Minneapolis is an ever picturesque city filled with lakes and outdoor activities.
It is home to some of the most excellent museums and theaters in the country.
Minneapolis has a great offering when it comes to tourist destinations. Visitors of all ages can come and stay in romantic hotels, have a delicious breakfast, and go on scenic bike rides along the many trails by the lake.
There are free attractions. There are tourist destinations that require you to pay a small fee.
There are activities for families and friends. There are also activities for solo travelers.
It does not matter what kind of traveler you are. You will always find something to do in Minneapolis. And the best thing about the city is that each attraction is near the other.
Do you need a car when in Minneapolis?
I doubt it.
Here are 12 of my favorite spots in Minneapolis.
List of Contents
1. Walker Art Center
Established as one of the country’s Big Five modern art museums, the Walker Art Center is a top attraction when in Minneapolis.
It is a multi-disciplinary contemporary art center located at the city’s heart.
Created as a public art gallery in 1927, the art center covers an area of about 17 acres. There were recent renovations that resulted in the museum doubling its size.
The center covers a wide array of disciplines.
Here, there are a lot of displays on architecture and design, visual arts, performing arts, and even new media initiatives.
There are also displays on films and videos.
Finally, some displays highlight education and community programs.
The Walker Art Center sits across from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. You can also swing by the sculpture park before you head home when visiting the art center.
We will discuss the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden later.
2. The Chain of Lakes Regional Park
One of the most famous attractions in Minneapolis is the Chain of Lakes Regional Park.
The attraction features expansive gardens. It is also popular for its gorgeous lakes that you can explore on foot or by bike.
For starters, Minneapolis is famous as the City of Lakes. And this is for a good reason.
The state of Minnesota features activities and attractions that involve the lake. The Chain of Lakes Regional Park is the most popular of these attractions in the state.
Located in the middle of South Minneapolis, the series of lakes provides its visitors with different characteristics.
I also like the attraction because it is the district of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. I am sure that your visit to the regional park is worth it.
Your visit covers a glimpse of the epic shorelines of Brownie Lake, Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun), and Cedar Lake. You will also see the enchanting Lake Harriet during your visit.
Some trails interconnect all of these lakes, making it easier for you to access them all in one visit.
Also, while visiting, you can swing by Lyndale Park, which is also a part of the property.
What I love about this tourist attraction are the walking paths. There is also a bike path, several beaches, and many sprawling green spaces where you can have a picnic with friends.
If you love physical activities, you can rent a stand-up paddleboard, a kayak, or a canoe. There is also a sailboat that you can rent to take you on a tour of the lakes by yourself.
However, if these activities are not your cups of tea, you can see a concert at the outdoor pavilion. You can find the outdoor pavilion at Lake Harriet Bandshell Park.
The lakes turn into ski parks during winter. These lakes, in turn, are great fishing spots during summer.
If you are at the Walker Art Center, you can stop by the Lake of the Isles before heading home.
3. Mill City Museum
In a nutshell, the Mill City Museum is in the ruins of the Washburn A Mill area. The property dates back to 1880 and is a popular attraction in Minneapolis.
During its glory days, it was the largest flour mill.
Here, you can learn about the groundbreaking milling process. The process resulted in fine wheat available for mass marketing at the time.
When you are in the museum, you can take a tour. It would give you a peek at the interpretation boards. There are also several fun activities for the kids. Head on to the Water and Baking Labs for more of these activities.
You might also be interested in the Flour Tower elevator show. It lifts you through eight property floors and lets you travel back in time.
Here, you can listen to stories of the workers and experience an explosion that happened in the 19th century when airborne flour ignited.
The observation deck at the roof is a must-see.
It gives you a view of the entire old industrial riverfront of Minneapolis.
4. Mill City Farmers Market
Situated at the Chicago Mall near the historic train shed of the Mill City Museum is the Mill City Farmers Market.
Here, you will find the freshest produce sold. These are from local, sustainable, and organic farmers and artisans of Minnesota.
The market features several vendors that sell a wide range of fresh and artisanal products. There are handmade arts and crafts, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, and clothing.
There are also different types of food and freshly-made juices local vendors produce.
Finally, there is live entertainment. There are also cooking demonstrations and food tastings galore!
5. The Minnehaha Mile
Minnehaha Avenue is a popular shopping and dining district in Minneapolis.
Over the past several decades, the avenue saw rapid changes that included a horde of small businesses sprouting left and right.
All these small businesses bring with them their unique characters.
The Minnehaha Mile is on this avenue. It is in the south Minneapolis area and sits right in the Longfellow neighborhood.
Yes, you can always buy used items somewhere else in Minneapolis. But the shops that sell used items at the Minnehaha Mile are extensive and extra special.
There are yoga studios in the area. There are also health centers that occupy prominent spaces here.
Of course, there is also high-quality dining available.
And when you are in the area, you can head over to 35th Street. From here, you take a left and stop by the Purple Rain House.
The Prince fictionally lived here while filming the movie.
6. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
As previously mentioned, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is another attraction that you can find across another – the Walker Art Center.
The sculpture garden is one of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the country.
