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Roadside Attractions in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Weird Attractions, Oddities, Unusual and Unique Destinations in Minneapolis


On a road trip, and looking for weird, unique attractions and oddities? Here's what unusual and unique things you can find in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Al's Breakfast, Perhaps the World's Narrowest Diner

Richard Kaszeta
It's only 10 feet wide, so you'll need to squeeze in, take your seat at the bar, and if anyone's waiting they'll be in a line right behind you - a one-of-a-kind ambiance. The decor is unique, and the food is great. Al's is at 413 14th Avenue SE, Minneapolis, open 6am-1pm daily.

Mary Tyler Moore Statue

MattButts/via Wikipedia
Fans of the Mary Tyler Moore Show can find a statue of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her tam-o-shanter hat in the air outside of the skyscraper that the famous scene from the opening sequence was filmed by. At 7th Street and Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. Nicollet Mall is a pedestrian area with plenty of shops and restaurants for extra tourist appeal. Extra credit: a tour of Minneapolis locations used in the show.

First Avenue's Wall of Stars

Mulad /Wikipedia
First Avenue is one of the best places for live music in the county, and it's one of the best-looking venues too. First Avenue was prominently featured in the Prince movie Purple Rain, for you 80s movie fans. The outside of the building is black and covered with silver stars bearing the names of iconic musicians and bands. A great photo opportunity, and if you are in town for the evening, a great place to see a show.

Lake Harriet Elf House

Clara James
One for the young (and young at heart). At the base of a tree near Minneapolis' Lake Harriet is a teeny tiny door, purported to be the entrance to an elf house. Local children leave notes and candy for the elf, and often the elf leaves a note in reply. You can find the elf house in a tree on the walking path around the lake. The nearest street intersection is Lake Harriet Parkway and Oliver Street, on the south side of the lake. Lake Harriet also has other attractions for visitors - two beaches, a rose garden, a bandshell and concessions for sale in the summer.

Spoonbridge and Cherry Sculpture

Spoonbridge and Cherry
Rx Strangelove /Wikipedia
The Walker modern art gallery curates an outdoor sculpture garden, and the garden's most famous occupant is the colossal Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture, a gigantic cherry perched on an enormous spoon. An excellent place for a photo opportunity, to stretch your legs, or enjoy a picnic. Admission is free. (It's also probably the closest thing to a roadside attraction inside the city of Minneapolis, since you can see it from I-394.)

Historic White Castle Restaurant

White Castle Restaurant
Todd Murray
Bear with me on this one. Back in the early days of fast food, the White Castle restaurant chain experimented with pre-fabricated, movable buildings to house their restaurants. Several portable restaurants were constructed, from porcelain enamel over a steel structure, and one survives in Minneapolis. The building doesn't sell burgers any more, but it's worth a visit to admire the architecture - this White Castle lives up to the name with decorative towers, battlements and other castle-like features. The structure was built in 1936, and was added to the National Register of Historic places in 1986. You can find it at 3252 Lyndale Avenue, Minneapolis.

Giant Bottle Cap Sign

Mulad /via Wikipedia
If you appreciate beer signs, or vintage advertising, this is one of the best. Built in 1941, the Grain Belt Beer sign is one of the largest neon signs in the US. The sign is at West Island Avenue and De La Salle Drive on Harriet Island in downtown Minneapolis. Also can be viewed from the West River Parkway, and the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.

A Juicy Lucy Burger

Have time for lunch, or dinner? Minneapolis invented the inside-out cheeseburger, known as the Juicy Lucy (or the Jucy Lucy, depending on where you go) where the cheese is to be found inside the meat. Delicious and slightly dangerous - beware of the scalding hot cheese. Notable dive bar Matt's Bar at 3500 S. Cedar Avenue in Minneapolis serves the best Jucy Lucy burgers in Minneapolis, although there are several other restaurants that dish up this Minneapolis-born burger.
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