MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL -- If you're looking for something to do this summer, you can go explore some unique spots in the Twin Cities.

A new book called "Secret Twin Cities: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure" has been released.

Author Julie Jo Severson says the Landmark Center in St. Paul is a great place. You can see a rare handwritten letter by Mozart in the same building where notorious gangsters were held.

Including FBI trials and gangsters being brought in.  A gangster was chained to a radiator in one of the rooms for three days waiting for his trial.

Severson says there's a music museum on the second floor that includes a rotating display of handwritten letters written by famous composers. That part is under renovation right now.

The Landmark Center is closed right now because of the coronavirus, but when it does open they normally have both self-guided and guided tours available.

Submitted Phot0
Submitted Phot0

Severson says a hidden park called "Swede Hollow" is one of the greatest gems of the Twin Cities.

It was an immigrant shanty town for about 100 years starting in the 1850s.  Immigrants would arrive in the Twin Cities at the Union Depot, walk along the tracks and enter through this original white tunnel that's kind of near the Hamm's Brewery on the east side.

Severson says as you walk through the tunnel it's very quiet. A regional trail runs through the park now.

A few other highlights from the book:
-- A junkyard with a sense of humor off I-35
-- A spot that is considered the center of the earth by many Dakota people
-- The world's largest Lite-Brite
-- A sidewalk harp
-- a giant bus stop bouquet

Submitted photo
Submitted photo

“Secret Twin Cities: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure“ is available wherever books are sold. Signed copies can be purchased at www.secrettwincities.com where 10 percent of proceeds from that site only are being donated to Open Arms Minnesota, a nonprofit that cooks and delivers nutritious meals to those living with life-threatening diseases in the Twin Cities.

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