The Ramsey County Courthouse is a beautiful Art Deco building dating back to 1932. You can tour the courthouse on a guided walking tour (Mondays 12:15pm-1:15pm) which includes the Vision of Peace statue as well as Memorial Hall, Council Chambers, the Mayor’s office, the Law Library, historical courtroom, and much more.
Calling all cooks! Located at the University of Minnesota’s Magrath Library on the Saint Paul campus you will stumble upon the Kirschner Collection; a collection of cookbooks that will blow your mind.
Doris S. Kirschner, a graduate of the University of Minnesota in 1957, donated her cookbook collection to the university in 1985 which contained 1,500+ cookbooks. Now the collection offers 3,500+ cooking related items including cookbooks, pamphlets, and recipes dating back to 1890. Although the collection cannot be checked out from the library, visitors can look through the collection and scan/photocopy any of the recipes to take a copy home.
Landmark Center Museums
Inside the walls of the stunning Landmark Center you might be surprised to find two unique museums: the American Association of Woodturners Gallery of Wood Art and The Schubert Club Museum.
The Gallery of Wood Art is free to visit (donations are welcome) and illustrates how woodturning works through educational exhibits. Some of the vintage and reproduction lathes date back to the Viking era to the late 1700s. See live demonstrations of turning on the 3rd Sunday of each month! Also, they have a contemporary art gallery.
The Schubert Club Museum offers free admission for visitors who want to experience music-making through the centuries. The museum offers a gallery full of historic keyboards, a collection of correspondence from famous composers, a listening session of music boxes and phonographs dating back to 1900, and many other music related history. You can’t miss their amazing “cyclone” of instruments!
Model Trains & Vintage Trains
Back in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s, the Twin Cities railways were shared with steam and diesel engines. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to go back in time to see this impressive railroad system but at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum you can see it as a detailed model panorama. Watch as trains race around the track through the Twin Cities!
James J. Hill built The Jackson Street Roundhouse in 1907 to use as a maintenance facility for steam engines. Today, the roundhouse is home to a family-friendly museum, a train yard full of 50+ historic train cars and vintage buses, and other historic shops. Visitors are invited to explore the train cars in the museum and in the train yard, observe maintenance and restoration on train cars in their shops, and see a genuine operating roundhouse turntable, one of the last of its kind in the country. You can even ride on a train every Saturday and on special occasions.