Skip to Content

22 Best Minneapolis Walking Tours for History Buffs

What do you love most? History, nature, culture, crafts, or food? Walking tours are becoming increasingly popular in a lot of cities across the U.S.

They are a perfect way to learn about a unique aspect of any city. The Midwestern metropolis of Minneapolis is no different. So put your walking shoes on and start exploring the city of Minneapolis!

Below is a list of walking tours in Minneapolis that take you around the city as you gain knowledge on some of the city’s most interesting facts and hidden gems.

Best Minneapolis Walking Tours

Here are some of the best walking tours that truly celebrate Minneapolis. Let’s get walking!

1. Minneapolis Riverwalk: Self-guided Audio Tour

Minneapolis River Walk Self-Guided Tour
image by GetYourGuide

Try this self-guided audio tour and embark on a journey to explore Minneapolis’ lovely cityscape. On booking, you will receive the instructions and other details on your voucher. Furthermore, you can use this audio tour to explore the city at your own pace while learning about its history and culture.

You simply need to download an application to begin your tour along the Mississippi River and pass through the river via Stone Arch Bridge. During the tour, you will learn about the 2007 35W Bridge collapse, the devastating 1878 mill explosion, the development of Minneapolis’ milling industry, and more.

Enjoy the lively ambiance while learning about the town’s past. You can choose to pause the app at any time to get some rest or spend more time exploring the sights nearby.

Additionally, you will learn about the well-known cougar attacks, an ugly mansion with 86 TVs, and the history behind the song Funkytown. You will also find out how long it takes a person to travel the same distance as a single drop of water down the Mississippi.

Furthermore, you can learn about beloved local favorite Tiny Tim and his passing and the hiring of hitmen in neighboring Saint Paul. Your stroll will come to a close with a view of stunning St. Anthony Falls!

See Related: The Ultimate Guide to Minneapolis Nightlife

2. Minneapolis Riverwalk Food Tour

Served Minnesota-Style Pizza

Take a tour of one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city. Stroll along the Mississippi and cross the historic Stone Arch Bridge into Northeast Minneapolis.

Learn the area’s history and sample food from nearby restaurants that serve food eaten in early Minneapolis times, like Minnesota-style pizza. What’s Minnesota-style pizza? It’s a crispy, cracker-thin crust, with a robust red sauce, and heavy on the toppings – especially cheese!

Furthermore, on this food trip, you’ll see the Minneapolis Mill District and Northeast Minneapolis areas with great views and breweries respectively, both steeped in history. You can also try about a dozen delectable samplings from neighborhood eateries and specialty food stores in the area.

You will get to taste regional specialties, including cheese curds, gelato, locally brewed craft beer, and bread cooked in the European way.

Additionally, make sure you visit the historic Mill City Museum, take a stroll down Minneapolis’ oldest street, and view the Upper Mississippi Riverwalk’s one-and-only natural big waterfall. Book this tour today to explore these different parts of Minneapolis while experiencing the city’s food culture!

3. Minneapolis Skyway Walking Tour

Minneapolis Skyway Architecture

Minneapolis boasts the world’s largest continuous skyway network which you can spend days exploring. Early in the 1960s, the second-story walkways were built to relieve foot traffic on the streets and help pedestrians from freezing their asses off in the bleak Minnesotan winters! Today, they connect 80 city blocks for more than 9.5 miles.

This skyway walking tour gives you a fantastic opportunity to experience the city both indoors and outdoors in all kinds of weather, including the brutally long Minnesota winter and hot summer days.

The skyway system is the only way to witness the many gems hidden inside downtown’s unique architectural environment. The Replacements even wrote a song about it, titled Skyway, as the skyway is such a significant component of the city’s identity.

The tour starts at 10 am, and the meeting point is the big “W” in the W Hotel lobby, the Foshay Tower. The skyway tour ends at the meeting point. Book the tour today to go on a beautiful adventure through Minneapolis Skyways!

