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36 Fun & Best Things to Do in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Organic eateries, chic art museums, bustling rock clubs, and trendy theaters – Minneapolis has all the trappings of a progressive, forward-thinking city. There’s always something exciting happening in every corner of this city. This article covers some of the best things to do in Minneapolis (and its twin sister city, Saint Paul).

Visitors won’t run out of exciting things to do in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. Whether you’re exploring the well-manicured parks, cheering at a baseball game, or chomping down on some of the sloppiest burgers in town, there’s one guarantee: you’ll be brushing shoulders with outstandingly gregarious locals.

Everyone is so mild-mannered that the term Minnesota Nice was coined to describe the mentality of local residents. While friendly folks are enough reason to visit, the city offers plenty of things to do year-round. This fast-paced Midwestern city (and her slower-paced twin) is easy to explore with its reliable transit, taxi, and bus options.

While it’s easier to get around by track or on four wheels, we suggest you explore the city on foot – the downtown area is easy to navigate, and it’s easier to wander through the denser areas of town by walking. Ensure you book your stay at one of these top Minneapolis hotels to make the most of your trip.

brewery tour minneapolis
1. All Inclusive 3hr Craft Brewery Tour Top Recommendation

Learn about the history of brewing in Minneapolis and visit some of the best craft breweries in the city such as Modist Fair State Brewing in this fun 3-hour craft brewery tour.

sealife mall of america
2. Mall of America: SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium Admission

Get your admission ticket to this amazing aquarium located in the Mall of America before you go and save.

historic walking tour minneapolis
3. Walking Minneapolis, Falls & Historic Mills Private Tour

Take a private walking tour through the most historic areas of Minneapolis, including the Mississippi River, St. Anthony Falls, and the Mill City District. This 2-hour tour is perfect for groups and families visiting this iconic city.

We’ve also compiled a primer video of these best things to do in Minneapolis. You can watch the video on YouTube.

Table of Contents

What is Minneapolis Known For?

Minneapolis Skyline

Did you know that Minneapolis is a city where many everyday products were invented? Scotch tape, the Bundt pan, Post-its, Bisquick and even pop-up toasters were all invented in this great city. Plus, the delicious Honeycrisp apple was originally cultivated by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station’s Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis!

Minnesota is also well-known for its many lakes and forests and is home to the Twin Cities of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. In the Twin Cities, you’ll find a large concentration of Fortune 500 companies, including General Mills, Land ‘O Lakes, and Target.

The Mall of America, the largest mall in the United States, is also located just outside Minneapolis. Comfort food in the Midwest is a specialty, and in Minneapolis, you’ll find flavors from many ethnicities and cultures. The city is known as a hidden gem among food tourists.

Historically speaking, the city remained one of our nation’s top wheat markets. The Minneapolis Grain Exchange is still one of the biggest cash exchange markets in the entire world.

Now, let’s dive into some of the fun things to do in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

Best Things to Do in Minneapolis & St. Paul (The Twin Cities)

15 Best Things to do in Minneapolis & St. Paul (Twin Cities)

If you’re looking to explore Minneapolis and Saint Paul, we’ve ranked the best things to do to help you build your itinerary.

While our rankings are based on our own experiences, online reviews, and traveler experiences, you may have your own personal preferences, so take our list as mere suggestions and build your own Minneapolis adventure!

If you’re looking for affordable airfare to take you to Minneapolis, so you can cross it off your bucket list, make sure to book your flight early for the best deal. Need a rental car so you can see all the sights? Book one today for your Minnesota trip.

Make sure you have the best credit card on you for all the booking and dining rewards you’ll earn on your trip to the Twin Cities’ best restaurants. Alright, let’s get to it!

1. Watch Broadway Quality Theater at Guthrie Theater

Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis

Minnesota is one of the major theater capitals in the U.S. The Guthrie Theater of Performing Arts is a landmark of Minneapolis and has been on the stage for countless plays and other performances since 1963. It seats 850 people in its main theater and offers affordable tickets to Broadway-quality productions: something you won’t easily find anywhere else outside of New York City and Chicago.

The Guthrie Theater also does things a little differently. If you’re lucky, you can show up at their box office an hour before the main show begins for rush ticket pricing, which is almost unheard of anywhere else these days!

The theater is conveniently located next to the incredible Mill City Museum (we’ll get to that later), so you can double up on some history and entertainment in the Mill District of Minneapolis.

See Related: Best indoor activities in Minnesota for a rainy or snowy day.

2. Visit the Chain of Lakes

Chain of Lakes

Minneapolis’ most famous park is the Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which features expansive gardens and three gorgeous lakes, which you can explore via bicycle. Minneapolis is called the City of Lakes for a reason. There aren’t a ton of sprawling metropolises that feature this much outdoor activity.

