As the largest city in Minnesota, there are endless things to do in Minneapolis to make a visit worthwhile. So if you’re trying to please those who like the attractions of a city with those in your family or group who love nature’s beauty, you’ve got a winner with a trip to Minneapolis.
It’s a Unique American City
According to their tourism board, “No other American city has a chain of lakes, the mighty Mississippi and 200 miles of walking, biking and cross country ski trails within the city limits, literally steps from the most vibrant arts and music scene outside NYC, the best shopping in the region and museums among the finest in the nation.”
Whether you’re visiting from out of state or are just coming from a neighboring city in Minnesota, you’ll have great fun in the Twin Cities.
Visit the Mill City Museum
At one point in time, Minneapolis was considered the flour milling capital of the world. Today, you can visit the Mill City Museum to see how the city got its nickname. With artifacts and exhibits featuring information and items from what life would have been like during this time.
There are interactive labs to check out during your visit to see how the use of St. Anthony Falls and the flour mill came together to work. Aside from the exhibits, you can go to the rooftop observation deck, where you can look out into the city.
See Saint Anthony Falls
St. Anthony Falls is located on the edge downtown, the only falls in the Mississippi River. The falls were used back in the 1800s to provide power and energy from the rushing water to the city. Today, you can visit the falls, walk along the Stone Arch Bridge, and think about the history that made Minneapolis the city that it is today.
Walk Over the Stone Arch Bridge
Offering some of the best views of the Twin Cities skyline, the Stone Arch Bridge connects Minneapolis to St. Paul on the other side of the Mississippi River. Today, it’s one of the best things to do in Minneapolis for visitors.
Visitors can walk or bike across the bridge since it’s now pedestrian-only. It’s a beautiful spot for admiring the beauty of the Twin Cities, and perhaps watching as the sun goes down beyond the horizon.
Splash Around at Great Wolf Lodge
Whether you have little ones or you’re just an adult who loves a great waterpark, check out this epic waterpark in the Twin Cities!
Great Wolf Lodge is a huge indoor waterpark with slides, lazy rivers, hot tubs, wave pools, and more. Adults and kids alike will have a blast.
Even if it’s cold outside, you can enjoy the warm feeling of splashing around in the pool and zoom in its waterslides. No matter the weather outside it’s always 85 degrees at Great Wolf.
Wander Through the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
This large outdoor sculpture garden is one of the most iconic and well-known things to do in Minneapolis.
Wander around the free garden and admire all of the art that local and nationwide artists have created for visitors to enjoy. It’s open year-round and is also dog friendly, so if you’ve got a pup with you, they’re welcome to tag along!
See Minnehaha Falls
It isn’t often that you can find a waterfall right in the middle of the state’s largest city. But right in the center of Minneapolis, you’ll find the beautiful Minnaha Falls. The 53-foot waterfall gives visitors the chance to escape the busyness of the city and enjoy some of Minnesota’s nature without having to go far.
There are some great hiking trails all around Minnehaha Regional Park, so you can get some good exercise in while you enjoy the falls.
Visit the Minnesota State Capitol
While the Minnesota State Capitol is technically in St. Paul, it’s just across the river from Minneapolis and you may not even notice that you’ve crossed city borders.
Guided tours are offered at the Minnesota State Capitol building, or you can enter for free on your own. The large beautiful capital building can’t be missed when driving past it, with gold accents and a tall rotunda. Inside, you’ll find beautiful architecture.
Go Brewery and Vineyard Hopping
It may be surprising that one of the best things to do in Minneapolis is grab an adult beverage!
Minneapolis is well known for its brewery scene with craft brews made at several locations around the city. Choose a few of the best, including Surly, Modist, or Utepils, and make a brewery-hopping tour of it.
Along with the breweries, there are also several great wineries around Minneapolis for wine lovers to check out. St. Croix Vineyards, Cannon River Winery, and Alexis Bailly Vineyard are a few of the best.
Attend the Minnesota State Fair
Known as the ‘Great Minnesota Get-Together,’ attending the Minnesota State Fair is one of the best things to do in Minneapolis during the summer while visiting the Land of 10,000 Lakes. From the smells of mini donuts to the sounds of kids laughing as they’re whipped around on the Sizzler, the Minnesota State Fair is the best fair that you’ll ever go to.
Concerts take place nearly every night, and you can enjoy your favorite classic fair foods and can find nearly everything you could imagine ‘on-a-stick.’
Enjoy Lake Harriet
With so many lakes in the state of Minnesota, it’s no surprise that one of the best things to do in Minneapolis is recreating on the lakes. Lake Harriet is found right in Minneapolis and is one of the largest lakes in the area. Locals and visitors alike love to kayak, canoe, swim, and boat on the large lake.
Nearby is a large park for relaxing and walking around. Nearby, Lake Harriet Park offers a band shell, where several concerts take place in the summer.
See a Show at First Avenue
If you’re a concert lover, then you’ll love seeing a show at First Avenue in Minneapolis. First Avenue is a small concert venue in downtown Minneapolis, where several big-name artists, including Prince, have made names for themselves.
