Historic Fort Snelling

#10 in Best Things To Do in Minneapolis - St. Paul
Historic Fort Snelling picture
Karla Caspari/Shutterstock

Key Info

200 Tower Ave.

Price & Hours

$12 for adults; $6 for kids 5-17
Hours vary seasonally

Details

Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 3.5Value
  • 4.0Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Established in the early 19th century as a frontier outpost, Fort Snelling is the oldest structure in Minnesota. Its perch over the converging point of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers allowed it to successfully control trade routes in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Today, Fort Snelling acts as a living history museum, with costumed tour guides offering ample information on its past. There are also exhibits detailing the site's history within the visitor center and "activity centers" scattered across the site that help visitors learn more about the Dakota homeland, immigration, soldiers and more. During the summer, the fort hosts numerous history-themed events, including demonstrations, competitions and youth programs. 

Travelers said visiting Fort Snelling was like taking a step back in time and that "history comes alive" here. Others suggested wearing comfortable shoes as you'll be doing a lot of walking.

While most recent visitors encouraged carving out some time in your itinerary for a stop here (especially if you're traveling with youngsters), others felt the tickets were a bit pricey for the experience. Admission to Fort Snelling is $12 for adults and $6 for kids ages 5 to 17; children 4 and younger enter for free. This fort neighbors the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, meaning you'll be close enough to hear the planes taking off and landing  a common complaint from recent travelers. Another thing to keep in mind: The site is open seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's best to drive here, as the closest light-rail station is a 15-minute walk. Plus, there's free, on-site parking. For more information, check out the Fort Snelling website.

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#1 Minneapolis Institute of Art

Sheltering more than 90,000 works of art that span more than 5,000 years, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is the place to go if you're an art aficionado. Whether you're interested in ancient Egyptian artifacts or European masterpieces by artists such as Titian and Monet, this museum has what you need to get your fix. Recent visitors attest the museum is well-suited for all ages, thanks to the kids scavenger hunt offerered by the museum. Along with the impressive collection of art, travelers are also complimentary of the museum's other offerings, including the Agra Culture Coffee Shop and Cafe.

Located south of the downtown area, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays) and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is free; special exhibits cost extra. Past visitors advised setting aside at least 90 minutes for your visit, though some recommended breaking up your museum tour into two days. Off-street parking is available in a parking ramp south of the museum. There are also surface lots on the northeast and southeast corners of the museum. If you're coming by bus, the museum is located on Route No. 11. For more information about current and upcoming exhibitions, visit the Mia's website.

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