See Related: Best Gunflint Trail Resorts for Lodging in Minnesota

4. History and 4-Bar Crawl Guided Walking Tour

History and Crawl Guided Walking Tour
image by GetYourGuide

If you’re planning to visit some of the stunning locations in and around Minneapolis, I recommend taking a guided tour. If like me, however, you have a penchant for beer and history, but a short attention span, you need to go on a historical bar crawl, like this one!

This tour will take you to four of the best bars in Minneapolis, which have been hand-picked by an expert. More than just drinking, you will interact with the bartenders, sample new drinks, and learn about the histories of the various bars.

This tour is divided into one-third history, one-third drinking, and one-third social engagement. Overall, it is a refreshing, educational, and social experience with something for everyone.

After you meet your guide, you will follow them to the Warehouse District. What was once a shady area ruled by various crime families, it’s now one of Minneapolis’ up-and-coming districts, home to several breweries, distilleries, and secret bars.

Once you settle in with your drink, prepare for your guide’s storytelling. This will help you learn about the factors that contributed to Minneapolis becoming the incredible city it is today. Then, onto the rest for more beer and more fun facts!

You can book the tour to experience the vibrant bar scene of Minneapolis and learn more about the city. If you want an experience that includes more drinks, this tour allows you to upgrade to a premium tour.

5. Bitter Minnesota Brewery Tours: All-inclusive Craft Brewery Tour

Glass of Beer

Anyone who has been to, or lived in Minneapolis before, knows that the city is a big spot for craft breweries and craft brew drinkers! I am one of the latter.

On this small-group, fully-guided brewery tour, you will sample different craft beers while learning about the Minneapolis brewpub scene. Furthermore, this tour allows you to visit local breweries, including Lakes and Legends Brewing Company, Fair State Brewing Co-op, Modist Brewing (one of my personal favorites), and others, by scheduling an afternoon or evening tour.

The three-hour brewery tour also includes Snacks and round-trip minibus transportation. Overall, the tour gives you a fascinating overview of the taprooms and new types of breweries that are becoming increasingly popular in the Minneapolis region.

Book the tour to taste superb craft beer at each stop and make the best of your brewery experience in Minneapolis!

See Related: Most Beautiful Sunflower Fields in Minnesota

6. Somali Museum of Minnesota Group Tour

Somali Museum of Minnesota Exhibit
image by Myotus is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Looking for something a little more…indoors? It’s okay, Minnesotan winters aren’t for everyone. So, if you’re visiting Minnesota in winter and are fed up with freezing winds, try a tour of the Somali Museum of Minnesota.

Somali culture is essential to Minneapolis’ modern identity as Minnesota has one of the largest Somali communities in the country.

More than 700 works of art, including sculptures, paintings, and nomadic hut models, are on display at the Somali Museum of Minnesota, which honors the culture and legacy of the Somali people. Other works on display include modern art. All in all, the Somali Museum provides Minnesotans of all backgrounds with an unparalleled opportunity to interact and learn about Somali’s traditional culture.

The Somali Museum places a strong emphasis on teaching. And for those who desire a more thorough introduction to Somali culture, the museum provides individualized tours of the collection. 

The museum welcomes and encourages individuals, families, and groups from schools, religious institutions, and community organizations to plan a customized tour of the museum.

Book your group tour today and check out the takeout spots in Minneapolis if you’d like to build your own self-guided tours.

See Related: Best & Fun Things to Do in Minneapolis, MN

7. Minneapolis Scavenger Hunt Adventure

Minneapolis Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure
image by GetYourGuide

Are you trying to figure out how to make Minneapolis a huge game board? In this interactive scavenger hunt tour, you will experience the excitement of the Amazing Race combined with a three-hour Minneapolis sightseeing tour!

The tour allows groups to navigate the city using any smartphone as they solve clues and complete challenges while learning about the area’s history.