Today, you can visit the venue and see shows every single week. On the outside of the venue are a collection of white stars, where you can find the names of some of the best performers to have taken the stage at First Avenue.
Grab Dinner at Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge
If you’re ready to grab a bite to eat and are looking for one of the unique things to do in Minneapolis look no further than Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge.
During the winter, it becomes a 4-month long Christmas celebration with holiday decor from floor to ceiling. Choose to dine indoors or out on their patio, no whatever you do, you’ll enjoy your time at Psycho Suzi’s.
See Art at the Walker Art Center
This large art museum is just steps from the outdoor Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and is managed by the same team. Here you can see indoor pieces of artwork from local artists.
While this museum does cost to visit, you’ll enjoy getting to admire what those talented artists can create! It’s also a great choice for a rainy (or snowy!) day activity if it isn’t the nicest weather during your visit.
Wander Around the Mill City Farmers Market
Wandering around a farmer’s market is one of the best things to do in Minneapolis on a weekend morning.
Many local farmers around the Twin Cities work hard year-round to bring their best products and produce to the market. Even just looking around and seeing all of the fresh produce, homemade treats, and handmade goods is worthwhile. Over 100 vendors are available, selling all of their best items.
Shop at the Mall of America
As the largest mall in the entire country, one of the best things to do in Minneapolis is shop! With over 500 stores inside, there’s sure to be somewhere that you’ll be interested in shopping at.
You can even watch a movie at their movie theater, grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the 50+ restaurants, and ride some rides at the indoor amusement park.
Try a Jucy Lucy
You couldn’t visit the Twin Cities without trying a famous Jucy Lucy. These thick burgers are stuffed with hot, melted cheese that oozes out when you bite into it.
One of the best places to get yourself a Lucy is at Matt’s Bar & Grill. This small dive bar is home to the original Jucy Lucy, and serves them up better than anyone else in the area.
Watch a Professional Sports Game
Minnesota is home to a team for all of the most popular sports games. Depending on the season, visitors can attend a game for their favorite sport. Whether it be watching the Vikings play at US Bank Stadium or the Minnesota Wild play at the Xcel Center, there’s often always a game happening somewhere.
The Minnesota Twins play at Target Field, the Timberwolves play at Target Center and The NFL Vikings play at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art
Another of the great museums in the Minneapolis area is the Minneapolis Institute of Art.
With thousands of pieces of art from all over the world, you can enter the museum for free and admire the beautiful art. The vast collection of exhibits and art are held inside a large building that itself is a work of art.
It’s a nice place to spend a rainy afternoon, and because it’s free, you can visit even if you’re on a tighter budget!
Attend the Holidazzle Festival
When the winter is seeming far too long already, a visit to the Holidazzle Festival in Loring Park will surely brighten up your life.
Held each year around the holiday season, Holidazzle is a festival that brings together visitors and locals hoping to celebrate the holidays. With plenty of free activities like rides, fireworks, holiday lights, and more, everyone of all ages can enjoy the get-together.
Enjoy a Great Cup of Coffee
There are many great local coffee shops around the Twin Cities area that are perfect for starting your day off with a cup of joe. No matter whether you’re a black coffee type of person or you prefer more creamer than coffee, you’ll find somewhere within a short distance of where you’re starting to grab a cup.
Spyhouse Coffee Roasters is a popular option amongst locals. Other great choices include Five Watt Coffee, Cafe Astoria, and Misfit Coffee.
Check Out a State or Regional Park
One of the best outdoor things to do in Minneapolis is to check out the many state or regional parks that are nearby. Minneapolis prides itself on its wonderful park system, so it’s not unlikely to find a park within just a few miles of your location!
A few of the most popular include Theodore Wirth Regional Park, Fort Snelling State Park, and Hidden Falls Regional Park. Each has its own hiking and biking trails, places to explore, and great opportunities to sneak into nature without leaving the city.
See the Flowers at Como Park Conservatory
The Como Park Conservatory is home to a collection of gardens free to the public and open year-round for visitors to escape the cold Minnesota winters.
Several gardens are indoors, including the Sunken Garden and the Centennial Garden, perfect for enjoying the beautiful plant life and greenery during winter. And during the summer, visitors can stroll outside among the outdoor gardens.
Hike at Theodore Wirth Park
If you want to get outdoors while visiting Minneapolis, there are plenty of places to do so!
One of the best things to do in Minneapolis is visit Theodore Wirth Regional Park and hiking on the trails. Beautiful trails within the park lead you past wildflowers, and give you a chance to spot wildlife and let you enjoy some fresh air.
One of the best places to hike within the park is in the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, home to hundreds of species of plants and birds.
Which One of These Things to Do in Minneapolis Will You Do?
With so many fun things to do in Minneapolis, from beaches to museums to unique restaurants, you’ll always have fun. Minnesota is a highly underrated state, but when we look at all the fun things to do in Minneapolis, it doesn’t make sense why!
Kids, adults, and everyone in between can have a blast exploring the Twin Cities area in southern Minnesota.
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The article was produced by Planner at Heart.