Summer will be over before you know it, and you should get in your outside time before the inevitable St. Paul winter takes hold. Actually, the hardy among us may still enjoy some of these parks in St. Paul regardless of the weather.
Either way, here’s a list of some of our favorite parks in and around St. Paul that are great for spending the day with family, friends, or taking Fido out for a day hike.
Best Parks in St. Paul
Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary
This park is often overlooked in favor of more popular parks, but it’s right next to the Mississippi River and is an excellent spot for fishing. It’s named after U.S. Representative Bruce Vento, who was one of the first supporters of the sanctuary and helped open it to the public while preserving its natural beauty.
Visitors can view limestone bluffs that date back over 450 million years! And if you take a short hike to the water springs throughout the park, you can even find small crustacean fossils if you look close enough.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
This park is St. Paul’s most popular family destination, and it has been for over a century! Como Park Zoo houses both native animals and exotic ones from all around the world, like penguins, tigers, bears, monkeys, lemurs, and more.
A highlight of this zoo is its indoor and outdoor gardens, including a “walk-in” aviary that is home to some of the world’s most exotic birds. Como Park Conservatory offers a different type of experience with its indoor plant life and four distinct seasonal displays — winter, spring, summer, and fall. Walkthrough this historic building year-round for $0 admission.
Crosby Farm Regional Park
This park is perfect for active families, couples, or those looking to get some fresh air. Some of the amenities throughout the park include biking and walking trails, picnic shelters with grills, horseshoes, fishing, and cross country ski trails for those who like to brave the cold in the winter. If you’re lucky, you might see some otters or turtles with their offspring near the trails that run throughout the wetlands off the river.
Fort Snelling State Park
Crosby Farm Park’s trail system connects with Fort Snelling State Park so that you can venture even further into the beautiful Mississippi River landscape throughout St. Paul. Fort Snelling Park is famous for its many outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, and camping. In addition, several historical buildings and an interpretive center make this park a great place to explore all day long! Check for upcoming events here.
Harriet Island Regional Park
One of the most remarkable features of Harriet Island is its 5,000 square foot pavilion that hosts weddings, receptions, and other large events all year round. They do book up quickly, and you have to win a lottery, but if you get in, it’s so worth the wait!
When you’re not planning your gorgeous Harriet Island wedding, you can enjoy some gorgeous views of downtown St. Paul from across the river. It’s also where you board one of the many sightseeing Padelford Riverboats for a sunset dinner cruise or just a day trip around the river.
Kellogg Mall Park
This park is one of the largest in St. Paul and is right outside of downtown, so it’s perfect for those with an office nearby to sit and have a nice lunch outside. Kellogg Mall Park has many features, including its gorgeous fountains, arbor, and many paths for biking or walking.
Take a seat near the fountains and read up on the historical plaques strewn across the park—you’ll learn a thing or two about the history of St. Paul while enjoying a view of the Mississippi!
Lilydale Regional Park
This park is a hidden gem in the city and features plenty of trails for hiking, biking, or just walking around. Lilydale Park’s also home to much native wildlife like bald eagles that nest on its shores every year!
Located right smack in the middle of downtown is Mears Park: home to all sorts of events and festivals throughout the year, so check their website for a calendar of upcoming activities. Mears Park often features live music on its stage all summer long, and be sure to follow along with local food trucks to see when they stop by and set up shop in Mears Park! You can’t beat that kind of entertainment!
Phalen Park Beach
Believe it or not, there is a sand beach in St. Paul! Actually, Phalen park features a golf course, a picnic pavilion, and a regional park all in one place just north of the downtown area. Lake Phalen is the perfect spot to get some sunshine and relaxation on the weekend. So take a dip in Lake Phalen on the last remaining hot days we have!
And last but not least, we have Rice Park downtown. This park is known for its iconic fountain and its ice skating rink every winter. In addition, Rice Park hosts many events throughout the year, so whether you want to celebrate Mardi Gras or watch a Christmas parade pass by, this place has got you covered!
There are so many great parks in St. Paul to explore and enjoy all year round! So whether you’re looking for a spot where your pup can run around or just want some time alone with the outdoors, there’s something here for everyone.
And while you’re at it, our AJ Alberts showroom is just a hop, skip, and jump away. So come take a peek at some of our quality fixtures, or schedule your next plumbing service in St. Paul with us!