12 Best Things to Do in Minneapolis: Top-Rated Attractions 2022
Minneapolis and St. Paul, the twin cities on the upper Mississippi, together form the largest city in Minnesota. Minneapolis is the quintessential modern American city. The city has extensive parks and green spaces perfectly integrated into the urban environment.
In addition to the wilderness, Minneapolis offers a host of cultural attractions to explore, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Swedish American Institute, and the Mill City Museum.
Many of the city’s top attractions can be accessed by public transportation or without a vehicle, including the more natural settings found in places like Minnehaha Regional Park. Bike and multipurpose tours like the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway are a great way to get around.
1. Minnehaha Regional Park
To the southeast of the city, which runs along the banks of the Mississippi, is Minnehaha Park. This city treasure is home to 53-foot-high Minnehaha Falls and statues of Hiawatha and Minnehaha, the main characters in Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha.
The park is one of the oldest and most popular cities, receiving more than 800,000 visitors each year. Other fun things to do include:
- Strolling through a pergola garden
- Dining at the Sea Salt Eatery
- Catching a live performance at the Minnehaha Bandstand
Address: 4801 South Minnehaha Park Drive, Minneapolis, Minnesota
2. Minneapolis Institute of Art
The Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) has many works from many countries and in many styles, including images by European masters such as Rubens and Rembrandt.
The collection features pieces from various cultures dating back 5,000 years-sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings, textiles, and prints on display. Admission is always free, as are public tours, and with a Family Center on-site, this cultural resource is a good option for all ages.
Address: 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota
3. Guthrie Theater
The Guthrie Theater opened on May 7, 1963, with a production of Village directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie, the founder of the theater. Today, the theater presents classical and contemporary productions in three different stages and has remained true to its commitment to offering productions of Shakespeare’s plays.
More than 40 years after its inception, a new building was constructed in 2006, located along the Mississippi River. The unique building displays large images of past performances on its exterior. Touring the facilities is a fun part of any visit, and the theater offers guided behind-the-scenes tours on Friday and Saturday mornings.
Address: 818 South Second Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota
4. Weisman Museum of Art
The Weisman Museum of Art at the University of Minnesota is an architectural highlight of the campus and the city. Designed by Frank Gehry, the building is a striking four-story stainless steel structure with a complex shape to define.
The museum’s collection focuses primarily on American Modernism, Korean traditional furnishings, and ancient Mimbres pottery from the southwestern United States.
The Museums Public Art on Campus program has resulted in various art being displayed throughout the campus. General admission to the facility and all exhibits are free.
Address: 333 East River Parkway, Minneapolis, Minnesota
5. Children’s Theater Company
In Minneapolis, the Children’s Theater Company presents plays for all ages, including performances designed to inspire young people. Many productions are based on classic children’s literature.
Theater plays run from January to June, and the CTC also offers theater arts training programs for youth to introduce them to the performing arts.
Address: 2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, Minnesota
6. Mill City Museum
The Mill City Museum was built inside Washburn A Mill and chronicled the flour milling industry. The Mill was built in 1880 and was the largest of its kind.
A devastating fire in 1991 left the structure in ruins. The current museum has been built on top of the ruins and features an eight-story glass facade, which gives the building a contrasting historical and modern look. The exhibits count the status of Minneapolis as a world leader in flour production from 1880 to 1930.
Address: 704 South Second Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota
7. Swedish American Institute
The American Swedish Institute offers a look at and demonstrates the importance of Swedish heritage to the surrounding region. The institute consists of the modern Nelson Cultural Center and the historic Turnblad Mansion.
The Turnblad Mansion was originally commissioned in the early 20th century by Swan Turnblad, owner of the largest Swedish newspaper in the U.S. Swan and his family donated their mansion and newspaper to the American Institute of Swedish Art.
Today, visitors can tour the mansion and see the original carved oak, walnut, and mahogany inside. Swedish glass, textiles, fine arts, and authentic tiled stoves are also displayed.
Address: 2600 Park Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota
8. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden displays the Walker Art Center sculptures in a beautiful 19-acre urban green space. One of the most famous pieces is Claes Oldenburg Spoonbridge and Cherry.
In addition to the sculptures, this popular tourist attraction is also home to the Cowles Pavilion & Regis Promenade and the Alene Grossman Memorial Arbor and Flower Garden with seasonal exhibits.
The Sculpture Garden received major renovations in 2017 to support sustainable initiatives, including stormwater management and restoration of natural habitats, and now this public space is greener than ever.
Address: 726 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, Minnesota
9. Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center is dedicated to contemporary art. A center is an important place in the city, with visual and performing arts, film screenings, and other events.
Founded by lumber baron Thomas Barlow Walker, the Walker Art Center began at its current location in 1927 and was comprised solely of a personal collection.
