Twin Cities Business Listing

240 Summit Avenue, St Paul, MN 55102
Admission: $12.00
$12 adults; $10 seniors/students; $8 age 5-17; Free under 4 /MNHS members.
Scroll to the bottom to find a link to MNHS Events Calendar
Hours of Operation:
Mon. Closed
Tue. Closed
Wed. Closed
Thu. 10:00 AM – 03:30 AM
Fri. 10:00 AM – 03:30 AM
Sat. 10:00 AM – 03:30 AM
Sun. 10:00 AM – 03:30 AM

Located near the Cathedral of St. Paul, the James J Hill House is a Gilded Age mansion. James J. Hill, who built the Great Northern Railway, and his family resided in the mansion during the mid to late 1800s. Now part of the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS), the house is open year round Wednesday-Sunday for guided tours, but MNHS recommends reservations. The art gallery is open daily.

5 Family-Friendly Annual Events at James J Hill House

1. Christmas

Each year, the mansion is decorated for a Victorian Christmas throughout the month of December. Families can participate in 1-hour tours that explore how families would have celebrated the Holiday in the late 1800s, including music, treats, and ornaments, replicas of which can be found in the gift shop.

2. Winter on the Hill

On weekends during Winter Carnival, the house tours focus on the Hill family’s connection to the St. Paul Winter Carnival and how families of the 1800s spent the long winters of Minnesota.

3. Irish Heritage Weekend

Mrs. Hill was an Irish immigrant and James Hill had a Scottish and Irish ancestry During this weekend, participants can learn Irish songs and stories.

4. Teddy Bear Story Time

Watch for popular Teddy Bear Story Times, when preschool-aged children can bring their teddy bears (and their parents) to a teddy-themed story time in the mansion.

5. Easter Egg Hunts

Each spring, kids can search the Hill House lawn for eggs. Afterwards, the family can listen to stories, enjoy a snack and explore the mansion.

Family looking for eggs on a snowy Easter at the James J Hill House in Saint Paul, Minnesota
A snowy Easter Egg Hunt at the James J. Hill House

Event and Tour Details:

During the summer of 2022, families can join Summer Walking Tour Guides as they talk about the architecture, social history, and preservation issues of the historic neighborhood.

Historically, visitors could go on self-guided tours of the mansion on select Sundays. The price of admission includes these self-guided tours. We try to add these dates to the calendar when they are announced

Parking for the James J Hill House is street parking on Summit Avenue and adjacent streets. Specifically, there is designated visitor parking on Summit Avenue directly in front of the house, but these spaces have a two-hour limit. If you prefer to use public transportation, the 21 Bus lets off at Selby and Summit near the cathedral, walking distance from the James J Hill House.

Exhibits at the James J Hill House Art Gallery

Hill built the art gallery to showcase his collection of French landscape paintings, much of which is now owned by the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Today, the gallery displays rotating exhibits. MNHS describes current exhibits here. Usually, visitors can view the art gallery exhibits as part of a house tour or separately with a $2 art gallery admission.

James J Hill House Pipe Organ

One of the features of this historic home is the recently restored 1891 pipe organ. In 2018, MNHS spent over $100,000 to bring the organ back to reliable and playable condition. Dobson Pipe Organ Builders in Iowa performed the rehab. Work included fighting deterioration of original wood and leather and re-leathering portions, repairing pipework, and replacing irreparable elements with new, but historically accurate, parts.

4 Ways to Save on Admission to the James J. Hill House

  1. Blue Star Museums Program. Free Admission for Military Families from Armed Forces Day through Labor Day.
  2. History-Connects. The Minnesota Historical Society’s limited income program offers discounted admission to visitors enrolled in one or more assistance program. This includes the higher-income-threshold programs, like WIC and MA.
  3. Museums on Us. This program gives Bank of America cardholders free entry during the first full weekend of each month.
  4. Become an MNHS member. Not only will you receive FREE admission to this museum, you’ll also receive FREE admission to museums and historic sites all over the state.

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