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Roseville: Ideally situated

Like a highly coveted piece of real estate, Roseville, Minnesota, has three things going for it: location, location, location.

This town of about 35,000 people sits in the heart of the Greater Twin Cities area and is one of only two neighboring communities that is adjacent to both Minneapolis and St. Paul. That puts it in a prime spot for groups that want to explore the big cities on either side.

“Roseville is an ideal hub-and-spoke destination when visiting the Minneapolis-St. Paul area,” said Carrie Ford, director of sales and marketing for the Roseville Visitors Association. “We’re just 10 minutes from either St. Paul or Minneapolis. We have nine hotels in our area that offer complimentary parking for motorcoach groups.”

The Twin Cities and other nearby communities add a powerful punch to Roseville, which also has a number of attractions of its own. Put it all together and you have a diverse selection of live entertainment, cultural history and special events for your group to enjoy.


Theatrical Community

The Twin Cities area has made a name for itself as a theater destination in recent years. Many church groups that visit Roseville enjoy visiting North Heights Lutheran Church in nearby Arden Hills to see one of several high-quality holiday productions the congregation mounts annually.

“They do productions focused on an uplifting message,” Ford said. “Around Easter time they do ‘All Things New,’ a powerful, passionate show that follows Jesus as he encounters and ultimately transforms the lives of four very different characters. The journey includes great music, live animals and a cast of hundreds.

“At Christmas, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is a musical adaptation of the popular film. It features a cast of hundreds, great music, dancing and the story that has captured so many hearts, now with a gospel message.

“The shows feature a cast and choir of more than 300 people, and the admission is fairly reasonable. They offer dinner packages as well.”

If your group enjoys theater, you can also take them to downtown Minneapolis, where the Hennepin Avenue theater district has become a destination for many of the top Broadway shows that tour the country.

In St. Paul, the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts hosts a series of music and dance performances and is home to a local theater company that produces Broadway-style shows.

About a half-hour’s drive from Roseville, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Chanhassen, Minnesota, has become one of the country’s leading dinner theater destinations for groups. The company has put on more than 220 productions and has welcomed more than 10 million visitors since it opened in 1968. Shows include classics such as “Fiddler on the Roof,” as well as an original Christmas production.


Shopping Opportunities

There’s no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota, which has helped make the Twin Cities a popular retail destination in the Midwest.

Perhaps the most famous shopping institution in the area is the Mall of America. With 520 stores under one roof, the complex is the largest retail establishment in North America. The mall also has numerous amusements and attractions, including the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium and the Nickelodeon Universe indoor theme park.

Closer to home base, Roseville has its share of shopping opportunities for visitors as well.

“There’s Rosedale Center, which features more than 160 retailers and is anchored by Macy’s, J.C. Penney and Herberger’s,” Ford said.

Groups can mix retail and culinary experiences at Sweet Chocolat, a company that creates foil-wrapped, customized chocolates in its candy kitchen. The business started in St. Paul in 1982 and expanded to Roseville. Groups can see the candymaking process, sample the goodies and then browse the shop for treats to take home.

Cultural interactions await at the Ukrainian Gift Shop. Founded in 1947 by a local Ukrainian woman and her daughter, the company got its start by making traditional embroidered items, tapestries, ceramics and books. Today, it has grown to become the world’s largest producer of “pysanky” — traditional Ukrainian Easter eggs. Groups that visit the shop can learn about the Ukrainian cultural heritage and see pysanky being made.

Love From Minnesota, a Roseville souvenir shop, offers a number of locally made, distinctively Minnesotan products. Highlights include Minnesota wild rice, Minnetonka moccasins and Spam memorabilia.


Special Events

Throughout the spring, summer and fall, a number of special events in Roseville and the Greater Twin Cities celebrate aspects of Minnesota life, history and culture. Each makes a great backdrop for a group visit to the area.

On the second Saturday in September, the Minnesota Wild Rice Festival draws attention to the wild rice that grows in the area and highlights the Native American tribes that integrate wild rice into their culture. The festival also serves as a celebration of fall harvest in Minnesota.

On the last weekend in April, the Minnesota Horse Expo at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds features speakers, vendors, show horses and more. Experts give lectures and demonstrations about equine subjects. The expo also includes performances that showcase the beauty of well-trained horses and the skills of expert riders.

The Back to the ’50s Car Show takes place at the fairgrounds over the third weekend in June. The show, the second-largest of its type in the world, features more than 12,000 classic cars from the golden age of American automobiles.

The most anticipated of all events at the fairgrounds, though, is the Minnesota State Fair.

“The Minnesota State Fair is held for the 12 days before Labor Day and is one of the largest in the country,” Ford said. “The fair is famous for food — any kind of food you can imagine, you’ll find it served on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair. They also have a special area for groups that want to do a picnic or dinner prior to entering the fairgrounds.”

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.