Paisley Park, Landscape Arboretum & Dinner Theater Make Chanhassen a Star
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Chanhassen, an unassuming suburb about 20 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis, is home to three major attractions that draw visitors from across the globe. Whether you're here to see a show, pay tribute to Prince or explore the great outdoors, you'll find it in Chan.
Pay Tribute to The Purple One at Paisley Park
Pay tribute to Minnesota royalty with a tour of Paisley Park, Prince’s legendary recording studio, residence and performance venue. After his passing in 2016, Paisley Park was turned into a museum cataloging the life of The Purple One.
Daily public tours take you through the extensive main floor of Paisley Park, including studios where Prince recorded, produced and mixed most of his biggest hits, exhibit spaces showcasing films such as Purple Rain and Graffiti Bridge, and Prince's private music club and rehearsal rooms. You'll also see artifacts from Prince's personal archives, including his iconic outfits, awards, instruments, rare recordings and other memorabilia.
Self-guided and VIP options are available, as well as special events throughout the year.
Seek Out Nature at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, part of the University of Minnesota, is the largest public garden in the Upper Midwest, and its lovely grounds include woodlands, ponds, prairie, model landscapes and extensive gardens of annuals and perennials. Summer flowers bloom into September, and asters and mums are fall highlights. By early October, the trees display brilliant fall color.
Many gardens are close to the visitor center, and other gardens and plantings are along Three-Mile Drive, to explore on foot or by bike or car; tram tours are also available. A highlight is the Maze Garden, an intricate network of closely planted trees and shrubs. Visitors try to find their way through the winding paths to the Lookout Tower, which they can climb to watch others navigate their way through the maze.
There's a gift shop and cafeteria in the visitor center, and you can preorder a picnic basket to enjoy lunch on the grounds. The Arboretum is four miles west of Chanhassen on Hwy. 5 and is open daily.
Enjoy Dinner & a Show at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
After a day enjoying Paisley Park and the Arboretum, relax with dinner and a play at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. This professional theater has been staging top-rate productions for over 40 years. Four hotels in Chanhassen offer theater packages or special rates. There's also a nearby country B&B in a 19th-century brick farmhouse. If you plan your Chanhassen getaway for a weekend, stop at the Farmers Market at the City Center Park on Saturday mornings from June-October.
Another good place to visit in the area is Carver Park Reserve, further west a few miles off Hwy. 5. From its hiking and biking trails, you can watch for deer, foxes, and a variety of birds; on the lakes, look for migrating waterfowl and trumpeter swans. The Lowry Nature Center offers a variety of naturalist programs.
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