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The central business district, major sports and theater venues, the city's main clubbing area in the Warehouse District, Loring Park, Elliot Park, and the historic mill ruins along the Mississippi.
West Bank, Seward, Midtown, Nokomis, Longfellow, and Minnehaha Park
Uptown, Lyn-Lake, Linden Hills, Eat Street, and the Chain of Lakes
Near North, Camden, Bryn Mawr and Theodore Wirth Park.
The birthplace of Minneapolis in Old Saint Anthony, old victorian houses on Nicollet Island, and further north the old working class enclaves of Northeast that are now home to a growing artist community.
Dinkytown, Prospect Park, Como, and the University of Minnesota
Minneapolis was destined to be a center of commerce due to its location at the Falls of St. Anthony, which was named by the French explorer Fr. Louis Hennepin in 1680. St. Anthony Falls is by far the largest source of water power on the Mississippi River. The falls were harnessed to power lumber mills in the 1840s and later for flour milling. By 1870, Minneapolis on the west bank and St. Anthony on the east bank formed the largest flour producing center in the world. In 1872, Minneapolis absorbed its older neighbor. Most of the old St Anthony township is now known as Northeast Minneapolis. A small part of the old township comprises most of the current suburb of St. Anthony.
The name "Minneapolis", meaning "The City of Lakes" in a mash-up of the Dakota word minne and the Ancient Greek word polis, refers to the city's 22 natural lakes. The local jewels are the "Chain of Lakes": Cedar, Isles, Calhoun, Harriet, Nokomis, each 3-4 miles around. The city's excellent parks department maintains walking and biking paths around the lakes, offering residents a place to exercise or stroll. The Lake Harriet Bandshell is a popular summertime event host often featuring the renowned Minnesota Orchestra. Don't miss a ride on the restored trolley between Lakes Calhoun and Harriet operated by the Minnesota Streetcar Museum.
The city has done an excellent job fostering developed neighborhoods, each with a distinctive feel. Downtown is the visual anchor featuring the high-rise suites, sporting events (Timberwolves, Vikings, and Twins all play downtown), and nightclub scene. Northeast is the oldest part of the city, showing off its working-class and immigrant roots in great ethnic food, neighborhood bars, and social clubs, and more recently home to an arts and riverfront redevelopment movement. Uptown historically has been one of the city's youth centers featuring funky food, drink, theater, and plenty of tattoos and mohawks, but is orienting more towards yuppies and young families as real estate anywhere near the lakes becomes an ever more prized commodity. Uptown and the Lakes area dissolves into quiet, tucked-away Linden Hills (a one-time bedroom community) to the south and Lyn-Lake, home to many indie stages, music-oriented cafes and boozers, and alternative lifestyles and hangouts of all sorts, to the east. The University of Minnesota's main campus straddles the Mississippi River in the southeast surrounded by the usual college campus environs.
With neither mountains nor large bodies of water nearby to moderate the climate, the Twin Cities experience extreme temperatures at both ends of the scale. Winters in Minneapolis can be very cold, summer is often warm to hot and frequently humid, snowfall is common in the winter and thunderstorms with heavy rainfall occur during the spring, summer, and autumn. The winter cold from December to March can be brutal to the unaccustomed body, as can the summer heat from June to September. In fact, it's normal to have temperatures below zero as well as temperatures reaching well into the mid-nineties in the same year!
If you are not fond of the cold, May-October would be the best time to visit Minneapolis, but a comprehensive skyway system makes visiting in the winter very reasonable.
Smoking is prohibited by city law at all restaurants, bars, nightclubs, workplaces, and public buildings. This includes smoking in and within 45 feet, of all county buildings. Violating the ban can result in a misdemeanor charge and a $300 fine.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, (IATA: MSP, ICAO: KMSP), . The airport is divided into two terminals: Terminal 1 (formerly known as Lindbergh) and Terminal 2 (formerly known as Humphrey), with most flights arriving at the former. Savvy travelers should check to make sure they know which terminal they are arriving at/departing from.
The Blue (Hiawatha) Line light rail is convenient to get downtown from the airport. Fare is $1.75-$2.25 depending on time of day. The trains are fast and clean. They also serve the Mall of America and parts of South Minneapolis. The light rail has stations at both terminals.
Delta Air Lines, a member of the SkyTeam alliance, maintains a hub at MSP and dominates the airport by nearly 90%. Delta offers non-stop overseas service from MSP to Tokyo-Narita, Amsterdam, London-Heathrow and Paris-CDG, among others. Sun Country also calls MSP home, making it easier to find discount fares within the continental United States. Icelandair offers seasonal service to Keflavík with Boeing 757-200s and Air France offers seasonal service to Paris-CDG with A340s. Air Canada Jazz is the only other foreign carrier, offering service to Toronto.
Airlines serving Terminal 1-Lindbergh:
- Air Canada Jazz
- Air France
- Alaska Airlines
- American Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Frontier Airlines
- Great Lakes Aviation
- United Airlines
- US Airways
Airlines serving Terminal 2-Humphrey:
- Air Tran
- Southwest Airlines
- Sun Country Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
Interstate Highways 35W and 94 are the main arteries into town. Both will take you to the edges of downtown. I-35W runs north and south (for the most part) and I-94 east and west; both interstates will connect you to the I-494/694 beltway around the metro area. I-394 runs west from downtown to I-494, where it becomes US Hwy 12. Be sure to keep an eye on which lane you're in, as freeway interchanges come up fast, and traffic back-ups will occur at any time, day or night; the morning (7-9AM) and evening (3-7PM) rush hours are predictably congested.
