This Memorial Day weekend, take advantage of the warmer weather and get out of the house, where there’s plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities that focus on historic architecture and institutions. Both the Minnesota Historical Society and Preserve Minneapolis have recently kicked off their seasonal educational walking tours, which shine a spotlight on the Twin Cities’ history, culture, and urban design by leading guests through detailed tours of local neighborhoods. Check out the upcoming tours below:
Led by a James J. Hill House guide, this 90-minute walking tour begins at the Commodore Bar & Restaurant in St. Paul and takes guests on an exploration of the famous author’s childhood haunts, including his birthplace and the house where he wrote his first novel. Guests will also hear about the impact the city had on Fitzgerald’s writing and the importance of the neighborhood to other notable writers throughout history. Tickets cost $10-14, and MNHS members save 20 percent. For more information, click here.
- Saturday, May 25 @ 10-11:30 a.m., 12-1:30 p.m., 2-3:30 p.m.
- Sunday, May 26 @ 12-1:30 p.m., 2-3:30 p.m.
Starting at the stately James J. Hill House, built by a railroad magnate, this 90-minute tour covers 1.5 miles of the Summit Avenue neighborhood. From Beaux Arts style mansions to castle-like brick manors, the tour will highlight the Gilded Age residences that line the avenue as well as their owners and builders. Guides will also talk about the historic neighborhood’s architecture, social history, and current preservation issues. Tickets cost $10-14, and MNHS members save 20 percent. For more information, click here.
- Saturday, May 25 @ 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 2-3:30 p.m.
- Sunday, May 26 @ 2-3:30 p.m.
During this unique walking tour, Laura Weber, editor of Minnesota History, the quarterly of the Minnesota Historical Society, will lead guests on a tour of two National Register districts. The Old Campus Historic District, based on a design by H.W.S. Cleveland, consists of 13 of the oldest buildings on the University of Minnesota’s Minneapolis campus, while The Northrop Mall Historic District is the largest Beaux Arts campus in the state. Tickets cost $12. For more information, click here.
- Saturday, June 1 @ 9:30-11:30 a.m.
If you’re looking for even more ways to spend your weekend outside, the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden will be hosting a Memorial Day Family Garden Hike at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, May 27, followed by a Memorial Day Wildflower Walk at 1 p.m. Parents and children alike can search for plants and animals in the spring woods on the scavenger hunt-type hike, and look for bluebells, trilliums, and trout lilies on the walk. And if that’s not enough, you can always head over to Historic Fort Snelling for its annual Memorial Day Weekend event, where guests can learn about the fort’s role in U.S. expansion, Native American history, and watch demonstrations like blacksmithing, cannon firings, and hearth cooking while interacting with costumed re-enactors and interpretive staff.