Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
Minneapolis MN 55408
Minneapolis' Grand Rounds Scenic Byway includes over 50 miles of connected roads and trails (pedestrian and biking, often separate but adjacent) that meander through the area's many lakes and the Uptown area. Travelers who take in the entire Byway can expect to travel along the Mississippi River; the chain of lakes that includes Lake Nokomis, Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, and Lake of the Isles; Theodore Wirth Park; and Minnehaha Park and Falls, among other sites.
Parking and public transportation at the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
There is street parking at many points around the Byway, sometimes free, sometimes metered. Metro Transit has routes that have stops near the major scenic spots, as well as light rail that stops near Minnehaha Park.
Best and worst time to go to the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
Summer weekends--especially with good weather--can bring a lot of congestion to the Byway, whether you're walking, driving, or biking. Summer weekends can also bring special events and festivals to some of the lakes and parks, which increases traffic. Your best bet is weekday mornings, which are quieter.
Admission to the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
Admission is free.
Must see/do at the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
Take the time to jump off the Byway and explore Minnehaha Park and Falls. The falls are beautiful, and there are hiking trails all around them. There are also historic sites within the park.
Other places to visit near the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
It's an easy detour to visit Uptown Minneapolis, which has several popular bars and restaurants (Republic [NOTE: not on Mapquest], Lake & Irving, Barbette), as well as the classic Uptown Theatre. Or take time out along the Mississippi River to visit the Stone Arch Bridge and the Mill Ruins Park, or even catch a performance at the Guthrie Theater.
Insider tip for visitors to the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway
Located within Minnehaha Park, not far from the falls, is the Sea Salt Eatery, open from April-October. It's not much to look at, but has a robust seafood menu (and local craft beer menu too) and is tremendously popular. To avoid waiting an hour or more for food, think about an early lunch: stop by when it opens at 11 a.m. (and even then you might have a short wait, but not as long as later in the day).
Amy C. Rea is the author of Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes: An Explorer's Guide, and Backroads & Byways of Minnesota. Her third book, Camping Minnesota, will be published in 2016.