Minneapolis City Guide
The ‘twin cities’ of Minneapolis and St Paul are actually two halves of a single metropolis( the Minneapolis-St Paul metropolitan area) that is traversed by the Mississippi River in eastern Minnesota. St Paul is the older, smaller and quieter of the two cities and is the state capital while Minneapolis is located across the river and offers a more contemporary ambience with its lively downtown area and its vibrant nightlife scene.
A vacation in the Minneapolis-St Paul has all the attributes of a ‘big city holiday,’ for the twin cities, which are known for their excellent public transport system, clean environment and low levels of crime, offer numerous excellent shopping, dining and nightlife opportunities. Other attractions of the ‘twin cities’ include bountiful outdoor recreation facilities as the cities are home to more than twenty lakes and wetlands and a legendary cultural scene that features renowned establishments like the Guthrie Theater, the Hennepin Center for the Arts, the Minneapolis Institute for the Arts and the Walker Arts Center.
Where to stay in Minneapolis
Downtown areas of Minneapolis and St Paul
The downtown areas of the ‘twin cities’ are generally favored accommodation choices for visitors to the Minneapolis-St Paul Metropolitan area. Both these city centers are populated by tall, glass fronted skyscrapers that host offices, hotels, malls and venues for meetings and conventions. Both these areas are also served by skyway public transport systems, which are a boon for commuters during the frigid, sub-zero Minneapolis winters.
Near Bloomington – The Mall of America
The Mall of America is located in Bloomington, a suburb of Minneapolis and is one of the region’s major tourist attractions. This gargantuan mall, which is the second largest mall in North America, extends over 96.4 acres and offers more than 500 stores, bars, restaurants, entertainment areas. It is estimated that more that the mall welcomes more than 40 million visitors a year. The area around the mall hosts a variety of hotels that cater to the needs of shopping enthusiasts who come to Minneapolis with the main objective of visiting the Mall of America.
Places to see in Minneapolis
Minnehaha Park and Falls
The lush Minnehaha Park, which contains the stunning Minnehaha falls, that originate from the Minnehaha Creek is a popular venue for picnics and ‘hang-outs’ during the Minneapolis summers. This park that spreads over 193 cares is adorned with sculptures, landscaped gardens and offers several avenues for recreation like a tennis court and hiking trails. The Minnehaha Park and falls should be considered a must-do for any nature enthusiast on a vacation in Minneapolis.
The Bell Museum of Natural History
If you are on vacation in Minneapolis with your kids in tow, then the Bell Museum of Natural History is definitely a recommended attraction for you. The museum offers numerous interactive exhibits that actually recreate Minnesota’s varied flora and fauna and offer children a chance to get up close and personal with nature.
Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge is enclosed within the Minnesota Valley Recreation Area, which is a part of the Minnesota State Parks system. The nature preserve was created to provide refuge to migrating birds and waterfowl though it also offers various avenues for recreational activities like cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, bird-watching and picnicking.
Minneapolis Walker Center
The Minneapolis Walker Center is the one of the most renowned museums in Minneapolis. This museum whose permanent collection has achieved worldwide fame offers more than 11000 modern and contemporary art exhibits that include multi-media installations, paintings, sculptures, photographs, films, drawings and much more. All the big wigs of contemporary art like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso and others have a representation at the Minneapolis Walker Center.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is yet another world-famous attraction of the twin cities area. This garden is the nation’s largest urban sculpture garden that offers more than forty installations of modern art which are spread over eleven acres.
The Guthrie Theater
The Guthrie Theater is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of the American Regional theater movement. This performance space is housed in a Jean Nouveau designed space on the river and hosts three stages that were used for the resident acting company’s performances of classical works.
Minneapolis Institute of Art
This world-renowned art space has a permanent collection of more than 80,000 works and artifacts that hail from all over the globe and represent every school and era of work. The Minneapolis Institute of Art is definite must-do attraction for any art enthusiast on vacation in Minneapolis.
Best time to visit Minneapolis
Minneapolis unfortunately is known for its rather harsh winter. The twin cities’ land-locked, northerly position has bestowed on it a climate that features bitterly cold, frigid winters which are characterized by endless days of sub-zero temperatures.