Amtrak, . Daily service to Midway station, located just off University Avenue in Saint Paul near the border with Minneapolis. The Empire Builder, Amtrak trains 7/27 and 8/28, serves the Twin Cities area, terminating at Chicago and Seattle or Portland (the train splits in Spokane, Washington). This train covers a route similar to the historic Empire Builder of the James J. Hill Great Northern Railway.
Taxi is probably your best bet for getting to your final destination from the train station, particularly if you're coming from Chicago or other points east. The train arrives at 10:30PM or later, when the heavily reduced night shift bus schedules have gone into effect. If a wait doesn't worry you the #16 bus runs along University Avenue, a block south of the station, and it will take you to downtown Minneapolis or Saint Paul. Consider fueling up at The Dubliner on University Ave across from the station. It's a great, friendly little pub and the #16 heading into Minneapolis stops on its doorstep.
Northstar Line, . This commuter train connects the northwest suburbs to Downtown Minneapolis, terminating at a station near Target Field with connections to the light rail. The weekday schedule is oriented to rush hour commuters, with five trips heading to Minneapolis in the morning and five trips leaving Minneapolis in the late afternoon; there is only one reverse trip in the morning and in the afternoon. There are three trips in each direction on Saturdays and Sundays, and occasional special trips scheduled to take commuters to Twins or Vikings games.
Greyhound and Jefferson Lines buses arrive at the Hawthorne Transportation Center, located at 950 Hawthorne Ave (at 10th St, one block west of Hennepin) in downtown Minneapolis. It's just a few minute's taxi ride away from most of the downtown hotels. It's 4-5 blocks away from a few major bus routes and the light rail. The depot is near a homeless shelter, so it's not uncommon to see a few homeless people hanging out nearby. The area is well-patrolled and quite safe. Some routes make additional stops.
- Badger Coaches, . 4x weekly scheduled services in cooperation with Jefferson Lines to Madison daily and Milwaukee, with a few local stops in between. $45-$53. edit
- Greyhound Express, (at Hawthorne Transportation Center), . Service from Chicago and Milwaukee. Fares from $1 and up. edit
- Jefferson Lines, (at Hawthorne Transportation Center), . Operate scheduled services across the state to South Dakota, Wisconsin, and beyond. Jefferson prides itself on its 'eco-friendly' new coaches. edit
- Megabus, ☎ 1-877-462-6342, . Service from Madison, Milwaukee, and Chicago. Fares can be as little as $1 each way if reserved far enough in advance. The bus stop is in downtown Minneapolis in the parking lot on the east side of Chicago Avenue between 3rd Street and Washington Avenue (about 1.5 blocks from the Metrodome and the Downtown East/Metrodome light rail station). Double Deck Coaches with WiFi, Restrooms and Power Outlets. edit
The city streets have a grid system that's helpful if you learn it. Minneapolis is divided into quadrants: North, South, Northeast and Southeast. Hennepin Avenue forms the divider between streets labeled N and S near downtown. This division continues through the smaller portion of Minneapolis east of the Mississippi, dividing it into Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE). Further west of downtown, this division lies along Linden Avenue, just north of the I-394 freeway. In North, Northeast and Southeast Minneapolis, all roads carry N, NE, or SE prefixes on street signs. n South Minneapolis, the north-south avenues are marked S. The east-west streets are marked with W or E, depending if you are west or east of Nicollet Avenue. Even though street signs show these directions before the names, most locals read the addresses with them at the end. Thus "York Avenue South" appears on signs as "S York Ave" and "N 33rd Ave" is pronounced "33rd Avenue North".
Minneapolis is one of few cities to use multi-colored street signs. The colors o indicate the priority of plowing during winter storms. Although plowing has since changed, they still indicate what sort of street. Blue signs indicate major roads which are "Snow Emergency Routes". These are still the first to be plowed. Rust-colored signs indicate roads that run primarily east-west. Light green signs indicate roads primarily north-south. Dark green signs indicate scenic parkways that ring the city and the lakes.
- Light rail. Currently there is only one light rail line, the Blue Line. Serving downtown Minneapolis, Target Field, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, the airport, Mall of America, and points in between. This is the easiest, fastest, and safest bet for first-time visitors. There's a lot to do along the route, and since there only is one route at the moment, the odds of getting lost are reduced. The next light rail line (dubbed the Green Line) will open in 2014 and connect downtown Saint Paul to downtown Minneapolis via the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus. It will primarily travel via University Avenue through Saint Paul and Washington Avenue through the University campus before reaching downtown Minneapolis where it will share the tracks with the Hiawatha Line.
