Ten Minnesota Must-Do's
1. Experience the Mall of America
Covering over 4.2 million square feet with 750,000 soon to be added, the largest mall in the country encloses 500-odd food and retail outlets and a seven-acre indoor amusement park with 28 rides. In addition to outlets for shoppers and diners, a multi-plex theater, merry-go-round, indoor zip line, and over 400 annual special events are additional special attractions
Mall of America
2. Go to a play
Notable for its unique design with thrust stages and endless bridges devised by Pritzker winner architect Jean Nouvel, the Guthrie Theater presents world class productions on three different stages. Morgan Freeman, Julianne Moore, David Hyde Pearce are among notable actors who have appeared in shows with tickets costing about half of Broadway prices.
Guthrie Theater photo by Mark Vancleave
Wurtele thrust photo by Gallop Studios
3. Experience art and history
Recently nicknamed MIA, the Minneapolis Institute of Art has permanent collections of paintings and contemporary art, of Africa and Asia, Native Americans, photography, and others. Built into rhe ruins of what was once the world's largest flour mill, the The Mill City Museum displays exhibits on the intertwined histories of the city, the flour industry, and the river.
Mill City Museum
4. Be a good sport
Take in a baseball game at the Target Stadium home of the Minnesota Twins. Or schedule a visit next season to the new home turf of the Minnesota Vikings. Just nearing completion downtown, the USBank Stadium will be the country's largest urban stadium with a translucent fixed-roof stretching up 30 stories. Viking purple plastic seats, suites, clubs, and turf side suites that open directly onto the sidelines will accommodate 65,000 to 73,000 fans. Prior to the opening next summer, hardhat tours can be scheduled online.
5. Enjoy the out of doors
Sprinkled with lakes, creeks and bike paths, the city provides myriad outdoor activities and views. One popular visit is a stop to see the Hiawatha statue which overlooks the top of plunging Minnehaha Falls.
6. Eat hearty
Farms all over Minnesota provide markets and restaurants with local fare from cranberries and wild rice to pheasant and geese. Fresh seafood is flown in daily to Sea Change in the Guthrie Theater compex and Radisson Blu's FireLake Grill House and Bar restaurants serve cocktails and desserts concocted from honey harvested from beehives on the roof.
Lobster salad with avocado slices and a tofu cake at Sea Change
7. Stop and sip
Surly, Town Hall, Harriet, Dangerous Man are among more than a half dozen local breweries, many offering sampling, tours, tap rooms, and special events with live music.
8. Mind the Mississippi
Visitors can stroll along America's largest river. Its historic Hennepin Bridge may have been the first permanent structure across the mighty river. Stretching 72 miles along the river (and into St. Paul), the Mississippi National Park and Recreation area accommodates birdwatching, bicycling, hiking, fishing, boating, canoeing.
9. Travel by transit
Buses and a light rail system deliver riders to destinations all over town. From MSP Airport and the Mall, the Blue Line runs to downtown in about a half an hour. In less than an hour Bus 54 runs express from the Mall of America and the MSP Airport to downtown -- and into St. Paul to the Amtrak depot. Itineraries are provided online.
10. Never mind the weather
The roofed-over Mall and stadium attest that after three seasons of beautiful weather, winter temperatures can plunge. Indoor parking connects visitors to the Mall and hotels and the Minneapolis Skyway System, an 11 mile interlinked system of enclosed pedestrian footbridges, connects various buildings in 69 full city blocks for climate-controlled comfort year round.