The Getaway
20 Best Things to Do in Minneapolis

Located on the upper stretches of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, the city of Minneapolis has so much more to offer than the cold winter weather it’s famous for. Minneapolis is the largest city in the state and, as such, brims with amenities and attractions that locals and visitors can enjoy. Although a modern city, Minneapolis has many green spaces as well as a multitude of cultural venues. If you’re planning to visit this northern city anytime soon, be sure to keep the following best-loved Minneapolis attractions in mind.

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01 Explore the Walker Art Center

The Walker Art Center is not your average local art gallery or museum; about 700,000 people walk through its world-class doors yearly. With a focus on contemporary art, mainly works from the 1960s and later, the Walker's collection includes well-known pieces like Edward Hopper's "Office at Night" and Andy Warhol's "16 Jackies" and frequently rotating exhibits. Live performance art is also a fixture, and there's a 25-show season every year featuring spoken word, music, dance, and theater. The museum collects avant-garde films, organizes displays on architecture and design, and curates an internationally-renowned selection of experiences within the walls of its 8-story building. Don't skip the stunning sculpture garden; look out for mini golf on the roof if you're keen on a game in a memorable setting.

02 Bike the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway

Do you like the sound of 51 miles of bike trails in the heart of a city? You can loop de loop around Minneapolis past the Chain of Lakes, Mississippi River, Minnehaha Falls, and downtown. The award-winning park system is a pleasure to traverse, and you'll see loads of highlights like Gold Medal Park, Mill City Museum, the Weisman Art Museum, and Victory Memorial, in between pedaling through the woods. Mountain bikers can enjoy the singletrack at Theodore Wirth Park.

03 Visit the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory

This attraction is a Twin Cities must-visit if you're looking for an amazing outing that is also free. It's not huge but has incredibly rare snow leopards and other exciting wildlife, including polar bears. Folks with green fingers will appreciate the plant conservatory and numerous trees. Spring and summer are the best times to visit to see all the animals and the blooms, but this place is a joy all year long.

04 Check out the Stone Arch Bridge

The City of Lakes's curving Stone Arch Bridge has existed since 1883 when it was a passenger rail link. It's subsequently been classified as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Today, the bridge is reserved for pedestrians and cyclists and is part of the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District. Snap photos of the skyline, watch the sunset and smile at the bridal parties that arrive for photo shoots.

05 Try the Juicy Lucy Burger

The Juicy Lucy burger is iconic and hails from Minneapolis. What exactly does this burger entail? Well, the cheese is not simply smacked onto the patty but incorporated into the meat, so when you take a bite, you encounter a deliciously gooey core. Both the 5-8 Club and Matt's Bar claim to have invented the burger. You can try variations in the Twin Cities with different cheeses or methods, including a deep-fried take at Wendy's House of Soul.

06 Shop at the Northeast Minneapolis Farmers Market

This Saturday market promises yummy drinks, food trucks, crafts, live music, fresh produce to whip up meals in an Airbnb, and great deals from ranchers and local farmers. You'll find bright flowers, artisanal condiments, and gift ideas like jewelry and pottery. The vendors are friendly, the space is wheelchair-accessible, and a lively atmosphere adds good vibes to your weekend. Grab Molly's spring rolls ASAP and some baked treats and beverages for a picnic.

07 Tour the Foshay Tower Observation Deck

Spend part of your trip on top of Minneapolis and check out 30 miles worth of views from the 31st floor of this skyscraper. The Foshay Tower was the tallest building in the Midwest for almost half a century and lies more than 400 feet above street level. It's an homage to Washington Monument and worth a visit. The museum will give you insight into the structure's history and quirky creator.

08 Visit the Weisman Art Museum

The Weisman Art Museum is a wonder before you even step inside, thanks to a unique abstract fish-like design conceived before the CAD era by world-renowned architect Frank Gehry. It's a major landmark on the University of Minnesota campus, and entry is free. As a modern art museum, it holds primarily contemporary works, but you'll find collections of ancient Mimbres pottery and old porcelains. The midday light here is gorgeous.

09 Take a Segway tour of the City

Bet you didn't guess segway tours are the number one sightseeing activity in the Twin Cities? Guided tours cover various routes and propel the curious across Minneapolis and St. Paul in an environmentally-friendly fashion. A three-hour Magical History Tour glides past top attractions and stops in multiple parks, Guthrie Theater, and Nicollet & Boom Islands. You can also opt for a Ghost Tour if you're feeling brave. This activity is suitable for all ages and experience levels.