In Minnesota, lakes are one of the most popular attractions, and there are certainly enough of them! The Chain of Lakes Regional Park is the most popular segment of lakes in all of Minneapolis. This series of lakes are located right in the middle of South Minneapolis, and each lake has its own unique characteristics.

The area is also a district of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, so if you love touring areas by car, you’ll love this regional park. The Chain of Lakes Regional Park includes the epic shorelines of Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun), and Lake Harriet.

These lakes are part of the regional park, along with all the trails interconnecting them. You may also want to make a stopover at Lyndale Park, which is part of this phenomenal regional park system.

This is one of the best free things to do in Minneapolis since each lake has walking trails, bike paths, beaches, and sprawling green space for picnics.

If you’re looking for more fun things to do, rent a stand-up paddleboard, kayak, canoe, or sailboat and tour the lakes for yourself. Alternatively, if you don’t like physical activity, you can watch a concert at the outdoor pavilion of Lake Harriet Bandshell Park.

In the winter, throngs of visitors skate and cross-country ski on the Lake of the Isles Park. Come summer, the lake turns into a popular fishing spot. Around 5.5 million people visit this popular park annually.

If you’re visiting the Walker Art Center, your first lake to stop by would be the Lake of the Isles. If you’re at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, your best starting point would be Bde Maka Ska or Lake Harriet.

Check out these top beaches in Minneapolis. You may also want to make a stopover at Lyndale Park, which is part of this phenomenal regional park system.

See Related: Best Beaches in Minnesota

3. Visit the Minnehaha Mile

Front of the Purple Rain House in Minneapolis
Purple Rain House from the Movie

Minnehaha Avenue is a shopping and dining district that has undergone rapid change in the past year, with an explosion of small businesses sporting their own unique character. This unique area of south Minneapolis is located in the Longfellow neighborhood.

Although it’s not the only place in Minneapolis to buy used items, the area has a good number of thrift stores. Yoga studios and alternative health centers are also prominent on Minnehaha Avenue, and it has an eclectic range of dining options.

While touring north on Minnehaha Avenue, take a left on 35th Street, where you can stop by the Purple Rain House, the fictional home of Prince in the 1984 movie Purple Rain.

Find the best places to stay for the lowest price guaranteed 🏨 Best Hotels in Minneapolis, Minnesota

4. Visit Mall of America

Mall of America

If you’re looking for another one of the top Minnesota tourist attractions and a way to pop out of downtown Minneapolis, you definitely need to visit the Mall of America.

Going to a mall is probably not high on your list when looking for something fun to do, but Mall of America is the largest mall in the country, making it something you’ll want to include on your Minneapolis bucket list.

The Mall of America is much more than just shopping. It’s a theme park mixed with restaurants and a host of other activities, as well as shopping. Think of it as a mall turned into a city with a couple of rollercoasters running through it.

Families with children will want to stop by Nickelodeon Universe, which is the main theme park section of the Mall of America. Nickelodeon Universe features water rides, roller coasters, zip lines, and other activities, making it a great thing to do for families. If your kids need to burn off some more energy, head over to Sea Life Minnesota, an awesome indoor aquarium in the mall.

It’s free to enter the mall, but you’ll need to pay for most of the attractions, as well as your food and store purchases, obviously.

See RelatedMinnesota vs Wisconsin – What’s Better?

5. Take a Walking Tour on the Stone Arch Bridge

Stone Arch Bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge is the second-oldest pedestrian and bicycle bridge on the Mississippi River. Formerly a railroad bridge, the last passenger service was in 1978, and it was opened as a walking and cycling bridge in 1994. Walking and biking along this path is one of the best free things to do in Minneapolis.

This bridge is one of the more popular attractions in Minneapolis. James J. Hill constructed it in 1880 to connect railway lines with Union Depot, which continues to be an important part of Minneapolis’ scenery today.

Walking the bridge, you’ll get amazing views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline, the Mill City Museum, the Guthrie Theater, and the U.S. Bank Stadium.

As you walk away from downtown Minneapolis, you’ll get great views of St. Anthony Falls, the dam that powered the Washburn A Mill, and what is now the Mill City Museum.

Local festivities, such as the Fourth of July and Aquatennial celebrations, bring people to the riverfront near the Stone Arch Bridge.

That side of the river has plenty of great restaurants, so venture into Northeast Minneapolis to get a glimpse into a trendy, historic neighborhood while you fill your belly.

