Minneapolis - St. Paul Travel Guide

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1-day Itinerary in Minneapolis - St. Paul

Explore the best things to do in Minneapolis - St. Paul in 1 day based on recommendations from local experts.

Day 1

  • 1
    #2
    Chain of Lakes
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    #2 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/Pools, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Described on by one resident as, "A must for visitors who wish to understand our city," no trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes is complete without a stroll around some of the metro's most popular. Each of the five bodies of water that encompass the Chain of Lakes byway district has something different to offer: Lake Harriet features live music during the summer, not to mention a bird sanctuary, rose gardens and two family-friendly beaches, while Lake Calhoun draws a more active crowd with plenty of boat and bike rentals and paths for jogging and biking. Though not as popular, the Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Brownie Lake are great backdrops for a picnic or a stroll. If you visit during the summer, you'll find a plethora of sporting and live music events at the Chain of Lakes, particularly during July's Aquatennial festival. 

    Located about 5 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis, the Chain of Lakes is open to visitors year round. Access to the lakes is free, but parking and facility rentals may not be. Pricing can vary by lake.

    15-20 minutes by car
  • 2
    #4
    Walker Art Center
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    #4 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Even if you're not incredibly passionate about art, a spin through the Walker Art Center is worth a few hours. It's famous for its collection of modern and contemporary art comprising paintings, sculpture and photographs from both American and European artists. One of the Walker's biggest draws is the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the country and home to the renowned Spoonbridge and Cherry (the piece has become somewhat of an iconic symbol for Minneapolis)For a spectacular view of the city, take a stroll across the nearby Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge.

    Recent travelers offered mixed reviews for the modern art showcased here, but reviewers are quick to recommend the garden. Visitors caution that young kids may not enjoy the museum, but do suggest a trip to the Walker for the garden alone.

    10-15 minutes by car
  • 3
    #6
    Stone Arch Bridge
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    #6 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The Stone Arch Bridge is a must-see for any architecture buff. This 2,100-foot granite and limestone bridge (featuring a total of 23 arches) was constructed in 1883 and was vital to the city's development by increasing movement of people and goods into and out of Minneapolis. Designated a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1971, it is the only stone arch bridge to have ever traversed the Mississippi River. Today, you can walk or ride bikes between Father Hennepin Bluff Park on the east bank of the river and Mill Ruins Park on the west bank. You might also visit for the bridge's impressive views of downtown Minneapolis (especially at sunset) from its perch over St. Anthony Falls. Thanks to the bridge's scenic perch, it's become a popular spot for marriage proposals and wedding photos.

    Recent visitors recommend wearing comfortable shoes for your walk or ride and advise bringing a camera to capture the skyline views. If you want to make a day of it, you'll also find the Mill City Museum and Guthrie Theater less than a mile from the bridge's westside entrance. You'll also find parking lots and ramps located near both ends of the bridge. If you're looking for more to-dos in this area, check out St. Anthony Main. Situated across the Mississippi River from the Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum, this area is home to several restaurants, including local favorite, Aster Cafe. Along with a handful of eateries and a movie theater, St. Anthony Main also hosts one of the Nice Ride bike-share stations – perfect for getting across the bridge. For more information about the bridge, visit the National Park Service website. It is accessible 24/7 free of charge.

    10 minute walk
  • 4
    #11
    Mill City Museum
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    #11 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Museums, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Tours
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    To learn more about Minneapolis' industrious past, take some time to tour the Mill City Museum. Situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River and housed in what was once the largest flour mill in the world, the museum recreates an authentic mill experience with equipment, railroad cars and family-friendly hands-on exhibits demonstrating milling techniques. The museum also boasts its own baking lab for cooking demonstrations. Past visitors said the museum can be a great way to spend a cold or rainy day, but caution that the admission prices can be a bit high, especially for families. You'll also find a farmers market here — in both summer and winter — in the museum's train shed.

    Sitting several blocks from the Stone Arch Bridge and the Guthrie Theater, the Mill City Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday afternoons from noon to 5 p.m. In July and August, the museum is also open on Mondays. Admission for adults costs $12; seniors and students pay $10; tickets for children ages 6 to 17 cost $6. If you would like to join a guide-led walking tour, you'll have to buy seperate tickets. The musuem does not have its own parking lot, but there are several pay lots within walking distance. The museum is also accessible via bus and light rail. Visit the official website for information on guided tours, weekly events and market hours. 

    5 minute walk
  • 5
    #3
    Guthrie Theater
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    #3 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Entertainment and Nightlife, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Named for founder Sir Tyrone Guthrie, the downtown theater is one of the nation's most renowned and one of the city's most beloved treasures. Opening in 1963 with a production of "Hamlet," the Guthrie Theater's repertory company has made a name for itself with its highly praised balance of classical theater and avant-garde productions. Aside from its three individual performance spaces, the theater also boasts a full-service restaurant, two casual eateries and some of the best views of Minneapolis from the banks of the Mississippi River.

    Past visitors highly recommended seeing a show while you're in town saying there isn't a bad seat in the house. Others were impressed by the building's architecture and the outstanding river views.

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