10 Watch a show at the Orpheum Theatre

With more than a hundred years of history behind it, the Orpheum Theatre is Minneapolis's pre-eminent performing arts venue, where productions like Disney's The Lion King held their pre-Broadway world premieres. The Orpheum was previously owned by none other than the great Bob Dylan, and it has since been beautifully restored. The theatre can seat 2,600 audience members comfortably and is part of the Hennepin Theatre District together with the State and Pantages theatres.

11 Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Minnesota is famous for its many lakes, so when visiting Minneapolis, be sure to visit the Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which is located to the southwest of the city’s center. The five lakes of this park each have their distinctive charms. For instance, Lake Harriet is popular for its beaches and rose gardens, while Lake Calhoun is popular with boaters. During the warm season, the park is vibrant with crowds who come to enjoy outdoor performances and fests.

12 Minnehaha Regional Park

Minnehaha Regional Park is one of Minneapolis’s must-see attractions. The park is situated on the banks of the upper Mississippi. The highlight of the park is its famous 53-foot-tall Minnehaha Falls. When visiting, you’ll also want to witness and photograph the celebrated statues of Minnehaha and Hiawatha, the famed characters of the “Song of Hiawatha” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Each year, as many as 800,000 people this park to enjoy its beautiful grounds or to enjoy an outdoor festival or music performance that are sometimes held there.

13 Shop til you drop at the Mall of America

The Mall of America attracts shoppers from all over the country. This mall is the largest in the nation. It’s filled with stores and shops, eateries, and special attractions. The mall is home to the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, so if you’re visiting with kids, this attraction is a must. Additionally, the mall features the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium and the A.C.E.S. Flight Simulation Center. Located just over 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis, the mall is easy to find owing to its sheer size. Because it’s so large, you may want to set aside an entire day—or two—to explore it. Even then, you might not see it all!

14 Roam with the wild things at the Minnesota Zoo

Young and old alike love to check out the inhabitants of the Minnesota Zoo. Encompassing 485 acres, the zoo features more than 4,700 animals, including American black bears, wolverines, Burmese pythons, red pandas, otters, crocodiles, and more. Its Discovery Bay exhibit, with its multiple aquariums, is especially popular with visitors who come to see its sand tiger sharks, sea dragons, and stingrays. This zoo is a sprawling venue, so be sure to wear good walking shoes when you visit.

15 Explore a World of Flavor at Midtown Global Market

With more than fifty global vendors, the Midtown Global Market is a great place to find a souvenir from your visit to Minneapolis—and it’s far less commercial than the Mall of America. When shopping at the market, you’ll find vendors selling everything from Mediterranean olives to lacquered Asian trinkets. The market features both handicrafts and foodstuffs. It’s a great place to mingle and browse.

16 Find your stage presence at the Guthrie Theater

The Guthrie Theater is one of the city’s most revered cultural attractions. Best known for its Shakespearian productions, the theatre also features other classic and contemporary plays. Established in 1963, the theater has been at the heart of the Minneapolis arts and culture scene. If you have time, there is also a backstage tour that you can take to learn more about its unique building and its history. Even if you can’t manage the tour, be sure to procure some tickets for a performance when you’re in town.

17 Round the bases at Target Field

If you’re visiting Minneapolis during baseball season, consider grabbing some tickets to see the Minnesota Twins hit some home runs at Target Field. The Twins, of course, are a Major League Baseball team, and Target Field is the stadium where they play their home games. The open-air ballpark promises a thrilling sporting experience—and it features all the snacks you’d expect, like hot dogs, peanuts, and popcorn.

18 March through history at Fort Snelling

As the oldest structure in the state, Fort Snelling receives many visitors each year—especially history buffs. A 19th-century frontier outpost, Fort Snelling is today a living history museum. Tour guides dress in period costumes to explain what life was like in the early days of the settlement. During the warm season, the fort is the site of many special events, including demonstrations of history and exciting competitions.

19 Find flourishing secrets at the Mill City Museum

If you’re interested in history or the city’s past, be sure to explore the Mill City Museum located on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The museum presents an authentic mill experience that includes interactive exhibits that will take you right back to the city’s early days. Tours are popular with visitors as well as many school groups. There’s even an onsite baking exhibit that offers cooking presentations.

20 Wander through the galleries at Minneapolis Institute of Art

Art lovers flock to the revered Minneapolis Institute of Art, of the city’s most respected cultural attractions. The institute boasts a collection that includes more than 83,000 works of art. The collection is quite expansive with items from ancient Egypt, masterworks from the Renaissance, and contemporary pieces too. The museum is located in downtown Minneapolis, so it’s convenient to reach even with public transportation. After perusing the museum’s exhibits, you might want to stop by its coffee shop and café to enjoy a snack.

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