Article mis à jour le / Post updated on 12 May 2022.
If I had written this article about my visit and the things to see in Minneapolis earlier and not two years after it happened, I would have said about how human, modern, progressive Minnesota’s largest city is. Sadly, Minneapolis was put on the media scene for other reasons, with the death of George Floyd in May 2020.
I’m still going to tell you what I thought about my trip down there and all the things to see in Minneapolis.
This trip to Minneapolis happened in March 2019.
Things to see in Minneapolis
- Where is Minneapolis located?
- Top things to see in Minneapolis
- Things to visit in Minneapolis
- What about Saint-Paul?
- More reasons to visit Minneapolis
Where is Minneapolis located?
Minneapolis is in the North of the United States of America. The city is often neglected in favour of its more famous neighbour, Chicago.
I live in Manitoba, Canada, and Minneapolis is the closest largest city accessible by car (Winnipeg – Minneapolis is a seven-hour drive). That explains why the majority of my American explorations are based in the state of Minnesota!
More blog posts about Minnesota:
– the North Shore Scenic Drive
Top things to see in Minneapolis
The Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is just iconic, this photo pops out all the time in city views. It’s one of the best free things to see in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has 57 sculptures and is completely free. Each artwork has a clear sign naming the artist and quoting their intention, which I really enjoyed. I like art with context. There are various styles classic, contemporary, mirrors, it’s weirdly awesome. You can see all the statues on the Walker Art Center website.
In the heart of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, there is also an Art Gallery. I had a simple and good lunch at the restaurant there, but I didn’t visit the gallery (I’m not a fan of contemporary art at all!). However, I have fond memories of the place because it was the day I decided to stop putting sugar in my daily coffees – the coffee I had at the Walker was the first of this positive new habit.
Street art in Minneapolis
Street art is EVERYWHERE in Minneapolis. I had done my research before going on the must-see pieces and arranged my walks around the city to find the best murals. I have a list for you!
- the UNMISSABLE street art piece of Minneapolis, the giant Bob Dylan pictured below. At the corner of 5th Street and Hennepin Ave.
- Homage to Prince, another native of the city. On 26th Street and Hennepin Avenue, at the back of the building.
- Baby I am a star, another reference to Prince. 930 Hennepin Avenue.
- Greetings from Minneapolis , 515 1st avenue NE.
- The stars of local musicians, 701 N 1st Ave.
- The musical notes wall, 10th and Marquette.
- I like you, 501 1st Ave NE # 1 (the store of the same name makes you want to buy everything).
Sometimes, it’s good to leave a city and go see some nature. The Minnehaha Falls and Park are an amazing thing to see in Minneapolis, only 30 minutes away from the city center by public transit. I was happy to just go see the falls on this March day, but there are also historic houses, trails, statues, the park goes all the way to the Mississippi!
Look at this wall of ice behind the falls! I saw winter photos on Instagram where everything is frozen and people can go under the frozen waterfall, it was super impressive.
The architecture in Minneapolis
I really enjoyed just walking around Minneapolis, observing the reflections on the buildings in the city center, looking for older bricks, going to cafes, each better looking than the other.
Things to visit in Minneapolis
The Mills City Museum
I couldn’t wait to visit the Mill City Museum, or the Flour Museum. Its sign is emblematic: Minneapolis was a city of grain and the museum is located in the ruins of the former biggest mill in the world.
But I was rather disappointed: the museum is small and there were school groups everywhere. Some brands had sponsored parts of the museum, so I kinda felt like I was stepping into an advertisement.
The various attractions inside the museum (a great movie about the history of the city or the possibility of going up to the very top of the tower) improved my overall impression a bit, but it’s not the best museum in the city for me, I preferred the Minnesota History Center which I will talk about below!
things to see in Minneapolis
Right next to the Mills City Museum is the Guthrie Theater. I entered and climbed to the very top floor, because there is a panoramic terrace. Mirrors have been placed all over the place too, making for some great abstract photos of the Gold Metal Flour sign.
The University of Minnesota campus
Having grown up with American TV shows, university campuses still make me dream, even today after having had my own experience when I worked as a teaching assistant at Brandon University, in Canada.
So I strolled around the University of Minnesota campus trying to imagine what it’s like to be a student in such a beautiful setting, far from the horrible-looking buildings of my own college career.
The University of Minnesota campus also houses a completely futuristic building, the Weisman Art Museum. I did not visit it, but the store had pretty things, including postcards!
What about Saint-Paul?
The abbreviation MSP, Minneapolis-Saint-Paul or the expression Twin Cities is often used, as the two cities are twinned and connected by tram. Saint-Paul is not just a suburb or a dormitory town, it is the capital of the state of Minnesota. It is therefore home to several attractions.
The Minnesota Capitol
I love to visit political buildings, it’s one of my strange pleasures on vacation. I love to learn more about the political, social, historical functioning of the place where I am.
The guided tour of the Minnesota Capitol is free and includes an overview of the political organization of the state. It also allows you to climb into the rotunda to have a great view of the golden statue.
The Minnesota History Center
I wasn’t sure if visiting a second museum was a good idea after the disappointment of the Mill City Museum. But no, I absolutely loved the Minnesota History Center. It is the archetype of a playful and entertaining museum, with different levels of exhibits for children and adults.
There is a section about the history of Minnesota of course but also on the technical prowess, a simulation of the tornado of 1965 where the room moves itself, a gallery on immigration, another on agriculture, in short, everything I like!
More reasons to visit Minneapolis
- For its dynamism;
- For its micro-breweries;
- For shopping. Indeed, I must mention the Mall of America in this article… Accessible directly by metro from the city center, it is no longer a temple of shopping but an entire planet.
- For Sport. Minneapolis is a city of sports. I found myself next to the stadium during a baseball game and the atmosphere was really impressive.
How many days to visit Minneapolis? I stayed there for five full days, but two and a half days were devoted to some work training. One more day would have allowed me to find more things to see in Minneapolis, go to more neighbourhoods or visit one or two other museums.
Will I be going visit Minneapolis again? I hope !