Organic eateries, chic art museums, bustling rock clubs, and trendy theaters – Minneapolis has all the trappings of a progressive, forward-thinking city. Here, there’s always something exciting happening in every corner. These are some of the best things to do in Minneapolis.
Visitors will never run out of things to do in Minneapolis.
Whether you’re exploring its 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.
Folks here are so mild-mannered that a term is coined to describe them: ‘Minnesota Nice‘.
While friendly folks are enough reason to visit, the city offers a plethora of things to do, no matter the season. This fast-paced Midwestern city is easy to explore with its reliable transit, taxi, and bus options.
You’ll find that it’s easier to get around by track or on four wheels, but we advise that you take the city on foot – the downtown area is easy to navigate and it’s easier to meander 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.
We’ve compiled a primer video of these best things to do in Minneapolis. We broke each activity down.
Then, below in our article, you’ll find the exact specifics on what locations to see and visit.
If you’re looking to explore Minneapolis, we’ve ranked the 10 best things to do in the city to help you build your itinerary.
While our rankings are based on our own experiences, online reviews and traveler experiences, you’ll find that you may have your own personal preference, so take our list as mere suggestions and build your own Minneapolis adventure!
Table of Contents
Top 10 Things to do in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Here’s what to do when you find yourself in one of the Twin Cities.
10. Learn about Prince at Paisley Park.
There’s no doubt about it, American singer and songwriter Prince is one of the city’s most beloved personalities. So dear is the Purple One to the City of Lakes that a museum was built to celebrate his legacy: Paisley Park.
This suburban Minneapolis estate is where Prince himself made and performed his iconic music. After his death 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 himself produced his popular hits.
You’ll also get to see Prince’s private NPG Music Club and meander around the spacious soundstage and concert hall where Prince 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, private screening of exclusive footage, and an exclusive photo opportunity.
While you are out there, you can visit the iconic Lake Minnetonka to purify yourself in the depths of these immaculate waters.
See Related: Things to do in Excelsior
9. Immerse Yourself in Other Cultures.
The city has a long history of welcoming immigrants, and 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. As a matter of fact, Minneapolis is home to the largest number of Somalis 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.
Thousands of Hmong flocked to Minneapolis to flee from war and strife in Laos. Immerse yourself in their culture by heading to the Midtown Global Market where you can nibble on Hmong snacks and buy ethnic handicrafts.
For Latin flair, head to Mercado Central for awesome food, groceries, shopping, and a peek into Minneapolis’ vibrant Latino community. Mercado Central features around 35 shops and restaurants.
Check out these other great Lake Street restaurants.
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8. Attend a fair or festival.
Parties are among the list of things Minneapolis citizens take seriously, so if you’re wondering what to do in the city, participate in any of the fairs and festivals that occur 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 70 counties with audiences of around 50,000.
For a dose of art, head to the Uptown Art Fair to view professional works from renowned artists. Mediums include painting, jewelry, multimedia compositions, sculpture, glasswork, and more.
This is a great place to stock up on local goods too 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.
See Related: Best Day Trips from Minneapolis
7. Cheer on your favorite sports team.
Minneapolis citizens are big on sports, and you’ll surely encounter some kind of sporting event no matter the time of the year.
But why do Minneapolis locals love athletics so much?
The city is actually home to teams from all four major professional leagues: the National Hockey League (Wild), Major League Baseball (Twins), the National Football League (Vikings), and the National Basketball Association (Timberwolves).
The city also has its own Women’s National Basketball Association team, the Lynx, and several other collegiate teams from the University of Minnesota.
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!
Cheering on your favorite home team is one of the best things to do in Minneapolis if you’re looking for a great way to bond with the locals.
Whether on the court, on the field, or on ice, it’s easy to get caught in the infectious team spirit!
See Related: Top Things to do in Wayzata, Minnesota
6. Take a historical adventure.
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. Come 19th century and the population in the city grew rapidly with mass immigration from Germany and Scandinavia.
