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48 Hours in Minneapolis

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Minneapolis is home to a number of tourist attractions, ethnic neighborhoods, glistening lakes and verdant parks and gardens. On a wonderful two day holiday in the city, you can indulge in a variety of activities here including shopping in the largest mall of America, visiting its well-maintained lush parks and of course, the famous landmarks in Minneapolis.

Lake Calhoun

Image by Werner Maybaum via Panoramia.com

The best time to visit the city is between the months of May and October, when the weather is quite pleasant. Also, try and stay at one of the hotels located in Downtown Minneapolis, which is where most of the action is.

Minneapolis Day 1 Tour!

Breakfast at 8:00 am

Start your day with a delicious, lip-smacking breakfast at one of the famous diners of Minneapolis. Drive down to Birchwood Cafe (3311 East 25th Street) for some fresh and healthy food. Do try their famous savory waffles and a range of sandwiches. Another popular breakfast place in Minneapolis is the Victor’s 1959 Cafe (3756 Grand Avenue South), which is known for their breakfast happy hours. Grab a seat on their lovely patio and enjoy from their large selection of breakfast items. If you are staying or traveling uptown, then try the Uptown Diner (2548 Hennepin Avenue) for a good early-morning breakfast.

Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet at 9:00 am – 9:30 am

True to its name, Minneapolis is home to more than twenty lakes. Therefore, it is only fair that you start your vacation visiting one (or two) of its most popular lakes. Lake Calhoun is the largest lake in the city and is a part of the Chain of Lakes. Spread over 401 acres, it is home to several outdoor activities including biking and walking with special trails for each. Spend some time here and soak up the early morning Minneapolis sun.

From there head over to Lake Harriet, located just south of Lake Calhoun. Spread over 335 acres, this lake is known for its several recreational activities like sailing. You can either bike/drive to the lake or hop on the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line that runs between the two lakes. The entire ride is about 15 minutes one way. If you are feeling hungry, grab a sandwich from Bread & Pickle, located across Lake Harriet band shell.

Address: Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis
Website: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/parks_and_lakes/lake_calhoun_park/
Duration from East Downtown: 4.2 miles or 17 minutes drive

Minneapolis Institute of Arts at 11:00 am – 11:30 am

This top-notch art museum houses more than 100,000 pieces of artworks from across world. It is home to some incredible art collections including the prominent Asian Art Collection. Since this museum is colossal, it cannot be covered in just a few hours. It is best to pick up a leaflet at the entrance and work your way through the most popular works of art.

Address: 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404, United States
Phone: 1 612-870-3000
Website: http://new.artsmia.org/
Duration from Lake Calhoun: 2.3 Miles or 10 minutes drive

Lunch at 1:00 pm

Since the next stop is Walker Art Center, you can visit either of the two amazing restaurants it houses – Gather Restaurant and Garden Cafe. While the former is known for its global cuisine, the latter offers small bites like sandwiches, salads and baked goods. If you want something more filling, head towards Rudolphs Bar-B-Que (1933 Lyndale Ave S) for some BBQ. There is also the Loring Kitchen and Bar (1359 Willow St) for authentic American cuisine.

The Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden at 02:00 pm – 02:30 pm

The Walker Art Center was one of the first art galleries to open in the Upper Midwest region. With more than 9,000 pieces of beautiful artworks, this museum has always been known for its innovative works and sculptures. It also has a large gift shop for gorgeous home decor pieces and souvenirs.

After touring the museum, hop over to the stunning Minneapolis Sculpture Garden for some sightseeing. This 11-acre park is home to over 40 colossal sculptures, including the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry Sculpture. It is a must-visit in the city of Minneapolis.

Address: 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Phone: 612-375-7600
Website: www.walkerart.org
Duration from Minneapolis Institute of Arts: 1.4 miles or 5-6 minutes drive

Minneapolis Convention Center at 4:00 pm – 4:30 pm

Minneapolis Convention Center is the largest convention center, located in the Upper Midwest region. It is home to a wide variety of trade shows, exhibitions and events. It is located just one block from the famous Nicollet Mall, near Minnesota Orchestra Hall. It has a beautiful building with quadrupled roof and a huge indoor area for conventions. You can visit their website for more information about their current events.

Address: 1301 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55403, United States
Phone: 1 612-335-6000
Website: http://www.minneapolis.org/minneapolis-convention-center/
Duration from Walker Arts Center: 0.8 miles or 4-5 minutes drive

Nicollet Mall at 5:30 pm

Nicollet Mall is a 12 block transit mall that is home to several shops, discount stores, pubs, restaurants, bars and eateries. Spend some time here browsing through its prominent stores like Macy’s, Target or even Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. You can also visit the indoor mall, Gaviidae Common, located east of Nicollet Mall.

Address: 651 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55402, United States
Website: http://www.minneapolis.org/visitor/shopping/nicollet-mall/
Duration from Minneapolis Convention Center: 1.0 miles or 5-6 minutes drive

Dinner at 8 pm

Nicollet Mall is home to numerous restaurants and eateries offering delicious food. Head towards Butcher and The Boar (1121 Hennepin Avenue, reservation required) for some delectable house-cured meats and pickles or to 112 Eatery (112 N 3rd St) for some savory American food. If you want Italian food with an Asian twist, then Zelo (831 Nicollet Mall) is the place for you.

Minneapolis Nightlife at 11 pm

Minneapolis is known for its vibrant and lively nightlife. Swing by Aqua Nightclub and Lounge (400 North 1st Avenue) and dance the night away to some hip-hop and EDM music. If you like something more laid back then head to The Dakota Jazz & Supper Club (1010 Nicollet Mall) for live music, beer and yummy small bites.

