Best Things to Do in Minneapolis Minnesota

Minneapolis is the powerhouse of economics and culture of Minnesota and has plenty to offer to its residents and its visitors, whether they’re single or with family. Couples can stay in luxurious hotels, eat in fancy cafes and restaurants, go on scenic hikes and bike rides, and enjoy innumerable free attractions Mill City has to offer. 

If you’re considering visiting or moving to Minneapolis, some knowledge about the city and its culture may help you get a long way. This article aims to serve as a travel guide to Minneapolis’ visitors, offering insight into numerous attractions and fun things you can do in this magnificent city. 

About Minneapolis

About Minneapolis 

Minneapolis, the county seat of Hennepin CTY, is the most populous city in the state of Minnesota and much trendier compared to its twin-city, the quieter Saint Paul, the state’s capital. Geographically, it lies on both banks of the Mississippi River and features numerous bodies of water, a chain of lakes, wetlands, creeks, waterfalls, and numerous park systems. 

Population-wise, the 16 counties making up Minneapolis and St. Paul-Bloomington metro area has approximately 3.6 million residents. The entire region, consisting of 22 counties in total, has a combined four million residents. 

The city itself is anchored in music and performance arts. It’s home to the Guthrie Theater and the First Avenue nightclub. The live music scene of Minneapolis is particularly lively, considering that numerous folk, funk, and alternative rock musicians originate from the region, most notable of which are Bob Dylan and Prince. 

About Minnesota

Beyond the Twin Cities, Minnesota’s appeal as a vacation or living destination lies in its natural beauties. Dubbed the “Land of 10,000 lakes,” Minnesota boasts its miles upon lines of lakes and woods, drawing out the outdoor enthusiasts with its natural treasures, making it one of nature’s most beautiful playgrounds. 

Minnesota is perfect for individuals who like kayaking, canoeing, and mountain biking. However, if you prefer paved tracks, Minnesota offers over 4,000 miles of scenic bike paths and hiking trails. If you’re into more traditional sports, fishing and hunting have a longstanding history in Minnesota, and considering its temperate climate and numerous bodies of water; the entire state appeals to ice fishermen. 

What Makes Minneapolis a Great Place to Live?

People are flocking to Minneapolis due to its low cost of living, a very strong job market, incredible outdoor adventures, and rich cultural life. 

It’s worth mentioning that Minneapolis residents spend approximately 21% of their household income on living expenses, which is significantly lower than what New York residents are paying. For example, the median income in New York is only $2,000 higher, but housing costs in New York are more than 97% more expensive than Minneapolis housing costs. However, there are some expensive home sales in Minneapolis

The affordable cost of living in MN is further complemented with a lively food scene, and if you’re a foodie, you’ll love Minneapolis. All that delicious food is best washed down with some craft beer, and Minneapolis has an incredibly strong brewery culture, which birthed more than 80 different breweries located around the city. 

We already mentioned a strong job market in Minneapolis, with Target and Hennepin Healthcare being the largest employers in the city.  Thanks to the large and well-designed network of highways, and very well-managed and practical infrastructure, you’ll get to work in no time. 

What really makes Minneapolis a great place to live is the abundance of fun things to do. You can literally pack your calendar; the summers are reserved for the Minnesota State Fair, endless music and art festivals, and very vivid nightlife. However, winter isn’t without its charms; people make ice sculptures, there are winter carnivals, and endless winter sports like cross-country skiing, pond hockey, and ice fishing. 

If you’re not a winter person, you might want to consider someplace more tropical. Before going down the “buy my house Minnesota” on local real estate listings, please contact Mill City Home Buyers — we buy houses Minneapolis residents are looking to sell promptly and for cash. 

Things to Do in Minneapolis 

The city that gave us the Prince and Bob Dylan also happens to be one of the Midwest’s cultural and economic centers, with plenty of fun things to offer. Whether you’re visiting, or have just moved to the city, here’s a list of things you can do in Minneapolis: 

Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA)

The MIA’s collection of art is staggering, as it features fine European art, pre-Columbian artifacts, and inspiring collections of Asian art. There’s something for every art lover here, considering that MIA has more than 80,000 cataloged works spanning over five millennia and several continents. 

The Mill City Museum

Located in the ruins of Washburn A. Mill complex, the Mill City Museum offers guided tours of the world’s largest flour mill of 1880. You can discover more about the milling process, what it would be like to work at a mill in the 19th century, and just how explosive airborne flour is. 

Stone Arch Bridge

This architectural beauty was a railway bridge that connected the banks of the Mississippi River between 1880 and 1978. In the 1990s, it was turned into a pedestrian bridge that grants a fantastic view of St. Anthony Falls.

Walker Art Center

This contemporary art center features ten galleries, a theater, a cinema, and a cafe and restaurant. It spans over a 17-acre campus that opened in 1971 and was united with the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden in 2017 after its founder’s building was given a massive makeover. 

Despite being surrounded by skyscrapers of downtown Minneapolis, the Sculpture Garden is actually pretty vast and centers around the Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain, a piece designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. 

Mississippi National River and Recreational Area

Mississippi National River and Recreational Area is a 72-mile green corridor that runs through Minneapolis and St. Paul, solely dedicated to the Mississippi River. Being a part of the Minneapolis riverfront, the Area actually encompasses several things mentioned on this list, like the Stone Arch Bridge, Mill City Museum, Fort Snelling, and St. Anthony Bridge.

