Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

The thing about Minneapolis, Minnesota is this: it’s kind of hard to get there by accident.

It’s not impossible, of course — contrary to popular belief, there are signs of intelligent life throughout the Midwestern United States — but it’s not likely.

So then, you might be asking: why should I make a point to visit the City of Lakes? What can you find there that you can’t find in a million other places?

Well fear not, friend! I’ve put together a collection of things one can only see, do, or eat in my hometown, and nowhere else on earth (not that I’m biased or anything). Here’s how to achieve the iconic Minneapolis experience.

_______

Take a walk by Minnehaha Falls

It won’t take long for you to realize that Minneapolis is no ordinary city.

You’ve got your skyscrapers, traffic jams, restaurants, and nightclubs; but you’ve also got expansive green parks, rushing waters, and 13 sparkling lakes, all located within the city proper. It’s the best of both worlds (if you’re into that kind of thing).

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

One of the city’s largest and most popular parks is Minnehaha, home to the eponymous Minnehaha Creek and Minnehaha Falls — the latter of which is actually the most photographed spot in all of Minnesota. (And considering it’s got 67 state parks and Lake Superior to compete with, that’s really saying something.)

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

While certainly a great place to visit on a warm summer day, Minnehaha Park is even more stunning in the winter, when temperatures plummet and the falls freeze solid. Nothing really drives home how cold it is like the sight of giant mammoth icicles plunging to the ground.

_______

Go star gazing outside First Avenue

Maybe you’ve heard of a little artist formerly known as Prince (RIP). When news of his death first came out, Minneapolitans gathered on the streets around this popular music venue and sang his songs beneath a bright purple glow. Later, the star with his name — one of many adorning the outdoor walls of the club — was painted gold.

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

As you may have guessed, each star denotes a musical act who has performed at First Avenue. Prince was arguably the most famous person to do so, but he’s hardly the only big name on the wall. Here’s just a taste of the others keeping him company.

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

_______

Grab a slice at Pizza Luce and a burger at Matt’s

Back in college, I lived in the delivery area of one of Pizza Luce’s three Twin Cities locations — and boy, was that a mistake. I could probably go for another year in New Zealand with the amount of money I spent on late-night pizzas. If you’ve got dietary restrictions or are simply a bit of a picky eater, there’s a good chance you’ll find something here to suit your needs. Luce dishes up a wide range of styles, including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.

However, vegetarians and vegans alike should probably steer clear of Matt’s — a dive bar that serves up some of the city’s most popular burgers, and little else. It doesn’t look like much from the outside (or the inside, for that matter), but many locals swear by it.

The signature “dish” at Matt’s is the Jucy Lucy: a double cheeseburger with the cheese in between. (Proceed with caution; the cheese is roughly the temperature of a thousand suns.)

_______

Catch a game at Target Field

The Minnesota Twins began playing at their new stadium in 2010. Unlike its predecessor, the Metrdome, Target Field is open to the summer sun and flanked by the glittering city skyline. It is, quite literally, a breath of fresh air.

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

Outside the stadium, you’ll find statues of various Minnesota baseball legends and characters from the “Peanuts” comic strips scattered around. There’s also a giant baseball glove, but be prepared to wait in a bit of a line for a photo there. (Personally, I couldn’t be bothered, which is why you won’t find it in this post. Sorry, guys.)

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

This definitely isn’t the cheapest item on the list — aside from tickets, a hot dog costs like $8 — but if you’ve got a bit of wiggle room in your budget, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon.

_______

Roam downtown via the skyway system

In case you haven’t heard, Minnesota winters are really god damn cold. That being said, they’ve decided not to let pesky subzero temperatures or weekly blizzards get in the way of living their lives. Among other methods (like, hats, gloves, and 15% concentrated power of will), there’s the skyway system, which connects nearly all of downtown Minneapolis. In other words, you can walk across several streets and through about a zillion different buildings, all without actually stepping foot outside.

But wait: there’s more! The skyway level is really like a mini-city of its own. The office workers of downtown have no reason to come down to the streets, because they can pick up lunch, grab a coffee, drop off their dry-cleaning, get their nails done, and stop at the bank without having to leave the comforts of temperature control.

But even if you don’t want to do any of those things, and even if you avoid winter and visit in the summertime (which I would highly recommend), you should check out the skyways anyhow, just for the novelty. They’re accessible through most of the buildings in downtown; just walk in and take the stairs or elevator up to the level above the ground floor (usually marked as “skyway level” on the signs).

_______

Travel through time at Mill Ruins Park

Back in the day, Minneapolis was the world’s milling capital, thanks to the power of St. Anthony Falls — the highest waterfall on the Mississippi River. At Mill Ruins Park, you’ll find remnants from this time period, including pieces of the abandoned mills, the water power system, and the railroad tracks.

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

Meander across the famous Stone Arch Bridge and read the posted signs for information on the industry’s development, as well as the excavations and preservation efforts that have taken place over the years. You’ll aso get some great views of the river and downtown skyline.

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

Six Experiences You Can Only Find in Minneapolis -- Em Dashed

_______

So there you have it — six uniquely Minneapolis experiences that just might make the journey worth it.

If you feel there’s been an egregious oversight, free to leave your own recommendations for the “Mini Apple” in the comments!

• • •

Like this post? Check out: