Saint Paul Parks and Recreation oversees hundreds of parks, big and small, that are maintained by City staff and dedicated volunteers. From the downtown favorite of Mears Park to the nationally recognized Como Regional Park, Saint Paul provides a variety of parkland experiences for every resident. Our beautiful community is home to several of these. Please see descriptions of a few below:

Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary

  • Just east of downtown
  • After a century of industrial use, the land lay vacant and blighted until a coalition of East Side and Lowertown residents, with the help of the City, launched an effort to purchase the land and transform it into the 27-acre Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary
  • Bluff restoration work at the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and Indian Mounds Regional Park began in April, 2004
  • Today, project partners are restoring the land’s ecology and working with Dakota people to interpret Carver’s Cave/Wakan Tipi, a sacred area in a corner of the Sanctuary
  • Stormwater that previously flowed into the Mississippi River via storm sewers, is now recaptured by native plants and is stored in three separate clear water ponds and adjacent wetlands
  • Mulch, incorporated into existing sterile soil, promotes the growth of new plantings
  • Limestone rock slabs previously used in railroad operations form a waterfall, stone bridge, stairway, and ponds
  • Site remediation and stabilization work is ongoing
  • Restoration priorities in 2005 focussed on combatting invasive species, slope stabilization, erosion control, and planting 7.5 acres of native trees

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Eastside Heritage Park

  • Shelter seats approximately 24 people. Electricity is available at a 110 volts. Multiple crock pots, coffee pots, roasters and other electric items may cause overloads on the power source.
  • Also available are the following: drinking fountains, 1 restroom building, and paved trails. There are no grills located at the park.
  • The use of tents and/or inflatables are not allowed in park.
  • Note: The possession or consumption of alcohol is prohibited in this park.

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Indian Mounds Park

The Mounds of Saint Paul contain six burial mounds atop the bluff, a reminder of Minnesota’s history for future generations. At least 16 burial mounds originally sat on the high bluff. Nineteen more were located further down the bluff above Carver’s Cave (now at the end of Cherry Street). Most of the Indian Mounds Park were destroyed.

It is generally thought that the Hopewell Indians created the original mounds over 2,000 years ago. However, it is clear that these mounds were added to by many later cultures over the centuries. In the mid-1800s, several scientists with an interest in Minnesota’s prehistory — Edward Duffield Neill in 1856, and later the Minnesota Historical Society under the leadership of Colonel DA Robertson excavated the remaining mounds. T.H. Lewis, however, contributed most of the information on his later series of excavations.

Several types of burials were found in both Mounds Park and Dayton’s Bluff. Most common were simple internments frequently accompanied by mussel shells and occasionally a projectile point. Small bundle burials were found in the upper parts of several mounds — these were placed there by later peoples. Log tombs were found at the base of at least 3 mounds. A pit burial was found in one mound. In two of the Indian mounds were eight stone cists about 7 inches high made of thin limestone slabs set upright. Human bones were found in each cist and were accompanied by grave offerings, including shells, perforated bear teeth, copper ornaments, and a piece of hammered sheet copper, as well as the usual number of projectile points.

Among the more startling discoveries was a skull covered with red clay producing the image of the original face. Nothing similar to this “death mask” had ever been found by archaeologists in mounds or ancient graves. The mask was removed intact during that excavation. The log tombs, hammered sheet copper and the clay death mask belong to the Hopewellian period.

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1085 4th St. E
Saint Paul, MN 55106

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Swede Hollow

Swede Hollow was a neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. It was one of a large group of neighborhoods collectively known as the East Side, lying just to the east of the near-downtown Railroad Island neighborhood, and at the northwestern base of Dayton’s Bluff. It was capped in the north by the sprawling Hamm’s Brewery (with its imposing Hamm family mansion), and in the south by the historic Seventh Street Improvement Arches. Although one of the oldest settlements in the city, it was also arguably the poorest as each wave of immigrants settled in the valley. Swedes, Poles, Italians and Mexicans all at one point called the valley home. A similar community just downstream called Connemara Patch also existed for Irish immigrants.

Learn more about Swede Hollow Park here.

Margaret Park

The Booster Club and the Margaret Rec Center Block Club have long watched over the Margaret Rec Center, the park, and the surrounding neighborhood. At the end of 2012, the Margaret Rec Center building was demolished and plans were initiated to redevelop the area into a neighborhood park. It seemed fitting to form a new group to oversee this transformation process and to take on a long term stewardship role on behalf of the park. Stewards of Margaret Park – STOMP was formed in 2013 for this purpose.

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