- Bus. Knowing your Route 5 from your Route 55 is considered one mark of a true-blue Twin Citian. The routes and fares are confusing to non-natives. The Metro Transit  web site, however, is user-friendly. The Trip Planner lets you provide your beginning and ending points and times, and suggests the best route. You can customize this on walking distances, number of transfers, and the like. As routes are anything but linear, carry a schedule and map for any bus route you are riding; these are available on buses (above you and to your left after you pay) as well as at many city government buildings, libraries, and the like. Bus stops are nearly everywhere throughout the city, but some are served infrequently, and some are not labeled as to which routes serve them at which times. Be aware of the white Metro Transit notices sometimes posted at stops; routes often change due to construction or local events and parades.
Unlimited ride passes are available in 1-day, 7-day, and 31-day formats. Stored value passes (pay-per-ride) are also available. Day passes are $6 and can be purchased online , at a Metro Transit Store, from a bus driver, or a ticket machine at any light rail station. 7-day ($22) and 31-day ($59-$113.50) passes must be loaded on a Go-To card , which can be purchased online, at a Metro Transit Store, or participating Metro Transit sales outlets. Stored value passes can be loaded on a Go-To card in increments of $10 (up to $400), and come with a 10% bonus on each purchase (e.g. a $10 purchase would give you $11 in fare value, $20 would give you $22, and so forth). Once in possession of a Go-To card, reloading it with new unlimited ride passes or stored value is easy and can be done online, at Metro Transit stores and outlets, or at light rail ticket machines.An Introduction to Minneapolis via Public Transit
The northern head of the LRT is a station opened in November 2009 at 5th Street and 3rd Avenue North, next to the Minnesota Twins' (baseball) new home of Target Field. The Target Field station is also the southern terminus of the Northstar Line. Before the extension of the LRT to Target Field, the northern head was farther south in the downtown area, on Hennepin Avenue and South 5th Street near the Warehouse District and the Target Center. Along Hennepin next to the LRT station are bus stops for Route 6, connecting Uptown, Downtown, Dinkytown/University of Minnesota. This Route 6/LRT nexus is a good start for first-time visitors, as most hotels (provided you're staying in the city and not some airport/suburban business traveler hovel) are within a few minutes' walk. If you stay at the airport you can get here via the LRT. Other suburban accommodations are likely to be located near express buses, which largely terminate one block over at Hennepin and South 4th Street. Ask your concierge.
Taking the LRT south from downtown, the first stop you might be interested in is The Metrodome. Home to the Minnesota Vikings (football) and the occasional rock concert, and formerly home to the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Golden Gophers (University of Minnesota) football, it's a landmark. Alternately known as the Dome, the Homer Dome, and the Humper Dome, among others, it's roof is instantly recognizable.
What's In a Name?
Locals distinguish two sections of the West Bank: Seven Corners and Cedar-Riverside. The two are separated by the University of Minnesota's West Bank campus. To the north is the collegiate Seven Corners, home to campus-flavored bars and student apartments which bleed into downtown. Cedar-Riverside on the south is a combination of young artists, musicians, and the accompanying scenesters, substances, and subculture. Many locals refer to "their" West Bank as simply The West Bank, and call the other half by its specific name. The two are divided not only by the university but by the sunken freeway, which connects Washington Ave with Interstate 35W and serves as a traffic bypass. Cedar-Riverside sits on the doorstep of some of the city's most neglected and victimized (but not particularly unsafe) ghettos and largely East African immigrant settlements. For more on Minneapolis' sordid history of urban "renewal" and demarcation via freeway building, see Larry Millet's excellent Lost Twin Cities.
Next stop, Cedar/Riverside. If you walk a few blocks east to Cedar Avenue, there's a vibrant, diverse and sometimes dangerous neighborhood known, coincidentally, as Cedar-Riverside or the West Bank. When I say dangerous, I'm not talking about Cabrini Green level crime, but a neighborhood where you should stay in well-lit areas and cab home if you have a few too many or stay a little too late. (Bars are open until 2AM) Before you are frightened away, there's much this neighborhood has to offer that shouldn't be missed. The 400 Bar , on the corner of Cedar and Riverside Avenues, is one of the top clubs in town. It used to be where local bands played on pool tables. Now it offers touring acts from all over the country. Locals bitch about the prices but they're about the same as all the music venues in town.
East on Riverside Avenue is the Hard Times Cafe. Hard Times is only closed for two hours every day, from 4AM to 6AM. The food can vary widely depending on who is on duty. They offer good coffee, (often) loud music, games, etc. The Nomad  is a little further south on Cedar Ave. It has a nice outdoor patio for smoking and inside a stage where you can see a variety of local rock or jazz shows. Across the street from The Nomad, is Palmers. Palmers gets a little rough if you don't know how to behave yourself while drinking. Not for the weak of heart or mind. Mind your own business if you go there. Keep heading back south down Cedar Avenue and you'll come to the Triple Rock Social Club , one of a number of Twin Cities music venues which seem to have arisen out of someone's dream of parking a bar in their basement rec-room. The bar side has great food with a lot of vegetarian options. The club side has a big stage and fantastic sound system. Check their web site above for listings.
Still further down Cedar Avenue are the Whiskey Junction and The Cabooze. Whiskey Junction is a favorite hang out for bikers, but a good number of those are the suburban type with expensive Harley Davidsons. The crowd and atmosphere at the Cabooze varies widely, depending at least in part on who is doing their best interpretation of blues that night - from all those people who disappeared from campus freshman year to long-haired exurbans with Polaris ballcaps. Both venues offer live music most nights. If you make it to the Cabooze, you're already near the Franklin Avenue Light Rail stop. Get back on and head down to Lake Street.
