Minneapolis with a population of 413,651 is the larger one of twin cities of Minnesota- Minneapolis-St Paul, both located on the banks of Mississippi river. The city abundant with water and natural scenery boasts of lots of things worth seeing and lots of memories to be made. The extremely friendly and courteous locals make one visit the city again. Minneapolis has got so much to offer that covering all in one trip might not be possible in a short span of time. Without further ado, here is the list of top tourist attractions in Minneapolis.
Let's explore Minneapolis points of interest and 15 best things to do in Minneapolis:
1. City Hall
The building of the City Hall is sometimes referred to as the Municipal building and is a registered National Historic Landmark. Whether one is history buff or an architecture appreciator or not, one would definitely be smitten by the elegance and majestic of the structure. The inside of the hall is astounding and one can feel the history emanating from it. The stunning rotunda and the Father of Waters statue are worth watching, especially after sunset when they are lit. One can rub Father of statue’s toes, who knows one might get bestowed with good luck. The hall is also known to be haunted and draws paranormal enthusiasts from all over the world.
2. Guthrie Theatre
Named after the founder Sir Tyrone Guthrie, the theatre was opened in 1963 with Hamlet being its first production. Even after 40 years since its inception, the theatre remained true to its commitment to offering Shakespearean plays staging classic and contemporary productions on three different stages. The friendly and helpful staff and ever ready to assist and guide the visitors. The theatre also provides guided backstage tours to its visitors on Friday and Saturday mornings. Even if one has been unable to get himself a ticket to one of the stupendous plays, one can take his time to explore the beautiful structure overlooking the Mississippi River.
3. Basilica of St. Mary
The cathedral designed by famous architect Masqueray was the first basilica to be established in the United States. The structure of the church is astounding, and the interior comprising of lots of colored glass, big altar, statues and the impressive dome is gorgeous. The talented choir who provide chorus music on Sunday mornings are worth listening too. If one appreciates the beauty of Romanesque architecture and tradition of Catholic worship, then this place is a must to include in the trip to Minneapolis.
4. Chain of Lakes
Rightfully called the “Gem of the city,” Chain of Lakes Regional Park has five different shorelines connected by pedestrian trails and lush greenery. Wishing for a day to relax in the lap of Mother Nature? This is the perfect place for boating, biking, strolling, sunbathing or even just relaxing on the park bench. One can spot families having cheerful picnics, people taking selfies, and sailboats and sailboards. It doesn’t matter if one visits it with family or alone, the relaxing and soothing atmosphere and ambiance is sure to rid one of worries and tiredness.
5. Mall of America
A visit to any tourist destination is incomplete without a trip to a shopping destination. Mall of America housing over 500 stores is a perfect place to shop till you drop. And what’s best? There’s no sales tax charged on the goods purchased. Even if one isn’t keen on having some extra shopping bags to carry back home, one can enjoy several family-friendly attractions complete with 25 different exciting rides. The mall also boasts of the Sea Life Aquarium and offers the visitors to discover more than 4,500 sea creatures.
6. Minneapolis Institute of Art
Founded in the year 1889, this museum shelters a collection of approximately 80,000 pieces from a wide variety of culture and spanning over 5,000 years of world history. On display are variety of things to see, from paintings, drawings, and prints to sculptures and photographs. It is one of a kind facility which provides special effects consisting of light, sound, and aroma which is very unique and impressive.
7. Stone Arch Bridge
The National Civil Engineering Landmark built in 1882-83 is a must-visit location for any architecture buff. The 2,100-foot granite and limestone bridge features a total of 23 arches. The bridge which aided the city’s development by increasing the movement of goods and people is the only bridge to have ever been built across the Mississippi River. One can have a peaceful bike ride between Father Hennepin Bluffs Park on the east side and Mill Ruins Park on the west while enjoying the spectacular views of Downtown Minneapolis. Visitors vow that the best time to adore the architecture is dusk when the lights are turned on and are reflected beautifully on the river water.
8. Minnehaha Park
The 193-acre city treasure Minnehaha Park is one of the oldest and most popular parks in the city and receives a whopping 800,000 visitors every year. The beautiful park houses 53-foot-high majestic and breathtaking Minnehaha Falls and also the statues of the chief characters of Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha-Hiawatha and Minnehaha. One can find respite from the city’s hustle bustle here by strolling through the garden, riding a bike through the well-paved path or playing outdoor games in volleyball courts and playground.
9. Weisman Art Museum
The Weisman Art Museum is located at the University of Minnesota and is designed by the avant-garde architect Frank Gehry. The building is an attention-grabbing four-story structure made of stainless steel which is sure to make one wonder about the exact shape of the magnificent building. The museum features a collection primarily on traditional Korean furniture and ceramics, American Modernism, and ancient Mimbres pottery from the American Southwest.
10. American Swedish Institute
The American Swedish Institute is a beautiful tribute to the American-Swedish heritage. Tourists put it near the top attractions of Minneapolis as it gives a pleasant understanding of the past one didn’t know about. The museum houses three floors depicting the history and Swedish culture. The house built around 1900 is a fun and educational place to visit. Visitors can browse through the original carved oak, Swedish glass, fine art and textiles on display.
11. Fort Snelling
The designated National Historic Landmark and a “national treasure,” the fort located at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi river is a perfect location for someone who enjoys interactively learning history. Significant efforts have been put into detailing the video and displays throughout the site to make the tour of the fort more informative while being enjoyable at the same time.
If visiting during special celebrations, one can have the opportunity to see the cannons firing, live music by the historic band, actors re-enacting battles and also the lives of the people who lived in the fort.
12. Walker Art Center
Even if one is not an art enthusiast, a stroll through the Walker Art Center is definitely worth a few hours. The facility founded by lumber baron Thomas Barlow Walker is dedicated to contemporary art comprising of sculptures, paintings, and photographs of both European and American artists. The award-winning center hosts 700,000 visitors each year attracting them with numerous exhibition galleries, a theatre, lounges, eateries, and terraces. One of its major attractions is the Sculpture garden which stands adjacent to it.
13. Sculpture Garden
The Walker Art Center houses a lovely 19-acre urban space showcasing more than 40 famous pieces of art. One of the most famous sculptures is of the Claes Oldenburg’s Spoonbridge and Cherry. Park with great artworks is a pleasant place to stroll around, getting some exercise with some scenic backdrops. One can enjoy an evening breeze while watching a baseball match in the adjacent playground. The garden after receiving major renovations in 2017 has become greener than ever and is a must-see and visit destination for visitors of all ages.
14. Children’s Theatre Company
Whether one is in the company of children or not, Children’s Theatre Company is definitely a must-visit site for an enjoyable and affordable visual treat. The theatre excels in presenting plays for all ages including ones to inspire the current generation. Many of its productions are based on classic children’s literature and are performed in beautiful sets by impressive performers. The plays backed by beautiful acoustics and great stage props are presented from January through June. Age is no bar to enjoy a fine play in this facility.
15. The Escape Game
Anyone visiting Minneapolis cannot miss out the 60-minutes of adventure and thrill at the Escape Game. The visitors are formed into a team and are asked to select an exciting challenge which they need to complete in an hour and escape. The atmosphere is incredibly engaging, and the staff is very helpful and courteous. Who says that a visit to any tourist location is just about historical monuments and landmarks? The Escape Game is a must experience to get the adrenaline pumping and the gears of the brain working.