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 2019/2020 season begins September 15, 2019 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 without leave the comfort of town and for FREE.
2019/2020 Schedule – Sundays at Landmark
Most Sundays at Landmark events are free. A few noted exceptions have a small fee, and one event (the St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration) is actually on a Tuesday. The 2019/2020 schedule is as follows:
- September 15 | 3pm | 3-6 pm | Free
- October 6 | Nooks & Crannies Tour | 1 pm | Free
- October 20 | Saint Paul Civic Symphony | 1 pm | Free
- October 27 | Great Pumpkin Celebration | 1 pm | Free
- November 17 | Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra | 1 pm | Free
- November 24 | A Landmark Hoe-down (celebrating National Square Dance Day) | 1 pm | Free
- December 15 | Santa’s Workshop | 1 pm | Free
- January 5 | MN Boychoir Concert | 1 and 3:30 pm | Free
- January 12 | Urban Expedition Germany | 1 pm | Free
- January 26 | Civic Symphony: Winter Carnival Concert | 2 pm | Free
- February 9 | Urban Expedition Guatemala | 1 pm | Free
- February 16 | Balkan Festival | 12-5 pm | $4/$6
- March 8 | Urban Expedition Indonesia | 1 pm | Free
- March 15 | Day of Irish Dance | 11 am – 5 pm | $5/$7 – ALSO – Tuesday, March 17 | St. Patrick’s Day Irish Celebration | 10 am – 5 pm | $5/$7
- March 22 | Urban Expedition Poland & Hungary | 1 pm | Free
- April 5 | Urban Expedition Senegal & Sierra Leone | 1 pm | Free
- April 26 | Bandwidth Community Band Festival | 12:30 pm | Free
- May 3 | Kid’s Tea at the Castle | 1 & 2 pm (reservations required) | Free
- May 10 | Saint Paul Civic Symphony Mother’s Day Concert | 1 pm | 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 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.
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!
*Note that the Landmark Center hadn’t updated these links yet when we published, but they will soon. In the meantime, we provided available information here.