The journey starts at Vikings Arc at the US Bank Stadium, where the Vikings play, and then takes you to more of Minneapolis’ most well-known landmarks. As you complete tasks and solve hints about your next location, you can head down to the riverfront to witness the old millworks, see the stunning St. Anthony Falls, and other places with cultural significance.

Overall, the tour brings you to historic hotels, lets you find rare treasures, and allows you to experience the best of what Minneapolis has to offer. The best part? For such a jam-packed hunt, this tour only requires you to walk for approximately two miles – assuming you get it right! Either way, you can start whenever you like and set your own pace of play by using a smartphone to guide you. You can stop midway to enjoy the breathtaking view, listen to music, or get a snack.

Rather than charging per person, this city tour is offered at a fixed price for a group, providing excellent value for those on a tight budget. If you enjoy solving challenges, book the tour and experience the culture, art, and beautiful view of the city of Minneapolis.

See Related: Best Minneapolis Murals You Need to Visit

8. Minnehaha Falls Self-Guided Audio Tour

Minnehaha Falls

With this reasonably priced walking tour, see nearby Minnehaha Falls, the crown jewel of the Twin Cities. The self-guided audio tour will help you learn about the park’s forgotten past, including how it was often visited by early millwrights, lone hermits, interesting carnival performers, and even American presidents.

You will also hear from Frank Bures, a well-known producer, essayist, prize-winning author, and the editor of Under Purple Skies: The Minneapolis Anthology. With entire control over when you want to begin and end the tour, you can complete it in an hour or take your time at various stops.

Furthermore, you can use the at-home virtual tour feature as soon as you book the tour. Once you’ve made a reservation, you’ll get a ticket with directions and a special code under the “Before You Go” option.

After that, all you need to do is Install the VoiceMap application and then enter the unique code. When you’re at the starting location, put on your headphones and tap start after the app shows you the route to the starting point. Turn-by-turn directions are automatically played back by VoiceMap’s GPS. It functions offline, too. Book the tour to enjoy your stroll along Minnehaha Park and experience the wonders of Minnehaha Falls!

9. In the Footsteps of Prince Self-Guided Audio Tour

Prince Street Art

I love Prince. Minnesota loves Prince. Like, a crazy amount. This affordable tour will show you how Minneapolis played a big part in Prince’s (aka Prince Rogers Nelson and the Artist Formerly Known as Prince) development as a young musician who later changed the face of music forever. Producer, editor, and essayist Frank Bures is also featured in this audio tour. Furthermore, you will learn how Prince became the first artist in history to have a top album, movie and single all at once.

The voice tour allows you to have complete control of when you want to start and end the tour. It is up to you to complete it in 75 minutes or take your time at various stops. Additionally, you get unlimited use both before and after your reservation date.

Do not forget to use the home virtual tour feature. Once you’ve made a reservation, you’ll get a ticket with all the details and a special code under the “Before You Go” option.

Install the VoiceMap app after that, and then enter your code. When you’re in the right location, put on your headphones and tap start after the app shows you the route to the starting point.

Turn-by-turn directions are automatically played back by the VoiceMap’s GPS. It works offline, too. Book your tour to learn about the legacy Prince left behind and explore downtown Minneapolis.

See Related: Best Places to Travel in Your 20s in the US

10. Historic Minneapolis Riverfront Private Walking Tour

Minneapolis Riverfront Scenery

With this two-hour fully narrated experience, you will get to walk across and alongside the Mississippi River while following in the footsteps of people like railroad magnate James J. Hill, who was once the wealthiest person in Minnesota.

As you travel through 350 years of recorded history, your tour guide will enchant you with tales of epic street battles, boom town brothels, quiet nooks, global dominance in trade, and European explorers.

Minneapolis, once the hub of the world’s flour milling industry, still thrives on its founding values of innovation, tenacity, and creativity.

