BEST VIEW (2001)
Few local buildings are as thick with legend as the Foshay Tower. When it was completed in 1929, it was the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi River, and for decades it remained the tallest building in town. At the gala opening, John Philip Sousa's band was on hand, playing a march written specifically for the occasion. But as grand as the building was, fate was not kind to the building's namesake and developer, Wilbur Foshay. The stock market crashed not long after the building opened, and Foshay took a very bad financial bath. A few years later he was in jail for mail fraud. But history has redeemed him. The building, now on the National Register of Historic Places, remains in excellent shape. Taller structures may dwarf the Foshay today, but it offers the only public observation deck in downtown Minneapolis; it's our own (suitably downsized) version of the Empire State Building. Between April and October, a small fee ($4 for adults, $2 for kids and seniors) buys you a rare glimpse of the city from the clouds and a peek at a small museum of Foshaybilia. It's well worth it. Hours: noon to 4:00 p.m. weekdays; 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Saturday.