James J. Hill House
James J. Hill House
4.5
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Wednesday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Thursday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Friday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Saturday
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Sunday
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
About
Rugged stone, massive scale, fine detail and ingenious mechanical systems recall the powerful presence of James J. Hill, builder of the Great Northern Railway. Guides lead tours that help you imagine family and servant life in the Gilded Age mansion, the setting of the public and private lives of the Hill family. The James J. Hill House is a National Historic Landmark. The home also includes an art gallery, which features work from the Minnesota Historical Society's collections.
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  • cenzt
    Iowa5,809 contributions
    Exploring the James J. Hill House
    Good trip. We arrived at approximately 3 pm and made our way inside the building to check in for our tour. We bought our tickets ahead of time on their website. We were greeted by an employee, and then seated in one of the rooms, while we waited for the tour to start. The tour lasted for approximately an hour and the tour guide was very knowledgeable about the history of the house, as well as the people who lived inside of it. The tour guide started off by giving us some introductory information on James Hill and how he managed to accumulate his wealth. We then went from room to room, while the tour guide pointed out interesting pieces of furniture and decor, and explained their significance. We also were allowed to go up to the attic, where we saw some additional bedrooms and storage space. After the guided portion of the tour was over, we were given time to tour some of the rooms that weren’t included in the guided portion of the tour. There were employees located throughout the house, eager to answer any questions that we may have. There were also informational plaques located in some of the rooms, detailing the significance of the room, as well as providing information on the items located inside. The house was enormous and the detail that went into building it was truly exquisite. Tip: I recommend spending 2.5 hours here if you truly want to see everything.
    Visited October 2022
    Written December 31, 2022
  • scott r
    Silver Spring, Maryland697 contributions
    Huge historic home, rationally priced. Advanced tech for the day
    Slightly sinister exterior houses an impressive interior though the design itself is a little strange (huge hallway purpots to be (and apparently was used as) a ballroom. Impressive woodwork, stained glass and a rather thorough exploration provided both by the 60 minute guided tour and ability to wander through (most) rooms at your leisuree afterwards. (There are a few to which you may not return / the guide does generally make note of them) No expense spared on tech of the day and the heating plant - how could it be called anything less given sheer scale) is impressive. There's a large art gallery inside, but if the Hills collected anything 'important' it's not there anymore. One disappointment - there isn't all that much furntiure - house says they will only place original pieces (and are working to get some back) but I think that insistance is misplaced. .Approximate equivalents would be fine and would give the place more character. Apparently succeessor generations were ready to give up the house, but not necessarily their furniture :) On a hot summer's day some rooms will be warm, but tribute to thick walls, etc., not stifling.
    Visited July 2023
    Written July 5, 2023
  • Sandi B
    163 contributions
    A bit unorganized guide
    Interesting house. If you go there, take the guided tour instead of the self guided. The guide does take you into some areas that are blocked off to the public, even though they told us that the tour was the same, when we bought our ticket. One thing that I didn’t like was that the tour covers 3 floors and the basement. Despite having a guide, she didn’t show us everything on each floor. She would say, “you can come back on your own after the tour to see the other rooms. Why would they not show you everything, while you are right there? Instead expect you to climb the stairs again! Also, there were several rooms that were unavailable. It was very dark in most of the rooms so hard to take pictures.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 7, 2023
  • ksufan88
    Wichita, Kansas5,384 contributions
    Beautifully carved woodwork
    We planned our arrival for one of the guided tours that are scheduled every 30 minutes only to find out they were short-staffed that day and only offering them once an hour. While we waited, we walked to the nearby Cathedral of Saint Paul and returned 20 minutes later. Our guide was very helpful in explaining the history of the house and the family that built it. The house has beautifully carved woodwork and elaborate furnishings. The locomotive boilers in the basement that were used to heat the house were massive. The tour was worth the $12 admission.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 3, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
513 reviews
Excellent
341
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139
Average
25
Poor
6
Terrible
2

scott r
Silver Spring, MD697 contributions
Jul 2023
Slightly sinister exterior houses an impressive interior though the design itself is a little strange (huge hallway purpots to be (and apparently was used as) a ballroom. Impressive woodwork, stained glass and a rather thorough exploration provided both by the 60 minute guided tour and ability to wander through (most) rooms at your leisuree afterwards. (There are a few to which you may not return / the guide does generally make note of them) No expense spared on tech of the day and the heating plant - how could it be called anything less given sheer scale) is impressive. There's a large art gallery inside, but if the Hills collected anything 'important' it's not there anymore. One disappointment - there isn't all that much furntiure - house says they will only place original pieces (and are working to get some back) but I think that insistance is misplaced. .Approximate equivalents would be fine and would give the place more character. Apparently succeessor generations were ready to give up the house, but not necessarily their furniture :) On a hot summer's day some rooms will be warm, but tribute to thick walls, etc., not stifling.
Written July 5, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandi B
Schertz, TX163 contributions
Jul 2023 • Couples
Interesting house. If you go there, take the guided tour instead of the self guided. The guide does take you into some areas that are blocked off to the public, even though they told us that the tour was the same, when we bought our ticket.

