I learned a secret about Minnesota this summer. The secret is that it’s awesome. Or maybe you knew that already? Well, nobody told me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived in the Twin Cities. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that the area was filled with a steady supply of fun things to do – and that a lot of them were free. Below are free things to do in Minneapolis Minnesota:
Walk along the Mississippi River. . .
You might think you know the Mississippi. Trust me, if you haven’t seen it in Minnesota, you don’t. The Mississippi here isn’t calm, muddy, or lazy. It’s just plain powerful.
. . . and learn how it shaped the area
If you want to see how Minneapolis became the Mill City, just take a walk around the St Anthony Falls Heritage Trail. You can see the actual remains of industrial buildings at Mill Ruins , or get a great view of the St Anthony Falls Dam from the famous Stone Arch Bridge.
Visit a Museum
If you’d rather explore while indoors, the Twin Cities have plenty of museums, many of them free. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is by far the most popular, but there are smaller places that are well worth a visit – like the tiny train station at Minnehaha Depot.
See Minnehaha Falls
Longfellow never made it to Minnehaha – his Song of Hiawatha was inspired by an early picture of the Falls. You, however, can get there with a quick ride on the light-rail from downtown. Besides the actual waterfall, the park has statues, gardens, a wading pool, and even a replica of Longfellow’s Boston house, built by a devoted 19th century fan.
Find Outdoor Art at the Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is famous for it’s ‘Spoonbridge and Cherry’ sculpture – a giant cherry fountain on a spoon, sitting in the middle of a duckpond – but there are dozens of other sculptures to see; ranging from practical to abstract to whimsical. Admission is always free, but on weekends there are also free guided tours.
Tour the State Capitol
Here you can see architecture, art, and government in action, all in the same place. The free, hourly tours also include great views of St. Paul from the capitol’s roof on good weather days, but if you’d rather go at your own pace there are also free audio tours available.