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Top 10 Things to do in Minneapolis

The Best Things to do in Minneapolis

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Visiting Minneapolis? Or new in town? Here's the top 10 things to do in Minneapolis.

1. Admire Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls
Clara James

Minnehaha Falls are a 53 foot tall waterfall in Minnehaha Park. Minnehaha Creek flows through Minneapolis, from the lakes in the south west to the Mississippi on the east of the city. And on the way, the creek plunges over an unexpected precipice creating Minnehaha Falls.It's one of Minneapolis' most popular parks in the summer, and worth a visit in the winter, when the falls freeze into a dramatic wall of ice. And for that sensation of leaving the city, you can take a gentle hike downstream, through woods and wildflowers, to the Mississippi River.

2. See a Show at First Avenue

Star outside Minneapolis music venue, First Avenue.
Clara James

First Avenue is a veritable icon of Minneapolis. Once the downtown Minneapolis Greyhound bus depot, remodeled into a live music venue by ripping everything out, adding a stage and sound system, and painting the whole place black. What more do you want? The place has a great atmosphere. Prince played here in the early days of his career, and he's still spotted at First Avenue shows.

Major pop, rock and indie music acts play here, and for bands with the biggest following, most would rather play two nights at First Avenue than one night at a larger venue. A photograph with the wall of stars in the background is a must-do souvenir of Minneapolis. 

3. Hang Out in Uptown Minneapolis

The Uptown Theater in Uptown Minneapolis
Clara James

Fixed gear bikes, American Apparel, cool kids, wealthy professionals, and the cool stores they like to shop at equals Uptown Minneapolis. Chic bars, restaurants and chic stores are gathered around the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, the heart of Uptown Minneapolis.

There's plenty to do in Uptown Minneapolis. Shop, eat, hang out at a coffee shop, and drink and party in the evening. It's a couple of blocks from Lake Calhoun, where the beautiful people go to sunbathe in the summer, and run or rollerblade around the lake.

4. Visit the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a free art park near downtown Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a joint project between Minneapolis Parks and Recreation department, and the Walker Art Center, a modern art gallery over the road from the Sculpture Garden.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has several collosal works of art, including an unofficial icon of Minneapolis - the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture, a great place for a photo opportunity.

5. Go to a Twins Game at Target Field

Target Field Baseball Stadium in Downtown Minneapolis
Clara James

The new home for the Minnesota Twins, who cleverly departed the Metrodome before the roof fell in, is Target Field in the western side of downtown Minneapolis. Target Field is an open-air ballpark, and received praise from ballplayers and spectators for the seating, the view, the atmosphere, the food and the accessibility and proximity to the rest of downtown Minneapolis. A great way to spend a summer evening - especially if the Minnesota Twins continue to do well.

6. Visit the Mill City Museum

Minnesota Historical Society

Minneapolis' origins were as a mill town, first processing timber, and then becoming the largest flour-producing city in the nation in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today the flour mills stand idle, or have been razed, or converted to chic lofts. But you can see a glimpse of that time at the Mill City Museum on the bank of the Mississippi in downtown Minneapolis. Operated by General Mills, the mill exploded and caught fire several times during its working life. Once abandoned, an almost catastrophic fire destroyed much of the mill. The Minnesota Historical Center took charge of the remains, which were stabilized and a museum was built inside the ruins. This is one of the best places to experience the history of Minneapolis.

7. Visit the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The front facade of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis.
Clara James

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a major art gallery in Minneapolis, with pieces spanning several millennia from all over the globe. Works from antiquity through modern art fill this vast space, where it's easy to get lost for a whole day.

And it's always free to visit - some special events and exhibitions may have an admission charge.

8. Eat a Juicy Lucy Burger (Or Jucy Lucy)

Minneapolis' contribution to world cuisine is the Juicy Lucy burger, the inside-out cheeseburger with the cheese in the middle of the meat. The cheese becomes super-heated when the burger is cooked so Juicy Lucys are served with a warning against scalding your mouth. Regardless of the danger, it's a neat idea, since the cheese keeps the meat from drying out. The Juicy Lucy - also known as a Jucy Lucy - was invented sometime in the 1950s by either the 5-8 Club, or Matt's Bar, both in south Minneapolis. The rivalry between the two bars who both claim to have invented the Juicy Lucy adds to the appeal. You need to try both of the contenders' burgers - who do you think does it best?

9. Shop at Mall of America

Depending on how you measure it, this is the biggest mall in the country and one of the largest in the world. As well as hundreds of shops and stores, there are also restaurants, a theme park, an aquarium, a wedding chapel, and several events with local and national celebrities.

Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing so it's a common destination for out-of-state travelers who stock up on a whole season's wardrobe before flying home.

10. Spend Time at the Lakes

Yachts at Lake Harriet, Minneapolis
Clara James

Minneapolis' nickname is the "City of Lakes". There are 22 in the city, and the largest are in south Minneapolis. The Chain of Lakes - Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet - are the most popular for canoeing, sailing, windsurfing, sunbathing, walking and running around in the summer, and for ice skating, ice fishing and snow kiting in the winter. Lake Nokomis is another large lake in the cities, sadly bisected by a road bridge, but still a popular venue for the swimming part of triathlons. Almost all the lakes in the city have a running or cycle path around them, and areas of parkland for relaxing in. 

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