See Related: Best Ski Resorts in Minnesota

6. Foshay Tower

Foshay Tower

The Foshay Tower was completed in August 1929 and stands 296 feet and 4 inches tall. This historical tower has an Art Deco design and is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

It was one of the first buildings to exceed the height of Minneapolis City Hall, and it became an instant landmark for the Twin Cities region because of its distinctive architecture.

The building is now known as the W Minneapolis – The Foshay, and you can spend the night in the tower or simply stop by for drinks. I’d recommend checking out the bar on the top floor to get some epic views of downtown. The tower is located at 821 Marquette Avenue.

 See Related: Best Ski Resorts in Minnesota

7. Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum

Weisman Art Museum

Looking for top things to do in Minneapolis, regardless of the weather? Explore the city’s thriving art and culture scene by going on a museum-hopping trip. A great place to start is the Weisman. The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is situated at the University of Minnesota, along the banks of the Mississippi River.

This museum is worth the drive-by alone. Frank Gehry, a famous architect, designed the unique museum, making it a popular Twin Cities tourist attraction.

The Weisman Art Museum offers exhibits with thought-provoking pieces that may be observed through social and historical context lenses.

This museum is open to visitors on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., on Thursdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on weekends from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

See RelatedBest Minnesota State Parks to Visit

8. Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Art is one of the most popular things to do in Minneapolis. The museum has been operating for over 100 years and is one of the most prestigious art museums in the country.

Art aficionados can swing by the Minneapolis Institute of Art to gawk at over 90,000 works of art from six continents, spanning 5,000 years. It offers rotating exhibits throughout the year, as well as lecture and performance spaces.

Admission is free, along with daily hour-long guided tours. It also has a lovely gift shop and a small cafe. The museum is open for visitors from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, with the exception of Thursday, when it’s open until 9:00 p.m. A parking fee is required when visiting the museum. 

9. Walker Art Center

Walker Art Center

Looking for something exciting to see in Minneapolis? How about a big ol’ spoon and cherry? Head to the Walker Art Center for this popular tourist attraction in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has been open since 1977 and is easily one of the best things to do in Minneapolis. The garden features more than 100 works of art from artists, such as Louise Bourgeois, Ellsworth Kelly, and other modern sculpture masterminds.

The sculpture garden’s iconic piece, Spoonbridge and Cherry, is a popular Instagram photo backdrop.

Spoon and Berry Sculpture in Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the best places to take pictures in Minneapolis, by a long shot. In addition to the Sculpture Garden, the Walker Art Center also hosts theater performances, as well as a cross-disciplinary contemporary art collection.

This modern art museum features amazing art exhibits and views of the Minneapolis skyline. And in the summer, you can play mini-golf on the rooftop terrace.

The Walker Art Center also hosts Rock the Garden, an annual music festival, on the back lawn. Prior performances have included bands, such as Nathaniel Rateliffe & the Night Sweats, Alabama Shakes, and Bon Iver, to name a few.

See RelatedBest Coffee Shops in Minnesota

10. Visit the Bell Museum

Bell Museum

The Bell Museum is considered Minnesota’s official natural history museum and planetarium. It’s located on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in Saint Paul.

Formerly known as the James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History, you can find 10,000-year-old fossils, living plants and animals, and much more.

You can even wander outside on its green roof and observation deck as you explore the native plant landscape, geology gardens, and solar station.

11. Go All-In on Live Music on First Avenue

Entrance to First Avenue in Minneapolis

Live music is everywhere in Minneapolis (and the Twin Cities area in general). But one place is an absolute must-visit if you love live music, and that is First Avenue.

First Avenue is the best live music venue in Minneapolis and one of the most famous in the entire country! This part museum and part live music venue are located near Target Center and Target Field in downtown Minneapolis.

First Avenue is one of the best things to do in downtown Minneapolis by far. The building was originally a Greyhound Bus Terminal, but things changed when Walter Scott, Tim Finn, Charlie King, and Jeff Murphy purchased the building in late 1978.

It took them 6 months to get it ready to open on April 19th, 1979, for a Prince concert. Today, it’s still standing strong as an iconic concert location with a capacity of over 1,400 people. The venue has an impressive history of cool shows. Its hosted performances by Bob Dylan and Muddy Waters, and it’s where Prince filmed part of his iconic movie, Purple Rain.

Besides First Avenue, there are many other great live music venues, such as The Armory near the U.S. Bank Stadium, which is an armory that was converted into a massive concert hall.

It’s an excellent venue for large-scale concerts. The sound is excellent, and it’s a great setup for a fun night in downtown Minneapolis. The venue also sells souvenirs, such as t-shirts and posters. You’ll see slogans, such as “I Saw Prince Here” which make for some cool souvenirs.

