Minneapolis is a great city to visit because it provides both indoor and outdoor fun. Their hashtag says it all #citybynature. It couldn’t be more true.
It’s a booming city with highrise business centers and a skywalk that connects to all of them, yet right around the corner you’ll find a beautiful park or bridge to walk across.
The Mill City Museum is a great place to start your Minneapolis adventure. There is a 19-minute movie that will give you an amazing overview of Minneapolis and how this city began and prospered here. Plus a Flour Tower tour that you takes you nine stories up while teaching you all about the museum. The view from the top of the Mill City Museum is breathtaking!
If you are looking to spend time outside there are a variety of lakes and parks to choose from. Minnesota is the home of 10,000 lakes and Minneapolis does not disappoint.
Check out their website for more information on the Mill City Museum www.millcitymuseum.org.
Lake Harriet provides a bandshell where there are live performers throughout the summer, a restaurant, park, bike trail, hiking trail, and beach. You could get lunch here and sit overlooking the lake or decide to rent a kayak or paddle board and spend a few hours out on the water.
Stone Arch Bridge
The Stone Arch Bridge, pictured at the top of the story, is a restored bridge offers a wonderful walking or biking trail along with a view of the St. Anthony Falls. You can also see the Mill City Museum from the bridge.
Minnehaha Falls and Park
If you like waterfalls, then you wont want to miss Minnehaha Falls. Located in the middle of the city, this park is a great way to spend time outside enjoy the opportunity to dip your feet in the water.
There are stairs that take you down to the bottom of the 53-fo,ot falls and if you walk further down the trail you will get to a shallow area where you can wade out into the water. Just be careful of the strong current.
For directions and other information, click here.
Mall of America
You can’t go to Minneapolis and not visit the Mall of America! Even if you aren’t into shopping, the mall will have something for you.
Boasting more than 500 stores and 50 restaurants the mall is massive. Beyond the stores, there are amusement park attractions that you don’t want to miss located right in the mall. If it is a hot or cold day, it is great place to be!
If you have kids in tow, the Crayola Experience is our No. 1 recommendation when visiting Mall of America. It has an incredible collection of activities for kids from making their own crayon to printing a personal coloring sheet. There are hours of fun to be had here.
With your admission, each person gets two tokens and a bag for all of your goodies. With the tokens, you can make a crayon that you can type your name on and also your own bag of Model Magic Clay. That’s just two of the many things you will be bringing home with you. Thank goodness they give you a bag.
People can melt crayons to create artwork, or enjoy life-size dancing crayons that will mimic any actions you do. Kids will enjoy standing under the pouring paint buckets, or stop by the puzzle machine and color a piece of card stock and run it through the puzzle making machine.
Then head over to melt a crayon into a bull, ring, or race car. And, yup, you get to keep all of this at no extra charge. If the kids are ready to run head over the the indoor playground to let them climb, jump, and slide. They also have a full sized cafeteria and multiple snack bars.
You could easily spend half a day here with kids of all ages! Plus Mom and Dad will have fun getting their creative juices flowing, too. For pricing and other information, visit www.crayolaexperience.com/minneapolis.
This was a really unique experience. After you strap yourself into a chair, the lights go down and the ride positions your seat over an IMAX size screen. As the movie starts, you feel like you could literally touch the water with your toes or reach out and grab a tree branch. It was really cool and our 4-year-old kept asking is this real.
An amusement park inside a mall? Yep, Mall of America has that, too! There are 27 rides for people of all ages and heights. They have upside down roller coasters to slow moving trucks for toddlers. Plus a log ride where you may get a little wet.
There are also multiple character meetings throughout the day and of course snack bars and Nickelodeon shops. Or you can take a Ferris wheel ride to look out over the whole park. They sell wrist bands for $34.99 that are good for unlimited rides, so you could ride rides all day long. www.nickelodeonuniverse.com
The highlight of the aquarium is the Shark Tunnel where you walk through a tunnel that is teaming with sharks of all different sizes. They get so close you can see their teeth. It is scary, but awesome!
You can also touch the sting ray or reach your hand into the touch tank to touch sea cucumbers and other marine life, then walk through a dark room filled with glowing jellyfish. For an aquarium in a mall it was really impressive!
Tickets start at $14.99. For more information, visit https://www.mallofamerica.com/attractions/view/sea-life-minnesota-aquarium.
Restaurants in the mall
As far as eating goes in the mall, I probably don’t even have to say it, but they have everything. Multiple food courts with everything from fast food to specialty dining. They also have multiple sit-down restaurants from American burger joints to fantastic Japanese restaurants.
There are also quite a few bars in the mall and who couldn’t use a nice cold drink after a day of shopping?
Do you have a daughter who is into American Girl dolls? If yes, you don’t want to miss this experience. Their store has all the dolls and accessories you could imagine, but that’s only the start. They offer salon services for dolls, so you can get her done up by a professional.
After getting prim and proper, have lunch with your friends and dolls at the American Girl Bistro. They serve tea as well as a full lunch or dinner. My daughter had such a great time here and didn’t want to leave!
For a full list of stores, restaurants and attractions, visit the Mall of America’s website at www.mallofamerica.com.
Science Museum of Minnesota
This museum is actually in St. Paul, but I had to put it on the list. It’s just a short 20-minute drive from Minneapolis, but worth the trip.
We started our visit at the science museum by watching the National Parks Adventure on IMAX. We are HUGE fans of America’s national parks and it was great to watch this film. It brought back some great memories of the parks we’ve visited and inspired us to see the ones that are still on our list.
The museum also hosts a variety of exhibits and displays. We enjoyed the mummy exhibit during our visit. The highlight for the kids, though, was all the interactive displays and exhibits. Our kids are definitely hands-on type people, so they spent hours interacting with all the exhibits and learning about different things.
Check their website for more information on the museum as well as current exhibits and films at www.smm.org.
Izzy’s Ice Cream
We love ice cream! We really love local ice cream shops that have a special uniqueness about them. Someone recommended we try Izzy’s Ice Cream and we are so glad we did.
We were put off a bit by the line that went out the door and wrapped around the building, but after a few minutes we saw the line moved pretty well.
After finally making it in the door, we saw the huge board of flavors they offered. We all picked and then were asked what we’d like for our “Izzy Scoop.” It turns out the shop gives a small dollop of ice cream on top of your scoop. It can be the same flavor or different to complement your choice. Talk about icing on the cake!
For more information on Izzy’s and to see their other locations, visit izzysicecream.com.
Angel Food Bakery
One of our must-do’s when we visit different areas is to find a local gourmet donut shop. In Minneapolis, we found Angel Food Bakery. The restaurant below the bakery is fittingly called Hell’s Kitchen.
The bakery had tons of cakes, muffins, cupcakes, cookies, and, of course, donuts. We all chose a different flavor and really enjoyed them. To learn more about Angel Food Bakery, check their website at www.angelfoodmn.com.
Lebonon Hills Regional Park campground
During our visit, we stayed at the Lebanon Hills Regional Park campground. The address is technically in St. Paul, but we were 15 minutes away from Mall of America and about 30 minutes from downtown Minneapolis.
The campground was clean, spacious and affordable. I’d definitely recommend staying there. For more information, click here.
We had a great time in Minneapolis and really enjoyed learning about the city and experiencing so many fun activities. I’d definitely add Minneapolis to your travel destination list!
For more information on visiting the Minneapolis area, visit Minneapolis.org.