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What to see in the Twin Cities

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What to see in the Twin Cities
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A sampling of free and inexpensive places -- along with a few more costly ones -- to visit in the Twin Cities (many museums are closed Mondays):

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- State Capitol: See where laws are made and on a good day get rooftop view of Twin Cities. Free. 75 The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul. www.mnhs.org/places/sites/msc

- Minnesota History Center: Displays dealing with Minnesota history. 345 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul. www.mnhs.org/historycenter

- Humphrey Forum: From his first campaign for mayor of Minneapolis in 1943 until his last election to the U.S. Senate in 1976, Hubert Humphrey collected material that represented the culture of American politics. Many of those items are on display. Free. University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, 301 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis.

- Fort Snelling: Fort restored to its 1820s roots with soldiers, fur traders, servants, cooks, tradesmen and laundresses in costume. Highways 5 and 55, St. Paul. www.mnhs.org/places/sites/hfs

- James J. Hill House: This former home of a wealthy railroad leader is one of the best public mansions in the Twin Cities. 240 Summit Ave., St. Paul. www.mnhs.org/hillhouse

- Chain of Lakes: Series of lakes in southern Minneapolis with walking and bicycle paths, band concerts, watercraft rentals and much more. The lakes are among 929 lakes in the Twin Cities. A Japanese Garden, bird sanctuary and country's second-oldest public rose garden are near Lake Harriet. Mostly free. www.minneapolisparks.org/grandrounds/dist_CL.htm

- Minnehaha Park and Falls: Park overlooks the Mississippi River and features a 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs, river overlooks and a variety of wildlife. Falls inspired Henry W. Longfellow to write the poem 'Song of Hiawatha.' Free. 4801 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis. www.minneapolisparks.org

- Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge: If not for airplanes landing and leaving the nearby Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, it would be impossible to tell you are in an urban area. A visitors' center provides guidance about how to spot the abundance of wildlife. Free. Near 34th Avenue exit of Interstate 494, Bloomington. www.fws.gov/midwest/MinnesotaValley

- Minneapolis riverfront: Range of attractions such as Mill City Museum, Guthrie Theater, Stone Arch Bridge, parks and lock and dam. Some attractions free. Along Mississippi River, downtown Minneapolis. www.minneapolis-riverfront.com

- Como Zoo and Conservatory: Zoo is free -- although donation is requested - and since it is small is easy to navigate. Exotic flowers fill the conservatory. Kiddie amusement park adjoins zoo. Part of large city park. 1225 Estabrook Drive, Saint Paul. www.comozooconservatory.org

- Minnesota Zoo: Nearly 2,500 animals (not including insects) of 445 species populate the modern zoo. 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley. www.mnzoo.org

- James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History: History and art displays, emphasizing plants and animals. Free Sundays. University of Minnesota campus, 10 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis. www.bellmuseum.org

- Minneapolis Institute of Arts: As much a history museum as an art showcase, it houses 80,000 objects from the past 5,000 years. Mostly free. 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. www.artsmia.org

- Walker Art Center: The Twin Cities' leading modern art museum. Free on the first Saturday of the month. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. www.walkerart.org

- Minnesota Museum of American Art: Dedicated to American art. Free. 50 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. www.mmaa.org

- Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: Associated with Walker Art Center, the free outdoor exhibit features the famous overly large cherry sitting on a similarly large spoon. 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. www.walkerart.org

- Weisman Art Museum: Shiny silver exterior makes the Weisman impossible to miss on the University of Minnesota's campus. Free. 333 East River Road, Minneapolis. www.weisman.umn.edu

- Goldstein Museum of Design: Devoted to the study of clothes, textiles, decorative arts and graphic design. More than 27,000 objects in its collection. Free. 241 McNeal Hall, University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. www.goldstein.che.umn.edu

- Minnesota Center for Photography: Variety of photo displays. Free, but donations requested. (Open afternoons only.) 165 13th Ave. N.E., Minneapolis. www.mncp.org

- Midtown Global Market: More than 50 locally owned restaurants and other shops with food and merchandise from around the world. Lake Street and 10th Avenue, Minneapolis. www.midtownglobalmarket.org

- American Swedish Institute: All things Swedish. Colorful gowns of the Swedish queen are on display through Sept. 28. 2600 Park Ave., Minneapolis. www.americanswedishinst.org

- Ingebretsen's: Scandinavian marketplace. 1601 E. Lake St., Minneapolis. www.ingebretsens.com

- Karmel Center: First Somali shopping center in United States. 2944 Pillsbury Ave. S., Minneapolis

- Museum of Russian Art: The name says it all. 5500 Stevens Ave. S., Minneapolis. www.tmora.org

- Hmong market: Some say it is like visiting a Bangkok market. Northwest of Capitol on Como Avenue, St. Paul.

- Latin American market: Food, clothing and other Latin goods for sale. Mercado Central, 515 E. Lake St., Minneapolis. www.mercadocentral.net

- Hindu temple of Minnesota: Visitors welcome at the 2-year-old facility. 10530 Troy Lane North, Maple Grove. www.hindumandirmn.org

- St. Paul cathedral: The 306.5-foot cathedral dominates the downtown St. Paul skyline, challenging the state Capitol. Free tours are available at 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. 239 Selby Ave., Saint Paul. www.cathedralsaintpaul.org

- Science Museum of Minnesota: This year's Star Wars exhibit gets lots of publicity, but the museum features many other science displays, an Imax theater and information on Mississippi River. 120 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul. www.smm.org

- Minnesota Children's Museum: Hands-on opportunity for kids to learn. 10 W. Seventh St., St. Paul. www.mcm.org

- Farmers' markets: Those in the Mill City area of Minneapolis and downtown St. Paul are among ones to check out. Mill City Farmer's Market, 704 2nd Street S. www.millcityfarmersmarket.org. St. Paul Farmer's Market, 290 E. Fifth St. www.stpaulfarmersmarket.com

- University gardens: Site gives visitors a free look at plants, decks, fences and walkways. University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, corner of Gortner and Folwell. www.sustland.umn.edu/design/dtgarden.html

- Cruises: Paddleford River Rides, Harriet Island, St. Paul Mississippi River riverfront. www.riverrides.com. Minneapolis Queen and Paradise Lady, Minneapolis Mississippi River riverfront. www.twincitiescruises.com. Afton-Hudson Cruise Lines, St. Croix River riverfront in Afton, Minn., and Hudson, Wis. www.aftonhouseinn.com

- Mall of America: It has more than 520 stores, a 14-screen movie theater, a walk-through aquarium and Nickelodeon Universe, which replaced Camp Snoopy. Interstate 494 and Minnesota 77. www.mallofamerica.com

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