8 Things to Do in Minneapolis Besides Watch the Super Bowl
In just days the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul will roll out the red carpet to welcome fans to the 52nd annual Super Bowl. Thousands of visitors will flock to the downtown Minneapolis area for the biggest night in football. With no hotel rooms currently available in Minneapolis or Saint Paul, Airbnb hosts are preparing for over 125,000 visitors. However, if you’re among those football fans whose beloved team didn’t make it to the big game, you may be looking for something more to do. Luckily, Minneapolis is a vibrant city that welcomes its visitors with plenty to explore. Discover all the ways you can make the most of your visit to the Bold North during the 10-day long celebration.
1. Mall of America
Who needs the Super Bowl when shopping at this mall is a sport in itself? Since opening its doors in 1992, the Mall of America has been a leader in retail, entertainment and attractions in Minnesota. Boasting over 520 stores, 60 restaurants, an aquarium and the largest US indoor theme park, this mall in Bloomington, Minnesota is one of the top tourist destinations in the country. While you can’t expect to experience everything in one trip, be one of the 40 million visitors each year (12,000 visitors per day) to indulge in the endless options to shop till you drop — literally.
2. Mill City Museum
Explore Minneapolis’ industrial past at the Mill City Museum, one of the only major institutions dedicated to the early milling industry in the US. Housed in what was once the world’s largest flour mill, this museum offers galleries and features historical artifacts and interactive exhibits for visitors to enjoy such as the flour tower ride and baking lab. Tourists and locals alike deem this museum one of the best places to experience the city’s history. After a day of learning, head up to the observation deck to catch a panorama of the Mississippi River, Saint Anthony Falls and Stone Arch Bridge.
3. Guthrie Theater
After your visit to the Mill City Museum, consider a trip to the historic Guthrie Theater. Also located on the banks of the Mississippi River, you’ll find one the city's most renowned and beloved theaters. The Guthrie Theater opened in 1963 with a production of Hamlet directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie, the theater’s founder. Since then, this classic playhouse has produced some critically-acclaimed playwrights and has made a name for itself with high praise from generations of visitors. Round out the Guthrie experience with a magnificent view of the Mississippi River from the museum’s 178-foot cantilever bridge known as the “Endless Bridge.”
4. Walker Art Center
Even if you’re not a cultural enthusiast or art buff, a trip to the Walker Art Center is definitely worth a visit. Known for its diverse collection of contemporary art, this museum houses a variety of films, books and arts from early 20th century to the present. Not to be confined to its indoor attractions, the museum’s biggest draw is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, the largest urban sculpture park in the country. Since opening in 1988, the garden has showcased more than 40 works from the Walker Art Center’s collection. Stroll through the 11-acre garden and catch a glimpse of the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture and fountain — you won’t regret it.
5. Chain of Lakes
Most big cities boast about their towering skyscrapers, but no other city can rival Minneapolis’ scenic lakes and parks. Appropriately dubbed the “City of Lakes,” Minneapolis has 22 lakes, with the largest located in the southern part of the city. Situated southwest of downtown Minneapolis, the Chain of Lakes — Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet — are most popular for ice skating and ice fishing, although open to visitors year round. Whether you’re taking a spin on the ice or watching pond hockey, the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes offers a great outdoor and scenic escape.
6. Minnehaha Park
Overlooking the Mississippi River, Minnehaha Park is one of Minneapolis’ oldest and most popular parks. More than 850,000 visitors each year travel near and far to venture through the 167-acre park. With more than three miles of trails, you can easily find a place to enjoy the scenic byway, which includes the park’s most-visited attraction, the Minnehaha falls. In the winter, the fall freezes and creates a frozen cave which is easily accessible by foot.
7. Weisman Art Museum
The Weisman Art Museum is a wonderfully intimate art museum founded (and financed) by philanthropist Frederick R. Weisman. Exhibited on seven floors, the museum contains more than 25,000 works of contemporary art. Here, you’ll find pieces by famed artists Andy Warhol, Georgia O'Keeffe and Roy Lichtenstein, in addition to an impressive permanent collection of ceramics and Korean furniture. The Weisman Art Museum can be found nestled in the University of Minnesota campus.
8. Minnesota Zoo
If you're interested in learning more about animals native to the state, plan on visiting the Minnesota Zoo. This 485-acre zoo in Apple Valley, Minnesota houses more than 5,300 animals and 268 species — 38 of which are endangered. Perhaps the best time to visit the zoo this year is Feb. 17 – Mar. 11 for the annual Tropical Beach Party. There, families can escape the cold and warm up as they explore the wildlife at the Minnesota Zoo.
Featured photo of Mills Ruins Park, Minneapolis, MN. (Photo by @gccooper_ via Twenty20)