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Forget all of the preconceived notions you may have about Minneapolis and consider this trendy Midwestern destination for your next sightseeing adventure. This is an awesome place to be if you enjoy arts and cultural experiences, as well as for people who love to shop and eat and drink delicious things. The outdoor recreation here can’t be beat here in the summer, and there are plenty of fun things you can do indoors to stay warm on cold and snowy winter days. You can see and do a lot here on a weekend trip or even an airport layover, so here are the best things to do in Minneapolis with just 48 hours.
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If you’d rather spend your short amount of time in Minneapolis in the outdoors and experience the city’s natural beauty, the plan to go for a bike ride along Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Minneapolis is one of the best biking cities in the country, and this route goes past lakes, riverbanks, wetlands, gardens, and picnic grounds. The Byway is made up of seven segments and offers approximately 102 miles of trails for walking and biking.
The Walker Art Center is a recommended art museum that has modern and contemporary art in the form of paintings, photos, sculptures, and more. This center also offers visual arts and design exhibitions, performances of dance, theater, and music and film screenings as well. The adult admission price for the gallery is $15, and it’s open from 11am to between 5pm and 9pm depending on the day of the week.
Minnesota is a land of many lakes, and you can experience some great ones in Minneapolis. The Chain of Lakes, located just a few miles southwest of downtown, is made up of five bodies of water that are hubs of activity in the summer. Come to Lake Harriet for live summer music and rose gardens, Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) for boating and biking, and Cedar Lake for a picnic or casual stroll. If you plan your visit for July, you can join in the fun at the city’s Aquatennial festival at the Chain of Lakes.
If you love to shop, then definitely don’t miss out on the Mall of America, a legendary shopping mall with over 500 stores and even rides and attractions to entertain the kids. The mall is a bit south of the downtown area of Minneapolis. Definitely come here when you’re feeling energetic because the enormous size of this mall and crowds can be a bit exhausting otherwise. Also packed with many restaurants, a wedding chapel, and an aquarium, it’s easy to lose track of time here, so keep an eye on your watch so that you can explore other parts of the city too.
If you could use a quick break from all the shopping and sightseeing, then pop into one of Minneapolis’ excellent craft breweries for a pint or flight. Top breweries to pop into during your 48 hours in town include Surly Brewing, Fulton Beer, Town Hall Brewery, Day Block Brewing, and Modist Brewing. Some breweries in town, such as Surly, offer tours and quite are dog-friendly, including Lakes & Legends and Inbound BrewCo.
For a dose of natural beauty during your trip to Minneapolis, make a point to visit Minnehaha Park. You’ll find this park just southwest of the central part of town, and the park spans about 193 acres of green space. People come here all throughout the year to see the 53-foot waterfall, bike, play volleyball, soak in the wading pool, and play on the playground. In the wintertime, the falls freeze and create an impressive frozen sculpture of ice. There is no fee to visit the park.
Whether you go into the Walker Art Museum or not, make sure to walk through the largest urban sculpture garden in the United States right next to it. While there are lots of fascinating sculptures to see here, the most iconic and famous one if the spoon-bridge and the cherry. The sculpture garden is free to visit and a perfect place to take photos during your 48 hours in the city. Stop by anytime between 6am and midnight daily to check out the sculptures.
The city of Minneapolis used to have the largest flour mill in the world. You can learn about this history by visiting the Mill City Museum and checking out the hands-on exhibits inside. The museum also offers cooking demonstrations and is a great place to spend an afternoon on a day when the weather isn’t great. The adult admission price for the museum is $12, and it’s open from 10am 5pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays and from noon to 5pm on Sundays.
Another great way to soak up the arts and culture scene of Minneapolis is to catch a performance at the Guthrie Theater. This theater was opened in 1963 and named after founder Sir Tyrone Guthrie. This theater has multiple stages and eateries, as well as a cocktail lounge and excellent views of the city. Make an evening plan to see a show here if you can because the Guthrie’s performances are among the very best in the Midwest. To learn more about the theater, you can take a guided tour or do a self-guided tour on your own. This local spot is also conveniently located near other top attractions, such as the Stone Arch Bridge.
Fresh food is a way of life in Minneapolis, and you can jump on this farm-fresh trend by checking out one of Minneapolis’ farmers’ markets. The Minneapolis Farmers’ Market has locations on East Lyndale Avenue, South 6th Street, and the Nicollet Mall. You can also check out the Mill City Farmers’ Market on Saturdays either outdoors when the weather is warm or indoors on select Saturdays between November and April.