Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Ramsey County, MN

  • Published 2023/06/11

The dominantly-urban community of Ramsey County is only one of the many reasons why I loved my trip to this spot.

Despite being the smallest county in size within Minnesota, this county doesn’t lack in history, diversity, and culture.

This is also why it’s a go-to hub for tourism and recreation and thrives within the MN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area.

It has a wide collection of scenic points, biking trails, and preserves for its outdoor opportunities and several eccentric museums for those preferring indoor fun.

Established in 1849, it got its name after the first Governor of the Minnesota Territory, Alexander Ramsey.

During my visit to this county, I marveled at the list of tourist attractions to stop by, especially within its county seat, St. Paul.

To get you in on the fun that I’ve had within this community, I made a list of the best things to do in Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Read on for the specifics and details—you won’t regret it!

Marvel at the Sights and Scents of Blossoms All Around at Muriel Sahlin Arboretum

Scenic view of the Muriel Sahlin Arboretum

Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The city of Roseville has numerous outdoor spots I feel lucky to have toured.

But nothing compares to Muriel Sahlin Arboretum in Central Park.

This arboretum offers an easy walk of 8 acres full of theme gardens and an astounding water fountain.

Most of its plant collections are also native Minnesota species.

Plants at the Muriel Sahlin Arboretum

Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I loved that every corner of this place is a possible photo background.

From the expansive lawn to the intricate architectural amenities, I came out of this visit with memories to treasure and a whole set of photos to prove them.

The scenery within this spot is unmatchable.

Muriel Sahlin Arboretum sits along Dale Street North.

Fountain at the Muriel Sahlin Arboretum

Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Splash around the Waterpark at Shoreview Community Center

Throughout my Ramsey County travels, nothing quite made me feel like home than Shoreview Community Center.

This community center comes with a seasonal waterpark, a gym, and an indoor playground.

I went for a swim at its tropical-inspired indoor pool and crashed against the waves at its whirlpool feature.

I adored the dizzying waterslides, too.

If you’re traveling with a kid, I suggest taking them to this center and letting them play at the Bamboo Bay where there are play structures and sprayers to keep their swimming time fun.

Shoreview Community Center has open doors for residents, members, and even visitors alike.

You can head over to Victoria Street North in Shoreview to reach this center.

Go for a Walk along the Lake at Tamarack Nature Center

Tamarack Nature Center is a White Bear Township attraction notable for its large expanse of nature all around.

At 320 acres, this preserve offers a variety of family-friendly programs for every visitor.

True to its purpose, it comes with a playscape for the kids called the Discovery Hollow Nature Play Area.

I had a grand time traversing the trails and roaming across the gardens of this preserve during my visit.

The boardwalks had taken me to another world full of wildlife and vegetation.

Though I didn’t get to experience it, I heard the whole place transforms into a winter wonderland with its skiing slopes and snowshoeing trails come December.

So, keep an eye out for that.

Tamarack Nature Center welcomes you to its nature paradise on Otter Lake Road.

Dive Deep into Tribal History at Indian Mounds Regional Park

Landscape of the Indian Mounds Regional Park

m_e_mccarron, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

At St. Paul, Indian Mounds Regional Park is both a recreational and historical landmark.

It features six burial mounds that are the only remaining ones of its kind within the Twin Cities metropolis.

Before becoming the public park it is today, this was a sacred site for many Indigenous People and other tribes.

This information alone caught my attention enough to come by for a visit, and I was not disappointed.

Tower at the Indian Mounds Regional Park

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Alongside the mounds, the park also has picnic parks that I got to relax in while taking in the sights of the scenic spot.

A quick walk down its southern corner gave me the best views of the Twin Cities skyline.

Indian Mounds Regional Park overlooks the Mississippi River on Mounds Boulevard.

View of the Indian Mounds Regional Park

McGhiever, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Taste Craft Beer at Big Wood Brewery

In the core of White Bear Lake, Big Wood Brewery proves itself as a tourist attraction worthy of a second stop.