Lake Street/Midtown has a lot to offer on weekend days in the spring and summer. Namely an outdoor market with lots of good food and locally made goodies. The neighborhood has become a center for Mexican and Central American immigrants, and hence the food of those regions, in Minneapolis. See the Eat section for more information. Worth a stop for sure. You can also catch a 21 bus from here to Uptown (make sure the bus is going west).
The next few stops take you to mostly residential neighborhoods. While there are things to do along them, they're not easily accessible on foot, so we'll skip ahead to 50th Street/Minnehaha Park. The Minnehaha Park station is adjacent to a park and Minnehaha Falls. You can see the 53 foot falls and walk along the creek on its way to the Mississippi River.
The Fort Snelling station is located after the VA Medical Center station. Fort Snelling makes a great day trip. It's the original settlement in Minnesota and an early wilderness outpost.
Next is the Airport and then the Mall of America, the gargantuan monument to advanced capitalism. The MOA is not quite as sparkling as it was on its opening over a decade ago, but it is still the largest mall around and by some accounts the leading tourist destination in the United States. Tour operators from as far away as Japan organize charter flights and hotel bookings for the single purpose of experiencing "The Mall". It offers an indoor amusement park, movies, restaurants and more shopping than is comprehensible. It's a day trip in itself, but not for the thrifty. Food, shopping and the Camp Formerly Known as Snoopy (now Nickelodeon Universe) can burn through your wallet fast. Not for those with poor impulse control. For the tourist in you, check out local kitsch such as the Lake Wobegon Store.
The return trip: by disembarking at the Lake Street Station and catching a #21 Bus going west, or by returning to the LRT headwaters at Hennepin Avenue and catching a #6 Bus bearing south, one can end up at Uptown and the jewel of Minneapolis, the gorgeous Chain of Lakes. If you're here between Memorial Day and Labor Day, rent a canoe  at Lake Calhoun (stop at the nearby Lunds grocery on Lake Street for picnic materials) and see four lakes, three enchanting sheltered canals, two islands, and one classic creosote-tastic railroad trestle from a duck's eye view.
The 21 brings you past the Midtown Market and Lyn-Lake on the way, while the 6 takes you through downtown and past the gleaming Loring Park area, featuring the spectacular Basilica of St. Mary , the infamous Spoon and Cherry , and the shiny metal Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em Robot head that is the new Walker Art Center  expansion. Heading north on the 6 will take you across Nicollet Island, another of Minneapolis' abundant urban havens, and through the original Minneapolis/St. Anthony milling district and a touch of the ethnic food and drink haven that is Northeast Minneapolis on the way to Dinkytown and the University of Minnesota (including an old campus district which is on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as some of the top libraries in the world).
NiceRide bike sharing let's you jump on a bike in downtown and take it anywhere. The cost is minimal but the convenience isn't!
Biking in Minneapolis is a big deal. Over the years, it has invested heavily in bike trails, lanes and "bicycle boulevards," and a good chunk of its populace uses the man-powered two-wheeler to get around. The larger Twin Cities area also offers a good mix of off-road bike trails; for example one can bike from Chaska to St. Paul using only bike trails, some thirty miles. A variety of maps  show the web of on and off-road routes that span the greater metropolitan area. During the winter, major bike trails such as the Midtown Greenway are plowed at the same time as major streets. In some neighborhoods like Downtown, Dinkytown, Uptown, and near the University of Minnesota campus, bikes are seen almost as often as cars.
One of the country's largest urban bike rental programs opened in the summer of 2010. Nice Ride Minnesota  two-wheelers are available for rent at 150 locations in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul.
The Twin Cities also offer a big variety of cycling shops from very race oriented ones (e.g Grand Performance  in St. Paul and Flanders Bros  in Minneapolis) to more consumer oriented shops (e.g. Penn Cycle , Erik's , Boehm's ) to the most women-friendly worker cooperative bike shop, The Hub Bike Co-op .
A very useful cycling shop for visitors and tourists is Calhoun Cycle , which offers, among other services, offers bike rental (both regular and tandem bikes).
For additional cycling information in the Twin Cities area please visit the Twin Cities Bicycling Club .
No discussion of getting around Minneapolis would be complete without mention of the Skyway. Covering most of an approximate 7x7 block region of central downtown, the Skyway is a series of public pedestrian spaces on the 2nd floor of downtown buildings connected by enclosed bridges between buildings. It is possible to walk through most of downtown and never go outdoors, a real advantage during winter. Additionally, the Skyway allows you to bypass stoplights and quickly move through the city. Beyond the core region, the Skyway reaches about 12 blocks in the north/south direction and 8 blocks east/west. The Skyway is home to multiple restaurants, stores, shops and malls. If visiting downtown Minneapolis during the winter, using a parking deck or staying at a hotel on or very near the Skyway is well worth the investment. Hours vary slightly, but most buildings are open noon-6PM Sunday, 6:30AM-9PM or 10PM M-F and 9:30-8PM on Saturday.