During the tour, you will observe how old buildings are transformed into contemporary spaces while retaining their vintage appeal and style. All in all, you will see historic Minneapolis with unimaginable wealth, brewers, immigrants, and beautiful surroundings.

This tour is one of the best sightseeing opportunities you will ever get in Minneapolis. Book this private tour to explore the historic city of Minneapolis and get ready to live the best historical experience!

11. Minneapolis City Tour

During this tour, you will visit some of the hotspots for art, music, and theatre, which is a huge part of what makes Minneapolis such a lively cultural community. Instead of giving you a history lesson, this tour focuses on providing an authentic experience of the city.

The tour guide was raised in this city and has spent plenty of time excitedly researching and traveling to faraway places. The tour incorporates everything remarkable about the city, including visiting the Guthrie theater, Foshay tower, the Minneapolis skyway system, and much more.

Keep in mind that this is a walking tour. You must be able to walk at least one mile on foot. So put on comfortable shoes, and carry water in the summer. Book the tour to have an incredible experience and learn more about the city’s culture, art, and history.

See Related: Best Scenic Drives in Minnesota

12. Hoppy Trolley: Corporate Craft Brewery Tour

Filling a Glass with Beer

Equipped with the knowledge of local beer experts, Hoppy Trolley surely does not disappoint. Led by a professional guide of microbreweries in the Twin Cities, this company prides itself on having the knowledge to answer all your beer-related questions.

On these tours, your guide will inform you about the history of the Twin Cities, its neighborhoods, and the growing reputation for brewing some of the nation’s best craft beer.

You can choose from four options that include public, private, corporate, distillery, and cider tours. Public tours offer a three-hour tasting with a facility tour of 56 Brewing. You will also get to visit additional two breweries in Minneapolis.

The private tour is customized for you and your group. After booking the tour, you pick where to go, and the tour bus takes you to your destination!

Corporate tours include team-building activities, a private tour of a brewery, and a beer-paired dinner. Not a bad way to spend a night with office colleagues. For non-beer drinkers, worry not, there is a distillery and cider tour that allows private tours of selected locations.

13. Minneapolis & St. Paul Highlights Private Riding and Walking Tour

Spoonbridge and Cherry
kirkikis – stock.adobe.com

On this Minneapolis and St. Paul guided tour, you can see the best of the Twin Cities from a private automobile and on foot. The finest of both cities are covered by this sixteen-stop journey. 

You will visit the Target Field and Xcel Energy Center, where professional sports teams compete and numerous events are held throughout the year. You will also pass by some tranquil areas in the region, such as Lake of the Isles and Minnehaha Falls. 

Furthermore, while listening to local tales, you will visit the Mill District in Minneapolis and the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul. My personal favorite is the Sculpture Garden, home of the Spoonbridge and Cherry, just outside the Walker Arts Center

The expert tour guide ensures that you get an unforgettable experience and shows you some of Minneapolis’s incredible landmarks from the past, present, and future. This tour is a great way to spend your afternoon with friends or family.

See Related: Best National Parks in the USA to Visit

14. Twin Cities Food Tours: Heart of St. Paul Food Tour

royalty free image of healthy foods

Had your fill of Minneapolis, but not your fill of incredible cuisine? On this half-day walking tour, stroll around Saint Paul’s historic downtown and sample some of the city’s most well-known delicacies and hidden gems.

During this fascinating tour of Minnesota’s second-largest city, you will enjoy dishes from the Restaurant Critics’ Choice for Japanese food and a range of Mediterranean and African cuisines.

You will discover some eating establishments off the beaten path with a guide by your side, including former (and potentially current, but you didn’t hear that from me) gangster hangouts and the famous Mickey’s Diner (which is currently under renovation).

Other historic highlights that you will visit during the tour include the Saint Paul Hotel, Rice Park, and the Landmark Center. Around 90% of the tour is conducted indoors, and the remaining 10% involves strolling outside for roughly three city blocks.

