Minneapolis - St. Paul Travel Guide

USA  
Credit

Courtesy of AndreyKrav/Getty Images/iStockphoto

3-day Itinerary in Minneapolis - St. Paul

Explore the best things to do in Paris in 3 days based on recommendations from local experts.

Day 1

  • 1
    #2
    Chain of Lakes
    View all Photos
    #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.

    ...Read More »
    15-20 minutes by car
  • 2
    #4
    Walker Art Center
    View all Photos
    #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.

    Located in downtown Minneapolis, the Walker Art Center is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday) and until 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission for adults is $15; students pay $10; children younger than 18 can enjoy the art for free. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is open daily from 6 a.m. to midnight and is free of charge. There is paid underground parking available on-site for $5 a day. You'll also find limited, free street parking on surrounding streets. The museum hosts several special events, including the annual Rock the Garden summer music festival, which takes place every June in the open green space next to the Walker Art Center. A list of special events can be found at the museum's website.

    ...Read More »
    10-15 minutes by car
  • 3
    #6
    Stone Arch Bridge
    View all Photos
    #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.

    ...Read More »
    10 minute walk
  • 4
    #11
    Mill City Museum
    View all Photos
    #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. 

    ...Read More »
    5 minute walk
  • 5
    #3
    Guthrie Theater
    View all Photos
    #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.

    Performance ticket prices vary by show, but you can expect to pay between $29 and $78. If you can't catch a show, consider taking one of the tours offered by the theater. You can pay to go on a backstage, costume rentals or architecture tour. Tour hours and prices vary, so consult the Guthrie Theater's website for more information. Tours are usually offered Friday and Saturday mornings. The theater is located about half a mile east of downtown Minneapolis, near the Stone Arch Bridge and Mill City Museum. Ramp parking is available on South Second Street, directly across from the Guthrie. There are also several parking lots surrounding the theater. If you're taking the bus, Route 7 and Route 22 stop on the corner of Washington Avenue at Chicago Avenue, about two blocks from the theater.

    ...Read More »

Day 2

  • 1
    #1
    Minneapolis Institute of Art
    View all Photos
    #1 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Sheltering more than 90,000 works of art that span more than 5,000 years, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is the place to go if you're an art aficionado. Whether you're interested in ancient Egyptian artifacts or European masterpieces by artists such as Titian and Monet, this museum has what you need to get your fix. Recent visitors attest the museum is well-suited for all ages, thanks to the kids scavenger hunt offerered by the museum. Along with the impressive collection of art, travelers are also complimentary of the museum's other offerings, including the Agra Culture Coffee Shop and Cafe.

    Located south of the downtown area, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays) and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is free; special exhibits cost extra. Past visitors advised setting aside at least 90 minutes for your visit, though some recommended breaking up your museum tour into two days. Off-street parking is available in a parking ramp south of the museum. There are also surface lots on the northeast and southeast corners of the museum. If you're coming by bus, the museum is located on Route No. 11. For more information about current and upcoming exhibitions, visit the Mia's website.

    ...Read More »
    10 minutes by car
  • 2
    #12
    Midtown Global Market
    View all Photos
    #12 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're looking for a more unique shopping experience, skip the Mall of America and head to the Midtown Global Market, where more than 50 vendors sell food and trinkets ranging from local produce to Somalian Pastries, Middle Eastern olives and Asian spices. There are also cultural events — from musical performances to Irish step-dancing lessons. "This place is a treat for your senses," said one TripAdvisor user.

    Located about 3 miles south of downtown Minneapolis on East Lake Street, the Midtown Global Market is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can pay to park in a lot located on the west side of the market, or in the Midtown Exchange Ramp on the east side of the market with up to 1½ free hours with validation. For information on upcoming events and vendors, check out the Midtown Global Market website.