The museums, theaters, natural parks and waterfronts, malls, shopping districts, and dining zones should give you several options no matter what your age.
Museum are also listed on the district pages.
- Minneapolis Institute of Arts, . This museum boasts one of the best art collections in the country. The MIA has work from a multitude of artists, and features an extraordinary Asian collection. Best of all, it's free.
- Holidazzle Parade, . This impressive nighttime parade is held downtown Minneapolis several times a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Costumes--which have lights on them--often have themes including: Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, zoo animals, nursery rhymes, walking light bulbs (a crowd favorite!), Santa Claus and others.</see>
- May Day Parade, . This is a very nice parade in early May. It is either hot summery or freezing and snowing, but a great time every year!
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 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 as close as twenty miles east on the St. Croix River, or as far as seven hours north on the Canadian border. And it can be delightfully cheap.
- 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, .
Theater and Performing Arts
- The Guthrie Theater  This internationally renowned theater is known for its productions of both classical literature and new work from contemporary playwrights. In 2006, the theater moved into a new building along the Mississippi River. Designed by award-winning architect Jean Nouvel, this building houses three stages, and also acts as a public space, with restaurants, a cafe, and a 178 foot cantilevered bridge (the "Endless Bridge") looking out over the river.
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. Some are connected by lagoons and creeks which eventually spill into the Mississippi River at the famed Minnehaha Falls, inspiration of Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha". These are all part of the Minneapolis Grand Rounds , a 40-mile loop around the city begun over a century ago during the nation's first grand movement to toss the "Keep Off the Grass!" signs into the dustbin of history. Each of the Chain of Lakes has a walking path and a one-way biking/skating path. At least one path is kept clear even during snowy winter month, and it is possible to use the paths almost every day of the year.
- Only beer in cans are allowed in Minneapolis Parks.
- Cedar Lake. Cedar Lake has three public beaches, and is accessible by canoe, rowboat, or kayak by its connecting lagoon to Lake of the Isles and, by extension, Lake Calhoun. It is also the only one of the Chain of Lakes where private property actually fronts the lake.
- Lake of the Isles. Lake of the Isles has bird sanctuaries on its (officially off-limits) islands, and a public skating rink, with a warming house, is groomed in the winter months. Check the newspaper; you may get lucky and catch a world-class speed-skating competition here. Its shores also feature some of the best climbing trees in the city, particularly for those who carry a short rope ladder in their pack. Although residents can lease rack space for their rowboats, canoes, or kayaks, there is no public boat rental. Boats rented or launched from Lake Calhoun can access Lake of the Isles via the lagoon which flows under Lake Street. There are also no public swimming beaches.
- Lake Calhoun. Lake Calhoun has several public beaches, including volleyball nets on the South beaches. It also has rowboat and canoe rentals  (and lessons) and sailboat lessons. There is an active yacht club that sponsors several races weekly. Also, the surface conditions on Lake Calhoun make this lake most popular among sailboarders, often well into the Fall. While sails can't pass the low street crossings above the lagoons, paddlers can easily reach Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake. Recent years have seen more competitive bidding for food service contracts, and the current commissary is an affordable fish restaurant that's well rated by local residents and guides.
- Lake Harriet. Lake Harriet also has boat rentals. Lake Harriet's features include a bandshell  at which numerous local and regional talent perform, and has included the Minnesota Orchestra, among others. It has several public swimming beaches, a marina, and is arguably the most popular and crowded lake among local residents for swimming, boating, walking, biking, and organized family and group celebrations.
- Lake Nokomis. Lake Nokomis has several beaches. It should be noted that, in Minneapolis, a public swimming beach is identified by at least a small stretch of sand, and at least one lifeguard during midday hours. Lake Nokomis qualifies. It also has public boat access for canoes, kayaks and sail boats. 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 Lake Minnetonka in the far west suburbs with the Mississippi river, running through Lake Nokomis and other small lakes along the way. A short tributary connects it to the southeast corner of Lake Harriet, but it is not navigable directly from any of the lakes..
The face of Minneapolis' lakes and creeks has been ever-changing since the Industrial Age began. Each of the chain of lakes has been dredged repeatedly, shifting the shores and in the case of Isles accidentally submerging a long-lost third island. Basset Creek  once connected the northwest section of the Grand Rounds—including Wirth Lake and points north and west—with the Mississippi before being diverted and buried to serve as storm drainage. Large stretches of swampy wetlands once made for a makable, if buggy, passage from the north and west suburbs through all of the Lakes to the river. Now this is possible only for those willing to brave manholes, raccoons, and the law in a descent below the city.
- The Chain of Lakes is not a continuous navigable waterway by any means, although the bike and walking paths, and auto parkways, connect parks and waterways from North Minneapolis almost without interruption to the Mississippi River. Minnehaha Creek is a shallow creek that allows canoeing or inflatables' traffic for only a couple months of the year. It terminates into the Mississippi, just after the dramatic Minnehaha Falls, a popular family park destination.
