Since opening in 2002, the Museum of Russian Art has blossomed into an impressive Twin Cities attraction and surprise, especially for out-of-town visitors. Ensconced in an elegantly renovated church, the museum specializes in skillfully executed paintings depicting life in Soviet-era Russia, roughly 1920-90. Recent solo shows have spotlighted Soviet artists and Russian themes including tsarist-era photography and porcelain, contemporary abstraction and graphics, icons, stamps and prehistoric artifacts. Small enough to be explored in an hour or two, TMORA also has the Twin Cities’ prettiest museum shop selling art books and chic Russian glassware, porcelain and gifts. 5500 Stevens Av. S., Mpls.; 612-821-9045,