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Minneapolis-St Paul tours and excursions

Minneapolis-St Paul tours

Walking tours

Self-guided tours run along the St Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, a 2.9km (1.8 miles) riverfront loop that takes in the historic flour-milling district, including views of this Mississippi River waterfall from the restored Stone Arch Bridge and Nicollet Island. Information on the trail is available at the Mill City Museum, 704 Second Street South.

Set in a former underground nightclub, Down In History Tours offers popular, 45 minute walking tours of the Wabasha Street Caves in St Paul. They meet at 1415 Wabasha Street South, St Paul, on Saturday and Sunday at 1100, and on Thursday at 1700. It also runs themed bus tours.

Tel: (651) 292 1220.
Website: http://www.wabashastreetcaves.com

Coach and trolley tours

Metro Connections offers sightseeing tours of the Twin Cities aboard deluxe coaches, departing from either Minneapolis, St Paul or Mall of America. There are daily morning and afternoon tours for Twin Cities Highlights lasting around three hours. Highlights include the Nicollet Mall, the Downtown skyway network and the Metrodome.

Twin City Trolleys offers a variety of narrated tours aboard a historic trolley, covering St Paul's history, its architecture or the Mississippi riverfront.

Tel: (612) 333 8687 ; (651) 223 5600.
Website: http://www.metroconnections.com

Boat tours

Padelford Packet Boat Company floats visitors down the Mississippi River in restored riverboats, with commentary on historic sites along the way. The 90 minute cruises depart from Harriet Island in St Paul. Lunch and dinner journeys are also available..

On Thursday between mid-June and mid-August, Metro Connections highlights Minneapolis attractions and combines it with a riverboat ride on the Mississippi. On Fridays during July and August, they visit historic Stillwater on the St. Croix River followed by a lunch cruise on the river.

Tel: (612) 333 8687 ; (651) 227 1100.
Website: http://www.metroconnections.com

Segway tours

Between 1 April and 1 November, visitors can take a 2.5 hour Magic History Tour aboard a two-wheeled Segway. Tours begin at St. Anthony Main, 125 Main Street SE and continue over and passed such attractions as the Stone Arch Bridge, the Upper Lock and Dam, the Saw Mill District and Nicollet Island.

Tel: (952) 888 9200.
Website: http://www.humanonastick.com/magical.htm

Minneapolis-St Paul excursions

Great River Road

This popular route through the Hiawatha Valley, south of the Twin Cities, loops around Lake Pepin, a beautiful 42km (26 mile) stretch of water, bordered by scenic bluffs, which forms the widest part of the Mississippi River. The entire loop is 137km (85 miles) and starts from the I-494 (just east of St Paul). Highway 61, turning south, goes to the old river town of Red Wing. From here, the route travels south through the delightful historic town of Frontenac and Lake City, with its scenic river vistas. Highlights on the return journey include tiny Stockholm, with its antiques and gift shops, and the picturesque town of Maiden Rock.

Website: http://www.mnmississippiriver.com

Red Wing

The old river town of Red Wing lies 80km (50 miles) southeast of the Twin Cities, in the Hiawatha Valley. The area is known for its scenic bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. Among the restored 19th-century buildings in the historic town centre are the Sheldon Theatre and the St James Hotel. A major attraction is the Red Wing Pottery, where visitors can see how pottery was produced between the 1880s and mid-1990s. Scenic attractions nearby include Frontenac State Park or a longer drive around Lake Pepin, through delightful towns such as Pepin and Lake City.

For further information, visit Red Wing Visitors and Convention Bureau, 420 Levee Street.

Tel: (651) 385 5934 or 1 800 498 3444.
Website: http://www.redwing.org

Stillwater

Set along the banks of the St Croix River, 32km (20 miles) north of the Twin Cities, Stillwater is Minnesota's oldest town and can be visited in half a day from Minneapolis-St Paul. Downtown contains many well-preserved, 19th-century buildings, which visitors can admire from the Rivertown trolley. Stillwater is a centre for antiques and speciality shops and has many good restaurants. Pleasure boats cruising the river dock here in summer. The most scenic route for driving to Stillwater is I-94 east, exit on Highway 95, north to Bayport.

Tel: (651) 439 4001.
Website: http://www.ilovestillwater.com

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W Hotels took a 1929 art deco structure and whipped it into a hip hotel with a roaring 1920s theme. The lobby's original arcade ceiling has been restored as has the 27th floor boardroom - the Prohibition Bar. Rooms are stylishly modern with the signature W bed, W pillow menu, plus a state-of-the-art entertainment system, high speed internet access and weekday newspaper delivery. Other amenities include in-room spa services and a fitness centre.

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Housed in an elegant, 25-storey Victorian brick building, the Hilton Minneapolis is located in the centre of Downtown with convenient skyway connections to the nearby business, shopping and entertainment areas. Guest rooms are well appointed with rich colours, oak furnishings, a 'Serenity Bed' with down comforter, large HDTV, MP3 connection and high speed wireless internet. The health club includes an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna and Jacuzzi. For regional and international cuisine, the hotel offers the Skywater restaurant.

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A St Paul landmark saturated with old-world charm, this sophisticated hotel offers newly renovated rooms with comfortable mattresses, lighting with dimmers, high speed internet, mini bar and a finely appointed bathroom. Dining options include The St Paul Grill featuring an American dinner menu and M ST. Café for breakfast and lunch. The Lobby Bar, a popular meeting place, serves lighter fare as well as cocktails. A rooftop fitness centre, business centre and free internet in the lobby are nice touches.

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