See Related: Things to Do in Mankato, Minnesota

12. Visit the Bakken Museum

The Bakken Museum

The Bakken Museum is a world-class museum dedicated to preserving the history of electricity and magnetism. The museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of the discovery and development of these important scientific disciplines.

This museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history of science and technology. It was founded in 1974 by Elmer Bakken, a pioneer in the field of medical electronics. Bakken’s goal was to create a museum that would educate the public about the importance of electricity and magnetism in the development of modern medicine.

The Bakken Museum is now one of the premier museums in the Midwest dedicated to the history of science and technology. Its collection includes more than 5,000 artifacts, ranging from ancient Egyptian electrical devices to modern medical equipment. The museum also houses a library with over 10,000 books and periodicals, as well as a research center.

The museum is open to the public Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free for members of the Bakken Museum Society.

See RelatedThings to Do in Rochester, Minnesota

13. Visit Minnehaha Regional Park and Falls

Minnehaha Regional Park and Falls

One summer hotspot is Minnehaha Park and Falls in south Minneapolis. Over the years, this 7-mile loop has become a popular spot for cyclists and hikers alike to take in the sights of the natural Minnehaha Falls.

Minnehaha Falls is actually an extension of Lake Minnetonka.  Minnehaha Creek starts in Gray’s Bay of Lake Minnetonka and winds all the way through the Twin Cities to end up at this awesome regional park. From there, Minnehaha Falls continues on to the mighty Mississippi River.

Minnehaha Park isn’t just a stunning waterfall. You can hike down the falls and wind your way through the bank of the Mississippi River for miles. Plus, it has plenty of green space for picnics and grilling.

Check out Sea Salt Eatery while you’re there. It serves excellent seafood and craft beers in the summer, so you can enjoy a meal or drink and soak up the sun while listening to the roar of the falls. The Sea Salt Eatery is known for being one of the top family restaurants in Minneapolis.

If you visit Minnesota in the winter, check out the frozen waterfall and the avid cross-country skiers touring the Mississippi River. The best time to visit the Minnehaha Park and Falls is midsummer, although there are plenty of things to do and enjoy year-round.

 See Related: Best Waterfalls in Minnesota

14. Learn About Prince at Paisley Park

Prince at Paisley Park
Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

There’s no doubt that American singer and songwriter Prince is one of the city’s most beloved personalities. The Purple One is so dear to the City of Lakes that after his death, his home and studio, Paisley Park, was converted into a museum to celebrate his legacy. Visiting this museum is by far one of the top things to do in the state.

This suburban estate is located in Chanhassen, about 40 minutes from Downtown Minneapolis, and it’s where Prince created much of his iconic music. After he died in 2016, the home was converted into a museum where visitors could learn more about his life and dedication to music.

General admission tickets will take you on a 70-minute guided tour of the main floor, including the studios where the artist produced his popular hits. You’ll also see Prince’s private NPG Music Club and get a glimpse of the spacious soundstage and concert hall where he rehearsed.

VIP tours offer a more comprehensive experience that includes brunches, a visit to more rooms and studio areas, a chance to view bonus artifacts from the archives, a private screening of exclusive footage, and an exclusive photo opportunity. While you’re out there, you can visit iconic Lake Minnetonka to purify yourself in the depths of its immaculate waters.

 See Related: Things to do in Excelsior

15. Visit the American Swedish Institute

American Swedish Institute

The American Swedish Institute is a museum and cultural center located in Minneapolis. The institute was founded in 1929 by Swedish-American newspaper publisher, Swan Turnblad. It’s one of the oldest American Swedish museums in the United States. The Institute promotes the understanding of Swedish and Nordic culture through exhibitions, programs, and publications.

It also offers educational opportunities for students and adults. The American Swedish Institute is a member of the American Alliance of Museums and the Association of American Museums.

The museum is located in the former mansion of Birger Jarl, publisher of one of Minnesota’s largest Swedish language newspapers.

This estate also features many other activities, such as touring the grounds and art gallery or learning about Scandinavian American culture in its traditional cooking classes, theater performances, lectures, and concerts.

The American Swedish Institute is located at 2600 Park Avenue in South Minneapolis and is just a 5-7 minute drive from the downtown area.

 See Related: Best Things to Do in South Dakota

16. The Somali Museum of Minnesota

Founded and built by immigrants, the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul have a long history of welcoming even more immigrants into the fold. Learning about varied cultures is one of the best activities to do in Minneapolis.

After Somalia’s civil war, many Somalis settled in Minneapolis and made the city their home. In fact, Minneapolis is home to the largest number of Somali Americans in the United States.

