The larger of the Twin Cities likes to perform on a grand scale.
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Grand Rounds Scenic Byway Minneapolis
Credit: David Nevala

My Perfect Day

Share a size-of-your-face cinnamon roll from Isles Bun and Coffee before hopping on a Nice Ride bike rental to explore the "City of Lakes."

Minneapolis has a vast trail network that hugs the second-longest river in America—the Mississippi. Following the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, trace the Chain of Lakes and drool over waterfront mansions along Lake of the Isles and Bde Maka Ska.

Once you've reached Lake Harriet (the southernmost lake in the chain), venture into the Linden Hills neighborhood. I love visiting the resident animals at Wild Rumpus bookstore.

One last ride: This time, follow the Mississippi River back into the city and enjoy punchy tiki drinks and delish pizzas on the waterfront patio at Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge.

Minneapolis Institute of Art
Credit: Kevin J. Miyazaki

Free and Fab

The wide-ranging permanent collection at the Minneapolis Institute of Art includes European tapestries and intricate Turkish embroideries.

It's a Date!

If you went to the Minnesota State Fair and didn't return with a bucket from Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar, did it even happen? Get your fill of fried food, farm animals and lumberjack shows August 25–September 5 in 2022.

On Stage

The Guthrie Theater along the Mississippi draws raves for its first-class plays. Step onto the Endless Bridge between acts for a spectacular intermission vista.

The audience is often invited to shout out scene suggestions at HUGE Improv Theater, a small Uptown venue that delivers big laughs.

Founded in 1991, the Jungle Theater showcases thought-provoking productions in an intimate space.

See touring Broadway shows in the restored 1921 Orpheum Theatre, which hosted the pre-Broadway world premiere of Disney's The Lion King in 1997.

Where to Eat

Breakfast

Bellecour Bakery at Cooks of Crocus Hill puts you in the middle of a baking show. Enjoy a chocolate-almond croissant at one of the tables inside the cookware shop while pastry chefs whip up scones and crepe cakes. 

Lunch

Order mix-and-match bowls of soul food (fried chicken, mac and cheese, collard greens, and more) at Soul Bowl inside Graze Provisions and Libations, a bustling food hall. For dessert: a glazed doughnut with peach cobbler filling.

The Market at Malcolm Yards
Credit: Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Dinner

You'll want to try a little bit of everything at industrial-chic The Market at Malcolm Yards. Standouts: Korean-style chicken from Abang Yoli, Indian and Nepalese street food from Momo Dosa, and a scoop of Strawberry Fields 4 Ever ice cream from Bebe Zito. 

Unique Bars to Visit

Immerse yourself in a Prohibition-era speakeasy scene at Volstead's Emporium, or get a more modern lounge experience at the basement bar beneath Ann Kim's acclaimed Sooki and Mimi. In the North Loop, look for the golden eye to find your way into Cobble Social House.

Bucket List

Target Field

Baseball is as much about the atmosphere as the play-by-play. That's especially true at this limestone cathedral for the Minnesota Twins, which is perfectly framed by the skyline and offers local eats, such as Polish sausages from Kramarczuk's.

Mall of America

In nearby Bloomington, the megamall houses more than 500 stores along with Nickelodeon Universe theme park, Sea Life aquarium and much more. It's also a temperate refuge for winter-weary locals. 

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The green space in the heart of the city houses 40-plus sculptures, including Coosje van Bruggen and Claes Oldenburg's striking Spoonbridge and Cherry.

Minnehaha Park

Hikers and bikers on the 10 miles of trails stop to see the Mississippi River, limestone bluffs and 53-foot-tall Minnehaha Falls. While you're at the park, grab a fish sandwich at Sea Salt.

Stone Arch Bridge

The curved expanse above the Mississippi River provides proposal-worthy views of the city and St. Anthony Falls. You can walk from here to some of the city's best dining treasures, such as acclaimed Owamni by The Sioux Chef.

Family Hits

Between the city's lakes and rivers, there are countless opportunities to beach, boat and swim. Try these crowd-pleasing stops once you're ready to return to land.

Eat

Hot, melty cheese oozing out of a burger patty has a way of enchanting both kids and adults. They're called Jucy Lucys, they were invented here, and you can get outstanding ones at The Blue Door and 5-8 Club.

Play

At Mill City Museum, ride the Flour Tower, an eight-story elevator show about the city's rich milling history. The grand finale: A breathtaking view of the Mississippi from the ninth-floor observation deck.

Budget Pick

Hop over to St. Paul for a trip through the (indoor) tropics at the free Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. See polar bears, sea lions and gorillas at the zoo, and ride the Tiger Trax coaster at Como Town amusement park.

Hewing Hotel Rooftop Patio
Credit: Courtesy of Meet Minneapolis

Where to Stay

Framed hatchets, exposed timber and Faribault Woolen Mill throws reflect the woodsy-chic vibe at Hewing Hotel in a former North Loop warehouse. Score skyline views from the rooftop patio and  heated spa pool.