Favorite thing: This Romanesque Revival pile was designed by the firm of Long and Kees, who would just three years later create the plan for the much more "refined" Minneapolis City Hall a few blocks away. Wikipedia describes this building as "Richardsonian Romanesque," but I don't see very much Richardson here! This was the tallest building outside New York City when it built in the mid 1880s! On the National Register of Historic Places.
Designed by Frederick Bidwell Long and Franklin Kees, and inspired by H.H. Richardson's contemporary Allegheny County Courthouse in Pittsburgh PA.
On the National Register of Historic Places. Constructed with Ortonville granite, from western Minnesota.
The clock tower is 345 feel tall, and was Minneapolis's tallest structure until the 1920s.
Favorite thing: Another of the 21st century "grands projects" of the Little Apple, Cesar Pelli's Central Public Library was unveiled to mixed reviews in 2006. On the plus side, this $166 million stucture has a reduced impact on the environment, through the latest "green" energy-saving technologies. And on the inside there are several pleasant and inviting spaces to curl up with a book or magazine. On the negative side (at least from my own POV), the exterior of the building is somewhat clunky - it looks as if dingy curtains are hanging from its windows! Moreover, it's hard to find the entrances, and the 5 story atrium inside reminded me of the central gallery in a contemporary prison.
Favorite thing: Formerly the Federal Reserve Building, now a general office building, Marquette Plaza is a clean well-designed glass-framed tall-building - not really a sky-scraper, but tall all the same. Its glass panels are especially interesting the late afternoon when they reflect the setting sun. Designed by local architect Gunnar Birkets (1973).
What's now known as the ING Reliastar Building dates from 1964, and was the design of architect Minoru Yamasaki (1912-1986). Yamasaki, a second-generation Japanese-American, was an enthusiastic "modernist" whose vocabulary of design typified the streamlined post-World War II era in the USA. Elements of the Reliastar Building could also be seen in Yamasaki's most famous structures, the World Trade Center Towers in lower Manhattan.
Yamasaki was also the designer of the ill-fated Pruitt-Igoe Public Housing Project in St. Louis.
Favorite thing: The bridge that Jay built - that's the famous Jay Hill, the billionaire Railway plutocrat from the 19th century. 100,000 tons of stone went into the making of this important connector in the heart of Minneapolis' old industrial riverfront. It certainly deserves its reputation as a National Civil Engineering Landmark. Nowadays it is used by walkers, bicyclists, joggers, skippers, rollerbladers, unicyclists, in-line and roller skaters, and people who train for x-country ski-ing on those skis with wheels on them. And dogs too.
The winter weather in Minneapolis is notoriously bad. Once, I had a brief layover there while flying over the holidays. It was more than 10 degree below 0 fahrenheit. One way that people cope is by having a lot of covered, heated walkways. Downtown, most major buildings are connected by a network of these pedestrian walkways called the Skyway. Maps of it are displayed all along its length.
Fondest memory: Despite the awful winters, the city is still livable, because of innovations such as this.
Favorite thing: One of the coolest things about Minneapolis is that there is quite a lot that goes on in the city, especially during the summer. One of my favorite things to do when I've got a free day is just wander around downtown. There are several common areas where concerts and other little celebrations are held. Nicollett Ave between about 12th St and Washington is basically a pedestrian mall lined with restaurants, shops, and even a mini-farmer's market. There's also the paths along the Mississippi River, good for a stroll on a sunny summer day.
Favorite thing: The skyline of Minneapolis is somewhat eclectic with varying architectural styles. When I was here as a kid, it was basically just the IDS Center, but as you can see, things have changed. There is an active nightlife scene downtown as well as some great shopping and theaters. Because of the cold weather, there are skywalks connecting all of the buildings so that you don't have to walk outside at all.
Favorite thing: The Minneapolis Convention Center is only about 10 years old and has already grown from the the original three domes to four plus two other very large rooms for conventions. this shows two entrances. These domes can be one veryvery large exhibite hall or divided into 4 smaller ones. But even the small one are big enough to play football in with all the bleachers and then some. On the far right entrance is the main skywalk that leads to several hotels and shopping centers. You can walk from many hotels to the convention center and never go outside. It is also connected to several parking ramps.
Favorite thing: If you can avoid driving downtown in the early morning and late afternoon. It is also a good idea to plot your way on a map before you get there. There are many one way streets and with the constant consturction there can be traffic jams.
You are looking southwest down Hennepin Avenue toward the intersection with 9th Street. This picture was taken from the skyway connecting LaSalle Plaza and the Carmichael Lynch Building. Cafe De Napoli is on the far right. The State Theater is on the left.
not my pic
If you're coming to the Twin Cities you're probably already going to the Mall of America (which you should). Besides the Mall of America the one thing you should see is downtown Minneapolis and the Mississippi River. These are intersting places where you can mix right in with the locals.
Fondest memory: Whenever I'm traveling and I'm away the thing I always miss the most about Minneapolis is its nature. I miss its parks, forests, lakes, and rivers. In my mind the city is so beautiful and clean that it tops every city in some way or form.