This craft brewery features a rustic taproom and a patio.

Complete with a solid selection of beer, ales, and other alcoholic beverages, this brewery has been a community favorite since 2009.

What I adored most about this place is its cozy atmosphere and pet-friendly policy.

I savored my India Pale Ale with a slice of artisan pizza, and my stomach thanked me for it even when I was heading home.

But there are more beers on tap for you to enjoy, so keep your palate open for a burst of flavor you might not have tasted before.

Big Wood Brewery is on 4th Street.

Admire Nature while on a Picnic at Vadnais-Snail Lake Regional Park

Signage of the Vadnais-Snail Lake Regional Park

Gabriel Vanslette, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Vadnais-Snail Lake Regional Park in Shoreview and Vadnais Heights boasts a majestic nature space alongside a beach.

This park bridges Snake and Sucker Lakes in a multitude of nature trails.

I had a picnic within this park, and it was one of the best ideas I had traveling to Ramsey County.

Its Sucker Lake Loop extends to over 2 miles, enough space for me to fulfill my satisfaction of seeing birds resting and in flight within the park.

Though I never got to rent a boat on my venture across Snail Lake, I had seen visitors try it, and you should too!

Vadnais-Snail Lake Regional Park is accessible from Snail Lake Boulevard.

Browse through Contemporary Art Pieces at the Argyle Zebra Community Gallery

The Argyle Zebra Community Gallery is a St. Paul must-visit if you’re an art enthusiast like me.

This woman-owned art gallery offers a taste of Lowertown culture that makes it more charming.

One of its standout features is its diverse set of art everywhere—there’s art for everyone of all preferences.

This is why walking down the halls of the gallery’s exhibits has been a refreshing experience for me.

I have always loved local art, but the art displayed within this site’s walls will hold a special place in my heart forever.

You can locate the Argyle Zebra Community Gallery on East Prince Street.

Meet and Learn about New Wildlife at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Gorilla at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Linda McKusick /

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is a renowned attraction that’s one for the books.

This spot combines wildlife, art, and nature within a scenic setting.

Its range of animals was an astounding feat to me.

I got to watch ostriches, giraffes, sloths, and even Tropical Encounters wildlife, which were the highlights of my visit.

A quick stop at its conservatory—the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory—also had me stunned.

Colorful flowers inside the conservatory at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

TammiMild /

Among the variety of gardens onsite, my favorite was the Sunken Gardens and its artistic elegance.

The best part is that these gardens change seasonally, so there’s always something new to anticipate on the second visit.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory resides within Como Regional Park accessible via Estabrook Drive in the city of St. Paul.

Monkey at the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

Linda McKusick /

Practice Your Golfing Abilities at Keller Golf Course

Keller Golf Course is a public golf facility that leans into a championship-style layout.

Originally opened in 1929, it underwent renovations and reopened in 2014.

Among its largest accolades, this golf course was in the Top 5 of the list of Favorite Public Courses by Tee Times Magazine in 2018.

Its 18-hole layout was a classic style that remained interesting as I played it.

It didn’t have elevated slope changes or other dramatic bunker challenges, but it was a superb course for me.

It comes with a clubhouse and a pro shop that I enjoyed stopping by for a bit of window shopping.

Keller Golf Course is on Maplewood Drive in the suburb of Maplewood.

Explore the Woodlands and Trails at Battle Creek Regional Park

Landscape of the Battle Creek Regional Park

Joe Ferrer /

Looking for a tranquil and secluded spot to enjoy the outdoors by yourself or with a loved one?

Maplewood‘s Battle Creek Regional Park is my first suggestion.

This local park has everything you might need to stay active and entertained.

It comes with hiking trails that I followed for a casual walk through the woods.

Battle Creek Regional Park during winter

Joe Ferrer /

For the little ones, the park has a playground and water features.

So, if I were you, I’d bring my children and loved ones along for twice the fun!

Battle Creek Regional Park also has a parking area, which was a relief for me since parking can be difficult to find within parks like these.

