The Landmark Center is a historical building right in the heart of downtown St. Paul. It was once the federal building for the city which included courtrooms and the post office. Today it is a landmark (ha!) and houses not only the historical information of the building but also many different museums. Each fall through spring, the Landmark hosts Sunday family events, aptly named “Sundays at Landmark”. The 2021-2022 season begins September 12, 2021 with the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival. The series also includes the Landmark Center’s popular Urban Expeditions starting mid-January, which take you to a different country to experience the culture firsthand for FREE without the need to leave the Twin Cities.
2021/2022 Sundays at Landmark Schedule
The 2021/2022 season will again be a mix of virtual and in-person events. Most programs begin at 1 pm and are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted.
- September 12: Mid-Autumn Moon Festival; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- September 19: Iranian Culture Festival; 12pm-5pm; Free.
- October 24: Great Pumpkin Festival; 12pm-5pm; Free.
- November 14: St. Paul Civic Symphony Concert; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- November 21: Walker | West Student Concert; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- December 5: Virtual Christmas Stories with J.B. Eckert; Online; Available for one month.
- December 12: Santa’s Workshop; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- December 29: Virtual Christmas Stories with J.B. Eckert; Online; Available for one month.
- January 9: Minnesota Boychoir Winter Concert; 1pm & 3:30pm.
- January 30: St. Paul Civic Symphony Concert; 2pm; Free.
- February 13: Urban Expedition – Ghana; 1pm-3pm; Free.
January 16February 20: Urban Expedition – China; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- February 20 (Virtual): Black Sea Odyssey; 12pm-4pm; $4-$6/pp.
- February 27: Urban Expedition – Greece; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- March 13: An Irish Day of Dance; 10am-5pm; $5/pp.
- Thursday, March 17: St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration; 11am-5pm; $5/pp.
- March 20: Urban Expedition – Peru; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- April 3: Bandwidth Community Band Festival; 12pm-6pm; Free.
- April 10: Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- April 24: Urban Expedition – Italy; 1pm-3pm; Free.
- May 1: May Day Tea Party; 1pm-4pm; Free
- May 8: St. Paul Civic Symphony Concert; 1pm-3pm; Free
Sundays at Landmark: Urban Expeditions
When we first entered the building, we were greeted with animals native to Argentina: llamas, alpacas, goats, a giant Flemish rabbit, and a big rodent of unpronounceable name. I wasn’t super thrilled with the rodent, but the other animals were adorable. I kept referring to The Emperor’s New Groove for a point of reference for my children.
From the animals, we walked into the Musser Cortile room where the programming was started. Culture presentations and tango demonstrations as well as a folk dance workshop took place here inviting you to have a whole body experience. We sat down to enjoy the dancing only to be asked to stand and participate in the Chacarera (a traditional Argentinian dance).
We learned the baseball move–to go around the diamond, we learned how to run a home run–to turn in a circle, and half of us learned to shine the floor and the other half perfected the baseball move. All the while with our hands in the air. It was hilarious!
When we tired of the dancing activity, we checked out the other activities. They were spread around the entire room. We picked up our passport and got our passport photos taken. The girls made tissue paper flowers to wear in their hair.
I tried an empanada. The girls didn’t think they would like them because they were told they were hot: which ultimately they interpreted as spicy….but they weren’t spicy. They were really good.
And we colored postcards and sent them to our family! REALLY! The Landmark Center mailed them for us. The only problem was that we needed to know the addresses…so Grandma K will be receiving 2 postcards and Grandma F hopefully 1 ( I cannot remember their zip code to save my life).
This whole event was co-presented by the Tango Society of Minnesota (TSOM). For the last hour of the event, dancers from the TSOM performed different tango dances. I’m glad their were other things to do. This part wasn’t as exciting as I was hoping.
Ultimately, the girls loved the tango (and that’s the most important thing), but I don’t think I understand dance enough to be impressed. What I saw was a bunch of couples standing too close to each other to move.
However, I did learn that Argentinian men don’t ask women to dance with their mouths. They ask them to dance with their eyes (oooooh), and if the women don’t want to dance, they avoid eye contact at all cost!
- It wasn’t very busy. There was plenty of room to move around and wasn’t overly crowded.
- The staff/volunteers were very welcoming and kind (minus one who was a little grumpy).
- There was a wide variety of activity and something for everyone to enjoy.
- It was interactive. Learning to dance the Chacarera was especially fun with the engaging gaucho (Argentinian cowboy)
- The other museums are open to enjoy.
- There isn’t a lot of parking right next to the Landmark Center. Since parking was free, every spot on the street was full (not that I’m good at parallel parking anyway, but you may be)
- If you come in the wrong door, you may go through everything backwards. So if you do, just know that if you walk straight, you will run into the correct area to enjoy the festivities.
- We missed the free tour at noon–this would not be a disadvantage for you, but it was for us.
- They hold Urban Expedition in cold winter months in Minnesota. It’s hard to get out the door when it’s that cold. But don’t wait until April because it’s totally worth going, even in the cold!