There is a lot of space here. The avenues and formal hedges framed by the Basilica of Saint Mary and the skyscrapers of Minneapolis all provide beautiful scenery to the garden.
When visiting, never miss out on the Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain. These artworks are by the famous artist Claes Oldenburg and his wife Coosje Van Bruggen.
The other notable pieces are from Henry Moore, Ellsworth Kelly, and Alexander Calder. There are also pieces by Roy Lichtenstein, Mark di Suvero, and many more.
To date, there are more than 50 permanent and temporary artworks in the sculpture garden.
New pieces show up all year round.
When I visited, it was Katarina Fritsch’s Hahn/Cock and Black Vessel for a Saint by Theaster Gates that was on display.
7. Weisman Art Museum
A glance would tell you that you are seeing a crumpled aluminum can.
And indeed, the structure looks like a crumpled aluminum can.
The Weisman Art Museum houses an impressive collection of art inside its walls.
Designed by the famous architect Frank Gehry, the attraction is a modern art museum situated at the University of Minnesota campus.
It acted as a teaching museum for more than eight decades.
The museum has an extraordinary collection that features American artists of the early 20th century. Some notable names whose displays are here are Marsden Hartley and Georgia O’Keeffe.
There is also a wide and diverse selection of pottery and ceramics made by the Native American Mimbres artists. Plus, I also find that the unique display of Korean furniture is as interesting as the other exhibits.
8. Mary Tyler Moore Statue
When you are in downtown Minneapolis, be sure to swing by The Mary Tyler Moore Statue.
You can find the statue outside the former Dayton building on Nicollet Mall.
Mary Tyler Moore was a famous American actress to give you a background. She was famous for the 1970s TV series, “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” She also played a significant role in the movie “Ordinary People.”
In 1994, she became the spokesperson for Lifetime Television.
It was in 2009 when the city unveiled the statue of Mary Tyler Moore. This statue is at the SE corner of Nicollet Mall and W 7th Street, which is a few blocks away from the home where she grew up.
The statue is a famous landmark in Minneapolis.
9. Theodore Wirth Park
Theodore Wirth Park is the largest city park in Minneapolis. Despite its size, it is complete with amenities, some of which are normal, others seem out of the ordinary.
Like all parks, there are playgrounds where your kids can play.
There are also walking trails and sports facilities.
But what I love in this park is the 15-acre wildflower garden and bird sanctuary. There is also a quaking bog that you can navigate by the boardwalk.
Inside the park are a disc golf course, a beach, and a cross-country ski trail that you can explore in winter.
Aside from there, there are also sledding and tubing activities that you can do.
Usually, when the snow melts during spring, the hilly ground is perfect for mountain biking.
In the summer months, you can also play a round of golf at the park’s 18-hole par-73 golf course.
10. Children’s Theater Company
Commonly known as The Moppet Players during the 1960s, the Children’s Theater Company is an award-winning theater in Minneapolis.
It is a regional theater. Its specialization delves into plays, shows, and concerts, perfect for families and young audiences.
Founded in 1965 by John Clark Donahue, the theater has become at the top in the theatrical community.
Over the years, it exposed and educated young people through art.
In 2003, the Tony Award organization recognized the Children’s Theater Company for its performance over the years.
Some popular productions in the past include classics like Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and Cinderella.
The Wizard of Oz also once played here.
11. The Bakken Museum
Located in a beautiful area outside Bde Maka Ska Lake is The Bakken Museum.
Minnesota is the home of medical giants United Healthcare and Medtronic.
At some point, Minnesota Made created a series of journalistic articles that delve into the history of medical innovation in the city.
All these are in The Bakken Museum, displayed for all to see.
There is a perfect space for hands-on learning.
And if you love science and engineering, you will find Spark of Life’s interactive display fascinating. The display includes a playable theremin and an antique EKG machine. It also comes with a 60,000-volt Wimshurst Generator to give you a real feel of how it is to power.
You will also find supervised play spaces inside the museum. Also, you can take guided tours of the three gardens inside the property.
12. Foshay Tower
At 821 Marquette Avenue is a skyscraper.
It was the tallest building in Minneapolis from 1929 until the 1970s when the IDS Center went up.
The first thing you notice about the Foshay Tower is the slope of its walls. The walls slope inwards.
Also, the tower seems to be so far away from the main street.
In 2008, Foshay Tower became a hotel. Despite this, it retained its Art Deco pieces, its Italian marbles, and its African mahogany gold-plated interior.
If you are not a hotel guest, you can still go up to the open-air observation deck. It is on the 30th floor of the building, where you can also find a museum that documents the tower’s history.
The city gave birth to Bob Dylan and Prince. It is a beautiful city to explore.
Even without a car, you can rest easily, and you would be able to cover many tourist attractions.
The city comes with museums, parks, and galleries. It also has tours, dining establishments, and a lot more.
And who could ever forget about the lakes?
These lakes are the pride of Minneapolis. It will be a shame if you miss them on your visit.
Have you been to Minneapolis?
Which attraction do you think should make it into this list?
Let me know your thoughts.