If you're planning a trip to St. Paul, you should familiarize yourself with the city's pedestrian transportation system before arriving. There are two skyways located in the Twin Cities, in both downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis. These skyways are a network of linked buildings and attractions.
St. Paul's skyway system links 47 city blocks and covers five miles, making it one of the largest systems in the world. The best part about this pedestrian system is that not only do you not have to drive or take public transportation to get around but you also don't have to brave the Minnesota cold or heat.
Getting Into the Skyways
Although the glass skyway tunnels are obvious to anyone traveling downtown, getting into the system isn't as easy as it seems. Some buildings are marked with "Skyway Connection" on their doors, but it's assumed that you're already familiar with the system.
To enter a skyway, simply go inside any building that has a tunnel and follow the markings to the second-floor entrance. If you're still stumped on where to enter, one of the easiest ways to get into skyway is to just follow the rush hour and lunchtime crowds.
Navigating the St. Paul skyway system can be challenging. There are only a few signs, and getting disorientated in the skyways is easy because many office buildings and tunnels look the same. Plus with all the distracting shopping malls and attractions, it's even easier to get lost if you don't know the system.
The St. Paul skyway is slightly easier to navigate than the Minneapolis system because it's smaller and there are more skyway maps dotted about the system. A free St. Paul Skyway map is an essential piece of equipment, so be sure to pick up one up at your earliest convenience at any of the area hotels or major attractions. Until you get your hands on one, study the online map of the St. Paul Skyway System or download the iPhone or Android map app.
You should know that the skyways are not open 24 hours a day. The city of St. Paul owns the skyways and therefore sets the hours for the system. Most of St. Paul's skyways are open from 6 a.m. until 2 a.m. However, some may close anywhere from 7 p.m. to midnight, depending on the location, time of year, and demand.
Building and Attractions Linked by the Skyways
Now that you're somewhat familiar with how the system works, you can easily navigate to some of St. Paul's best attractions that are linked by the skyways. Those attractions include:
- Xcel Center
- The Science Museum of Minnesota
- Minnesota Children's Museum
- Lowry Theater
- Park Square Theater
- St. Paul Central Library
- Skyway Back Rub
- Minnesota Museum of American Art
- Mississippi National River and Recreation Area
- Rice Park
- The Bulldog Lowertown Restaurant and Pub