16 Experiences You’ll Love in the Twin Cities

The Twin Cities are at the cultural confluence of the historic and the hip, where family-run diners, indie rock shows, and street art are held in as high esteem as fine dining restaurants, the orchestra, and museums. Here there are all the bright lights you want, the nature you need, and the cheese-stuffed burgers you crave.

Highlights
Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis, MN, USA
This former railroad bridge, built across the Mississippi River in the 1880s, is now a pedestrian and bike path perfect for strolling between parks. With panoramic views of the downtown skyline, river, and St. Anthony Falls, Stone Arch Bridge is a favorite trail for locals.
818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415, USA
Although the new Guthrie Theater was only completed in 2006, it has a rich history in the resident-theater movement of the 1960s. Architect Jean Nouvel created this stunning masterpiece that is worth visiting even if not attending a show, although attending one would be ideal. The space has three, differently sized theaters, and the “Endless Bridge” lobby extension leads to panoramic views of the Mississippi River, Stone Arch Bridge, and St. Anthony Falls.
Minneapolis, MN, USA
With over 20 lakes, Minneapolis is truly a water city—which is roughly what its name means in the Dakota language of the area’s original American Indian inhabitants. The 1555-acre Chain of Lakes district highlights the best of this water-filled landscape. From the active water and ice sports of expansive Lake Calhoun to the more leisurely picturesque shoreline of Lake Harriet, each lake glistens with its own unique personality.
240 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102, USA
Scattered with Victorian mansions, St. Paul’s tree-lined Summit Ave. is one of the most beautiful residential streets in the Midwest, with famous former residents including author F. Scott Fitzgerald and early railroad entrepreneur James J. Hill. Guided tours are offered from the James J. Hill House Wed–Sun, but it is also a worthwhile independent stroll. Make sure to start or end at the gorgeous St. Paul Cathedral, overlooking downtown St. Paul.
Office-G10, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407, USA
The Twin Cities’ diversity is displayed with full fanfare at this vibrant, internationally focused market of food, grocery, and craft vendors from around the world. Favorites include East African dishes like the camel burger and sambusas at Safari Express, Middle Eastern gyros at Holy Land, Korean staples like the kimchi fried rice and bibimbap bowls at Rabbit Hole, and Mexican tortas at Manny’s.
4801 S Minnehaha Dr, Minneapolis, MN 55417, USA
One of the unique things about the Twin Cities is just how much nature is part of the urban landscape. Few places exemplify this better than Minnehaha, one of Minneapolis’s oldest and most popular parks. Here, visitors will find everything from limestone bluffs and river overlooks to a majestic 53-foot waterfall that freezes in winter. Explore the area via various walking and biking paths, or bring your furry friend to the epic dog park. There’s also a disc golf course, picnic area, playground, volleyball court, and wading pool, making the park perfect for family outings.
3500 Cedar Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407, USA
When visiting the Twin Cities, you have to try a Jucy Lucy. And if you’re going to try a Jucy Lucy, you have to go to Matt’s Bar & Grill, which is widely believed to have invented it. In this inverted cheeseburger of sorts, the cheese is inside the beef patty, rather than on top of it, creating a molten situation that led to Matt’s “Fear the Cheese” motto. Order yours with pickles and onions, and don’t pass on the french fries. With its extensive beer selection and TVs playing local sports, Matt’s is everything you want from a neighborhood dive bar. Just know that it doesn’t accept credit cards, so bring cash or use the on-site ATM.
725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403, USA
The Walker Art Center is one of the major contemporary art museums in the U.S., housing some of the most iconic and innovative visual, performing, and mixed media art in the world. The Center hosted the first major museum exhibits by Joseph Cornell, Frank Gehry, Julie Mehretu, and Maria Merz and has acquired work by O’Keeffe and Warhol. Exhibitions here push the boundaries and strive to engage the audience in unique ways.
Minneapolis, MN, USA
The Twin Cities are known for their extensive downtown Skyway systems, blocks of climate-controlled covered footbridges that connect buildings and allow residents (and visitors) to comfortably navigate the area anytime of year. Hubs of indoor shopping, dining and business are connected to major museums and sport stadiums, making foul weather a fool’s excuse.
725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403, USA
Located next door to the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden features more than 60 works by big names like Alexander Calder, Sol LeWitt, and Robert Indiana. At its center stands Claes Oldenburg’s iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry, which locals regard as an unofficial symbol of the city. Perhaps the best thing about the sculpture garden, however, is that it’s free, unlike the Walker—or the surrounding parking, for that matter. It’s open 365 days a year, from 6 a.m. to midnight, and also hosts the two-day Rock the Garden musical festival every June.
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