Like many of the upper Mississippi River towns, St. Paul's oldest streets are narrow and crooked, conforming to the hills and to the river frontage. Many modern downtown buildings are interconnected by enclosed skywalks. Several fine parks (the largest of which are Como and Phalen) and many lakes (over 900 in the general metropolitan area), public beaches, and nearby ski areas provide recreational facilities. A Native American mounds park is there. An annual Winter Carnival is held in the city, and the state fairgrounds are in the Midway district, between St. Paul and Minneapolis. The National Hockey League's Minnesota Wild plays in St. Paul.
The capitol, completed in 1904 and designed by Cass Gilbert, was modeled after St. Peter's in Rome. Near the capitol are the Cathedral of St. Paul; the state historical society building, containing a museum and library; and the St. Paul Arts and Science Center. In the concourse of the city hall and county courthouse (1932) is a notable peace monument. Other points of interest in the area are Fort Snelling State Park and the Sibley House Museum (1835), home of the first territorial governor.
St. Paul has a notable chamber orchestra, opera company, conservatory, and several musical theaters. The city's many educational institutions include Bethel Univ., the College of St. Catherine, Concordia Univ., Hamline Univ., Macalester College, the Univ. of St. Thomas, the William Mitchell College of Law, several theological seminaries, and a branch of the Univ. of Minnesota.