If you’re planning a trip to the city, consider swinging by The Somali Museum of Minnesota to celebrate their traditions and art. Visitors can take classes in traditional Somali crafts and learn more about contemporary Somali culture.

17. Midtown Global Market

Fruits and Vegetables Shop in Midtown Global Market

In the latter half of the 20th Century, thousands of Hmong flocked to Minneapolis to flee from war and strife in Vietnam and Laos. Immerse yourself in their culture by heading to the Midtown Global Market, where you can nibble on authentic Hmong snacks, buy ethnic handicrafts, and dine at your favorite local restaurants.

Midtown Global Market is a public market located in Minneapolis, Minnesota that features over 50 vendors selling a variety of food, gifts, and other items. The market also has a community space that hosts events and programming. It’s also a great place to find unique gifts, grab a bite to eat, and experience the diverse culture of Minneapolis.

18. Mercado Central

Mercado Central

For Latin flair, head to Mercado Central for awesome food, groceries, shopping, and a peek into Minneapolis’ vibrant Latino and Mexican community.

This market is a great place to find fresh produce, meats, and spices, as well as traditional Mexican dishes. Visitors can also enjoy live music and entertainment. The Mercado Central is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Mercado Central features around 35 shops and some of the best Mexican restaurants in Minnesota.

See Related: Best Minneapolis Lake Street restaurants.

19. Get Lost Along the Mississippi River Gorge

Mississippi River Gorge

Another one of my personal favorite free things to do in Minneapolis is touring the Mississippi Gorge Regional Park. This park features even more sprawling hiking, biking, and cross-country ski trails to fill your athletic adventures.

I love the Winchell Trail located along the river. Beyond hiking and biking, there are several beaches located along the river that locals frequent. You may even see a bonfire at night in the summer.

These trails are located on the bank of the Mississippi and the Great River Road National Scenic Byway (or West Great River Parkway), a national scenic drive that spans over 500 miles along the Mississippi River, making it a great spot for capturing beautiful colors in the fall.

From here, if you cross the bridge, you’ll be in Saint Paul. Alternatively, if you continue south along the trail, you’ll end up at Minnehaha Park.

20. Holidazzle Festival, The Minnesota State Fair, International Film Festival, or Uptown Art Fair

Holidazzle Festival in Minneapolis

Parties are among the list of things Minneapolis residents take seriously, so if you’re wondering what to do in the city, participate in any of the fairs and festivals that occur on nearly every occasion, all year round.

For a taste of the limelight, swing by the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival, a springtime tradition. Held every April, this film festival exhibits more than 250 films from around the world, with audiences totaling around 50,000 people.

For a dose of art and one of the top free things to do in town, head to the Uptown Art Fair in South Minneapolis to view professional works from renowned artists. Mediums include painting, jewelry, multimedia compositions, sculpture, glasswork, and contemporary art. This is a great place to stock up on local goods, including Minneapolis-produced coffee, honey, candles, soap, and more.

If you’re visiting during the holiday season, join the Holidazzle festival, an outdoor festival that features local entertainers, glittering lights, food vendors, winter activities, and art and crafts. This is one of the best family things to do in Minneapolis that is fun for both adults and kids.

And of course, you can’t forget about the awesome Minnesota State Fair that comes to Falcon Heights each year. The Great Minnesota Get-Together is the second-largest state fair in the U.S., and the permanent fairgrounds play host to a number of events throughout the year, including beer dabblers, car shows, and foot races.

 See Related: Best Day Trips from Minneapolis

21. Stroll Along Saint Anthony Falls

Restaurant Hop Along Saint Anthony Falls

Begin your culinary journey by taking a leisurely walk around Saint Anthony Falls, a charming waterfall that once powered flour and lumber mills.

Along Saint Anthony Falls, you’ll find plenty of walking, hiking, and biking trails on the banks of the Mississippi River. You can walk all the way down to the falls and the river.

Next, walk to The Mill City Museum and do a self-guided tour of Minnesota’s history. The Museum and Saint Anthony Falls are both often-overlooked attractions and are great for individuals and families alike.

22. Cheer on Your Favorite Sports Team at Target Field

Baseball Game at Target Field

Minnesotans are big on sports, and you’ll surely encounter some kind of sporting event in town, no matter the time of the year.

The Twin Cities are actually home to teams from all four major professional leagues: the National Hockey League (Minnesota Wild), Major League Baseball (Minnesota Twins), the National Football League (Minnesota Vikings), and the National Basketball Association (Minnesota Timberwolves).

The cities also have the Women’s National Basketball Association team, (the Minnesota Lynx), the Minor League Baseball team (the Saint Paul Saints), and several other highly ranked collegiate teams from the University of Minnesota (notably the Minnesota women’s ice hockey team, the Golden Gophers).

