Things To Do In Minneapolis
Minnehaha Falls Regional Park
Home to a majestic 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs and beautiful river overlooks, Minnehaha Falls Regional Park serves over 850,000 guests annually. Minnehaha was brought to fame after New England Poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote of her gorgeous falls in Song of Hiawatha in 1853. As one of Minnesota’s oldest parks, the trails lead in all directions, including down the gorge to favorite river shorelines. If you’re a more adventurous soul, you can take the trail down the gorge past lovely pools and photogenic stone bridges to a sandy beach at the junction of Minnehaha Creek and the Mississippi River. The park includes many other family-friendly activities such as a wading pool for kids and a disc golf course.
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Since the original, neoclassical building opened in 1915, the Minnesota Institute of Art has expanded twice, more than doubling its size. While Minneapolis is home to many artistic outlets, Mia is home to more than 89,000 objects and works of art spanning just over 20,000 years of history and representing the diverse cultures of 6 continents. Mia seeks to inspire wonder through the power of art and is one of the largest arts educators in Minnesota. The museum also boasts FREE general admission for the benefit of the public.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Considered a crown jewel of the city’s parks system, The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden combines two of Minnesota’s most cherished assets: its park and its cultural life. Since its opening in 1988, the garden has welcomed millions of visitors and showcased more than 40 works from the Walker Art Center’s collection, including the notable Spoonbridge and Cherry (pictured above). The garden is an absolute must see for adults and children alike! Open every day of the year from 6AM – midnight.
Walker Art Center
More than 125 years ago, a Minneapolis man built a room onto his house, hung his favorite paintings on the wall, and invited anyone who wanted to see inside. Focusing on the visual, performing and media arts of our time, over the course of the last century, the Walker Art Center has become an internationally recognized institution and one of the most celebrated museums in the country. Sitting perfectly adjacent to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, this Minneapolis favorite serves just over 700,000 guests a year. The global and diverse approach to the creation and presentation of art is not something you’ll want to miss!
Are you a fan of the classic, all-American sport? As one of Minnesota’s newer additions, Target Field is located in downtown Minneapolis, in the Warehouse District. Most fans remember Twins games occurring inside at the Metrodome, but since the opening of the field in 2010, fans of all ages can now experience baseball as it was meant to be … outside! One of the most notable features of this new complex is the home run celebration feature – located center field is the Twins’ original “shaking hands” logo with Twins’ characters Minnie and Paul; when a home run is hit by a Twins player, the sign lights up. This classic sight is certainly one the entire family can enjoy!
Mill City Museum
Built within the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, everyone can experience the fiery past and exciting present of this treasured historic landmark at the Mill City Museum. From 19th century flour milling machines to a dinner table outfitted to feed an entire harvest crew, this museum offers an adventure through time and your senses! To get the most out of your visit, plan at least two hours to experience the museum and riverfront attractions.
Life magazine called it “Minnesota’s miracle” and Newsweek said it was “the most important theatre opening of the generation” – When the Guthrie opened its doors in 1963 under the direction of owner/founder, Sir Tyrone Guthrie, this non-profit masterpiece sought to create a resident theatre that would perform classic literature at the highest level. Since then, the Guthrie has maintained a high level of artistic excellence while challenging, engaging and inspiring the artists of the future. From tours of this world renowned theatrical space to an unforgettable night of theatre, this should definitely make your to-do list.
The Escape Game Minneapolis
We’ve all probably heard of escape rooms by now, you might even be a fan. Whether you’re new to the game or an experienced enthusiast, The Escape Game takes it to the next level. With award-winning immersive environments, the best guest experience and customer service you’ll find anywhere, and their fine-tuned collections of satisfying clues and puzzles, this seriously could be the highlight of your trip. Enter the lush Northern California hills, crashland on the surface Mars, or break out of prison in these intense, exciting, and family-friendly adventures.
Bonus feature: TEG offers the very best in team building for all my corporate groups out there! Nothing bonds a team quite like a common goal and a ticking clock. Check out group info here!
American Swedish Institute
Homed in the iconic Turnblad Castle, the American Swedish Institute is considered to be a gathering place for all people to connect their pasts to their shared future by understanding heritage and their role in the global neighborhood. Turnblad Mansion was once one of 40 mansions homed on a stretch of Park Avenue named the Golden Mile. The Turnblad family resided there until 1929 when they donated the mansion to ASI. Visiting the institute is like taking a step back in time, and a trip to Minneapolis simply would not be complete without it!