Minneapolis Day 1 Tour Map Guide

Minneapolis Day 2 Journey Begins!

Breakfast at 8:00 am

Start your day with a delicious, wholesome breakfast at Mill City Farmers’ Market (704 South 2nd Street). It showcases a bounty of Minneapolis’s fresh produce every Saturday between May and October. Do try the delectable Indian spiced doughnuts and French toast here. Bruegger's Bagels (651 Nicollet Mall #139) is another popular place for breakfast if you are in a mood for New York style bagels.

Mill City Museum at 10:00 am

Before being known as the ‘City of Lakes’, Minneapolis was renowned for its flour mills and sawmills. Built in 1880, Mill City Museum is an important landmark as it represents that period and its mill workers, who were vital during the foundation of Minneapolis. Do visit the Ruins Courtyard and the Flour Tower inside the museum.

Address: 704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401, United States
Phone: 1 612-341-7582
Website: www.millcitymuseum.org/
Duration from East Downtown: 0.6 Miles or 6 minutes walk

Guthrie Theater at 11:00 – 11:30 am

Founded in 1963, Guthrie Theater is the primary center for production, training, performance and education of aspiring actors in Minneapolis. With a very dramatic-looking building, Guthrie Theater is home to three huge stages that showcase at least one play everyday. Even if you do not have tickets for a show, walk towards the first floor and explore the beautiful features of the building including its striking glass-walled, cantilevered foyer known as the Endless Bridge, which extends almost 180 feet, overlooking the enchanting Mississippi River.

Address: 818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415, United States
Phone: 1 612-377-2224
Website: www.guthrietheater.org/
Duration from Mill City Museum: 0.1 Mile or 2 minutes walk

Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony Falls at 12:30 pm

Stone Arch Bridge is a unique, one-of-a-kind pedestrian bridge in Minneapolis that is made completely out of limestone and native granite. Built in 1883 by James J. Hill, the bridge is known for its Segway Tours and Stone Arch Bridge Festival that takes place every year. Spanning the entire length of Mississippi River, the bridge overlooks the beautiful St. Anthony Falls, which is the only naturally occurring waterfall on the river.

Lunch at 1:00 pm – 1:30 pm

Enjoy a hearty lunch at one of the prettiest restaurants of Minneapolis – Aster Cafe (125 Mainstreet Southeast). During summers, sit outside at their beautiful courtyard and relish their house salads and flat breads along with one of their craft beers or cocktails. If you are visiting during winters, then do try their special house-made soups and wines.

For Japanese food, head over to Zen Box Izakaya (602 S Washington Ave), known for its ramen and sashimi. For Thai food, try the Kindee Thai Restaurant (719 S 2nd St, Minneapolis) or for some comfort American food, visit Spoonriver (750 S 2nd St).

Mall of America at 2:30 pm – 3:00 pm

A trip to Minneapolis would be incomplete without a visit to the largest mall in the country. Home to hundreds of shops and restaurants, the Mall of America is a must visit for any traveler or a shopaholic. The mall also houses a theme park, wedding chapel, aquarium and several events with both national and international celebrities.

Moreover, since Minnesota is one of the few states in America with no sales tax on apparels and accessories, Mall of America gets frequent visitors from all over the world who want to stock up their wardrobes.

Address: 60 E Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425, United States
Phone: 1 952-883-8800
Website: www.mallofamerica.com/
Duration from Downtown East: 11.2 miles or 20 minutes drive

Minnehaha Park at 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm

After spending some time at the Mall of America, it is now time to soak up some nature. Drive back to the city to relax at one of the best parks in Minneapolis. Minnehaha Park is one of the most popular parks in the city and attracts more than 850,000 visitors each year. It is home to several historic sites including a Victorian Train Depot, Minnehaha Princess Station and the Longfellow House.

The park is also home to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the city – Minnehaha Falls. It is 53 feet high and has two bridges – one above and one below the falls – and trails leading into the gorges on either side of the falls. It is the centerpiece of the entire park.

Address: 4801 S Minnehaha Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417
Phone: 612-230-6400
Website: https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks__destinations/parks_and_lakes/minnehaha_regional_park/
Duration from Mall of America: 7.3 miles or 11-12 minutes drive

Dinner at 8:00 pm

If you do not wish to leave the falls early, there is a famous restaurant near the park called Sea Salt (4825 Minnehaha Avenue), which is known for its seasonal seafood bites, beer and patio dining. There is also another famous seafood restaurant in Downtown Minneapolis – Sea Change (806 S 2nd St), known for its creative menu, high ceilings and stylish decor. If you are in a mood for something else, then do try the famous Jucy Lucy Burger of Minneapolis at either The 5-8 Club (5800 Cedar Ave) or Matts Bar and Grill (3500 Cedar Ave).

Minneapolis Nightlife at 10:00 pm

Enjoy your last night in Minneapolis with a bang. Head towards the high-energy club – Bar Fly (Nicollet Mall, 711 Hennepin Ave) for some dancing to EDM, Hip-Hop music. If you want something upscale, then the modish Chino Latino (2916 Hennepin Ave S) is the place for you.

If you just want to relax with friends along with delicious cocktails and live music, then head towards Minneapolis’s oldest but most renowned club – First Avenue & 7th Street Entry (701 First Avenue). It is known for its amazing music featuring live internationally recognized artists and musicians.

Minneapolis Day 2 Tour Map Guide

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