TC Spotlight | Outdoor tours: Segways, trolleys, riverboats and more!

(Photos by Paige Elliott except where noted)

Summers in Minnesota are beautiful but short. A great way to savor the summer days is to take a tour of all the gorgeous rivers, lakes, and historical sights the Twin Cities has to offer. So, for TC Spotlight this week we’ve highlighted just a few of the many outdoor tours around town to help you get out and soak up the rest of the summer. Share your favorite summer tours and activities in the comment section below.

Como-Harriet Streetcar Line tour

Make a trip on the trolley part of your next visit to the Lake Harriet and enjoy bit of 1900s, electric mass-transit era history on the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, the “museum on wheels.” The Como-Harriet Streetcar Line, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and operated through cooperation of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, used to run around Minneapolis and St. Paul. Today the trolley makes regular trips between the west shore of Lake Harriet (at Queen Ave. S and West 42nd St.) to Lake Calhoun (Richfield Rd. just south of West 36th St.). The ride is approximately 15 minutes long and no reservation is needed. Please note, the streetcar is not handicap accessible.

Board at Linden Hills station: 4200 Queen Avenue, S., Minneapolis; 763-576-0608

Summer hours:

Monday – Friday: 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Wednesday Afternoon: 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday: 12:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

$2 per person; children under 3 ride free

More details on the website


Padelford Riverboat sightseeing cruise

The Padelford Riverboat tours offer narrated sightseeing excursions on the Mississippi River. The tour narrator provides historical information about sights, including the High Bridge, Minnesota River mouth, Pike Island, and Fort Snelling. The ride is 1 ½ hours and includes a full bar and light refreshments of hot dogs and popcorn.

200 Dr Justus Ohage Blvd, Saint Paul; 651-227-1100

$16 (+port fee) for Adults

$14 for Seniors (65+)

$8 for Children 3-12 (2 & under free)
Mondays: $8 (+port fee) for everyone.

Visit the website for details and information about other cruise offerings


Summit Avenue walking tour

There's nothing like a summer stroll! The 90-minute Summit Avenue walking tour highlights the historic Summit Hill neighborhood’s architecture, social history and current preservation issues. Led by a guide from the James J. Hill House, the tour covers 1.5 miles of public sidewalks and parks, starting at the Hill House and concluding at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. All areas are handicap accessible but some side streets are cobblestone and stone curbs. Go here for scheduling information and more details.

James J. Hill House

240 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul; 651-297-2555

Saturday 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.

Sunday 2 p.m.

$12 - $8; $2 discount for MNSH members



Segway tours

If trolleys, boatrides or long walks aren’t your cup of tea, how about a trip down memory lane on a Segway? Segway tour locations include the Mississippi riverfront area in St. Anthony Main, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and a Saint Paul tour, allowing for an opportunity to glide on through the historic Summit Hill neighborhood while giving your feet a rest.

The Magical History Tour lasts around 3 hours and includes training on Segway operation and safety, a 5-7 mile historic route, and helmet use. The Minneapolis Magical Historical Tour riverfront tour includes free Mill City Museum entrance ticket and refreshments, and 25% discount on some area eateries. Pick the tour and location that works for you! Visit the website for more details.

125 SE. Main St., Minneapolis; 952-888-9200

Summer hours:

Open 7 days a week: 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

$80 + tax


Honorable mentions:

Horse drawn carriage rides

A horse drawn carriage ride is another charming way to see the sights of the city. The Hitching Company offers a nostalgic tour to popular landmarks around downtown Minneapolis with sights that vary per tour selection. Tours run May through August, by appointment only. Call 612-338-7777 to set up a time. Visit the website for more informaton.

925 N 5th St, Minneapolis; 612-338-7777

Taste of the City $55 (30 minutes)

Grand City Tour $105 (60 minutes)

(photo from Facebook)


Bike with a Ranger tour

Another great way to see the sights along the Mississippi is the Bike with a Ranger tour, a three-hour, nine mile ride that provides outdoor fun for the entire family. The tour runs from June through September. Helmets are provided if you need one. Registration is required. Go here to pick the tour and city that works best for you.

$8 / $5 for Mississippi River Fund Members

Free for kids under 10.

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.


(photo from Facebook)

Coverage of issues and events that affect Central Corridor neighborhoods and communities is funded in part by a grant from Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

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  • My favorite boat tour is on the Minneapolis Queen, part of the Paradise Cruise flotilla at Bohemian Flats in Minneapolis. (952) 474 8058 The river is beautiful in many locations, but the view of the falls, downtown and the river gorge is a world class destination like no other. - by Scott Vreeland on Wed, 07/30/2014 - 11:02am
  • Let us not forget the Mississippi River paddleboarding adventures at! - by Austin Samuel on Wed, 07/30/2014 - 1:25pm

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Paige Elliott's picture
Paige Elliott

(paigeelliott [at] tcdailyplanet [dot] net) Paige Elliott was born and raised in south Minneapolis. She currently works as an Editoral Assistant with the Daily Planet, with emphasis on visual storytelling.