Let’s guess…Flying with Delta or in the Mid-West and have a long(or short) layover in the beautiful Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport? Or heading to Superbowl 2018 in February and drafting your plan for Saturday? Perhaps you admire this land of 10000 lakes already and planning a visit in winter(or summer)? Here is a quick(and cheap) way to spend a day in Minneapolis, the largest city in Minnesota.

With just 11 miles from the airport, Minneapolis downtown is easy to catch up either through the cheapest Blue Line or Taxis. Folks of Minnesota start early so don’t be surprised if people are already rushing at this hour. Walking through downtown is the best one can do in the morning (Watch for Light Rail passing through the streets though) enjoying the colors and streets, especially Nicollet Mall and S Marquette Ave. Don’t forget to dress a few layers even in Summer but no worries if not, you can cruise through all of the downtown in glass-enclosed sky-ways. Well organized, isn’t it? Also, look for Free-Ride buses and pay no fare to commute on Hennepin Avenue, another busy street of downtown. Now it’s up to you to catch museums, clubs, eateries, theaters, or all of them.

08:00 AM

Grab a coffee at a local favorite – Caribou, an Eco-conscious chain that might be at every corner of the city. If craving for a real breakfast, Hell’s Kitchen has a delicious breakfast for under $10.

Minneapolis Downtown
Minneapolis downtown along S Marquette Ave.

10:00 AM

After exploring the downtown streets, head to the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia)  (Hours may vary on Sundays or holidays) and experience the various exhibits and the diverse art from all around the world for free. There are about 80,000 objects and is also one of the finest and most comprehensive Asian art collections in the country. Though it’s hard to move away from this exquisite art, we have a lot to do in a day.

12:00 PM

Our next stop would be for a quick lunch after we shed a lot of calories walking in MIA and before the long day ahead. Bep Eatery, a Vietnamese spot with good downtown views is one of the top street foods. The pho soup is so delicious and cannot be missed. Be prepared to wait in line. It is a small spot but there are several spots to sit around the building.

01:00 PM

Now is the time to enjoy downtown views from another angle. Stone Arch Bridge. Now opened only to pedestrians and bicycles, this bridge was once the railroad connecting either side of the Mississippi River. It has great views of downtown and Saint Anthony Falls. In Summer, there is a lot to do in the parks around these falls.

All the listed places are easily accessible by Public Transportation or at least quick UBER.

Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis
Saint Anthony Falls seen from Stone Arch Bridge

02:30 PM

Up Next, Minnehaha Falls. Nothing is better than these 53 footfalls, especially in winter when frozen. In Summer or Fall, walking on trails leading up to Fort Snelling State Park is time well spent. Though it’s exciting, it is not advised to venture behind these falls which you might find most people do.

Frozen Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis
Frozen Minnehaha Falls

04:00 PM

It is hard to complete a trip to Minneapolis without visiting a lake. As Caribou coffee or perhaps more than that, lakes are everywhere in the city. The largest among them is Lake Calhoun part of the City’s Chain of Lakes with 6 others. Lake Calhoun is one of the prettiest ones with downtown views and surrounded by trails which is the home of several outdoor activities. With three beaches, it is the go-to place for all residents throughout the year to canoe, kayak, bike, boat, and paddleboard in summer and Ice Fishing, Sledding, Tubing, and Snowboarding in winter. It is also a perfect place to catch the sunset.

Lake Calhoun
Lake Calhoun

06:00 PM

Who would miss the food, shopping, and roller coasters, all in one, largest mall – Mall of America? With over 500 stores, an indoor theme park by Nickelodeon Universe, and Sea Life Aquarium, it is enough to fit seven Yankee stadiums inside. Lego Fans will love the longest-standing mall attractions. The mall is a short ride from the airport which makes it one of the top tourist destinations in the country and has lots to offer for everyone in the family.

08:00 PM

If you are heading back to the airport, Terminal 1 has the best food and drink options like Republic and Minibar. And there is so much else to do at the airport be it Art lovers, Golfers, and Kids.

Heading back to Downtown? The Local will be the perfect end to a long day with traditional Irish food and drinks.

There are tons of other choices to explore in Minneapolis like Walker Art Center, Guthrie Theater, and Mill City Museum. Summer is a great time to explore lakes while Winter is the perfect time to enjoy the part of winter wonderland above lakes. Also with St.Paul, the twin city just a few miles and well connected through public transport, the historic part of the cities can also be explored.

There is a bonus if you are heading to Super Bowl. A shimmering Ice Castle will be ready around mid-January, in Stillwater, Minnesota few miles from Downtown.

Go Vikings! 🙂

P.S. Thanks to my dear friend Hari for showing me around!

Do you think we covered everything to spend a day in Minneapolis?

Here are some of our other trips you may enjoy:



The Great Pyramids of Egypt

About Author

“Be a Roman when in Rome” is the first travel quote I heard. Soon I realize every place is unique. Wondering how it is? Well that's why the stories here are for. Enjoy reading them!

With so many lovely places on this earth, different cultures and variety of food, exploring one at a time while leading a crazy IT professional life. In short, call me Explorer, be it places, food or IT. See you around!

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