Story by Dawn Woolcott

Smile and say “memory” as you snap a pic of these fun places along your journey. You’ll be stopping in some communities with a real flair for the arts, see historic buildings with great architectural details for your backgrounds, and many opportunities to get fun memories captured forever. Take a selfie in front of a colorful mural, peek through a gigantic pair of glasses, or dance with an icon.  Before you head out on a river cruise, it is a good time to think about upgrading your phone camera. You’ll be using it often! 

Photo by Michel Curi

This giant pair of glasses can be a fun photo op – found in Colvill Park in Red Wing, Minnesota. The art installation, created by artist Dan Wiemer, was donated to the city by the Lions Club in honor of their ongoing efforts to provide glasses to underserved communities.

standing under the St Louis arch
Photo by Dawn Woolcott

Just you and the iconic arch in St. Louis – located in a National Park right on the edge of downtown. When photographing something this BIG, it is all about getting the right angle.

Vicksburg welcome sign
Photo by Dawn Woolcott

You know you’re in Vicksburg when you see this sign! Located between the port and the downtown area – the words are big enough to see from the river! The human-sized letters are perfect for peeking behind. (Bonus if your name happens to be Vicky.)

Photo by Explore Lousiana

Stand in the glow of prism-like light flowing through the stained glass ceiling onto the floor below while at the Louisiana Old Courthouse building in Baton Rouge. You’ll feel as if you are in a living kaleidoscope of color!

elvis presley statue in Memphis on Beale street

This iconic Elvis Presely statue can be found on Beale Street in Memphis. While surrounded by a fence to keep fans from climbing up and damaging the statue, you still can get close enough for a nice selfie and dance with the King.

dubuque_dancediversity_artist gail chavenelle

“Dance Diversity” by Gail Chavenelle is just one of the art installations in Dubuque, Iowa’s annual Art on the River program. A juried collection of sculptures rotate and are on display along the city’s Mississippi riverfront park every summer. Explore the interesting variety of sculptures and dance alongside!

Mildred Kemper Art Museum art installation
Photo by Dawn Woolcott

On the corner of Forest Park in St. Louis, wander the campus of Washington University and you’ll find wonderful pieces of art on permanent display including Dan Graham’s “Bisected Circle” made of two-way mirror glass and stainless steel just outside the free Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum. Imagine yourself inside this glass cage!


In the Quad Cities of Bettendorf, Rock Island, Davenport, and Moline, they have a very active Metro Arts Youth Apprenticeship program helping fill the streets with art including this massive mural along 11th Street and 21st Avenue in Rock Island at the Friendship Manor maintenance building (this is just a small portion!) You’ll find art on display throughout the cities, from sculptures, murals, sidewalk art, galleries, and art walks all through the Quad Cities Arts program.

stpaul_phalenpoetrypark_from east St. Paul Minnesota arts council

In St. Paul, Minnesota you’ll find a park dedicated to the written word. Its artistic benches like this “book bench” by artist Geri Connelly let visitors dive deep into the pages of a good book.  Head to Phalen Poetry Park in east St. Paul and relax with a good book!

Love Wins padlock art piece in New Orleans
Photo by Dawn Woolcott
art sculpture of man sitting on a bench in New Orleans sculpture garden
Photo by Dawn Woolcott

In New Orleans, there is never a shortage of photographable sights, including the “Love Wins” padlock sculpture along the riverfront near the spot where the cruise ships dock. The Besthoff Sculpture Garden at the New Orleans Museum of Art is an extensive garden with ponds and paths where you can sit next to this guy and have an animated conversation!

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fun photo ops while cruising on the Mississippi River