| Minneapolis is part of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. At approximately 380,000 people, it is the largest city in Minnesota. Minneapolis Daytime Skyline |
Minneapolis was born as a center of grain commerce due to its location on the banks of the Mississippi. The river cuts through the downtown, formerly dividing Minneapolis from the city of St. Anthony. What was St. Anthony is now NE and SE Minneapolis.
The name "Minneapolis" (meaning The City of Lakes in a mash-up of Dakota and Ancient Greek) refers to the five fair sized (2-4 mile circumference) lakes. The city's excellent parks department maintains walking and biking paths around the lakes, offering residents a place to exercise or stroll. Personal sailboats may be buoyed on three of these lakes. The Lake Harriet Bandshell offers seasonal concerts.
The city has done an excellent job fostering developed neighborhoods each with a distinctive feel. Linden Hills for families, Uptown and Lake Calhoun for twentysomethings, and downtown for high-rise suits, sporting events (Timberwolves, Vikings, and Twins all play downtown), and nightclub scene. Lyn-Lake offers an edgy, cool twist.
Minneapolis on the surface seems like a pretty but rather quiet tourist destination. If you properly do your research though, there is plenty to do.
• As mentioned earlier above, Minneapolis has beautiful lakes and riverfronts that the local residents work hard to keep clean. It is also easy with a car, the proper permits, and necessary equipment to go camping two hours and more out of town. And it can be delightfully cheap. Try Explore Minnesota for more info.
• Biking. An old freight train railway has been converted into the Midtown Greenway,, which cuts through the middle of South Minneapolis beginning on the West Bank and crossing west all the way to the Lake Calhoun area and meeting up with the Kenworth Trail, which in turn connects with the Cedar Lake Trail.
Lakes and Parks
• Walk, bike, drive, swim or paddle around the chain of lakes running north to south along the western side of Minneapolis proper.
• Only beer in cans are allowed in Minneapolis Parks.
• Shower soon after swimming to avoid swimmer's itch.
• Cedar Lake. Cedar Lake has a shady public swimming beach and an unofficial nude beach.
• Lake of the Isles. Lake of the Isles has bird sanctuaries on its islands, and a public skating rink (with warming house) are groomed in the winter months.
• Lake Calhoun. Lake Calhoun has a large public beach and boat rentals (and lessons).
• Lake Harriet. Lake Harriet also has boat rentals near it's bandshell.
• Lake Nokomis. Lake Nokomis has several beaches including a swimming beach with life guards on duty. It also has public boat access for canoes, kayaks and sail boats. The swimming beach also has public rest rooms and vends food (hot dogs, ice cream, etc.). Several convenience stores and a grocery store are nearby on Cedar Avenue if you need to make a run for that item you forgot on your picnic.
• Minnehaha Creek. Minnehaha Creek connects several (if not all) of the above lakes. If the water is high enough, one can canoe or kayak through all the lakes via the creek.
• University of Minnesota
• Augsburg College
• Minnesota College of Art and Design
There is a good variety of hotels. Most of them are clustered in downtown, or near the University of Minnesota. Avoid straying too far away from town without a car. In downtown, the Doubletree hotel is a great value. There is a good Radisson, Marriott, and many Holiday Inns around the area.
The University of Minnesota Radisson is a good place to stay during times when sports and school are quiet. Refer to the Qwest Dex yellow pages for more MA and PA lodgings or for special luxury suites.
• Microtel Inns & Suites
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Men's kayak races, Minnesota
• South Minneapolis. West Bank, Uptown, Lyn Lake, and Seward neighborhoods.
• North Minneapolis.
• Northeast Minneapolis.
• Southeast Minneapolis. The Dinkytown area and the University of Minnesota campus.
The museums, natural parks and waterfronts, malls, shopping districts, dining zones, and should give you several options no matter what your age.
Museum listings are on the Twin Cities regional page.
Theaters are clustered in
Downtown, West Bank, and Uptown
There are several day trip destinations near the city.
• Mall of America in nearby Bloomington.
• Valley Fair is an amusement park that's within an hour's drive in nearby Shakopee.
• Minnesota Zoo is in nearby Apple Valley.
• Lutsen has what may be the best skiing in the state.
• Lake Mille Lacs offers good fishing, boat rentals and fishing guides.
• Stillwater is a beautiful, historic town about an hour away that has the highest number of celebrity sightings per capita in the state.
• State Parks. The state has many well-kept state parks for those who like to camp and fish.