University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

General Information, Events and Things to Do

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Download a PDF restaurant guide here. Two cities, one large metropolitan area with ~ 3.3 million people.

Historically, Fort Snelling was built (1819) at the junction of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers. At that time what became St. Paul was called PigsEye, the town where 8th street was between 6th and 7th. It was renamed in 1841 and was the territorial capitol (1849) when Minnesota became a state (1858) . St. Paul was a river and later a railroad town. Minneapolis (originally St. Anthony) was developed later (1849) at the head of navigation on the Mississippi (the Falls of St. Anthony) as a milling city, and later became a banking center. Ethnically, St. Paul is Irish-German and Minneapolis is Swedish-Norwegian.

Today, St. Paul is the state capitol and is usually considered the quieter of the two cities. Minneapolis is often described as more upscale and modern than St. Paul with several skyscrapers and a lively night scene. For many decades there was an economic and cultural rivalry between the cities which Minneapolis has definitely won.

The University of Minnesota (1856) is based in Minneapolis with a main campus that straddles the Mississippi and a smaller campus in St.Paul. Both cities are well known for their live theater scene. There are also two orchestras, one in each city, and several professional sports teams, in each city.

To get a perspective on the exact site of the Workshop, we recommend reading the last chapter in Mark Twain's "Life on the Mississippi." F. Scott Fitzgerald was from St. Paul and several of his short stories take place along Summit Ave. The Robert Altman/Garrison Keillor movie, "A Prairie Home Companion," was filmed at the Fitzgerald Theater, a short walk from our meeting site.

Things to do and events -- if you are here a day or two before or after the Workshop:

In St. Paul (St Paul is not a good shopping city. Minneapolis' Nicollet Ave and the Mall of America have a larger variety of stores.)

Minnesota Science Museum (near the hotel) (

Minnesota History Center ( a long walk) (

State Capital (a longer walk or take a taxi)

Cathedral Hill, Crocus Hill and Summit Avenue -- classic old residential area with numerous Victorian era and earlier homes. This is where the railroad and lumber barons built their mansions. This is also F. Scott Fitzgerald's original territory. The J. J. Hill mansion (Great Northern and Northern Pacific Railroads, see the last chapter of the Great Gatsby) is open for tours (

It is a good hike up the hill or take a taxi to the cathedral.

In Minneapolis -- the Falls of St. Anthony, the stone arch bridge across the Mississippi, and historic walks on both sides, the old mills (General Mills, Pillsbury) and ruins,

Mill City Museum, the Guthrie Theater. All are close together.

The Walker Art Center (modern art) and sculpture garden (

Minnesota Orchestra (

Fort Snelling (from 1819 - 1946) Historic river fort restored, open for tours, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, near the airport.


Theaters - both cities have many theaters. Here are just a few

St. Paul -- The Ordway and St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, near the hotel (

Park Square Theater, near the hotel(

Fitzgerald Theater , near the hotel ( This is the home of "A Prairie Home Companion," Garrison Keillor and Lake Wobegon. The radio shows are broadcast Saturday nights in front of a live audience and are VERY popular . Get tickets early. There are performances Sept 29 and Oct 6 (

Minneapolis -- The Guthrie (nationally known) (

The Jungle Theater (

plus many others.


Minnesota Twins (baseball) home games Sept 28, 29, 30

Minnesota Vikings (football)

University of Minnesota


Download a PDF restaurant guide here.