The Minneapolis Institute of Arts houses nearly 80,000 pieces in its permanent collection. The Department of Contemporary Art shows works by living artists, and the institute’s collection of paintings spans more than five centuries. Serious shoppers head to the Mall of America in Bloomington (10 miles south of downtown) for more than 500 stores, plus dozens of restaurants, an amusement park and an aquarium. Casual shoppers find plenty on Nicollet Mall, a pedestrian mall boasting Target’s flagship store, plenty of independent shops and restaurants, and in the summer, a Thursday farmers market. The News Room, on Nicollet, serves casual eats amid plenty of newsprint decor and somewhat inexplicably, a bar modeled after a giant masted ship. (To reach top-shelf liquor, bartenders climb the mast.) Boutique hotel Le Méridien Chambers Minneapolis stands within walking distance of Nicollet Mall and features original, cutting-edge artwork in the guest rooms.
Start the day off with huevos rancheros or corned beef hash at Hell’s Kitchen, where guests can dig into breakfast on weekdays and brunch on weekends (when servers wear their pajamas). Then enjoy Mother Nature in big-city Minneapolis. In the Uptown neighborhood, Lake Calhoun features a sandy beach, a 3-mile hiking and biking trail, and boat rentals. In south Minneapolis, hikers take in scenic overlooks along the trails of Minnehaha Park to see limestone bluffs and beautiful Minnehaha Falls. Head to Brit’s Pub for a $5 game of lawn bowling on the rooftop green.
For information: Meet Minneapolis, (888) 676-6757 minneapolis.org