If you’re a foodie, you need to book this tour for an incredible culinary experience and enjoy tastings and conversations with locals and other food-loving visitors!

15. Disasters of the Mississippi Riverfront

Mississippi River

The Minnesota Historical Society provides this landmark walking tour which I highly recommend. During the tour, you will learn about all kinds of terrible historical disasters that occurred along the riverfront. Minneapolis has had its fair share of floods, explosions, fires, and collapses, yet the legacies of the people whose lives were taken have lived on.

You will also learn about the Great Conflagration of 1893, the Eastman Tunnel Collapse in 1869, bridge collapses in 1859 and 2007, countless fires, and several other landscape changes that impacted the Twin Cities.

All in all, this tour focuses on the macabre side of the city’s remarkable history. Book this interactive tour and walk through the site of tragic disasters that helped define the city’s history.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Grand Portage, Minnesota

16. Minneapolis Riverfront Walking Tour

Minneapolis Riverfront Aerial Scenery

Even though similar to the tour mentioned above, this walking tour provides essential information about the longest river in the U.S., the Mississippi River, and some of its earliest industries.

You get to visit the St. Anthony Falls historic district, which was once the largest milling hub in the world but is now a thriving neighborhood for culture, recreation, and housing.

Furthermore, you will visit the Stone Arch Bridge and the breathtaking waterfall views, explore the historic structures that line the riverfront and explore the industry that formed the city.

The tour lasts 90 minutes and involves one mile of relaxed pace walking on uneven terrain. It’s also considerably less focused on the macabre – huzzah! Want to know more about this neck of the woods? Check out some of these top things to do along the Minneapolis Riverwalk.

17. The Malcolm Willey House Tour

Frank Lloyd Wright house royalty free image

The Malcolm Willey house was designed and built by the world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1934. It’s a simply incredible piece of design.

The house was technically finished and was lived in much throughout its life, although never reached a fully completed interior. Undergoing several sales, the current owners bought the house in 2002 and did a complete restoration, staying true to Wright’s genius.

This concluded the construction of the house, which neither Wright nor the Willeys was able to witness. Now that the house is complete, it is available for owner-led tours. However, it’s worth noting that the house is not handicapped accessible.

Occasionally the house is opened up for an open-house day. Special events and private tours are held upon close consideration by the owners.

Highly recommended, this historic house tour is truly something special. It’s not every day that you get to step into a house designed by one of the greatest architects of his time, and the house still feels like it’s from the future!

See RelatedBest Things to do in Bemidji, Minnesota

18. Mill City Museum Tour

Mill City Museum Architecture
image by puroticorico is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Do you ever wonder about those massive industrial buildings in downtown Minneapolis? There’s no shortage of them, that’s for sure!

Ever since childhood, growing up in this frozen corner of the Midwest I’ve always wondered what these buildings looked like, especially during construction at the height of the industrial revolution. This tour answered my questions!

Minneapolis was built on flour milling. And both the Gold Medal Flour and Pillsbury companies used the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls for their operations.

Years after the Washburn A Mill exploded, killing many employees and devastating the area around the blast, the Mill City Museum was built on the ruins of the mill in honor of the lost lives. This indoor and outdoor museum is now one of my favorite museums in the Twin Cities.

You can book a Group tour, which includes a one-hour guided tour. This tour will help you experience the mill district back then and the history surrounding it today.

19. Distillery Tour at Tattersall Distilling

Tattersall Distilling
image by Management/TripAdvisor

Still thirsty after sampling some of the area’s best brews? Take this tour of one of the biggest distilleries in Minnesota. Tattersall produces a wide range of distilled spirits, including bourbon, rum, aquavit, vodka, gin (my personal favorite of theirs), and different types of liqueurs. Additionally, the on-site cocktail lounge features an excellent selection of inventive drinks.

