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

Minneapolis–Saint Paul is a large city in the Upper Midwest of the United States. It is in the state of Minnesota, near where the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix rivers meet. It is often called the Twin Towns, after the two biggest towns in the area – Minneapolis and Saint Paul. People in Minnesota often refer to it as “the cities” when they mean both cities or the seven-county metro area as a whole. It is the heart of Minnesota’s economic, cultural, and political center. (1)

The area is well renowned for its vibrant arts and culture scene, its abundance of opportunities for outdoor activities, and its socially diverse population. Furthermore, it is also known as a key business hub in the Midwest due to the fact that it is home to a large number of businesses. (1)

If you’re thinking about visiting the Twin Cities at some point in the near future, you might be wondering what kind of notable attractions you should add to your itinerary. While this humble but bustling metropolitan area isn’t as high-profile as other major cities like NYC and LA, it does have some very unique places and activities that every tourist should see and try at least one time. More specifically, here are the top 4 must-try things to do in the Twin Cities area:

1. Stop by an Escape Room

Visiting an escape room is a fun and unique thing to do when you’re in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. Escape rooms are a fun and challenging way for groups of friends, family, or coworkers to spend time together. They give people a chance to work together, think creatively, and have fun in an environment with a theme.

In the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, escape rooms are a popular thing to do. There are many different rooms and themes to choose from. There is an escape room for everyone, whether you want to solve a secret, get out of a haunted house, or stop a mad scientist with a puzzle.

If you’ve never been to an escape room before, you’re in for a thrilling and memorable experience that is the perfect activity for groups and families. If you’re already familiar with this form of interactive entertainment, you’ll find that the Twin Cities has some of the best escape rooms in the country thanks to the presence of industry leading escape room providers like Puzzleworks.

However, it is important to bear in mind that not everyone will enjoy escape rooms. Some rooms may be too hard or scary for young children, and people with claustrophobia or anxiety may feel uncomfortable in a small area. Before booking, it’s always a good idea to learn about the place and how challenging it may be and to let the staff know if you have any worries.

You can check out the home page of Puzzleworks MN to learn more about the kinds of escape room packages they have available.

2. Shop at the Mall of America

mall of America image
By Farragutful – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=70042230

Did you know that the Minneapolis area is home to the largest shopping mall in the United States? Found in Bloomington – on the south side of the city – this massive building is home to more than 500 stores and contains more than 90 acres of shopping area. Impressively, even at such a large scale the mall maintains symmetrical dimensions and is incredibly well-organized and navigable. 

Visitors can find everything from famous stores to specialty shops and high-end brands. The mall also has some unique activities, like Nickelodeon Universe, an indoor theme park with roller coasters and other rides, and the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, which has thousands of sea creatures from across the world.

The mall is easily accessible from downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and people can spend a whole day there looking at all the different things it offers. The Mall of America is a great place to shop, eat, and have fun. It also has many events and activities throughout the year, such as concerts, fashion shows, and cultural parties.

Many people have referred to the mall as an indoor city, and it certainly does feel like you’re entering into an entirely different environment, with many multi-level sections. There are 5 rollercoasters in the mall, and there are even plans to build a $250 million water park next year, so this will be an even more exciting destination to visit in the near future.

If you’re in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area and want a new outfit, a fun day out with the family, or just some good old-fashioned shopping therapy, you should go to the Mall of America.

3. Go Restaurant Hopping

It doesn’t make sense to visit the Twin Cities without experiencing all of the culinary goodness that the region has to offer. The food scene in the Twin Cities is thriving and full of variety. You can get everything from traditional Midwestern comfort food to food from all over the world.

One great way to try the best of the local food scene is to “restaurant hop” or visit several different restaurants in one night and try a various range of dishes. There are many great places to try new restaurants in the Twin Cities, such as Northeast Minneapolis, Uptown Minneapolis, and Lowertown Saint Paul.

There are hundreds of amazing restaurants to dine at within a 50-square mile radius, with local favorites including the Hi-Lo Diner, Martina, Animales, and Esker Grove. This is one tourism destination where you’ll want to ensure access to a generous food budget.

You can try new foods and find secret gems in the local food scene by going from one restaurant to another. Many places also have happy hour deals or small plate menus, which make it easy to try a lot of different dishes without spending a lot of money.

4. Take an Art Tour

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You should also go on an art trip in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area, especially if you like art and culture. The Twin Cities are also home to a bustling art scene, with numerous art studios and galleries to see. Many museums, galleries, and public art pieces show a wide range of styles and movements in art. 

The best way to see the most notable ones without having to sift through the selection is to schedule a guided tour. This will give you an overall walk-through of famous studios and plazas like Northrup King and Solar Arts. 

Moreover, the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) tour is one of the most famous art tours in the area. Different guided trips focus on other parts of the museum’s collections, such as modern art, ancient artifacts, and European paintings. The Minneapolis Art Lending Library (MALL) walk is another popular choice. It takes people on a guided tour of art galleries and studios in the area.

In addition to going on tours of museums and art galleries, tourists can also look at the public art installations and street art murals all over the Twin Cities. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a must-see for art fans. It is next to the Walker Art Center and has famous sculptures like the Spoonbridge and Cherry and the Hahn/Cock. And in Saint Paul, the paintings and street art in the Midway and West Seventh neighborhoods are fun to look at.

Pick the Right Time of Year

In closing, it’s important to note that summer and spring are the best times of year when it comes to having travel-friendly weather. However, you may find cheaper accommodations and tickets during the offseason when the weather is less pleasant. Thus, the time of year you visit is an extra consideration to keep in mind before planning a trip to the Twin Cities.


(1) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minneapolis%E2%80%93Saint_Paul