U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis will be the epicenter of football frenzy when the New England Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on February 4, 2018. But if you couldn’t get a ticket for the big game, don’t worry. There are plenty of other brilliant things to do in Minneapolis year round. Here are five Travel Maestro favorites.
Taste it All
Everyone knows that one of the best ways to really get to know the culture of a place is through its food. Minneapolis offers something for everyone’s taste in the culinary influences of its immigrants. You can find everything from authentic Ukrainian sausages to gastronomic French cuisine to Asian-inspired Nepalese dishes. Just choose from the many restaurants along Nicollet Avenue, fondly referred to as “Eat Street,” or peruse over 50 vendors at the Midtown Global Market to find a wide range of ethnic food offerings. Minneapolis is also a veggie delight, as it claims to have the most vegetarian restaurants per capita in the U.S.
Shop till You Drop
Once you’re properly fueled up, you’ll be prepared to tackle the enormous Mall of America in the nearby suburb of Bloomington. With nearly 5 million square feet (that’s 96.4 acres!) and 500+ stores, you can easily trade football mania for retail therapy.
In addition to shopping, the whole family will stay entertained at the Flyover America flight simulator, Blacklight Minigolf, play tables in the Lego Store, hands-on activities at the Crayola Experience, and a nightly Universe of Light show. Travel Maestro tip: Friday and Saturday evenings youth under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult 21 years or older from 4 p.m. until close.
Rekindle Your Inner Child
The truth is Minnesota winters can be brutally cold, but the Mall of America is home to Nickelodeon Universe, the largest indoor theme park in the country. Seven acres of inside rides, characters, and attractions ensure your little ones are thrilled, not chilled. Also inside the Mall of America, visit thousands of sea creatures at the huge SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium. Feeding shows, touch pools and “The World’s Best Shark Encounter” keep kids of all ages fascinated and engaged.
For more animal fun, visit the nationally renowned Minnesota Zoo, widely considered among the country’s top 10. Indoor and outdoor naturalistic settings include a tropical coral reef, Komodo dragons, and Siberian tigers. In warm weather enjoy the interactive Wells Fargo Family Farm and the Woodland Adventure. For indoor adventure, catch a movie at the IMAX-3D Theater.
Appreciate Nature and History
The oldest and arguably the prettiest part of Minneapolis is the Riverfront District deemed a National Historic District. It’s there that the Mississippi River’s St. Anthony Falls was the first energy source for early mills and a historic system of locks and dams can be toured in the summer. Travel Maestro tip: Walk across the Mississippi River on the historic Stone Arch Bridge along the two-mile St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail (open year-round). Get the best view of the falls from the cantilevered Endless Bridge that juts out 178 feet from the face of the Guthrie Theater.
On a bluff overlooking the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, the massive stone fortress of Historic Fort Snelling is where Minneapolis got its start in the early 1880s. Costumed guides relive the daily lives of soldiers at the restored 150-year-old fort by mending uniforms, cooking, and blacksmithing. (Open May – September)
Explore Art and Architecture
For some outdoor art immersion, don’t miss the 11-acre Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, home of the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry, the beloved Standing Glass Fish and more than 40 other imaginative sculptures by leading artists. If you prefer your art indoors, be sure to visit the adjoining Walker Art Center to see internationally recognized contemporary art exhibitions. Travel Maestro tip: The Sculpture Garden is open year-round. Picnic there in the summer or it’s just as stunning in the snow.
Only 10 miles away, Minneapolis’ Twin City of St. Paul is home to historically significant architecture. Along Summit Avenue lies one of the best-preserved and largest Victorian-era neighborhoods in the U.S. Walking tours feature the 20-room governor’s mansion, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s home, and railroad baron James J. Hill’s huge mansion, once the largest in the Midwest.
Also on Summit Avenue, the impressive domed Cathedral of St. Paul, c. 1915, was modeled after St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Another famous dome at the Minnesota State Capitol is one of the largest self-supporting marble domes in the world.
There are loads of things to do in Minneapolis even in the depths of winter. The city embraces the cold and keeps right on going. You don’t have to be afraid of going there in the winter but do be sure to dress for the frigid temperatures. Whenever you’re ready to visit, contact your Covington vacation advisor to make your arrangements.