Target Field, located on the western side of downtown Minneapolis, is home to the Minnesota Twins. This open-air stadium has received praise from spectators and ballplayers for its exceptional views, seating, and atmosphere.

This is the perfect place to attend a game and enjoy America’s favorite pastime. The stadium is also one of the top attractions beyond sports. It frequently hosts live concerts and other events.

Cheering on the home team is one of the fun things to do in Minneapolis if you’re looking for a great way to bond with the locals. Whether on the court, field, or ice, it’s easy to get caught in the infectious team spirit!

See Related: Top Things to do in Wayzata, Minnesota

23. Visit Fort Snelling State Park

Fort Snelling State Park

Minneapolis owes its existence to the Mississippi River. In the mid-1800s, it was the water-powered sawmills along this river that caused a boom in timber. By the late 19th Century, the city’s population grew rapidly with mass immigration from Germany and Scandinavia.

Swing by historic Fort Snelling State Park, located at the spot where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers meet, to learn about Native Americans and the location’s military significance.

Fort Snelling State Park is located on the bluffs overlooking the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers in Hennepin County. It’s one of the largest state parks in Minnesota and includes the historic Fort Snelling, which was built in 1819.

The park also includes a visitor center, a nature center, hiking trails, and picnicking areas. Fort Snelling State Park is a popular destination for Minneapolis locals and visitors alike.

24. Visit the Minnesota History Center

Minnesota History Center

The Minnesota History Center, formerly known as the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Museum and Library, is a museum and library that serves as the headquarters of the Minnesota Historical Society. The center is located in Saint Paul, about a mile from the State Capitol Building.

Before this structure was erected in 1992, the Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) had occupied what is now known as the Minnesota Judicial Center, which was built for the organization in 1917.

The MNHS was formerly located on the basement floor of the State Capital. The History Center offers music concerts, dance performances, lectures, conferences, meetings, dinners, political campaign events, memorial services, receptions, parties, and weddings.

The Minnesota History Center is one of the 26 Minnesota Historical Society locations, as well as the headquarters and collections for the society. The museum offers interactive in-house-developed and traveling exhibitions, as well as historical programming and lectures. The Center also includes meeting rooms, a 3M Auditorium, Café Minnesota, two museum gift shops, and 12,800 square feet of classroom space. In fact, every year, approximately 75,000 children visit during school trips!

The Minnesota History Center is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission fees vary by age, and seniors and active military personnel receive a discount.

 See Related: Best Places to Visit in Minnesota

25. Go on a Drinking Spree at Bauhaus Brew Labs

Bauhaus Brew Labs

Minneapolis locals love their alcohol, and if you’re visiting, you’ll discover that beer and cocktail tasting is one of the best things to do in Minneapolis. Whether you’re looking for a craft beer or a delicious cocktail, you’ll find that this city doesn’t skimp on bars or breweries.

Bauhaus Brew Labs is a relatively young brewery that opened in 2014. It’s well known for adding unique twists on classic German-inspired beers (the Sky Five Midwest Coast IPA is a definite must-try).

See Related: Things to Do in Duluth

26. Take a Class at Norseman Distillery

Bar at Norseman Distillery

Want to learn how to make a fancy cocktail? The Norseman Distillery offers classes at its Cocktail Lab each month. These cocktail-making sessions come with recipe cards, hands-on instructions, and three tastings.

It also serves charcuterie to help line the stomach, and you can grab more substantial bites from the El Primo food truck. The Norseman Distillery is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

See Related: Best Museums in Minnesota

27. Try out Fulton Beer

Fulton Beer Taproom
Credit: Fulton Beer

Visit Fulton Beer for one of the best garage taproom experiences. Here, simple things are done exceptionally well, from its hoppy-sweet staple Sweet Child of Vine to its sweet and delicate Lonely Blonde.

If you’re looking for a craft bar-hopping experience, this tour offers an all-inclusive distillery tour and brewery tour, where you can visit the city’s best craft cocktail establishments.

This is the perfect destination for visitors looking to get the full experience of tasting locally-produced craft beers! Here are some of the top Minneapolis breweries to consider.

Take a Minneapolis History and 4-Bar Crawl Guided Walking Tour for even more boozy fun!

28. Grab Some Dessert at Milkjam Creamery

Front of Milkjam Creamery in Minneapolis
Credit: Milkjam Creamery

If you need a spot for dessert, grab boozy ice cream from Milkjam Creamery in Uptown Minneapolis. The Milkjam Creamery is an artisanal ice cream shop, that serves up some interesting and delicious flavors. In addition to its boozy floats, it also offers sundaes and other treats with funky names.