The award-winning facility seen today was built in 1971, expanded in 2005, and now houses more than 700,000 people each year. The center contains numerous galleries of exhibitions, a theater, a cinema, lounges, terraces, and eating establishments. Opposite the building is the associated Sculpture Garden.
Address: 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The main mall in downtown Minneapolis is Nicollet, formerly known as Nicollet Mall, and it is a wonderfully designed precinct that stretches the length of Nicollet Avenue.
This primarily pedestrianized area has many shops, restaurants, galleries, and public art exhibits alongside a well-maintained walkway.
The central feature of the complex, upon which the IDS Center’s 775-foot tower rises. From here, a network of glass walkways leads to other buildings. Other skyscrapers rise everywhere.
11. Municipal Palace
East of Nicollet Mall and Crystal Court is City Hall, also known as the Municipal Building. It was built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Of note inside is the statue in the Rotunda, Father of the Waters, carved from a single block of Carrara marble.
The building’s clock tower, which set city records at the time of its construction, rises above the building and rings at certain times of the day. The municipal building is a National Historic Landmark.
Address: 350 South Fifth Street, Minneapolis, Minnesota
12. Chain of Lakes Regional Park
Southwest of the city center, the Chain of Lakes Regional Park comprises five different coastlines connected by pedestrian paths and green spaces. Boating, biking, and visiting the Lyndale Park Rose Garden are fun activities to do in this sprawling public area, and special events like live music at the Lake Harriet Bandshell happen throughout the year.
Chain of Lakes is one of seven districts along the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, which circumnavigates the city, connecting parks, wilderness areas, and other bodies of water.
Lakeside walking trails and public beaches are also popular attractions on the Chain of Lakes, and in winter, the area offers some of the best cross-country ski tracks in the city.
Address: 2000 Upton Ave. S., Minneapolis, Minnesota
Where to stay in Minneapolis for Sightseeing
The best place to stay in Minneapolis, whether for work or pleasure, is downtown. Minneapolis has a vibrant downtown area with museums, shops, and restaurants. The Minneapolis Skyway System connects 69 blocks with indoor pedestrian bridges, is perfect for getting around on cold winter days. Below are some highly-rated hotels in convenient locations:
Luxury Hotels: In a great downtown location, close to entertainment, dining, and shopping, and connected to the Skyway, the Grand Hotel Minneapolis – a Kimpton Hotel is a stylish and iconic hotel in a historic building.
The recently refurbished Radisson Blu offers well-appointed rooms and suites within walking distance of the Nicollet Shopping Center and Hennepin Avenue Theaters.
The exclusive Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis is a cultural delight in two historic revival buildings and featuring contemporary art. The Minnesota Sculpture Garden, Walker Art Center, and several historic theaters are within a mile of this hotel.
Mid-Range Hotels: BEST WESTERN PLUS The Normandy Inn & Suites is a charming property in the heart of downtown, offering spacious rooms and suites and an indoor pool in an atrium garden.
In the Nicollet shopping center and connected to the Convention Center by an air route, the Millennium Hotel has been completely renovated and offers contemporary rooms and suites. Nearby and at the higher end of the mid-range category, the Hyatt Regency features Scandinavian decor and great city views from the upper floors.
Budget Hotels: Good budget options are limited in the city center, but the University Inn is an exception, convenient and decent rooms.
Farther from the city center but within a reasonable distance is the newly renovated Days Hotel University Ave SE, with free breakfast and rooms with refrigerators.
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Minneapolis
Is it worth visiting Minneapolis?
Paul consistently rank as two of the United States’ top cities to live in. Minneapolis’s thriving art scene, outdoor culture (even in the winter), affordable prices, and friendly atmosphere make this Midwest metropolis a perfect place for a weekend-or longer-escape.
How do people dress in Minneapolis?
Minnesota winters are cold and snowy, so you’ll need long pants and shirts during this season; bring pieces made from comfortable, cozy fabrics such as corduroy pants, thermal underwear, flannel shirts and sweaters.
What do you call a person from Minneapolis?
The correct name for people who live in Minneapolis is Minneapolitan. (The field that studies the proper names of human beings.) Like many demonyms, Minneapolitan is also the adjectival form of the city of Minneapolis.
Is Minneapolis expensive?
As a premier city, Minneapolis housing costs are on the more expensive side, ranking between Denver and Chicago. That said, rent prices aren’t exorbitant. However, they’re well above the national average.
Why you should not move to Minneapolis?
Winters are too brutal. Minneapolis winters can be harsh, with bitter cold and blowing snow making it hard for some people to get by… but if you’re willing to look past that (like any true Minneapolitan), the city is overflowing with fun winter activities. 5. It’s too close to St.
What is unique about Minneapolis?
Here are ten fun facts about the fair city you may not have known: The city is where many top products were invented: That’s right – Minneapolis is where Scotch tape, the bundt pan, Bisquick, and pop-up toasters were invented. A program at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis invented the Honeycrisp Apple.
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