There’s a reason why the Minnesota travel and tourism industry generates an average of 16 billion dollars a year in gross sales…and why 73 million people made Minneapolis their travel destination in a single year!

Why is that?

Well, read on so you can be in the know about where to go in this beautiful Minnesota city.

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Like the Big Apple? You’ll LOVE the Mini Apple!

Are you planning a trip to Minneapolis? Well, you’re in for a treat, because there is so much to do in the area…and most of our top 10 destination suggestions are free.

Did you know locals call Minneapolis the Mini Apple? The nickname is because the city has a hip New York City vibe. Just like the Big Apple, you can find tons of art galleries, museums, theaters, nightclubs and world-class restaurants.

If you’re visiting for a week, or just a day, you’ll have a blast in the Twin Cities! Here’s our insider’s guide for must-see destinations in the Mini Apple…

1. Lake of the Isles

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 lakes are we recommend you take in two of these lakes while visiting Minneapolis.

Our first suggestion is a visit to Lake of the Isles. You can gawk at multi-million dollar mansions owned by area celebs while walking on a trail that is simply the best in the Twin Cities. Parking is free. In the winter, if the ice is safe, you can even walk across the lake and explore the islands that give the lake it’s name.

Your four-legged friend might wanna visit the nearly two-acre off-leash dog park located on west side of the lake.

2. Lake Calhoun (Bde Maka Ska) 

Located a few blocks away is Lake Calhoun.

This lake is a bit more working class…and fun. There’s tons of cool activities like sailing, paddle boarding and in the winter – wind surfing. This is where active locals love to hang out.

Again, parking is free around the entire lake and there’s an awesome walking and cycling trail.

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3. Minnehaha Falls and Park

If you’re still in the mood for a hike, or if you’re a nature lover looking to snap that perfect travel pic, we recommend visiting Minnehaha Falls – a 53 foot waterfall that empties into the Mississippi River.

While at the Falls park, visit the Longfellow House. Built in 1907, the house is a 2/3 scale replica of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

4. Downtown Minneapolis (and Uptown)

While we’re talking about beautiful architecture, be sure to take an afternoon and explore downtown Minneapolis. it’s full of historic charm similar to New York City, without the traffic and noise of the Big Apple.

Most of downtown Minneapolis is clean and safe so walking around is also a fun option. 

Here’s a tip from us locals…the Uptown neighborhood is just as vibrant and fun, especially in the evenings. There’s tons of great bars and restaurants. It’s especially cozy in the winter.

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5. Basilica of Saint Mary

One can’t miss stop when you’re in the downtown area is a visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary.

No matter what your beliefs are, you’ll have to marvel at the jaw-dropping beauty of this – the first basilica established in the United States. It was constructed between 1907 and 1926.

There’s also a fun music festival that happens on the grounds of the Basilica every summer.

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6. Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Just across the street from the Basilica is the Walker Art Center and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

The Walker is one of the most-visited modern and contemporary art museums in the United States. Here’s a fun tip – if you can, visit the Walker on a Thursday evening, when admission is free.

Speaking of free, the Sculpture Garden is always free to wander. It’s home to several famous works of art and that’s where you can take your iconic “I’ve been to Minneapolis” pictures to share on social media.

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7. Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood

If you’re looking for a fun dose of diversity, we recommend hanging out in the fun and eclectic Cedar-Riverside area.

Also known as the West Bank, it is the most diverse areas in the Twin Cities…over 100 languages are spoken in the small neighborhood! During the late 19th century, Bohemians, Germans are Swedes settled in the area…and today there are many Cambodian, Latino and Somali immigrants that call Cedar-Riverside their home. 

There’s tons of cafes and restaurants serving cuisine from all over the world.

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8. Stone Arch Bridge

Before you leave the downtown-ish area, we recommend a walk along the beautiful and majestic Stone Arch Bridge.

It is a former railroad bridge that is now pedestrian friendly. It’s the second oldest bridge on the Mississippi River and the only arched bridge made of stone on the entire river.

During the summer there’s tons of festivals, concerts and events that take place at the Stone Arch.

9. Mall of America (Bloomington, MN)

While not technically in Minneapolis, our next pick is a most stop for anyone visiting Minneapolis. We’re talking, of course about the Mall of America in Bloomington.

Over 40 million people visit the mall every year…probably because it’s the largest mall in the United States and the largest in the Western Hemisphere.

Be sure to enjoy one of the perks of shopping in Minnesota: there’s no sales tax on clothing.

This mall is so big that the largest indoor theme park in the United States is located in the center of the mall! Everyone loves visiting Nickelodeon Universe…you can ride one of their fun rollercoasters or even cross the entire park on a zip line!

We have tons of insider tips and hidden gems for visiting the Twin Cities. Check out our YouTube channel for more great travel guides!

10. Minnesota State Fair (St. Paul, MN)

Did you know that the Minnesota State Fair is the second largest in the country? I guess, everything’s bigger in Texas! Hehe.

No visit to the Twin Cities is complete without a stop at the Great Minnesota Get Together. There’s tons of fun for the whole family…plus you can find almost anything you want to eat…on a stick.


Well, there you have it: our top 10 travel picks if you are escaping to Minneapolis. It really is a great city and we know you’ll have a blast visiting here.

Have you been to Minneapolis before or are you planning a trip? Let us know in the comments what you are most excited about!

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