About This Place
Although Minneapolis is often twined with neighboring Saint Paul as the “Twin Cities,” it stands on its own as a jewel in the Midwestern United States. Larger and more modern than the state capital on its eastern border, Minneapolis offers visitors much in the way of culture, shopping, sports and outdoor activities. Situated on both banks of the Mississippi River, the city is crisscrossed by several picturesque bridges. Touring is easy, as distinct areas offer different things to do.
Downtown, in the most central district, theater is a thriving cultural attraction. Minneapolis has more theater seats per capita than any other U.S. city outside of New York, nearly all of them concentrated in the Hennepin Theatre District. The Pantages and Orpheum Theatres are the grand dames and the performance sites of Broadway touring productions. More experimental acts can be found at venues such as Brave New Workshop, a sketch comedy and improv theater, and New Century Theatre, which features student cabarets.
Despite cold winters, the city center can be comfortably navigated year round, thanks to a heated skyway system that connects many downtown buildings. Step outside to peruse the shops and restaurants along Nicollet Mall, a pedestrian-only thoroughfare in downtown that, in December, is lit with colorful lights and floats during a nightly parade.
In addition to the performing arts, leading cultural attractions in Minneapolis include tributes to the visual arts. The Walker Art Center, located on Lowry Hill in Downtown, is a striking home to a world-class collection of contemporary art. The center includes 11 galleries, a cinema, theater, restaurant and bar. Nearby, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden provides a bucolic setting for works that include the vivid, oversized Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture.
History buffs enjoy the riverfront Mill City District. Saint Anthony Falls forms a dramatic backdrop for the renovated area, where restaurants and shops mingle among parks and converted industrial buildings. Not to miss is Mill City Museum, a National Historic Landmark and former home to the world’s largest flour mill, circa 1880. The museum, focused on Minneapolis and its flour industry, has stellar views from its ninth-floor observation deck.
Head across the Mississippi River to tour Northeast, a cluster of Minneapolis neighborhoods on the waterfront. Here, view remnants of the area’s working-class origins among its architecture, taverns and eateries, and a growing influx of hip specialty shops and art galleries. Other fun zones in the city include the Warehouse District and Uptown, both popular for their bustling club, restaurant and live music scenes.
Sports and outdoor enthusiasts find many things to do in Minneapolis, including cheering football’s Vikings at the Metrodome and baseball’s Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The city’s Chain of Lakes, a collection of seven lakes that include Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun, set the stage for outdoor leisure. A paved trail encircles and connects each lake. Hike it year round and watch those fishing and boating on the lakes in warm weather, or skating, playing hockey and ice fishing during cold months.