Minneapolis makes up the Twin Cities of Minnesota with the neighboring St. Paul. The city is a glistening Midwest powerhouse famous for its extensive parks and green spaces. Minneapolis also has an abundance of cultural attractions such as the Mill City Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Art and the James J. Hill House. If it’s your first time here and you’re wondering what more things to do in Minneapolis, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top things to do in Minneapolis!
1. Explore Minnehaha Regional Park
Extending along the banks of the Mississippi River, Minnehaha Park offers respite from the bustling atmosphere of Minneapolis. It is a popular spot all year round, offering lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation with its bike paths, gardens, playground and volleyball courts. The most famous landmark here is the 53-foot (16m) tall Minnehaha Falls. It’s an important role in the city’s history, a sacred site for Native American tribes and helped power a mill during the latter half of the 19th century. Today, the falls attract tourists from around the country, while the park itself offers active visitors a perfect venue for outdoor recreation with its bike paths, gardens, volleyball courts and playground.
2. Mill City Museum
A great place to learn about Minneapolis’ past, Mill City Museum is built within the ruins of the Washburn A Mill. At the time in 1880, it was the largest and most technologically advanced flour mill in the world. The museum recreates the authentic mill experience with equipment, railroad cars and interactive exhibits demonstrating milling techniques. It even has its own baking lab for cooking demonstrations! If you’re here for the weekend, there is also a farmers’ market that takes place every Saturday. Try out some local food and shop for artisan wares right before the museum visit, why not?
3. Minneapolis Institute of Art
A heaven for any art aficionado, the Minneapolis Institute of Art houses a collection of over 90,000 works spanning 5,000 years. You’ll find everything from sculptures, pottery, prints, photographs, paintings, drawings, textiles and more. The best part? Admission is always free, and so are the public tours. Whether you’re interested in ancient Egyptian artifacts or European masterpieces by artists such as van Gogh and Matisse, this museum has everything you need to get your fix.
4. Stone Arch Bridge
In the early 1880s, railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill built this bridge across the Mississippi for his Great Northern Railway. It boosted the people’s movement and was vital to the city’s development. In 1978 it saw its last passenger service, and in the 1990s it was converted into a pedestrian and cycle bridge. Today, anyone can come for a front-row view of Saint Anthony Falls and the Minneapolis skyline. You can walk or ride bikes during the day and stay for the beautiful sunset views.
5. Chain of Lakes Regional Park
Southwest of the city, Chain of Lakes Regional Park consists of five different shorelines, all connected by pedestrian trails and green spaces. If you’d like to cover lots of ground, then you should definitely rent a bicycle. Each of the five lakes offer something different: Lake Harriet hosts lively festivals during the summer and has two family-friendly beaches, while Bde Maka Ska draws a more active crowd with jogging and biking paths, as well as boat activities. The Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake are quieter, and make for great spots for a picnic.
6. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the United States. There are roughly 60 sculptures here and some of them are interactive. The most popular ones are Spoonbridge and Cherry – a massive spoon and cherry in the center of the park, and Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture, one of the many iterations that can be found in major cities around the world. Admission is free and the garden is open 365 days a year.
7. Minneapolis Skyway System
If you’re visiting Minneapolis, chances are you will find yourself walking through the Skyway System at some point. For locals, this 9.5-mile (15km) system of elevated pathways is part of their everyday lives. But for visitors, it can be an attraction in itself. The skyway was built to ease crowding on sidewalks, but it turned out to be a really effective way of escaping the winter weather too. The skyway connects hotels, restaurants, bars, malls and more. You can access 140 eateries via the skyway, so you never have to go hungry.