4 Must-Try Activities in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Area

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Discover the vibrant tapestry of experiences awaiting you in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. From cultural gems to outdoor adventures, this article unveils must-try activities that will immerse you in the heart of these dynamic twin cities. Whether you are a local seeking new thrill or a visitor exploring the Midwest, these activities promise a blend of excitement and charm unique to this captivating region.

a room with lights

Stop by an Escape Room

Embark on an exhilarating adventure by immersing yourself in the captivating world of escape rooms while visiting the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. These interactive experiences are a unique form of entertainment and an excellent way for groups of friends, family, or coworkers to bond while facing thrilling challenges. In the Twin Cities, escape rooms have become a popular pastime, offering various rooms and themes to cater to every preference. Whether you aspire to unravel a mystery, navigate a haunted house, or thwart a mad scientist’s plans through intricate puzzles, the options are abundant.

For those unfamiliar with the concept, entering an escape room guarantees a thrilling and memorable experience. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul area boasts some of the country’s top escape rooms, with industry leaders like Puzzleworks MN providing cutting-edge entertainment. However, it’s essential to consider individual preferences and sensitivities before diving into this immersive activity. Some rooms may be too challenging or spooky for young children, and individuals with claustrophobia or anxiety might find the confined spaces uncomfortable. To ensure an enjoyable experience, it’s advisable to research the escape room’s difficulty level and communicate any concerns with the knowledgeable staff during the booking process.

wall of Mall of America

Shop at the Mall of America

Indulge in a retail extravaganza at the iconic Mall of America, proudly standing as the largest shopping mall in the United States and an absolute must-visit in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. Nestled in Bloomington, just south of the cities, this colossal shopping haven spans over 90 acres with more than 500 stores, showcasing an impressive array of renowned brands, specialty shops, and high-end retailers. Despite its vast scale, the mall is meticulously organized and easily navigable, creating a seamless shopping experience for visitors.

Dive into a world of entertainment within the mall’s diverse offerings, featuring Nickelodeon Universe—an indoor theme park boasting roller coasters and thrilling rides. You can find rides and experiences inspired by various Nickelodeon properties, including “Rugrats,” allowing fans to immerse themselves in the world of their favorite characters from the show. Some of the list of rugrats characters that you might encounter include:

  • Tommy Pickles – The adventurous and brave baby who leads the group
  • Chuckie Finster – Tommy’s best friend, known for his timid nature and red hair
  • Angelica Pickles – Tommy’s older cousin, often bossy and self-centered
  • Phil and Lil DeVille – Twins who love to explore and get into mischief
  • Susie Carmichael – A friendly and talented girl who often interacts with the babies
  • Dil Pickles – Tommy’s younger brother introduced in later seasons of the show

Accessible from downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Mall of America beckons visitors to spend an entire day reveling in its extensive offerings, from fashion and dining to unique attractions. Elevating the shopping experience to new heights, the mall is often likened to an indoor city with its multi-level sections, housing a plethora of retail options and an impressive lineup of entertainment. With five roller coasters already in place and plans to build a $250 million water park on the horizon, the Mall of America promises an even more exhilarating destination shortly.

Beyond shopping, the mall hosts many events and activities throughout the year, including concerts, fashion shows, and cultural celebrations, adding vibrancy to your visit. Whether you’re seeking a stylish new wardrobe, a delightful family day out, or a therapeutic shopping spree, the Mall of America is a quintessential destination in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, promising an immersive blend of retail therapy and entertainment.

fast food restaurant and famous road sign against overcast evening sky

Restaurant Hopping

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of flavors that define the Twin Cities by embarking on a delectable journey of restaurant hopping. The culinary goodness that the region has to offer diverse options ranging from traditional Midwestern comfort food to international delicacies. Unleash your taste by exploring neighborhoods like Northeast Minneapolis, Uptown Minneapolis, and Lowertown Saint Paul, where many gastronomic delights await.

Venture into this epicurean adventure with recommendations for local favorites such as the Hi-Lo Diner, Martina, Animales, and Esker Grove. The Twin Cities boast hundreds of remarkable restaurants within a 50-square-mile radius, creating a haven for food enthusiasts. “Restaurant hopping” becomes the ideal strategy, allowing you to sample an extensive array of dishes in one unforgettable night.

Discover hidden gems and savor new culinary experiences as you move seamlessly from one restaurant to another. Many establishments sweeten the deal with enticing happy hour deals or small plate menus, making it convenient to indulge in various flavors without breaking the bank. Whether you’re a fan of comfort food or eager to explore global cuisines, the Twin Cities restaurant scene promises a gastronomic adventure that will leave a lasting impression. Prepare to elevate your dining experience and immerse yourself in the culinary tapestry that defines this thriving region.

woman standing in front of paintings

Take an Art Tour

Embark on an enchanting exploration of art and culture in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, where the Twin Cities unveil a dynamic tapestry of creative expression. Immerse yourself in this cultural haven, where many art studios, galleries, museums, and striking public art installations await, each contributing to the vibrant mosaic of diverse styles and movements.