- Minneapolis features many other parks with recreational, natural, and historical merit in various degrees. Boom Island Park, just North of Nicollet Island and most easily accessible from the Stone Arch Bridge , features nice fishing on side channels and some of the most unique skyline views in the United States, as well as a look at the century-old remains of massive brickworks and water-power tailrace tunnels of the Pillsbury A Mill. The Mill was the last functioning reminder of Minneapolis' boomtown heyday to shut down in 2005, and is slated to become yet another retail/restaurant/condo building lining the redbrick St. Anthony Main.
- Directly across the river is the Mill Ruins Park and Mill City Museum , next to the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam—the final lock on the journey up the Mississippi. The Mill Ruins was the site of the Washburn A Mill among others, host of an infamous explosion and fire in the 19th century. And the 20th. And the 20th again. Oh, and there were two more in the 19th. Eventually, the burnt shells were given up on and left standing, and much of the canal and tunnel system which provided water power was covered with earth and paved over to form West River Road. The park features excavations of quite a bit of these early stoneworks from an age when very rich men prided themselves on the quality of even the most mundane, invisible, underground works; as well as the outfall of Basset Creek, buried for the last 1.5 miles of its run beneath downtown.
- Tower Hill Park in Southeast Minneapolis is home to the venerable Witch's Hat , the Prospect Park neighborhood's 1914 water tower. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers maybe the best (if not the broadest) view in the city on the one day per year that its observation deck is open.
- Minneapolis is home to the Minnesota Twins (Major League Baseball), Minnesota Vikings (National Football League), Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA basketball), and Minnesota Lynx (WNBA basketball). They play at Target Field, the Metrodome, and Target Center, respectively, which are all located in Downtown Minneapolis.
- The Twin Cities has an NHL hockey team, the Minnesota Wild, but they play next door in Saint Paul at the Xcel Energy Center.
- The Minnesota Gophers are the college sports team for the University of Minnesota, and their venues are naturally near the U of M campus in Southeast Minneapolis. The Gophers football team plays at the recently built TCF Bank Stadium.
- University of Minnesota, .
- Augsburg College, .
- Minneapolis College of Art and Design, .
- Minneapolis Community and Technical College, .
Currently the Twin Cities area (which includes Minneapolis, Saint Paul, and the surrounding suburbs) has the second largest economy in the Midwest behind only Chicago. Several large companies make their headquarters within the city limits of Minneapolis including Target, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, Ameriprise Financial, and Thrivent Financial for Lutherans with several other companies such as Best Buy, 3M, TCF Financial, Supervalu, C. H. Robinson, Xcel Energy, Carlson, Cargill, General Mills, Schwan Foods, St. Jude Medical, Medtronic, UnitedHealth Group, Ecolab, etc based in neighboring Saint Paul or the surrounding suburbs. The Twin Cities area is the second largest manufacturing center of medical devices in North America.
See the Districts articles for more listings.
- Uptown area, centered on Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, south of Downtown Minneapolis and extending East to the Lake/Lyndale avant-garde theatre district. In this area you'll find all kinds of retailers.
- Nicollet Mall is a pedestrian mall right in the heart of downtown.
The Twin Cities are a hotbed of independent presses and bookstores. Specialty and used bookstores can be found scattered across the city.
Southwest is home to the bulk of record stores in Minneapolis, including the Electric Fetus, Treehouse Records, Roadrunner Records, Yeti Records, Extreme Noise Records (specializing in punk), Fifth Element (specializing in hip-hop), and Cheapo. South is home to Hymie's Vintage Records.
Groceries and other basics
The major supermarket chains in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area are Cub Foods, Rainbow Foods, Lund's, Aldi, Whole Foods Market, and Trader Joe's. In addition two of the nation's three largest discount store chains Target and Kmart each have a store in Minneapolis as well. The Walgreens drug store chain is also ubiquitous throughout Minneapolis, St. Paul, and it's suburbs with many locations open twenty four hours a day.
Minneapolis and St. Paul also feature a large variety of ethnic grocery stores catering to the sizable Mexican, Somali, and Hmong community. These tend to be found along Lake Street in Minneapolis and along University Avenue in St. Paul.
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- Don't miss Nicollet Avenue's Eat Street for a variety of ethnic fare; it is particularly heavy on Southeast Asian options. Options include Quang and Jasmine Deli for Vietnamese, Seafood Palace for Chinese, and the Black Forest Inn for German cuisine. Little Tijuana is a nice stop for alluring punk/goth waitresses and inauthentic Mexican plates. The Vietnamese restaurants are incredibly cheap ($5-$10 per person) and have received consistently exuberant reviews since their openings (Quang was even positively reviewed in the New York Times). The latter four are standard $8-$20 dollars per person except during lunch.
- The Dinkytown and Stadium Village areas near the University of Minnesota have great offerings mostly catering to the collegiate crowd. Plenty of Americanized Chinese and cheap burgers-and-fries joints.
- Midtown is home to the Midtown Global Market, operating on the first floor of what used to be a large Sears store. It is now home to a variety of cafes and restaurants from all around the world. Favorites like Holy Land Deli and Bakery, Andy's Garage in Saint Paul, and several restaurants from around the city have opened satellite locations here. Mercado Central is another indoor market featuring several Mexican eateries. Outside of the markets, plenty of Mexican and other Latin restaurants dot the Lake Street strip.
