Long ago and far away when I was a but a young girl, I decided to enroll at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I remember being excited to move to “the big city.” I also remember several of my friends asking if I wasn’t afraid to move to “the big city.” And, back then — coming from a very, very small town (population well under 1000 people), Minneapolis did feel like “the big city.” Well, let me tell you, it sure doesn’t feel that way now. Minneapolis is a lovely place with friendly people and I highly recommend a visit, but after living in Chicago and traveling to places like Bangkok and Saigon, I no longer think of it as “the big city.”
If you do visit Minneapolis, the absolute “must do” is a trip to the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center. If you don’t mind a bit of a walk, it is totally walkable from the downtown hotels. The cherry on the spoon is quintessential Minneapolis.
While you are there, you should also check out the art at the Walker Art Center. Our hotel (Le Meridian) actually had a deal with the Walker that let us both get in free. Can’t beat that!
And, right next door to the Walker is Loring Park. Back in the day, it used to have quite the reputation, especially after dark. Now, it is the home of some very cute ducks.
And, you absolutely have to catch a show at the iconic First Avenue or one of the many other music venues around town. We saw a band called Snail Mail. Remember that name — I predict they are going to be big.
You should walk across the Mississippi River on one of the many bridges and catch a glimpse of some of the old marketing signs.
You should also walk across the campus of the University and admire the ivy covered buildings. Although I will say on a unseasonable hot Sunday summer afternoon, the place was so deserted we started wondering whether the zombie apocalypse had happened without our knowledge.
Don’t forget to check out the Weisman Art Museum on campus. The building was designed by Frank Gehry and is pretty cool, although neither of were in love with the art inside. But, it is free and air conditioned.
Take the light rail one day and head out to Minnehaha Park. The highlight of the park is Minnehaha Falls, which are small but pretty.
And, there are some cool statues.
And then, ride the light rail a little bit further and check out the Mall of America. It is huge. But, more importantly, there is a small amusement park in the middle of the mall, complete with roller coasters and a Lego store.
And, don’t forget to stop into Gluek’s for a drink and some of their amazing cheese curds. Gluek’s has more or less been around since right after Prohibition ended (except for a short period when they had to rebuild after a fire) and it is definitely worth a stop.
Next up, where to eat in Minneapolis — and you are going to have lots of options!