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.
- 1#2View all PhotosfreeChain of Lakes#2 in Minneapolis - St. PaulFree, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Swimming/PoolsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
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 Bde Maka Ska (formerly 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#4View all Photos#4 in Minneapolis - St. PaulMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseumsTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME 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#6View all Photos#6 in Minneapolis - St. PaulFree, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Parks and Gardens, Recreation, SightseeingTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME 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#11View all Photos#11 in Minneapolis - St. PaulMuseums, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseums, ToursTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME 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. Others appreciated the wealth of Minnesota history on display here, as well as the view of the river from the museum. You'll also find a farmers market here – in both summer and winter – in the museum's train shed.5 minute walk
- 5#3View all Photos#3 in Minneapolis - St. PaulEntertainment and Nightlife, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDEntertainment and Nightlife, ToursTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME 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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