For an in-depth and curated experience, consider arranging a guided art tour that navigates through acclaimed studios and plazas like Northrup King and Solar Arts, providing an insightful journey into the local artistic scene. Standout tours include the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) tour, a captivating odyssey through the museum’s extensive collections encompassing modern art, ancient artifacts, and European paintings. Alternatively, the Minneapolis Art Lending Library (MALL) walk offers an engaging exploration of local galleries and studios, connecting participants with the pulsating heartbeat of the region’s artistry.

Venture beyond the walls of museums, immersing yourself in the open-air gallery that graces the Twin Cities. Discover public art installations and street art murals scattered throughout, inviting you to unravel the narratives behind each brushstroke. The iconic Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, nestled beside the Walker Art Center, beckons with celebrated sculptures like the Spoonbridge and Cherry and the Hahn/Cock. Meanwhile, Saint Paul’s Midway and West Seventh neighborhoods provide a canvas adorned with captivating paintings and street art waiting to be uncovered.

Whether your aesthetic preference leans towards classical masterpieces, contemporary marvels, or the lively expressions of street art, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul art tour ensures a captivating journey through the region’s rich cultural fabric. Embrace this unique opportunity to witness the unfolding artistic narratives of the Twin Cities, where every stroke and sculpture tells a compelling story of inspiration and creativity.

Other Activities to Try On 

  • Explore Minnehaha Park: Visit this scenic urban park to admire the stunning Minnehaha Falls, stroll through picturesque trails, and enjoy a relaxing day by the Mississippi River.
  • Catch a Game at Target Field or U.S. Bank Stadium: Immerse yourself in the local sports culture by attending a baseball game at Target Field or a football game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
  • Visit the Guthrie Theater: Experience world-class performances at the Guthrie Theater, known for its innovative productions and striking architecture along the Mississippi River.
  • Tour the Minnesota State Capitol: Discover the history and architecture of the Minnesota State Capitol in Saint Paul, offering guided tours to explore its grand chambers and iconic dome.
  • Shop and Dine in Uptown: Wander through the trendy Uptown neighborhood, known for its eclectic shops, vibrant street art, and diverse culinary scene.
  • Attend a Festival or Event: Check the local events calendar for festivals like the Minnesota State Fair, Aquatennial, or Winter Carnival, offering a taste of the region’s culture and traditions.
  • Visit the Science Museum of Minnesota: Engage in interactive exhibits and fascinating displays at the Science Museum of Minnesota, catering to curious minds of all ages.
  • Bike the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway: Take advantage of the extensive Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, a network of biking and walking trails showcasing the area’s natural beauty.
  • Explore the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory: Spend a day at Como Park, home to a zoo featuring a variety of animals and a conservatory with beautiful botanical displays.
  • Attend a Live Music Performance: Enjoy the local music scene by attending a live performance at famous venues like First Avenue, known for nurturing emerging talents and hosting established artists.

These activities offer diverse experiences, allowing you to immerse yourself in the cultural, recreational, and natural attractions that make the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area a dynamic and inviting destination.

a woman walking on the pathway while strolling luggage

Pick the Right Time of the Year

Choosing the right time to visit the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area depends on your preferences and the type of experience you seek. Here are factors to consider:

  • Weather: Summer (June-August): Ideal for outdoor activities, festivals, and events. Enjoy pleasant temperatures and vibrant greenery.
  • Fall (September-November): Witness the breathtaking fall foliage. Cooler temperatures are suitable for exploring parks and attending cultural events.
  • Festivals and Events: Check the local events calendar for festivals, cultural events, or sports games that align with your interests. Summers, in particular, host numerous outdoor events.
  • Outdoor Activities: If you enjoy outdoor activities like biking, hiking, or exploring parks, late spring to early fall is preferable for favorable weather conditions.
  • Winter Activities: If you’re a fan of winter sports like skiing or want to experience winter festivals, visiting during the winter months (December-February) is ideal. Be prepared for colder temperatures.
  • Budget: Consider off-peak seasons for potential cost savings on accommodations and attractions. Winter months may offer lower prices, but outdoor activities could be limited.
  • Crowds: High tourist seasons usually correlate with more crowded attractions. If you prefer a quieter experience, consider shoulder seasons or weekdays.
  • Special Events: If you want to attend a specific event or activity, plan your visit around that time. Check the schedule for concerts, sports events, or special exhibits.
  • Accommodation Availability: Popular accommodations might get booked quickly during peak seasons. Plan and book your stay in advance for better options.
  • Local Holidays and School Breaks: Be aware of local holidays and school breaks, as these periods may attract more visitors or locals to certain attractions.
  • Personal Preferences: Consider your preferences regarding weather, crowd size, and the activities you enjoy. Tailor your visit to align with your interests.

By carefully considering these factors, you can choose the perfect time to visit the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, ensuring a memorable and enjoyable experience based on your preferences and priorities.

Conclusion

The Minneapolis-Saint Paul area offers diverse activities throughout the year, each season bringing its unique charm. Whether you’re drawn to the lively summer festivals, the colorful fall foliage, the winter wonderland of outdoor sports, or the blossoming spring, there’s a perfect time for every type of traveler. Consider your preferences, desired experiences, and any specific events you’d like to attend to make the most of your visit to this dynamic and culturally rich region. You’re bound to find something captivating and memorable whenever you explore the Twin Cities.

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