This park is on Upper Afton Road.

Pond at the Battle Creek Regional Park

Joe Ferrer /

Interact with Ocean Life and Mermaids at SeaQuest Roseville

SeaQuest Roseville uses an immersive take on land and marine life and discovery.

This aquarium centers on a zoo-like adventure for its visitors across five separate continents on Earth.

It boasts over 1,000 animals and 300 varied species within its walls.

One of my unforgettable moments within the center is snorkeling with the stingrays and getting an up-close view of other sea creatures deep in the waters.

I also got to interact with sloths, otters, and wallabies and even got to hand-feed them.

The mermaids also provided a nice hint of fantasy to this museum.

The ocean and the forestlands offer more than what they seem, and this is what SeaQuest Roseville taught me.

This zoo-slash-aquarium is on Highway 36 in the quaint city of Roseville.

View the Wildlife Dioramas at the Bell Museum

Exterior view of the Bell Museum

Andria Waclawski, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Natural history and astronomy come together in a fun and interactive facility at the Bell Museum.

If you’ve come by St. Paul before 2017, you may know this museum as the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History.

In 2018, it got renamed and transferred to the campus of the University of Minnesota.

Interior view of the Bell Museum

Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The highlight of this museum is its life-sized animal dioramas that I had a blast browsing through.

With over one million specimens to discover and programs to join, I was never bored during my visit.

I also loved the planetarium’s presentations and the outdoor sculptures for view.

Situated along Larpenteur Avenue West, the Bell Museum is a St. Paul stop worthy of a second visit—or a third or more!

Exhibits at the Bell Museum

Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Play a Round of Indoor Games at the Mermaid Entertainment & Event Center

The Mermaid Entertainment & Event Center is more than just your regular bowling alley.

This indoor entertainment facility in Mounds View is an all-around event center with a game room and an axe-throwing lane.

Its bowling section comes with 32 lanes.

Having fun is an easy thing to do at a center this big and well-rounded.

Aside from bowling, I even got to enjoy the variety of arcade games and came home with a light heart and a warm smile on my face.

I highly recommend this center for family outings or large group gatherings.

The Mermaid Entertainment & Event Center makes waves on Mounds View Boulevard.

Expand Your Knowledge of Science and History at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Fossil of the dinosaur at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Steve Skjold /

There’s so much to see and learn at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Founded in 1907, this museum is a rare gem that I was glad to have found on my own.

The center focuses on technology, natural science, mathematics education, and other STEM-related programs, which was an interesting excursion for me.

It comes with multiple galleries, a Science House, and an IMAX Dome Omnitheater—each facility more breathtaking than the last.

Interior view of the Science Museum of Minnesota

Steve Skjold /

There was a multitude of hands-on exhibits that I have never seen before in any other science museum I went to.

I particularly liked the informative showings and presentations at the theater.

The Science Museum of Minnesota sits along West Kellogg Boulevard in Saint Paul.

A young boy observing an experiment at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Michael Siluk /

Watch a Spectacular Show at Benson Great Hall

Don’t miss out on the beauty of live entertainment at Ramsey County with a drop by Benson Great Hall.

It is the preferred venue for a variety of shows, including concerts, conferences, and classical performances.

It comes with a 4,000-pipe Blackinton organ that’s used for the theater’s signature organ concerts.

With the hall’s suspended canopy and multi-level audience seating, I enjoyed the intimacy of a classic concert during my visit.

It was easy to get myself lost in the melody and music of the orchestra onstage, which I could not do in other concert halls.

Benson Great Hall is an amenity of Bethel University.

You can find this performing arts theater and event space on Bethel Drive within the city of Arden Hills.

Final Thoughts

Indoor or outdoor—Ramsey County has a sundry of recreational options for every traveler and resident.

Fun would be an understatement to describe my experience going through these spots and finding out more about this Minnesota county.

If you’re still hesitating to add this county to your must-visit spots, take this as your sign!

Let the list above of the best things to do in Ramsey County, Minnesota guide you on your travels!

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