Combined Suggestions, Minneapolis
Downtown Minneapolis' Mississippi Riverfront District is a 9-mile section of the 50-mile Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, and a fabulous recreation area for walking, biking, blading, picnicking, etc. Within this section are parks, historic buildings, the Mill City Museum, the Guthrie theater, St. Anthony Falls, and paved pathways for easy exploration. Take a stroll on Heritage Trail (1.8.miles) along the waterfront and across the Hennepin Ave. bridge - site of the first bridge to be built across the Mississippi (1855) - to historic Main Street (see my St. Anthony Main tip) or Northeast Mpls. for lunch or dinner, and then back across the river on the Stone Arch Bridge, which provides a great viewing point for Upper St. Anthony Lock and Dam. Along this path are markers that provide interesting facts about the history of the area.
See this website for information about the riverfront:
This is fun anytime but particularly nice in the fall when there's a lot of color! A note about Grand Rounds NSB: there are 7 Districts in this 50-mile stretch, and the website has really good maps highlighting driving, biking and pedestrian routes. This is VERY popular with bikers as the districts all link by a combination of roads and paths. See this website for information:
NOTE: the Upper St Anthony lock will close sometime in 2015 to prevent the spread of Asian carp so catch it in action while you can.
A short walk across the Hennepin or Stone Arch bridges from downtown is a pretty little one-block riverfront area called St. Anthony Main. Some years ago it was an entertainment/specialty shopping/dining center but the retail stores didn't quite make it. Fortunately the restaurants along this old cobblestone street survived so it's still a great place to grab a bite and/or a beer and hang out on a patio. Summers concerts, festivals, special events and a movie theater round out the fun.
Adventurous history buffs can book a historic tour of the riverfront on a Segway!
No problem if you've never ridden one 'cause they teach you how, provide helmets and an experienced group leader/guide.
Eateries in this area are:
Pracna on Main - "Oldest restaurant on the oldest street in Mpls." Steaks, pastas, sandwiches, 20 brews on tap and some sidewalk seating. Midrange:
Vic's - Steaks, pastas, seafood and an outdoor deck. Upscale:
Tuggs Tavern - Sandwiches, burgers and another great outdoor deck. Famous for the "Beer Rocket": a giant, share-able tube of your favorite brew with a tapper on the bottom. Lower end:
Aster Cafe - haven't been there but it's always busy:
Wilde Roast Cafe: a nod to Oscar, it's a cozy, gay friendly and open for breakfast, lunch and dinner:
St. Anthony Main is also only a block or two away from the revitalized Hennepin Ave. E section (referred to as Northeast Mpls) with even more good restaurants and bars to choose from, and hopskip from an interesting little walk about Nicolett Island.
This is a fun walk/hike during the warmer months that combines several tips into one great day along the Mississippi. Best of all, you can do this without a car if you're staying downtown, near the airport or anywhere else near the Blue Line (formerly Hiawatha) light rail station. The section of Mississippi along this walk is the only true gorge along its entire length and includes both paved and unpaved trails, several parks, a waterfall and fun stops along the way for recharging.
Take the light rail to the Minnehaha Park transit station (or park your car nearby) and walk across Hiawatha Ave. to the park. Head north (left) along S Minnehaha Dr.. to the roundabout (Godfrey Parkway) and head east (right) along Godfrey. This turns into W. River Parkway S. and runs parallel to the Mississippi.
(with a good map you can also cut through the park )
You'll head north along the parkway. At about 44th street you'll run into the offshoot for the Winchell trail. This trail will eventually turn into an unpaved, dirt path with smaller trails into the gorge and down to the river so take this if feeling adventurous or just stay on the upper pedestrian/bike paths. Keep going until you hit the E. Lake Street/Marshall Ave. Bridge (if you're on the Winchell, climb up to street level) and have a sit-down at Dunn Brother's Coffee. Longfellow Grill is right here too, if you'd rather have a pint.
Cross the bridge to the St. Paul side of the river and follow the paved path south along the river, stopping at some of the nice overlooks, to the Ford Parkway Bridge. Go across the bridge and back to Minnehaha Park. Follow Godfrey back the way you came and head left at the roundabout. Just behind the John Stevens Interpretive Center is Sea Salt Eatery: stop for an early dinner and wander over to the lookout above Minnehaha Falls. If you've still got energy left, explore some of the paths leading to the lower falls and through the park.
Except for the Winchell this route can also be biked - rentals are available at Minnehaha Park.
See my reviews on:
Sea Salt Eatery (Restaurants)
Winchell Trail (Off the Beaten Path)
Minnehaha Park (Things to Do)
This link will give you a google map of the area (the red line is the Winchell):
This link will provide light rail info:
At the heart of the Uptown neighborhood, featuring shops, restaurants and bars.
I can't really tell you about the stores in here. I have never gone here for shopping. But there are some great places to eat, drink and hangout here. Sushi Tango, Independent, Filio's and Famous Dave's are some great places to dine and grab a drink. Great place to see and be seen.
I have a great time in Minneapolis/St. Paul every time. They have wonderful gardens, restaurants and the Mall of America is a great time for kids. Plus it has any store you could possibly want to see. They have a Prairie Home Companion store which I love!
If you have access to a bicycle, this is an excellent city to explore the parkways. Relatively flat, the geography is darn near perfect for biking. You can actually circle the city using the bike paths that connect the chain of lakes (Lake of the Isles, Calhoun, Harriett, etc.) and the river without putting yourself in mortal danger in traffic.
We had two teenagers with us, so we were limited to attending activities that they would be OK with. That left out a few things we would have loved to have seen - The St. Paul City Hall and Courthouse, the State Capital, the Walker Art Theatre and even the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.
“Rah Rah Rah for Ski U Mah! Rah for the U of M!!!”
It might seem strange to visit a University on your visit to MN. But if you're here for a bit the U really as quite a bit to offer all day, every day!S
This Minneapolis/Saint Paul campus is over 2,000 acres. That makes it one of the largest in the US!
The University is located in Minneapolis in an area called Dinkytown. This is practically part of the college campus, and many student organizations housed there while the Coffman Student union was under (infinitly long) construction.
Art Exhibits on Campus
The Goldstein Museum of Design – Presents changing exhibits focused on the role of art and design in people's lives.
Larson Gallery, St. Paul Student Center – Exhibits are featured in an informal atmosphere with music for listening and places for relaxing.
Nash Gallery, Regis Center for Art– Art exhibitions by faculty and students of the Department of Art, Twin Cities Student Unions Visual Arts Committee, and regional and national artists.
Weisman Art Museum – A Twin Cities architectural landmark featuring a collection of American art and a continuing schedule of special exhibitions, lectures, and programs.
more to come!
Sight seeing and Shopping and Amusement park at he Mall of America.
It is actually in the Minneapolis suburb of Bloomington, MN. This is close to the airport: 10-15 min drive. The parking is free.
There is much more to our area than this shopping meca.
Take a walk or bike ride around one of the many lakes in the area. There are several in Uptown that have separate paths for walking and bicycling or rollerblading. If you can't make it to Uptown, Loring Park is right downtown and across the street is the Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden. There is also a path along the Mississippi River called the Mississippi Mile.
We always try to take along something to feed all of the ducks and geese. These pictures were taken at the park near our house on the Mississippi River.
Activities in MN include; Minnesota Zoo, Valley Fair (in the summer of course), Mall of America, Goose Berry Falls (Up North Duluth), Museums, visit the state parks (the falls).