Frontdesk welcomes you to Minneapolis, Minnesota! Minneapolis makes up one half of the “Twin Cities,” with neighboring city St. Paul. Its other nicknames include The Mini Apple, Mill City, and City of Lakes. Minneapolis is most well known for the Mall of America and its connection to the musician Prince, but the city has much more to offer visitors. Keep reading to learn more about what to do, where to eat, and how to get around Minneapolis.
Things to do in Minneapolis
There are many activities and cultural attractions to see in Minneapolis. Whether you’re in town for a short time or a long time, traveling for business or pleasure, there is a wide variety of things to enjoy.
Parks, Lakes & Nature Activities
Minneapolis has 197 parks and the city boasts that the farthest you have to walk in any direction before you find one is 6 blocks. The largest of these is Theodore Wirth Regional Park, where you can enjoy biking, cross-country skiing, disc golf, or swimming, depending on the season. Minneapolis is also a city of many lakes – 22 to be exact. The main attraction is the Chain of Lakes, a string of 5 lakes where you can canoe, kayak, ice surf, and more.
Minneapolis has some world-class museums and there are lots of options for art lovers to enjoy! We recommend checking out the Walker Art Center, which features contemporary visual arts and design exhibitions, plus its nearby Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with the famous “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture. There is also the Minneapolis Institute of Art, which has more than 90,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history.
Mall of America
Located 15 minutes south of downtown, the Mall of America is the largest shopping center in the United States and also one of the top tourist attractions. The MOA has more than 520 stores, 60 restaurants, plus other entertainment like a comedy club and mini golf. And, there is no sales tax!
Downtown is split in two – Downtown East and Downtown West. Downtown West is the area that most Minneapolitans think of as the true “downtown.” Here you’ll find skyscrapers, three historic theaters, and Nicollet Mall, which a pedestrian-only street known for its shopping.
North Loop, or the Warehouse District, is located on the western fringes of downtown. The neighborhood is hip and vibrant, with old warehouses converted into trendy boutiques and restaurants. North Loop is also home to the Minnesota Twins’ ballpark and Marvel Bar, which we mentioned earlier.
Don’t be confused by the name – Uptown is actually located southeast of downtown. Uptown is another trendy neighborhood with a large nightlife scene, festivals, and the Uptown Theatre which shows indie and foreign films.
Dinkytown, located on the edge of the University of Minnesota campus, is primarily populated by college students. The neighborhood boasts coffee shops, sports bars, quirky music venues, and is also home to Surly Brewing Co.
Linden Hills, located farther southeast of Uptown, is bordered by two lakes of the Chain of Lakes – Bde Maka Ska and Lake Harriet. Head to this neighborhood for your share of outdoor activities like biking, kayaking, paddle boats, and (in the winter) snowshoeing.
Best Restaurants and Bars in Minneapolis
Hen House Eatery, located downtown, offers up homemade, locally sourced foods such as fresh pastries, pancakes, chicken and waffles, and omelets, plus some gluten-free options.
You can’t leave Minneapolis without trying an infamous “Juicy Lucy” (or “Jucy Lucy”), which is a burger with melted cheese inside the meat instead of on top. Two Minneapolis restaurants both claim to be the inventor of the burger – Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club, both located in South Minneapolis. Try one, or both, and determine for yourself who makes the better burger!
Grilled steak and wood-fired pizza in one establishment? Yes, please. Burch Steak & Pizza Bar in Lowry East Hill is a steakhouse first and foremost, but also has a wood-fired oven in the basement for their pizzas – plus they serve up delicious desserts. This restaurant is the perfect spot for a romantic date night.
When it comes to alcohol, Minneapolis is largely a brewery city. The craft scene is booming, with new breweries popping up constantly. One staple is Surly Brewing Co., a 50,000 square foot complex that serves up 24 Surly beers on tap, plus offers brewery tours. If beer isn’t your thing, we recommend heading to Marvel Bar downtown for a classic cocktail. In true speakeasy fashion, the bar is unmarked – just look for the purple door!
Frequently Asked Questions About Minneapolis
The nickname comes from the city’s name (Mini – Minne, Apple – apolis). It is also a reference the The Big Apple, New York City, because Minneapolis similarly has an abundance of museums and entertainment options.
The musician Prince was born in Minneapolis and lived there most of his life. Prince also filmed and recorded some of his songs at the First Avenue, helping turn it into an iconic nightclub.
Hidden Gems in Minneapolis
- City Salvage – an antique shop focused on retaining the charm of the 19th and 20th century
- Sidewalk Harp – a 40-foot harp-like structure made from stainless steel with motion-sensor enabled LED lights that each play a different musical note when you wave your hands beneath it.
- Orfield Labs Quiet Chamber – a space that was previously dubbed “the quietest place on earth” by Guinness World Records.
- The Herbivorous Butcher – a butcher shop with foods such as meatballs, salami, chicken, and summer sausages lining its cases – but all are actually vegan!
- Milkjam – an ice cream shop with fun, handmaid flavors like passion fruit lychee swirl, hibiscus lemonade, or “black,” a cocoa ice cream cone that is quite literally the color black.