Looking for ways to spend a free afternoon in Minneapolis? Look no further! Minneapolis is a huge city with tons of things to do. Combined with St. Paul, the twin cities offer an array of activities, restaurants, and sights to keep you busy for a lifetime!
How to Spend an Afternoon in Minneapolis
I visited this area several times before I made the move. I always consulted Google or Trip Advisor looking for advice on how to best spend my time while here. The problem is, most things listed as the top attractions are not an interest of mine. Therefore, I thought Minneapolis was BORING.
However, since living in the area for nearly two years I’ve done a tremendous amount of sightseeing. I can say without a doubt that the twin cities are some of the best in the country.
Seriously. Creme de la creme. Minus the last few months of winter – that part really sucks.
When we have new guests in town the first place we start is right in downtown Minneapolis with the Stone Arch Bridge.
The Stone Arch Bridge is a former railroad bridge that crosses over the Mississippi River right at St. Anthony Falls. It is the only stone bridge on the entire length of the Mississippi River, so that’s cool. The bridge has two large bicycle lanes each flanked by large pedestrian-only lanes. There is a paid parking lot at one end of the bridge that charges like a dollar an hour. Go ahead and park here, wander the length of the bridge, and see all there is to see in this area.
Nicollet Island, the Mill City Museum, Guthrie Theater, and several restaurants are all nearby including one of my favorites, Spoon and Stable.
In my opinion, the bridge is best visited in the summer when you can take advantage of the bike paths as well as the grassy areas that flank the river. However, the cold weather doesn’t slow Minnesotans down. So even in the winter, you’ll see people utilizing the bridge, but bundle up because the water makes the air quite chilly.
From the Stone Arch head over to the Guthrie. If the weather is nice you can leave the car at the bridge, but if it’s too cold go ahead and move your car closer to the theater. There is plenty of metered street parking around. Make sure you carefully read the meter signs and pay appropriately if not, you WILL get a ticket in this area.
Try to grab tickets for a show, if you like that sort of thing. They are known for their rendition of the Christmas Carol but have many great shows all year long.
Once inside the Guthrie take the insanely tall escalators up to the Endless Bridge. The bridge is elevated about 50 feet in the air and extends almost 200 feet from the side of the building giving an incredible panoramic view of the city. As you’re walking out towards the bridge you’ll notice mirror lined window cutouts showcasing various Minneapolis signs and buildings.
There’s the Stone Arch you just walked across!
Another cool feature about the Guthrie is the Amber Room. I didn’t know about this the first few times I visited but recently discovered it a couple trips ago. The designer of the Amber Room wanted to create a year-round optimistic view of Minneapolis. Winters here can be tough and seem to drag on endlessly, so I think it’s a neat concept.
To get up to the Amber Room you’ll have to take the elevators up to the ninth floor.
Walker Art Center & Sculpture Garden
From the Guthrie get back in your car and drive about four miles to the Walker Art Center. The Walker Art Center houses contemporary visual and performing arts. Entrance to the center is $15 for adults, $10 for students, and free for children under 18.
But the big draw to the Walker is the sculpture garden, which is free admission.
The sculpture garden recently underwent a HUGE renovation and just reopened this past year. The spoon and cherry piece has been iconic to Minneapolis, but there’s a new kid on the block – a
large GIANT blue rooster.
The beloved spoon and cherry sculpture.
Some of my other favorites include:
This piece looks like a tornado, but walk around it and you’ll see it is really made up of multiple facial profiles.
The garden is open year-round, but you’ll find more artwork in the warmer months.
Ahhh…I love Minneapolis.
From the Walker drive about five miles into a super cool part of Minneapolis known as North East. Tattersall is hands down my favorite place in town. I first discovered Tattersall earlier this year and since the summer have been averaging about two visits a month.
Minneapolis not only has an amazing restaurant scene, but we have a great drinking scene as well. We have anything from craft breweries to incredible distilleries to prohibition style bars.
The North East neighboorhood of Minneapolis is home to amazing industrial style buildings that are renovated into super chic places to hang out. Tattersall is located in the Thorp building which was built in 1902. The building was used for classified World War II equipment manufacturing and two guard towers still stand on the property.
During the summer the garage door is open and the patio is lined with umbrella covered tables and chairs. Like most distilleries and breweries in town, there is always a food truck outside. We’ve had fried chicken with mac & cheese, pizza, and sandwiches, BBQ, and Jamaican.
Why does everything taste better from a food truck?
The menu is broken into the type of alcohol- gin, vodka, aquavit etc. With each cocktail, there is a sweetness guide and ingredient list. My favorites are the tea time, mule variations, mojito, and the jungle book. But I usually ALWAYS get the tea time because it’s so. damn. good.
After you’ve lingered a few hours and had your fill of craft cocktails you can head out to dinner. My favorite restaurant in the area is Chimborazo which is a small shop serving up wonderful Ecuadorian food.
After dinner, you can continue sightseeing, head to a nearby brewery, or call it a night and start again the next day.
One afternoon is simply not enough time to even see the highlights the area has to offer, but today’s tour will certainly give you a taste of the artsy side of town.
Has anyone been to Minneapolis before?
What did you do? Did you like the town?
Comment below and let me know!