    ...Read More »
    15 minutes by car
  • 3
    #5
    Minnehaha Park
    View all Photos
    #5 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Parks and Gardens, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Sprawling along the banks of the Mississippi River, Minnehaha Park offers respite from the fast-paced atmosphere of Minneapolis. Situated about 6 miles southeast of central Minneapolis, the 193-acre park is a popular spot all year round. And the park's renowned 53-foot Minnehaha Falls  made famous by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, "The Song of Hiawatha"  have played an important role in the city's history, from its status as a treasured site among Native American tribes to having powered a mill during the latter half of the 19th century. Today, the falls attract tourists from around the country, while the park itself offers active visitors a perfect venue for outdoor recreation, including bike paths, volleyball courts and a playground.

    Past visitors raved about Minnehaha Park, describing it as "beautiful" and "relaxing." Many said the waterfall was the highlight here, but also recommended exploring the various hiking trails and bringing a picnic.

    More attractions are open during the summer, including the Wabun wading pool and the Sea Salt Eatery, but a wintertime visit is still worthwhile for a peek at the magnificent frozen falls. Minnehaha Park is open daily, free of charge, from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Free parking is available near the Wabun picnic area, along 46th Avenue South. To find out more information about the attractions within the park, including seasonal hours, visit the website of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.

    ...Read More »
    10-15 minutes by car
  • 4
    #8
    Mall of America
    View all Photos
    #8 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Shopping, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    If you're facing a rainy day or simply can't bear the weight of your wallet, the largest shopping mall in the country is a welcome distraction. With more than 500 stores (2.5 million square feet of retail space), this is the place to shop till you drop. If you're not in the mood to shop, the Mall of America is also home to several family-friendly attractions, including the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park  complete with more than 25 different rides and attractions  and the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium. Also make time for FlyOver America (a flight simulation ride) and XD Ride (part roller coaster, part video game)   you can even go to the movies. With so much to do, it's easy to make a trip to the mall a day-long activity. On the downside, the perpetual crowds and the sheer size of the space can be exhausting, according to past visitors. Others described the mall as clean and safe, and a great place to entertain the whole family. 

    Located about 11 miles south of downtown Minneapolis near the airport, the Mall of America is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. You should plan on spending money, even if you don't intend to shop, and wear comfortable shoes. For prices on individual attractions located within the mall, visit its website.

    ...Read More »

Day 3

  • 1
    #9
    Minnesota Zoo
    View all Photos
    #9 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Zoos and Aquariums
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Situated about 30 minutes south of downtown Minneapolis in the suburb of Apple Valley, this 485-acre complex shelters an impressive menagerie of nearly 5,000 animals  from camels to flamingos  as well as an Imax theater. Recent visitors said the zoo is a great family activity, no matter the weather. If you're interested in learning more about the animals native to the state, plan on visiting the Medtronic Minnesota Trail exhibit, which includes wolverines, coyotes and the American black bear. You'll find more exotic species in the zoo's Discovery Bay, which includes the 218,000-gallon Shark Reef exhibit. Along with the animals, the zoo also boasts its own hand-crafted Conservation Carousel (rides are not included in zoo admission).

    Travelers are complimentary of the zoo, especially its education and conservation efforts, but visitors do suggest wearing comfortable shoes as you'll be covering a lot of ground walking around the complex. If you get hungry traversing the massive facility, you'll find several eateries on site, including the Call of the Wild Food Court and several cafes open seasonally. You can also pack your own snacks or lunch  the zoo allows visitors to bring in outside food and outdoor picnic tables are available.

    Sitting south of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, the Minnesota Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 or 6 p.m., depending on the day and the season. Admission is $18 for adults and $12 for kids 3 to 12 years old; children 2 and younger can enter for free. If you want to catch an Imax film, you'll have to part with a bit more cash. Parking is $7 per car per day. For more information about the zoo's seasonal offerings and special events, visit the Minnesota Zoo website.