One thing that I didn’t like was that the tour covers 3 floors and the basement. Despite having a guide, she didn’t show us everything on each floor. She would say, “you can come back on your own after the tour to see the other rooms. Why would they not show you everything, while you are right there? Instead expect you to climb the stairs again!

Also, there were several rooms that were unavailable. It was very dark in most of the rooms so hard to take pictures.
Written July 7, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Abby M
Upland, CA270 contributions
May 2022 • Couples
It’s a huge house. Each room is gigantic. It’s a guided 60 minute tour and you see 4 floors (1st, 2nd, 3rd and the basement). There’s bathrooms on the 2nd and basement floors. Lots of stairs but they will direct you to the elevators if you’re not able to climb the stairs. The employees are really nice. Parking is limited, you can park on the street with certain restrictions. The reason I gave it a 4 out of 5 was because the lack of original furniture. What furniture that is there is original but there’s not much. When the children moved out they took a lot of their bedroom furniture but there are pictures in the rooms to show what it looked like before.
Written May 27, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ksufan88
Wichita, KS5,384 contributions
Aug 2023 • Couples
We planned our arrival for one of the guided tours that are scheduled every 30 minutes only to find out they were short-staffed that day and only offering them once an hour. While we waited, we walked to the nearby Cathedral of Saint Paul and returned 20 minutes later. Our guide was very helpful in explaining the history of the house and the family that built it. The house has beautifully carved woodwork and elaborate furnishings. The locomotive boilers in the basement that were used to heat the house were massive. The tour was worth the $12 admission.
Written September 3, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Madogfechan
Bishopton, UK307 contributions
Dec 2019 • Couples
This house was certainly built to impress, no money spared! Great location, prime site on its street with equally impressive neighbours. It would seem that James Hill didn’t actually spend much time in the house as he was a workaholic but his wife did, sharing her time between this house and their other properties. Comfortable spaces, lots of portraits and memorabilia etc. Our guide was great, very informative and able to answer all questions thrown at him. Well worth a visit.
Written January 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Houston_Eriol
Houston399 contributions
Jun 2021
Absolutely amazing. We were the first tour on the first day of being opening after the start of the pandemic. But our tour guide was not rusty at all and gave a great tour of this amazing house. We love to tour these types of places to learn the history. But we have never toured a house this big. It is beautiful inside and well preserved. Well worth the admission.
Written June 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John L
42 contributions
Jan 2020 • Family
Great job by Sophie our host. She gave us a great tour of the location, told us about the history and the family. If you have some time it is worth the stop. The house was way ahead of its time for the era. James Hill was an interesting person who was very well off .
Written January 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alicia M
Monticello, MN88 contributions
Aug 2022 • Family
So we grew up just north of the cities and this was our first ever visit to this house. It is beautiful and huge. They give tours of the house and let you go on your own to the 1st and 2nd floors after the tour. This is such an important part of history of the state and country it is in my opinion is a must see if your in St. Paul.
Written August 15, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Always dreaming of...
Wisconsin27 contributions
Oct 2021
The tour guide was amazing, she knew so much history and was a great story teller. No boring stuffy history here. Walk the back halls to where the staff worked hard every day too. Loved seeing it all. Highly recommend!!
Written November 9, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Compass31030
Minneapolis, MN1 contribution
Due to the St. Paul Winter Carnival, my family and I decided to tour the James Hill House for the first time.

Yes, it is a beautiful house. However, I was quite disappointed. I was expecting furniture, people dressed in the era, and just more of the atmosphere of the house. Instead, most of the rooms that we toured did not have any decorations or furniture. There were old pictures of how the house used to look, but that is it.

We did not get to see most of the smaller rooms-but it didn't much matter since there were not any decorations to look at but an empty room.

The worst disappointment was the video that they showed near the end of the tour! I thought I was on a school field trip again.

I have lived in MN for all of my life. I could have not visited the house and not missed much. Sorry to say!
Written January 27, 2004
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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