Weisman Art Museum 

Frank Gehry’s architectural jumble of curves and angles houses the Weisman Art Museum, featuring a massive collection of American Artists, Korean furniture, and Native American pottery. The museum changes exhibits every few months but also features permanent exhibits of postcard collections and a growing collection of works produced by female artists. 

American Swedish Institute

Many people of the region have Scandinavian ancestry, and the Institute serves as a museum and a cultural center that records the contribution of Swedish Americans to the U.S. throughout history and culture. 

Mall of America

Mall of America is the largest mall in the United States, featuring more than 500 stores, and several attractions, such as Nickelodeon Universe, Sea Life Aquarium, and Crayola Experience, on top of everything. The entire complex welcomes more than 40 million visitors a year, offering brands for all tastes and budgets. 

Nickelodeon Universe

The Mall of America is so huge it actually houses an entire amusement park — the Nickelodeon Universe. Opened in 1992, it’s the largest indoor amusement park in the US, featuring plenty of activities for the young ones. Your children can meet their favorite Nickelodeon characters, such as Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob, while enjoying some of the numerous rides and attractions, including several coasters.  

Target Field 

Baseball lovers will most certainly love visiting the Target Field, home to the All-Star Game of 2014. The venue seats 38,500 sports fans for sporting events and even more people for concerts and music shows. For an additional $5, you can get access to the ballpark during baseball events, but don’t expect any seating. 

University of Minnesota 

The University of Minnesota is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River, covered with vast green space and numerous types of architectural-style buildings that span decades. The campus itself is gorgeous and has plenty of greenery. On top of that, the University of Minnesota has very active summers, offering plenty of events and activities. 

Minneapolis Skyway System 

Downtown Minneapolis has devised a network of enclosed pedestrian bridges, linking an entire host of buildings, spanning over 80 blocks. These bridges are included in all new constructions, serving as an effective escape from the freezing temperatures of the winter. The entire system spans over 9.5 miles of pathways across the second and third floors of various buildings, including offices, banks, government buildings, and hotels. 

Bde Maka Ska (former Lake Calhoun)

Bde Maka Ska spans over 400 acres, offering plenty of fun activities on both land and water. It’s encircled by a biking path for those looking for some fun on the land and offers paddleboards, rowboats, kayaks, and canoes as rentals for a few peaceful hours on the water. The lake has three sandy beaches featuring softball, soccer, and volleyball sports fields. 

Lake Harriet

Lake Harries spreads over 335 acres surrounded by leafy parklands, with two sand beaches and cycling, canoeing, rowing, and kayaking rentals. It also offers sailing lessons for both grownups and youth, and together with Bde Maka Ska, Lake of the Isles, and several other still-water bodies, merges into the Chain of Lakes Regional Park. 

Minnehaha Regional Park

Minnehaha Park is located on the lower reaches of Minnehaha Creek, just a few minutes away from downtown Minneapolis. The piece of untamed wilderness also has a 16-meter Minnehaha Falls waterfall, which freezes over the winter, or goes into full force during heavy rains. Either way, it’s a beautiful sight to behold. 

Grand Rounds Scenic Byway 

The Grand Round Scenic Byway is one of the nation’s longest continuous parkways interconnecting several parks in Minneapolis. The 51-mile long byway goes along the banks of Mississippi and through Minnehaha and Chain of Lakes, as well as several other parks laid out throughout the city. It also passes through, or by, several creeks, lakes, wetlands, lagoons, canals, greenways, and picnic areas. 

Fort Snelling 

This historic fort, resting on the bluffs of Minnesota River, was used to train Union Army volunteers and served as a training center in the Indian Campaigns and both World Wars. It was finally decommissioned after the end of WWII and reverted to its original look. Now, it features costumed re-enactors of the European fur trade in the 18th and 19th centuries and the US-Dakota War of 1862.  

Midtown Global Market 

Midtown Exchange is the second largest building in Minnesota, second only to Mall of America. It was built in 1920 as a Sears retail and mail-order store. After Sears left the building, it spent nearly a decade empty before it was repurposed into a multi-commercial building. If you’re not there for shopping, the Midtown Global Market is a fantastic brunch location, as it has a staggering variety of restaurants under a single roof. 

Minnesota Zoo

Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo is a state-run attraction that presents the species native to the state, those that live north, those that live in the tropics, and aquariums that house sharks, rays, and seals. The Zoo also houses several species from the Russian wilderness and an interactive program for the youngest visitors. 

Somali Cuisine 

With nearly 75,000 Somali people living in the Twin Cities area, there’s no shortage of East African culture; most prominently, its cuisine. Daalo Grill, located on 2647 Nicollet Ave, is well known for its roasted goat, while Qoraxlow restaurant, located on 2910 Pillsbury Lane Ave, offers fantastic spaghetti and spicy lamb meat sauce. 

Summary

Minneapolis really has plenty to offer, and it’s a fantastic place to visit any time of the year. If you’re thinking about relocating to Minneapolis, the city has a relatively low cost of living index, a strong job market, and a whole range of different things and cultures you can experience. If you’re looking to list your primary residence on local Minneapolis listings, make sure to contact Mill City Home Buyers beforehand, they’ll likely make you a cash offer.

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