Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
At 450 acres, this urban retreat is about half the size of NYC's Central Park, but it has more to see, with a zoo, conservatory, amusement park, golf course, and beautiful lakeside trails. Some visitors never get to this out-of-the-way greensward, but it is a city gem through all seasons: in winter, it’s a snowy playground for cross-country skiers; in spring and fall, joggers and bikers fill the trails surrounding Como Lake; and in summer, people rent paddleboats or bring a lawn chair and take in a local concert or play at the Lakeside Pavilion. Most impressive is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, a lush haven of six indoor garden spaces with distinct ecosystems under one acre of glass. Tip: The conservatory’s Sunken Garden is a vibrant display of Technicolor flora, with five rotating flower shows each year. It is one of the loveliest spots in St. Paul to sit with a book or cup of coffee—especially when you need to escape the bitter winter cold.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.