Minneapolis Skyway System
Visiting Minneapolis? Is it -5 degrees outside, but you still really want to explore the city? Or maybe it’s gorgeous, but you’re looking for an easy way to explore without driving around? Good news! This skyway system connects corporate offices, bars, restaurants, bakeries, hotels, shopping malls, doctor’s offices, a church, 3 pro sports facilities, and, well, you get the idea. Since its development in 1962, the Minneapolis Skyway System has continued to expand and is now included in nearly all new construction happening in the city. So, get “happily lost” and confidently explore more than 80 blocks of this amazing city when you visit.
Basilica of St. Mary
As the first Basilica in the United States, The Basilica of St. Mary has been a cornerstone of the Catholic faith since 1914. Since then, it’s become more than a local parish; more than an impressive building downtown, it’s become a gathering place for all people and a center for the arts. Aside from being a spiritual home, the Basilica is also known for excellent architecture and engineering design. The nave has a barrel vault of 82 feet, exceeding that of St. Peter’s Basilica by just 2 ft. If you’re a fan of incredible and historical architecture, this is the place for you.
Mall of America
Boasting its own zip code, the Mall of America, or MOA, is the largest mall in the country and is located in Bloomington, Minnesota. This wonder of the nation broke ground in 1982 on the grounds of the former site of the Metropolitan Stadium, and homes a plaque in Nickelodeon Universe to commemorate where home plate used to be. Every year, more than 40-million people from all over the world venture to the mall to enjoy tax-free clothing, live entertainment, and roller coasters all in one place. If you’re visiting Minnesota, chances are the mall is already on your to-do list, but if it’s not, this is certainly something the whole family can enjoy!
Do you ever find yourself watching Stranger Things and wishing you could be spending your days in a classic arcade like the cool kids do? Well, THIS is your chance! Up-Down features all of your favorite 80’s and 90’s video games, classic pinball and skee-ball, Nintendo-64 and life size Jenga. The best thing about it? All of the games only cost 25 cents. Up-Down is the perfect opportunity to let your inner child out while you explore all that Minneapolis has to offer!
Ft. Snelling National Cemetery
The original Ft. Snelling was established in 1805; however, it was not until 1820 that a permanent post was established. The initial purpose of the post was to help promote peace on the Western frontier, but when the Civil War began, the fort was used to train Minnesota volunteers. The cemetery was established in 1870, and although the post was deactivated in 1947, it now serves as the headquarters for the 88th Army Reserve Command. Rich in history and serving as a sobering reminder of this nation’s past, Ft. Snelling Cemetery is certainly not something you’ll forget.
The Cafe Meow
This coffee shop isn’t too different from most other coffee shops – it’s cozy and comfortable and the scent of espresso fills the air; you can sit and mingle as you would at Caribou or Starbucks. So what separates this cafe apart from the rest? For $10 an hour, you can hang with a crew of sweet, rescue kitties. The fee helps cover costs for food and housing for the duration of the cats’ stay, but it will also bring you immense joy!
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
Como Park Zoo is open every day of the year and offers a nice, inexpensive way to entertain your whole crew! Conservation is a part of the mission, and Como has taken an active role in working to protect this planet’s resources for over a hundred years. Educational, fun, friendly, and a total staple in the Minnesota experience, this easy to navigate and beautiful conservatory, and all of its inhabitants, deserve to make your to-do list!
TILT Pinball Bar
Joining the Minneapolis crowd just three years ago, TILT seeks to provide a unique but simple place where friends can enjoy a pint and pinball. Totally locally owned by people who are passionate about pinball, this is the kind of hang out you have always dreamed of. Date night? Night out with the boys? Office Party? TILT offers a full on pinball experience, a full menu of hot dogs, and a full list of brews where you can spend a full day of fun!
Twin Cities Food Tours
What better way to learn about what all a community has to offer than through a food tasting and cultural walking tour. Combining delicious food from top restaurants and stores in the city, local history, and giving you a glimpse of unforgettable architecture, Twin Cities Food Tours takes you on a savory 3-hour adventure! While many other tours are geared towards tourists, these tours are meant to feel like you’re meeting up with an old friend. So, whether you’re from out of state or local, these tours are proving that there is always something new to be learned and experienced – it’s right on the tip of your tongue!
