Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, Minneapolis is a hot and lively city filled with young professionals, entertainers, families and everything in between. Here are a few of my tips for your next trip to the City of Lakes.
1. Don’t worry about renting a car. It’s always convenient to have a car but in Minneapolis it more than likely will turn out to be just a waste of money.
Do rely on public transportation. Minneapolis has wonderful public transportation that makes getting around easier than ever! The light rail can be easily taken from Downtown all the way to the airport for less than five dollars. Of course, there are always the options of cabs, buses and walking.
2. Don’t spend your entire trip at indoor events. Even in the wintertime there are great outdoor events and festivals happening all over the city. Pick up a copy of vita.mn at one of the local coffee shops, which gives detailed information about events, and start your planning.
Do take advantage of the greenways. Minneapolis is notorious for being one of the greenest cities in America. With nearly 200 miles of bike paths winding through the metro area, there is definitely something worthwhile about seeing the city from different angles. Take the greenway around Lake Calhoun and through downtown to get up close and personal with some of the city’s most beloved sights.
3. Don’t eat at the Spaghetti Factory. Actually, don’t eat at McDonalds either. There are hundreds of awesome small and local restaurants more worthy of your time and hunger. For instance, The Winery located on Cedar Ave. is a hotdog connoisseurs delight, and much more worth your buck! Try ‘The Upsetter” which mixes bacon, egg and cheese for a delicious breakfast style at any time during the day.
Do check out the farmers markets. In the spring and summertime the city is bustling with farmers markets. Skip the restaurant food altogether and indulge in some fresh, homegrown, Minnesota fruits and vegetables. Peapods, peppers, strawberries, and fresh flowers are a personal favorite and definitely worth checking out.
4. Don’t be close-minded. Really, it is 2012 after all.
Do be open to culture and diversity. Minneapolis boasts a variety of cultures, diversities, and huge gay culture. The city doesn’t divide or segregate the cultures but instead they are mixed like one giant pot of awesome.
5. Don’t spend your entire trip ‘downtown. True, downtown is hopping and boasts a ton of things to see and do, but it is not worth spending your entire day or trip in that single section of the city.
Do go to the Uptown and Lyndale area. They have the reputation of being known as the ‘hipster’ areas of the city but really, it’s more than that. The streets are hopping with young professionals, there are classic stores such as Urban Outfitters and Apple dotting the sidewalks, a seemingly endless count of bars and happy hours and of course, the memorable Lake Calhoun is within walking distance.
6. Don’t forget to check out the art scene. With more theater seats per capita than any U.S. city outside of New York, Minneapolis is known for its arts and entertainment! Be sure to catch a live performance at the Guthrie or Orpheum theaters.
Do get your picture taken with the Spoon & Cherry Sculpture. It’s just one of those things you have to do. The legendary sculpture is located in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and provides a stunning photo with a city skyline backdrop no matter what season.
7. Don’t forget to pay attention to the streets. No, not because you could get hit by a car. (well…) The city is dotted with buildings that host gorgeous murals depicting everything from artistic views, inspiring words and political statements. Dinkytown by the University is famous for it’s street art on every block.
Do take a tour of the University of Minnesota campus. Not only is this beautiful campus home to a brand new, state-of-the-art football stadium, it’s one of the largest in the nation and still hosts architecture from the early days of the University. The campus also straddles the mighty Mississippi River making the Washington Avenue walking bridge the perfect location for a great view of the river and cityscape.
8. Don’t miss a show at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry The intimate venue hosts entertainment of all types and every genre. With a solid line up every month there is always something amazing to be seen or heard at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry.
Do watch a live performance at First Avenue & 7th Street Entry. I am serious on this one! The legendary venue is a classic and a must see for music lovers of all genres. It’s the location where many artists including Prince got their start. Get a photo next to your favorite act’s silver star painted on the side of the venue.
9. Don’t spend all your time in Minneapolis Although, it may be hard with so much to see in this fabulous city I do not recommend spending your entire vacation in the one city.
Do take a jaunt down the river… Take a trip down I94 and check out Minneapolis’ twin sister, the beautiful city of St. Paul. With just as much hustle and bustle as it’s twin, this city is worth checking out while on your trip to Minnesota.