Apart from their Minneapolis production plant, Tattersall sources its wheat, corn, barley, and eye from Minnesota farms, and their spirits age in barrels made in Minnesota. Their distilling barrels are a sight to see, and even more enticing once you understand they’re choc full of yummy booze!

See Related: Best Breweries in Rochester, Minnesota

20. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Tour

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Building
SusanLesch, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I remember going here for a school project one day, and let me tell you, the sheer size of this place will leave you in awe.

Although not a typical factory, this building sort of runs like a factory. You get to observe automated robots that move hundreds of millions of dollars in currency in a day. It’s a great place to learn about how all of that currency makes it to your local banks.

This tour includes the history and structure of the Federal Reserve, techniques and tactics used to sustain a healthy economy, and banking services offered to financial institutions and the federal government. Don’t forget to take home your shredded bag of U.S. currency as a souvenir from Minnesota!

See Related: Best Restaurants in the Twin Cities

21. Boat Tours: Paddle Bridge Guide Collective

Kayaking in a Lake in Minneapolis

Are you sick of the land? How about scheduling a boat tour instead and changing the regular scenery? After all, it’s the Land of 10,000 Lakes! Check out this incredible Minneapolis boat tour and get paddling!

Kayaking down the Mississippi may seem a bit daunting, but leave it to Paddle Bridge Guide Collective to ensure your safety, starting with a paddle skill introduction before entering the kayaks. Besides, it’s not like you’re paddling the entire length of the Mississippi.

The Heart of Minneapolis Tours consists of a two-and-a-half-hour out-and-back kayak ride with views of famous bridges and the city skyline. Each guide has a different story to tell but makes sure to lift the veil of history and ensures you see the past written on the banks of the Mississippi.

So whatever tour you choose, make sure to stop and appreciate the rich historic city of Minneapolis. Whether you live there or are just stopping in for a visit (as us ‘Sotans like to say), check out what great information you can learn about Minneapolis and Minnesota as a whole!

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Lanesboro, Minnesota

22. Segway Tours: Human On A Stick

royalty free image of segways

Not technically a walking tour, but this Segway adventure puts a whole new spin on Minneapolis walking tours. You can go a lot further and quicker on two wheels than two feet – unless you fall off one of these, as I did.

Debuting at the Minnesota State Fair in 2004, Human on a Stick launched the first Segway tour company in the US. Now providing Minneapolis and Saint Paul with Segway tours for nearly 20 years, this company offers an unforgettable experience.

Human on a Stick: Segway Tours of Minneapolis presents their Magical History Tour, providing a three-hour Segway tour of Minneapolis covering both sides of the Mississippi River.

Each tour starts with a half-hour course on Segway Certified Training to ensure a safe and confident tour. Your guide will cover nearly a century’s worth of historical information on a six-mile adventure.

Stop at historic sites such as the Stone Arch Bridge, Mill City Museum, and City Hall. Cruise through Gold Medal Park below the world-famous Guthrie Theater. You can also check out the other best museums in Minnesota to visit.

FAQs

Is Minneapolis worth visiting?

Yes, and not that I’m biased, either. Minneapolis is the ideal Midwest hub for a weekend or longer escape. Its vibrant art scene, incredible food, outstanding beer, friendly atmosphere, its balance of indoor and outdoor culture, and affordable prices attract people from many parts of the world.

Is it easy to walk around Minneapolis?

Most journeys start and end with a stroll, and Minneapolis is a perfect city for walking. A mile can be traveled on foot in just 20 minutes, and downtown Minneapolis is small and welcoming to pedestrians.

It gets a lot harder to walk in Minneapolis in winter. Not just because it gets bitterly cold, but because it gets dangerously icy! Don’t slip!

How long does a walking tour in Minneapolis last?

As the name implies, a walking tour is a guided tour taken on foot with a destination expert. It usually takes place in a neighborhood or area of the city and lasts between one hour and 30 minutes to four hours. A tour typically begins at a meeting point close to the primary area to be explored.

Related Resources