Swing by Fort Snelling, located at the spot where the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers meet, to learn about Native Americans and the location’s military significance. You’ll learn heaps about how the fort played an integral role in the emancipation of slaves.
You can also stop by the Basilica of Saint Mary to see how Catholicism helped shape the region. This Beaux-Arts masterpiece is the first basilica to be built in the United States.
To see what was once the world’s biggest flour mill and a glimpse of what daily life was like during the Industrial Revolution, head to the Mill City Museum. Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children.
The Minnesota History Center, with its museum and library, offers the most in-depth overview of Minneapolis. Take an educational trip with exhibits, crafts, music, shopping, lectures, and food.
These are some of the other top museums in Minnesota.
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.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Minnesota
5. Go on a drinking spree.
Minneapolis locals love their alcohol, and if you’re visiting, you’ll find that beer and cocktail tasting is one of the best things to do in Minneapolis.
Whether it be a craft beer or a delicious cocktail, you’ll find that this city doesn’t skimp on bars or breweries.
Want to learn how to make a fancy cocktail? Take a class at Norseman Distillery at their Cocktail Lab held each month. These cocktail-making sessions come with recipe cards, hands-on instructions, and three tastings.
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).
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 the craft bar-hopping experience, this tour offers an all-inclusive distillery tour and brewery tour experience where you can visit the city’s best craft cocktail establishments.
Great for visitors who are looking to get the full experience of tasting locally produced craft beers! Here are some of the top Minneapolis breweries to consider.
See Related: Best Breweries in Duluth, Minnesota
4. Get some retail therapy.
When it comes to Minneapolis, there’s no shortage of places for retail therapy. The city is home to the Mall of America, a massive one-stop shop where you can eat, shop, or be entertained.
There’s a movie multiplex, miniature 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 for travel essentials you may have forgotten to bring with you.
If you’re looking for something more upscale, 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.
See Related: Best Pizzerias in Minnesota
3. Taste your way through the city.
Thanks to Minneapolis’ melting pot of cultures, you’ll find a thriving foodie scene in this bustling metropolitan city. There is an array of top-notch restaurants and specialty markets here, no matter what flavor you’re raring for.
Minneapolis is known for its comfort food, and you’ll find it here in all forms. A variety of restaurants are duking it out in the battle of the Jucy Lucys, 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 Blue Door Pub or The Nook; try them all and you be the judge!
For a taste of Minneapolis’ Scandanavian 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, swing by Quang Restaurant, Pho 79, or Zen Box Izakaya.
See Related: Minneapolis vs St. Paul – Key Differences to Know
2. Go on a culture trip.
Looking for top things to do in Minneapolis no matter the weather? Exploring the city’s thriving art and culture scene by going on a museum-hopping trip.
Begin at the Weisman Art Museum situated at the University of Minnesota.
The Weisman Art Museum offers exhibits with thought-provoking pieces that may be observed through the lens of social and historical context. Admission is completely free.
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. Admission is free, along with daily hour-long guided tours.
Thinking of what to see in Minneapolis? Head to the Walker Art Center for its magnificent sculpture garden, theater performances, and a cross-disciplinary contemporary art collection.
The sculpture garden’s iconic piece, Spoonbridge and Cherry, is a popular Instagram photo backdrop.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (where the Cherry and the Spoon is) is one of the best places to take pictures in Minneapolis, by a long shot.
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.
See Related: Best Coffee Shops in Minnesota
1. Explore the Outdoors
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, or skiing.
Begin your journey by taking a leisurely walk around Saint Anthony Falls, a charming waterfall that once powered flour and lumber mills.
Explore the 2-mile biking or hiking trail in the Stone Arch Bridge, then hop to Loring Park where a vast verdant space meets the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway.
Host a picnic near Johnson Lake and take a dip in the wading pool or try tennis on the courts.
In the winter, throngs of visitors skate on the Lake of the Isles Park. Come summer and the lake turns into a fishing spot. Around 5.5 million people visit this popular park annually.
Minneapolis’ most famous park is the Chain of Lakes Regional Park, which features expansive gardens and three gorgeous lakes which you can explore via a bike ride.
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