Midtown Global Market
The early 2000’s brought a lot of change to Lake Street as the City of Minneapolis was looking to revitalize and find use for the old Sears building. Latino business owners came together and convinced the city that the building should be used to reflect the ethic diversity of the city, while simultaneously promoting business on Lake Street, and thus, The Midtown Global Market was born. Today it is considered a vibrant economic and cultural center providing a home to over 45 businesses spanning over 22 cultures. Join the 1.5 million people that visit the market every year!
No trip to the land of 10,000 lakes is complete without a trip to one of the metro’s most popular. Nestled in Southwest Minneapolis is the lovely and calming Lake Harriet, but it offers up more than just water. When the sun is shining and your family finds that you’ve got a few hours to spare, head to the lake to walk, bike, picnic, swim, fish, and even attend concerts at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. This lake certainly provides some fun in the sun that every single person will love.
Museum of Russian Art
Interested in experiencing the largest collection of Russian Realist paintings outside of the Soviet Union? Since the early 90’s, museum owners Sarah and Ray Johnson have sought to build a program which identifies the finest examples of Russian realism. The museum continues to expand its focus beyond 20th century paintings to explore Russian printmaking, film, textiles and more. This unique addition to Minneapolis offers a once in a lifetime experience outside of Russia.
Weisman Art Museum
The Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota seeks to create experiences that inspire creativity and spark discovery. Since 1934, the museum has been a center of learning, and it continues that legacy today as it works to make art accessible to not only the students, but the public. The museum has offered free admission since 1993, and is a great educational opportunity for anyone and everyone.
St. Anthony Falls
About 10,000 years ago, the historical River Warren Falls moved upstream until it met the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers; it split into two separate falls, one of which became St. Anthony Falls, or as it is known to the Dakota, minirara. The falls were given the current name in 1680 by Father Hennepin, and over the next two centuries it became the main source of power for the surrounding lumber and flour mills. The falls were stabilized and became what they are today in 1937 allowing for the historic district area and beautiful trails to be established around them. This historic place made its mark on our country’s history and deserves to make its mark on your trip.
Stone Arch Bridge
This 21,000 foot granite and limestone bridge is an absolute must see for any architecture lover. Stone Arch Bridge was constructed in 1883 and was essential to Minneapolis’ development by allowing for increased movement of both people and goods into and out of the city. At sunset, you can experience the most gorgeous view of downtown Minneapolis from its perch overlooking St. Anthony Falls. As a catalyst for city exploration, this architectural wonder should be considered an essential part of your adventure.
As Minnesota’s official natural history museum and planetarium, this brand new space on the University of Minnesota – St. Paul’s campus features a digital planetarium, high-tech exhibits, famous wildlife displays and more. Explore the reaches of the universe, take a dive into the ice age, and learn more about the future possibilities. This museum is your one stop shop for a universal experience unlike any other.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
Seeking to connect the vibrant city culture and the diverse wildlife living along the Minnesota River, this refuge has over 46-miles of trails and two welcome centers that encourage visitors to enjoy a variety of outdoor experiences. The Minnesota Valley National Refuge was established in 1976 by a group of motivated residents to protect wildlife and resources threatened by modern development. Since then it has provided community programs and environmental education to thousands of people, so if you’re looking to experience all of the natural beauty that Minnesota has to offer, look no further than this refuge.
Just about 30 minutes South of downtown Minneapolis in the suburb of Apple Valley, this 485-acre complex gives a home to nearly 5,000 animals and an impressive IMAX theatre. From learning more about the native Minnesotan wildlife to experiencing a 218,000-gallon shark reef exhibit, this zoo is the place to spend your day no matter the weather.
Minnesota Children’s Museum
Bigger, better and bolder than ever, the Minnesota Children’s Museum promotes learning through creativity and play like never before. Serving more than 550,000 visitors a year, the museum is a kid-powered play space where families can have fun together. The museum in St. Paul features 10 permanent exhibits including a four-story climber with a spiral slide. In this space, play is powerful and universal. *If you’re looking to beat the crowds, Tuesdays are your day to go!