Day 2 of the field trip. Yesterday morning we stopped in Owatonna to see Louis Sullivan’s bank building, but more enjoyable was the local farmers market going on across the street at the city’s Central Park square. People selling produce, baked goods, and various crafts lined the sidewalks on the outside of the park with the interior green space left open to sit and watch. Their downtown appeared quite active and actually quite sizable for a city of its size. My previous impression of Owatonna – based on the quick drive through on I-35 – has been completely reversed. Downtown and the established neighborhoods are pleasant and the residents are friendly.

Once we got to the Cities we visited Minnehaha Park and Saarinen’s Christ Church. Minnehaha Park was beautify with a wonderful waterfall and paths. Apart of a larger riverside park stretching south from downtown, the park also had a restaurant and was quite active. Also conveniently next to the 55th Street light rail station. Christ Church was interesting to see, but every detail was not as significant as the tour guide seemed to believe.

For dinner we walked up University Ave to Dinkytown, UM’s larger and better version of Iowa State’s Campustown. We walked into campus a bit and checked out the UM College of Design building – also designed by Eero Saarinen, with an addition by Steven Holl. Afterwards a friend and I took Route 16 to downtown Minneapolis and explored for a few hours. Some streets were pretty lifeless while other areas were full of activity. Nicollet Mall near Target as well as further north in the Warehouse District appeared to be the hotspots for downtown nightlife.

This morning we checked out the Walker Art Museum. Another friend and I went across the street to the Basilica of Saint Mary for mass. Neither of us are Catholic but it was amazing to see the massive basilica (first one in the United States) and mass was interesting. The recessional hymn was awesome inside the vast space.

This afternoon, heading to downtown St. Paul and stopping in the Highland Park neighborhood on the way. We also plan to check out the architecture of Summit Ave homes near downtown. Check back later for images and more posts.