The Milkjam Creamery is a local favorite and a must-see spot for anyone on a culinary tour of the Midwest.

See Related: Best Breweries in Duluth, Minnesota

29. Get Some Retail Therapy at the Shops at West End

Shops at West End

When it comes to Minneapolis, there’s no shortage of places for retail therapy. The city is home to the aforementioned Mall of America, a massive one-stop shop where you can eat, shop, or be entertained.

There’s a movie multiplex, mini-golf, an escape room, and an aquarium for visitors looking for activities beyond shopping.

American-favorite Target is also headquartered in Minneapolis. If you’re looking for activities to do in Minneapolis, head to Target’s newly renovated flagship store on Nicollet Mall for travel essentials you may have forgotten to bring with you.

However, if you’re looking for something more upscale and local, swing by The Shops at West End, located near Saint Louis Park. Looking for something more leisurely? Take a Sunday-morning stroll at the Mill City Farmers Market for delicious eats, locally grown goods, and crafts.

MILLE or Statement offers a more intimate, boutique feel and showcases accessories and pieces from new designers. If you’re looking for great deals on the best brands, be sure to check out the Twin Cities Premium Outlets in nearby Eagan.

See RelatedBest Pizzerias in Minnesota

30. Taste Your Way Through the City With These Establishments

Takeout Restaurants in Minneapolis

Thanks to Minneapolis’ melting pot of cultures, you’ll find a thriving foodie scene in this bustling metropolitan city. You can find an array of top-notch restaurants and specialty markets here, regardless of what you’re craving.

Minneapolis is known for its comfort food, and you’ll find it here in all forms. Various restaurants are duking it out in the battle of the Jucy Lucy/Juicy Lucy burger, a type of cheeseburger with the cheese inside the meat, instead of on top.

Head to either 5-8 Club or Matt’s Bar, two burger-joint rivals, for the best cheese-stuffed burgers in town. You’ll also find some of the best Jucy Lucys in The Nook in Saint Paul; try them all and be the judge!

Ready for some more eats? At Blue Door Pub, you can get tatchos, which are a play on the legendary comfort food, tater tot hotdish, with a bit more Mexican flair. The Blue Door Pub is one of the best takeout restaurants in Minneapolis.

For a taste of Minneapolis’ Scandinavian roots, head to Ingebretsen’s for sausages, cheeses, and Scandinavian gifts.

Tullibee at Hewing Hotel whips up a mean Nordic-inspired dinner or brunch, while the Spoon & Stable offers some of the best blends of classic Italian, Nordic, and other fares.

Explore the city’s thriving Hmong and Vietnamese community with a delicious bowl of hot pho, a Vietnamese noodle soup with spices, vegetables, meats, and rice noodles. For authentic pho and ramen restaurants, swing by Quang Restaurant, Pho 79, or Zen Box Izakaya.

If you want a taste of Britain, you can stop by Merlin’s Rest for a traditional British pub vibe or swing by the ever-popular Brits’ on Nicollet Mall. It’s well worth it in summer because it offers law bowls on the roof!

 See Related: Minneapolis vs St. Paul

31. Como Park Zoo

Como Park Zoo

Como Park Zoo is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a fun and educational experience. The zoo offers a variety of exhibits and programs that are sure to interest and entertain visitors of all ages. Como Park Zoo is also a great place to learn about the natural world and the animals that inhabit it.

Whether you’re interested in the animals themselves or in the conservation efforts that Como Park Zoo supports, you’re sure to find something of interest at this unique destination.

Como Park Zoo is open to visitors all year long, and while admission is free, donations are appreciated. At the Como Zoo, you’ll also find the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is a beautiful place to visit all year round. With its lush gardens, tranquil ponds, and stunning architecture, the conservatory is a true oasis in the city. Visitors can stroll through the gardens, relax by the ponds, or explore the many plant species on display. The conservatory also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, making it the perfect place to celebrate any occasion.

The park, zoo, and conservatory are owned by the City of Saint Paul and are a part of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. You’ll also have the opportunity to participate in several experiences with animals, gardens, art, and other attractions.

32. Visit the Mary Tyler Moore Statue

Mary Tyler Moore Statue

You can stop by the Mary Tyler Moore statue outside the former and still legendary Dayton’s building on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.

Mary Tyler Moore was an American actress best known for her roles in the 1970s television series, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and movies, such as Ordinary People. In 1994, she became internationally known as a spokesperson for Lifetime Television.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a television series that lasted seven seasons from 1970 to 1977 on CBS. It was one of the first sitcoms to feature a single woman, and it spun off two other hit series: Rhoda and Phyllis.

