Downtown St. Paul has a lovely traditional old city feel to it, and maybe that’s because it is. The beautiful old buildings, the little well-manicured parks and green spaces, the tiny, ancient bars and restaurants all add to this sense of tradition. And yet, S. Paul is also full of new architecture and innovation. This mix of old and new makes it a perfect place for families to spend time exploring. There are a number of family-friendly places to visit in downtown St. Paul.

sciencemuseum Family Guide To Discovering Downtown St. Paul


Science Museum of Minnesota

120 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN
Daily 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Cost: $8.50 to $43, depending on admission type

Learn and explore with hand-on activities and programs in the five permanent exhibit galleries, one temporary exhibit gallery and the Big Backyard on the roof. One of the highlight of the Big Backyard is the 9 hole mini golf course overlooking the Mississippi River that illustrates landscape evolution, river dynamics and biodiversity. Inside find exhibits on paleontology, physical science and technology, the human body, peoples and cultures of the Mississippi River and other collections, as well as visiting exhibits like the treasures of King Tut. There is also an Omnitheater and a Science Live Theater located within the Science Museum; check site for performance times. Family members of all ages will enjoy discovering the wonders of the Science Museum.

central library Family Guide To Discovering Downtown St. Paul


Central Library

90 West 4th St.
St. Paul, MN
Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Cost: Free

This library has tons of programming for kids, teens and families. Each Saturday morning at 11:15 a.m. is Saturday Live! This family program changes weekly with a variety of acts, including magicians, jugglers, raptors and music. Check out the calendar for a description of week’s performance, but be sure to come early because this show draws a crowd. Check the calendar for Paw Pals; Show a Tell Book Club; and Summer Reading Programs. In addition to these special activities, there are free story times each week; on Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10:30 a.m. and at 6:30 p.m. on Mondays. For the older kids, the library has the Summer of Superheroes, Outdoor Film Series each Friday evening from 9:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. in the Kellogg Blvd Courtyard.

Landmark Center/Rice Park

75 West Fifth St.
St. Paul, MN
Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost: Free, with few exceptions

Across the street from the Central Library is pretty little Rice Park. With its flowers, trees, benches and central fountain it’s quite reminiscent of a European park, especially since it’s banded by the Central Library, the Ordway Center, the St Paul Hotel and the Landmark Center. The Landmark Center was originally the Federal Court House and Post Office for the Upper Midwest. This magnificent old building now serves as a cultural center for music, dance, theater, exhibitions, public forums and special events. There are always a few special exhibits on display, as well as other family-friendly programming, such as the Ordway Summer Dance event. Each Thursday evening at 6 p.m., a different dance genre and technique will be highlighted with basic dance lessons and open dance after the lessons.

Minnesota History Center

345 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN
Cost: $5 to $10, Free on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Wednesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed on Monday, except on Holidays

This interactive museum has both permanent and changing exhibits, with a host of special events throughout the year, including family days, concerts and lectures. According to its website, the “Minnesota History Center has been called the finest building constructed in Minnesota since the State Capitol was completed in 1905.” The exhibits range from weather to sports to fashion to architecture to politics and go on and on, as vast as history itself. The programming is fun, interesting and entertaining. Again, the whole family will enjoy exploring this museum.

minnesota childrens museum Family Guide To Discovering Downtown St. Paul

(credit: Tom Kingrey/Minnesota Children's Museum)

Minnesota Children’s Museum

10 West Seventh St.
St. Paul, MN
Cost: Ages 1-101: $8.95
Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Children’s Museum galleries open up new worlds to children; that is, Earth World, Our World, Habitot, World Works, and the seasonal, Rooftop ArtPark. This museum is designed to intrigue, entertain and educate children from six months to 10 years-old. Throughout each day there are story times, special activities, face painting and art projects. Kids will love all of the role playing and hands-on activities in each of the permanent and changing galleries. This museum is full of educational fun.

mickeys diner Family Guide To Discovering Downtown St. Paul


Mickey’s Diner

36 W. 7th St.
St. Paul, MN
Open 24 hours a day, 365 day a week

Mickey’s is a tiny old diner serving up breakfast all day, along with soups, burgers and more. Mickey’s dining car has been open for over 70 years, serving meals 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It isn’t easy to find a seat during meal times, but it’s definitely an interesting experience. There are just a couple of booths, with most of the seating at the counter. The counter seats are the best seats in the place; they’re near the action.

Cosetta’s Italian Market & Pizzeria

211 Seventh St. W.
St. Paul, MN
Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Near the Science Museum, you’ll find this little gem. You are in for a treat here. The line often winds around the first floor of the pizzeria, but don’t worry it moves along quickly and before you know it, it’s your turn to order. Then, once you have your tray filled with Italian salads, pastas and pizza head upstairs to find a seat. This cafeteria style pizzeria is cheap and tasty. An added bonus is the Italian market next to the pizzeria chock full of meats, cheeses, olive oils, pastas and other Italian products.

Anna Berend is an attorney and the author of Motherly Law Blog. On Motherly Law, Anna writes about legal issues that affect families and offers tips and resources that pertain to those legal topics. On occasion, inspiration strikes and Anna writes about something totally unrelated to the law.You can find Anna at, on Facebook at Motherly Law and on Twitter @MotherlyLaw.


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