Records indicate that the Minneapolis-St Paul area experience nearly 76 days of below freezing temperatures every year. The best time to visit Minneapolis is undoubtedly during its brief summer months when the weather is mild enough to walk around and take in its many attractions and recreational activities.
Getting around in Minneapolis
The Minneapolis-St Paul International airport is located 10 miles south of Minneapolis and 12 miles south of the city of St Paul. The Minneapolis-St Paul International airport is one of the busiest airports in the Midwest which is a hub for Northwest airlines (now a part of Delta airlines). This airport welcomes various other domestic and international carriers as well.
Fare Buzz often announces flight deals to Minneapolis-St Paul and if you are in the market for cheap air tickets to Minneapolis, you should perhaps connect with Fare Buzz on popular social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter so that you can be informed of these announcements of cheap air flights to Minneapolis and other such deals.
The Minneapolis airport is connected to the city center by buses and the light rail system, which is operated by the Metropolitan Transit Commission of Minneapolis. This organization runs all the public transport system in the cities of St Paul and Minneapolis.
Even though the twin cities have a fairly extensive public transport system, most visitors to Minneapolis usually choose to rent a car for the duration of their stay in Minneapolis. The public transport system in Minneapolis may serve you adequately if you choose to limit yourself to the downtown areas of these two cities. If you need to travel outside this area and visit the suburbs, you will probably need to rent a car for your stay.
Fare Buzz can be of help for our travel deals portfolio includes affordable car rentals for Minneapolis-St Paul as well. They can be booked via the same platforms and at the same time that you make your other travel bookings at Fare Buzz.
Where to shop in Minneapolis
When one thinks of shopping in Minneapolis, it immediately conjures up images of the massive Mall of America, one of the largest malls in the world which is rumored to be big enough to hold 32 747 aircrafts. This gargantuan mall which is located in Bloomington, fifteen minutes to the south of the Twin Cities, hosts more than 500 stores and offers an abundance of entertainment options in the form of theaters and theme parks, like Camp Ice Age, Nickelodeon Universe and a huge Lego® store.
However if huge malls are not your cup of tea, you needn’t worry for Minneapolis offers various other options for shopping enthusiasts in the form of shopping districts like 50th and France in Edina and Grand Avenue in neighboring St. Paul. Also worth perusing is the trendy Uptown neighborhood of Minneapolis, home to more than 150 stylish boutiques and stores as well as an indoor mall, called Calhoun Square. Downtown Minneapolis hosts the Nicollet Mall, an open-air pedestrianized mall that extends over twelve blocks and encompasses several individual shopping spaces within its boundaries like Gaviidae Common and Crystal Court.
If enjoy antiquing then the downtown Stillwater in Minneapolis and the St Paul Retro Loop, are destinations worth considering on any visit to the Twin Cities. Both areas offer an abundance of antique and collectible stores along with vintage clothing boutiques and shops that sell all sorts of curiosities.
Where to eat in Minneapolis
Minneapolis has an ever evolving, vibrant restaurant scene. Restaurants, cafes, bistros, and au courant food trucks populate the twin cities’ dining landscape. Some of the must-visit restaurants in Minneapolis include eateries like Pig Ate My Pizza, Piccolo (tapas), Broders’ pasta bar, Tilia (all-day dining and brunch on the weekends), Szechuan Spice (Chinese), Quang (Vietnamese), Butcher and the Boar (cured meats and sausages), Fika (Swedish), The Bachelor Farmer (New American), Masu Sushi and Robata Ne (Japanese), Sen Yai Sen Lek (Thai) and the Strip club (steakhouse).
Nightlife in Minneapolis
The Twin Cities’ are renowned for an eclectic live-music scene, a platform that produced music legends like Prince and Bob Dylan. The cities’ continue to host several live-music venues that provide independent musicians with a tableau to showcase their talents. Enjoy live-music performances and concerts in Minneapolis at venues like the Varsity Theater, the State Theater and First Avenue and bars and clubs like the Triple Rock Social Club, 331 Club and Icehouse.
Other popular nightlife haunts in Minneapolis include Surdyk’s Flights (a fun wine bar located at the Minneapolis airport), George and the Dragon, Lucia’s Wine Bar, the Six15 Room, Palmer’s Bar and Muddy Waters Wine Bar and Eatery.