Best View - 2013
Indian Mounds Park
How special is the view from Indian Mounds Park, high atop the bluffs of east St. Paul? It is so special that as long as 2,000 years ago Native Americans chose this spot to bury their dead. The view from these bluffs is something more than "pretty," and if you spend a little time here, gazing south and west to the far horizon, with the majestic, primordial Mississippi wending its way through the landscape, it's not hard to imagine why ancient peoples, or a visitor today, might consider this a spiritual place. The vast sweep of land and sky here is truly impressive, and as representative of the Twin Cities as any view can be. Downtown St. Paul looms in the foreground, with downtown Minneapolis in the distance, united by the river glinting in the sunlight. The Capitol building peeks out in the near distance, barges chug lazily on the water below, and on the far shore planes take off and land from Holman Field. But the presence of the burial mounds adds an extra dimension to the experience. Six mounds grace the blufftops, thought to have been built originally by the Hopewell culture that created similar mounds in the Ohio River Valley, and which were added to over the centuries by other Native people, including the Dakota. More than 30 other mounds nearby were destroyed by development in the 1800s. If the spirit moves you, bring a picnic and spend some time in this underutilized park, taking in the glorious view, admiring the beauty of the Twin Cities, and contemplating the transience of life.