The statue of Mary Tyler Moore was unveiled in 2009 at the SE corner of Nicollet Mall and W 7th Street, only a few blocks from where she grew up. It became one of Minneapolis’ most famous landmarks: Jay Leno even interviewed with it!

PRO TIP: If you’re visiting in winter, use the Skyway System in Downtown Minneapolis to get around. The Minneapolis Skyway System is an interconnected series of bridges between buildings, so you can burrow your way through downtown without going outside. If you want to see the statue, you’ll need to pop outside for a hot second.

See Related: Best Scenic Drives in Minnesota

33. Learn the History of Minnesota Milling at the Mill City Museum

Mill City Museum

To see what was once the world’s biggest flour mill and get a glimpse of what daily life was like during the Industrial Revolution, head to the Mill City Museum. The Mill City Museum is an award-winning museum housed inside a historic building that’s worth your time to check out.

It was originally built in 1873 as the world’s largest flour mill and includes features such as the original water turbines that used to run it. Near the museum and across the river, you can see the Washburn A Mill, a sister building during milling operations.

The Mill City Museum is now a cultural institution that explores the history of Minnesota and its role in the Industrial Revolution while looking at flour milling, labor struggles, and the General Strike.

Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children. However, children under 4 are admitted for free, and seniors, active military members, and veterans receive a discount. The Mill City Museum’s hours of operation are Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The museum is closed Monday through Wednesday.

See Related: Best Things to do in Ely, Minnesota

34. Explore Loring Park

Explore Loring Park
Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Minneapolis is blessed with splendid outdoor sights and activities, and you’ll never run out of places to go if you’re looking for things to do.

The city ranks among the top park systems in the country, and visitors will instantly discover that every trip outside is a chance to enjoy nature. The best outdoor activities in Minneapolis are hiking, jogging, kayaking, biking, canoeing, fishing, or cross-country skiing.

Loring Park is located at the intersection of Minneapolis and Hennepin Avenues downtown and takes up a third of a mile on either side of the lake, bordered by low trees and shrubs. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is next to Loring Park.

The Stone Arch Bridge is also close to Loring Park, which offers a 2-mile biking or hiking trail. You can also host picnics at Johnson Lake and try the tennis courts there.

See RelatedBest Things to do in Southern Minnesota

35. Minnesota State Capitol

Minnesota State Capitol

The Minnesota State Capitol serves as the seat of government for the state and houses legislators, the governor, and the attorney general. The building is a must-see attraction, with beautiful stained glass ceilings, grand marble staircases, and unique artwork on display throughout the property.

It also offers sweeping views of downtown Saint Paul and features gold horses at the top of the building. Construction on the Minnesota State Capitol began in 1896 and was completed in 1905.

The Minnesota State Capitol is in Saint Paul, so you’ll need to venture away from Minneapolis. The building is unique and iconic, making it one of the best places to visit in Minnesota.

Check out this list of the best things to do in St. Paul while in town. If you want to discover more, try booking a St. Paul Amazing Scavenger Hunt Adventure. It’s a smartphone-guided walking tour that lets you explore and learn more about the area’s rich history.

36. Take an Architectural Adventure Through the Basilica of Saint Mary

Basilica of Saint Mary

You can stop by the Basilica of Saint Mary to see how Catholicism helped shape the region. This Beaux-Arts masterpiece is the first basilica built in the United States.

The Basilica of Saint Mary is a Roman Catholic minor basilica located in its own city along Hennepin Avenue in the streets of downtown Minneapolis. It’s a gathering place for all who walk through the doors. The John XIII Art Gallery features the work of local, national, and international artists.

Best Thing to do in Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bob Dylan Mural

Eduardo Kobra Mural of Bob Dylan in Minneapolis

Love street art? Head downtown to Eduardo Kobra’s towering mural of musician Bob Dylan at the intersection of Hennepin and 5th Streets. This impressive piece was built in just five weeks and tells the intriguing story of the Minnesota native’s career and musical journey.

If you want to see it all, you should book a walking tour and history guide to see most of these museums in the most efficient amount of time.

FAQs

What are the most popular things to do in Minneapolis with kids?

There are plenty of great things to do in Minneapolis with kids no matter the weather. In the summer, visit a number of great parks and lakes within the city limits, including Loring Park, Lake of the Isles, and Minnehaha Regional Park. If you are looking for some fun activities to enjoy, visit the Mall of America or attend one of the many great art museums such as Walker Art Center or the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

What are the top attractions to visit in Minneapolis?

The top attractions to visit in Minneapolis are the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Minnesota Zoo.

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