    ...Read More »
    20 minutes by car
  • 2
    #10
    Historic Fort Snelling
    View all Photos
    #10 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Established in the early 19th century as a frontier outpost, Fort Snelling is the oldest structure in Minnesota. Its perch over the converging point of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers allowed it to successfully control trade routes in the Upper Mississippi Valley. Today, Fort Snelling acts as a living history museum, with costumed tour guides offering ample information on its past. There are also exhibits detailing the site's history within the visitor center and "activity centers" scattered across the site that help visitors learn more about the Dakota homeland, immigration, soldiers and more. During the summer, the fort hosts numerous history-themed events, including demonstrations, competitions and youth programs. 

    Travelers said visiting Fort Snelling was like taking a step back in time and that "history comes alive" here. Others suggested wearing comfortable shoes as you'll be doing a lot of walking.

    While most recent visitors encouraged carving out some time in your itinerary for a stop here (especially if you're traveling with youngsters), others felt the tickets were a bit pricey for the experience. Admission to Fort Snelling is $12 for adults and $6 for kids ages 5 to 17; children 4 and younger enter for free. This fort neighbors the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, meaning you'll be close enough to hear the planes taking off and landing  a common complaint from recent travelers. Another thing to keep in mind: The site is open seasonally from Memorial Day to Labor Day, Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It's best to drive here, as the closest light-rail station is a 15-minute walk. Plus, there's free, on-site parking. For more information, check out the Fort Snelling website.

    ...Read More »
    20-25 minutes by car
  • 3
    #7
    Weisman Art Museum
    View all Photos
    #7 in Minneapolis - St. Paul
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Museums, Free
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    Designed by avant-garde architect Frank Gehry, the Weisman Art Museum is the place to go for a glimpse at some of America's most renowned contemporary art. Here, you'll find pieces by such famed artists as Georgia O'Keeffe and Roy Lichtenstein, not to mention an impressive collection of ceramics and Korean furniture. This museum also hosts notable touring exhibits.

    Some recent travelers found the museum too small, but others enjoyed its manageable size. A few reviewers said the collection wasn't worth making a special trip, but those who did stop by were impressed with its unique facade and scenic setting on the banks of the Mississippi River.

    And thanks to the Weisman's location on the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities campus, you can make a day of your visit, exploring the campus and surrounding neighborhoods (including budget-friendly Dinkytown). The Weisman Art Museum can be found nestled in the University of Minnesota campus, near the Washington Avenue Bridge that connects the university's east and west campuses. The museum is open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free. For more information on current exhibits and special events, consult the museum's website.

    ...Read More »

Explore More of Minneapolis - St. Paul

Recommended

The 21 Most Beautiful Waterfalls to See Around the World

Discover which stunning falls offer once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

Kyle McCarthyApril 25, 2019

The 20 Best Michigan State Parks

Two peninsulas, four Great Lakes and innumerable natural highlights elevate Michigan's state parks.

Zach WatsonApril 18, 2019

50 Awesome Vacation Ideas for Every Type of Traveler

Consider these vacation ideas for your next getaway.

Holly JohnsonApril 11, 2019

The 13 Best National Parks in California

You won't regret adding one of these national parks to your California itinerary.

Rachel CenterApril 10, 2019

10 Beautiful Places to Visit in the South of France

Plan a getaway to these special destinations to soak up culture, cuisine and quaint atmospheres.

Gwen PratesiApril 8, 2019

Best Carry-on Luggage of 2019

U.S. News rated the best carry-on luggage, considering recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerApril 3, 2019

The 11 Best Utah National Parks and Monuments to Visit

From birding to bouldering to boating, Utah's national parks have it all.

Zach WatsonApril 2, 2019

The 30 Best Zoos in the U.S.

Get an up-close look at wild creatures in natural settings at America's top animal parks.

Kyle McCarthyMarch 28, 2019

15 Scenic Train Rides to Add to Your Bucket List

Climb aboard these locomotives for jaw-dropping views.

Christine SmithMarch 26, 2019

13 Top Places to Visit in Tuscany, Italy

Ditch the crowded streets of Rome or Milan and head to Italy's picturesque countryside.

Lyn MettlerMarch 25, 2019