Located on the upper stretches of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, the city of Minneapolis has so much more to offer than the cold winter weather it’s famous for. Minneapolis is the largest city in the state and, as such, brims with amenities and attractions that locals and visitors can enjoy. Although a modern city, Minneapolis has many green spaces as well as a multitude of cultural venues. If you’re planning to visit this northern city anytime soon, be sure to keep the following best-loved Minneapolis attractions in mind.
Minnesota is famous for its many lakes, so when visiting Minneapolis, be sure to visit the Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which is located to the southwest of the city’s center. The five lakes of this park each have their distinctive charms. For instance, Lake Harriet is popular for its beaches and rose gardens, while Lake Calhoun is popular with boaters. During the warm season, the park is vibrant with crowds who come to enjoy outdoor performances and fests.
Minnehaha Regional Park is one of Minneapolis’s must-see attractions. The park is situated on the banks of the upper Mississippi. The highlight of the park is its famous 53-foot-tall Minnehaha Falls. When visiting, you’ll also want to witness and photograph the celebrated statues of Minnehaha and Hiawatha, the famed characters of the “Song of Hiawatha” written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Each year, as many as 800,000 people this park to enjoy its beautiful grounds or to enjoy an outdoor festival or music performance that are sometimes held there.
The Mall of America attracts shoppers from all over the country. This mall is the largest in the nation. It’s filled with stores and shops, eateries, and special attractions. The mall is home to the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, so if you’re visiting with kids, this attraction is a must. Additionally, the mall features the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium and the A.C.E.S. Flight Simulation Center. Located just over 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis, the mall is easy to find owing to its sheer size. Because it’s so large, you may want to set aside an entire day—or two—to explore it. Even then, you might not see it all!
Young and old alike love to check out the inhabitants of the Minnesota Zoo. Encompassing 485 acres, the zoo features more than 4,700 animals, including American black bears, wolverines, Burmese pythons, red pandas, otters, crocodiles, and more. Its Discovery Bay exhibit with its multiple aquariums is especially popular with visitors who come to see its sand tiger sharks, sea dragons, and stingrays. This zoo is a sprawling venue, so be sure to wear good walking shoes when you visit.
With more than fifty global vendors, the Midtown Global Market is a great place to find a souvenir from your visit to Minneapolis—and it’s far less commercial than the Mall of America. When shopping at the market, you’ll find vendors selling everything from Mediterranean olives to lacquered Asian trinkets. The market features both handicrafts and foodstuffs. It’s a great place to mingle and browse.
The Guthrie Theater is one of the city’s most revered cultural attractions. Best known for its Shakespearian productions, the theatre also features other classic and contemporary plays. Established in 1963, the theater has been at the heart of the Minneapolis arts and culture scene. If you have time, there is also a backstage tour that you can take to learn more about its unique building and its history. Even if you can’t manage the tour, be sure to procure some tickets for a performance when you’re in town.
If you’re visiting Minneapolis during baseball season, consider grabbing some tickets to see the Minnesota Twins hit some home runs at Target Field. The Twins, of course, are a Major League Baseball team and Target Field is the stadium where they play their home games. The open-air ballpark promises a thrilling sporting experience—and it features all the snacks you’d expect like hot dogs, peanuts, and popcorn.
As the oldest structure in the state, Fort Snelling receives many visitors each year—especially history buffs. A 19th-century frontier outpost, Fort Snelling is today, a living history museum. Tour guides dress in period costumes to explain what life was like in the early days of the settlement. During the warm season, the fort is the site of many special events including demonstrations of history and exciting competitions.
If you’re interested in history or the city’s past, be sure to explore the Mill City Museum located on the west bank of the Mississippi River. The museum presents an authentic mill experience that includes interactive exhibits that will take you right back to the city’s early days. Tours are popular with visitors as well as many school groups. There’s even an onsite baking exhibit that offers cooking presentations.
Art lovers flock to the revered Minneapolis Institute of Art, of the city’s most respected cultural attractions. The institute boasts a collection that includes more than 83,000 works of art. The collection is quite expansive with items from ancient Egypt, masterworks from the Renaissance, and contemporary pieces too. The museum is located in downtown Minneapolis, so it’s convenient to reach even with public transportation. After perusing the museum’s exhibits, you might want to stop by its coffee shop and café to enjoy a snack.
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