- Northeast contains a wide variety of establishments. Old Saint Anthony is home to decades-old Eastern European mainstays like Nye's Polonaise Room and Kramarczuk's Deli and newer favorites like Pizza Nea and Red Stag. Closer to Central and Lowry you can find well-regarded Middle Eastern eateries like Holy Land and Crescent Moon and Mexican restaurants such as Taco Riendo and Adelita's.
Traditional foods associated with Minnesota, including hotdish (casserole) and lutefisk (a Norwegian fish delicacy) are rarely found in restaurants. However, one uniquely Minneapolitan item that can be easily located is the Juicy Lucy (sometimes spelled Jucy Lucy), a cheeseburger variation in which the cheese is cooked inside two molded-together meat patties rather than on top. The cheese inside the burger is gooey and piping hot. While the origin, and spelling, of the Juicy Lucy is disputed, popular places to order a Juicy Lucy include Matt's Bar and the 5-8 Club in South Minneapolis, and a short distance across the river in Saint Paul at the Nook, among others.
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Minneapolis has one of the most vibrant and independent music scenes in the country. The city is probably most famous for its purple pop wonder, Prince, but also has bands such as Soul Asylum, The Replacements, The Jayhawks, Atmosphere and Polara just to name a few. Several clubs in town play host to shows by local bands and your chances of finding a good one are better than average.
- Downtown is home to the internationally renowned First Avenue. First Avenue is famous as setting for the film Purple Rain and for the silver stars that cover the outside of the building. The venue is split into two: the Mainroom which hosts national and international touring bands (usually of the punk, indie, and hip-hop variety), and the smaller 7th Street Entry which hosts local and less-known touring bands. Also in the area are the Fine Line Music Cafe, the Dakota Jazz Club, Grumpy's, Lee's Liquor Lounge, and Bunkers.
- The West Bank contains the Triple Rock Social Club, a popular venue for punk and indie shows. Nearby is the 400 Bar, which occasionally books big draws but is also infamous for being less than revered by Twin Cities locals. The Cabooze is a biker bar featuring mostly classic rock-type music. Other venues include the Nomad, the Red Sea, and in the nearby Seward neighborhood, the Hexagon Bar.
- Uptown and Lyn-Lake have places like Famous Dave's for local and national blues acts, Dulono's for bluegrass and folk nights, and Cause for indie rock shows.
- Northeast has some venues scattered around like the Terminal Bar and the 331 Club. In nearby Dinkytown, don't miss the elegantly decorated Varsity Theater and college band favorite, the Kitty Cat Club.
The nightlife in general can be vibrant in several areas. The Warehouse District is great for clubbers, Dinkytown is good for college party-goers, Uptown is good for those with a bit more money, and Northeast is great for dive bar aficionados. Minneapolis is not the 24 hour city that New York is, but bars close at 2AM so that is still plenty of time, especially if you find a party to go to afterwards.
Minneapolis certainly accommodates those seeking a good drink, a tendency which certainly compliments the alcohol culture endemic to the Upper Midwest. There are over a dozen Irish, German, or British pubs, such as The Local, Black Forest Inn, Brit's Pub, Gastoff's, O'Donovan's or Kieran's. Local dining, clubs, pubs, and bars in general compete for the best Happy Hour specials. It's a good idea to pick up a City Pages or to do an internet search to find the best deals. Thrifty Hipster is a great website to use. It lists every bar and restaurant in Minneapolis and breaks them down by neighborhood and provides the locations, a description, and Happy Hour specials.
The Scandinavian and north African influence can be seen quite clearly in the ubiquitous access to coffee shops in Minneapolis. This is a place where important things are discussed over a cup of coffee. Caribou  is a locally-based national chain that actually outnumbers Starbucks in Minnesota and has a similar feel and quality in the drinks, except the shots are 1.5 oz compared to Starbucks 1.0 ounce, and they usually offer free WiFi. Dunn Bros  is also locally-based and is third in chains for number of locations, and their coffee is fresh-ground daily in the shop but somewhat stronger than most places in town. Their fantastic brewed coffee is a little more impressive than the espresso, but their shots are at least a mighty 3.0 oz. Dunn Bros also excels at offering free WiFi access and (often) free Internet terminals. If you're looking for something a little less corporate, you can be rest assured that there will be a coffee shop nearby in most parts of town, as Minneapolis' independent spirit has yielded good cups of coffee in so many places that one can hardly throw a rock without it landing in a latte. The number of independent coffee shops per block reaches critical mass near Uptown and Lyn-Lake and around the University of Minnesota neighborhoods. The density of coffee shops isn't quite as great in South and Northeast Minneapolis, but there will still be enough options to keep you satisfied. Comparatively speaking, North Minneapolis is somewhat of a coffee desert, but there will still be a couple options to which locals are fiercely loyal. There is also a growing specialty coffee shop movement in Minneapolis if you're willing to pay an extra dollar (or three) for a better cup.
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There is a good variety of hotels. Downtown hosts many independent and international hotel chains from the mid-range to the high-end. The University of Minnesota campus, not too far from downtown, has many mid-range options. South Minneapolis has limited options but they are also close to downtown. The Twin Cities' only backpackers hostel is located near Eat Street and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. Travelers getting by without a car will want to avoid staying in a hotel outside the city.
