Things You Must Do in Minneapolis

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For those hoping for a hip, fast-paced vacation in the Midwest, Minneapolis is the place to visit. It’s one of the Twin Cities, the other of which is St Paul, the state’s capital, to the east. Whether you’re seeking to enjoy the lively nightlife, view historic architecture or enjoy a Broadway-worthy theater performance, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Minneapolis. Here are the things you must do in Minneapolis to incorporate into your trip.

Things You Must Do in Minneapolis

1. Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)

Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) - CODART CODART

Heaven for anyone with a love for art, the Mia has wide-ranging catalogue of more than 80,000 works, spanning five millennia and different regions of the world.

There’s an inspiring collection of Asian art, one of the best in the United States, comprising bronzes, samurai armour, jades, ceramics and Chinese architectural elements.

You can check out pre-Columbian artefacts from the Americas and figurines, naturalistic terracotta shrine heads from Nigeria, ornate European decorative arts and classical statuary.

2. Mill City Museum

A great first stop for the Mississippi riverside and the water-powered industry that it spawned in the 19th century, Mill City Museum is in the ruins of the Washburn A Mill complex, dating to 1880. At that time this was thought to be the largest flour mill in the world.

In these galleries you can find out about the groundbreaking milling process that made fine wheat available to a mass market for the first time ever.

The tour gives an impression of what it would have been liked to work at this facility and the ruins are full of interpretation boards and fun things for kids to do at the Water and Baking Labs.

The Flour Tower elevator show lifts you through eight floors of the building and transports you back in time to listen to workers’ stories and experience a catastrophic 19th-century explosion when airborne flour ignited.

At the observation deck on the roof you can survey the entirety Minneapolis’s old industrial riverfront, from Stone Arch Bridge to Saint Anthony Falls.

3. Basilica of St Mary

Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis marks 150 years | Star Tribune

This Roman Catholic minor basilica, constructed in the early 1900s and ranked by Pope Pius XI, was the first basilica established in the US. It sits on its own block in Downtown Minneapolis, and is a must-see attraction for those interested in historic architecture.

Today, the Basilica of St Mary serves as a gathering place for the local community. In addition to its Catholic services, its leaders host concerts and music festivals, perform local outreach and display local, national and international artwork.

4. Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

The Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory offer free animal and plant exhibits alongside educational classes and youth camps.

The zoo, which aims to create memories and inspire an appreciation of the natural world, features a seal island, a large cat exhibit and a variety of aquatic life, primates, birds and African hoofed animals, along with a world-class polar bear exhibit.

The indoor conservatory is a popular cold-weather hangout for locals. Here, guests will find 2 acres (0.81ha) of plant life, including ferns, orchids, seasonal flowers and bonsai trees.

5. Stone Arch Bridge

Stone Arch Bridge (Minneapolis) - Wikipedia

The railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill built this bridge across the Mississippi for his Great Northern Railway in the early 1880s.

Stone Arch Bridge connected the railway system on the east bank to the Union Depot, which opened not far from the west bank in 1885, boosting passenger numbers for this successful project.

It’s the second-oldest surviving crossing on the Mississippi and the oldest arched stone bridge on the river.

The last passenger service passed over in 1978 and in the 1990s it was turned into a pedestrian and cycle bridge, granting you a front-row view of Saint Anthony Falls and the Minneapolis skyline.

In summer Stone Arch Bridge is the focal point for fireworks displays for the Fourth of July and the Minneapolis Aquatennial celebrations at the end of July.

6. Guthrie Theater

Event Rental | Guthrie Theater

The famed theatrical director Sir Tyrone Guthrie founded this acclaimed producing theatre in 1963. The Guthrie Theatre, which moved to its formidable Jean Nouvel-designed facility on the Mississippi riverside in 2006, has a resident company and produces an assortment of contemporary and classic plays on three stages, raising the bar for performance and theatrical production.

There are roughly nine productions a year at the Mainstage and some standouts in the 2019-20 season were Guys and Dolls, As You Like It, Cyrano de Bergerac, Metamorphoses and two new works, The Great Leap and Floyd’s, while A Christmas Carol is a Twin Cities holiday tradition.

Keep an eye out for inventive smaller productions at the Dowling Studio, and be sure to watch the Mississippi hurrying past at the Endless Bridge viewpoint.

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