I visited Minneapolis in 2003. While they may not receive as much attention as bigger, flashier cities, the “Twin Cities,” Minneapolis and St. Paul, have always had vibrant offerings in entertainment, shopping, and outdoor life. The area is known for its many festivals, performing arts venues, and blossoming foodie culture.
Mall of America
More than 500 shops? Check. Over a dozen theaters? Check. Carnival rides? Check. Shark tank? Check. The Mall of America is absolutely insane! It boasts many other attractions aside from just shops and restaurants, which means it’s pretty much impossible to ever get bored.
Nickelodeon Universe. Yes, this mall has a roller coaster in the middle! The theme park itself is based on famous characters from Nickelodeon. It sits on seven acres at the heart of the Mall, and features tons of unique rides and shows.
SEA LIFE Minneapolis Aquarium. My favorite part of the Mall, the aquarium here had an underwater glass tunnel we could walk through to enjoy the fish swimming all around us– almost like being on the sea floor. Today, there are plenty of exhibits and activities, including fun educational ones for kids.
Exhibits and Shows. Nowadays, there are also exhibits featuring CSI, Barbie, Star Trek, LEGO, the Beatles, and more. There’ something for pretty much everyone!
First Avenue and the 7th St Entry
This club ranks among the top music venues in the US. Countless musicians started their careers here, and countless other top acts have performed here, including U2, Prince, Bo Diddley, The Ramones, and Depeche Mode. First Avenue has also put a fun spin on several benefits, political appearances, and more.
Internationally recognized for both its classic performances as well as its more avant-garde productions, the Guthrie has been a Twin Cities fixture for more than 40 years. In fact, it is one of only three theaters in the US to host London’s Royal Shakespeare Company. The building’s distinctive modern glass architecture also makes this a popular place for photographers.
Walker Art Center
This art gallery and museum maintains an excellent collection of American and European sculpture, photography and prints, as well as rotating exhibits of national and international works.
It is also right next to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. I regret not making it here on my trip, because I missed out on the garden’s centerpiece: The World’s Largest Spoon and Cherry!
Cathedral of St. Paul
Considered by many to be one of the finest in the US, St. Paul’s iconic cathedral houses several works of art to complement its graceful dome and stained glass.
Outdoors in and around the Twin Cities
Winter is pretty extreme in the northern Midwest, which might be why there are so many outdoor experiences to be enjoyed during the brief, balmy summers!
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Located in St. Paul, this city park has all the amenities for a pleasant day out: trails, pools, picnic tables, and so on. The Zoo is home to a number of great cats and other species, while the Conservatory has several gardens and glass enclosures that show off an impressive botanical display.
Minnehaha Falls. This picturesque, 50-foot waterfall is one of the highlights of Minnehaha Park on the Mississippi River. This is one of the oldest municipal parks in Minneapolis, as well as one of the most popular.