Dial 911 for emergencies and 311 for non-emergencies.
As with any major American city, keep your eyes open and your wits about you. Crime is relatively low in most parts of Minneapolis that you're likely to visit, but is not unknown.
Be wary of the Near North, Camden, and Phillips communities, particularly at night. Violent crimes can occur and unfortunately have occurred in all parts of the city.
As in all other cities these crimes receive a disproportionate amount of attention from local media. These tragic events, however, are typically not random so they will probably not impact your visit. You are more likely to be a victim of crimes of opportunity.
When traveling, do not leave any items that can be quickly converted to cash in plain view in cars or unattended at restaurants and other public areas. These crimes can and do occur in all areas, especially where you would have your guard down.
When you take in the great park system or travel to the unique urban shopping destinations ensure that all valuables remain with you or are secured out-of-view in your vehicle.
Also if you are going to secure your valuables in a vehicle, make sure you store them prior to arriving at you destination. Thieves are experts at watching people store valuables in the trunk and then striking when they leave.
Minneapolis, along with the airport, the suburbs of Richfield and St. Anthony, and the entire University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus is in the 612 area code. From 612, it is not necessary to dial a 1 before the area code when calling numbers in the 651 (Saint Paul and east suburbs), 763 (northwest suburbs), or 952 (southwest suburbs) area codes.
Internet cafes are nonexistent in Minneapolis. Many coffeeshops offer free wifi, but very few will have computer terminals. Some Dunn Bros locations have computers for customer use.
The Hennepin County Library  has computer workstations with internet access at all of their locations. Access to a computer is on a first-come, first-served basis, and reservations can only be made in person. Out-of-town visitors will need to obtain a temporary internet pass from a librarian. The library also offers unlimited wireless internet access (no pass needed). See district articles for specific locations.
The city of Minneapolis maintains a number of free wifi hotspots throughout the city .
- Star Tribune, . Minneapolis' daily newspaper. $0.75 daily, $1.75 Sunday.
- Pioneer Press, . Daily newspaper based across the river in Saint Paul, but still available in Minneapolis and around the Twin Cities. $0.50 daily, $1 Sunday.
- City Pages, . Free alternative weekly that comes out every Wednesday with theatre and music listings, and an annual "best of" issue well worth checking out.
- The Onion, . The free local edition of this satirical newspaper once came out every Thursday, and also featured theater and music listings. The print edition was suspended in 2012, but it is still available online.
- Vita.mn, . Free weekly newspaper published by the Star Tribune on Thursdays.
- Lavender, . Free biweekly LGBT magazine.
- Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), 7th St between Park and Chicago, . Occupies five city blocks on the east end of Downtown, near the Metrodome. Has a Level I trauma center. edit
- Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Chicago Ave between 26th and 28th Sts, . edit
- Canada, 701 4th Ave S, Suite 901, ☎ +1 612 333-4641 (email@example.com, fax: +1 612 332-4061), . edit
- Mexico, 797 E 7th St, Saint Paul, ☎ +1 651 771 5494 (http://www.sre.gob.mx/saintpaul, fax: +1 651 772 4419). edit
- Norway, 901 Marquette Ave, ☎ +1 612 332-3338 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 612 332-1386), . edit
- Austria (Honorary), 10700 Highway 55, Suite 300, Plymouth, ☎ +1 763 543 0109 (email@example.com, fax: +1 763 543 2384), . edit
- Finland (Honorary), 2429 Girard Ave S, ☎ +1 612 374 2718 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 612 374 2718), . edit
- Germany (Honorary), 60 S 6th St, Suite 2800, ☎ +1 612 342-9899 (HonoraryConsul@tripleink.com, fax: +1 612 596-3899), . edit
- Netherlands (Honorary), 33 S 6th St, Suite 4200, ☎ +1 612 373-8831 (email@example.com, fax: +1 612 373-8881), . edit
- Switzerland (Honorary), 18250 39th Ave N, Plymouth, ☎ +1 763 478 3018 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: +1 763 478 3018), . edit
- United Kingdom (Honorary), 800 Nicollet Mall, Suite 2600, ☎ +1 612 338 2525 (fax: +1 612 339 2386), . edit
There are several day or overnight destinations near the city.
In the Twin Cities metro
- Mall of America in nearby Bloomington. Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing.
- Valleyfair is an amusement park that's within an hour's drive in nearby Shakopee.
- Minnesota Zoo is in nearby Apple Valley.
- Stillwater is a beautiful, historic town about an hour away that has the highest number of celebrity sightings per capita in the state.
- Lutsen has what may be the best skiing in the state (or a few states, given the otherwise flat geography) with cheap ski/stay packages. At 5 hours from Minneapolis, this is not exactly a day trip but worth the drive if you are a gravity addict!
- Lake Mille Lacs offers good fishing, boat rentals and fishing guides.
- New Ulm is famous for its German beer, German festivals, and amateur baseball tradition.
- State Parks. The state has many well-kept state parks for those who like to camp and fish.
- Duluth is 155 miles north on I-35, and is great for an over night trip. On your trip up, make sure to stop by Tobies in Hinckley for the world's most mediocre caramel rolls. Hinckley is a small town located almost exactly at the halfway point between the Twin Cities and Duluth.