The larger of the Twin Cities does everything on a grand scale. It has more theater seats per capita than any city outside New York, it has the largest mall in America, and its miles of trails trace the second-longest river in America—the Mississippi. Check out our guide for what to do, where to eat and where to stay.

By The editors of
June 12, 2012

Due to possible coronavirus-related travel restrictions, please check destinations' websites for the current status of attractions, events, restaurants and lodgings.


Guthrie Theater The Mississippi riverfront theater draws crowds for first-class performances.

Mall of America Seven Yankee stadiums could fit inside the Bloomington mega-mall, home to 520 stores, a Nickelodeon theme park and an aquarium. 

Mill City Museum Ride the Flour Tower, an eight-story elevator show about the city’s rich milling history. A ninth-floor observation deck overlooks St. Anthony Falls.

Minneapolis Institute of Art Admission is free to view the permanent collection of more than 90,000 objects, which includes European tapestries and intricate Turkish embroideries. 

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden The 11-acre green space in the heart of the city houses more than 40 sculptures, including Spoonbridge and Cherry and Hahn/Cock.

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.

Minnehaha Park

Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park Five lakes and the trails connecting them provide opportunities for biking, walking and boating. The park is part of the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, a 55-mile urban loop.

Nicollet Mall 8 miles of  pedestrian pathways balances big-city feel with eclectic hidden gems. Highlights: the Dakota Jazz Club and Brit's Pub (with lawn bowling on the roof).

Target Field Families pack the downtown stadium to cheer on the Minnesota Twins while savoring local fare like Polish sausages from Kramarczuk’s. On Sundays, kids 12 and younger can get free autographs from a Twins player before games as well as run the bases after games.

Twin Cities Food Tours Expect international flavors—Neapolitan-style pizza, old-world Polish treats—and Minnesotan history on this leisurely walk.

U.S. Bank Stadium The Vikings’ $1.1 billion stadium hums even on nongame days; catch a concert or take a behind-the-scenes tour.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Weisman Art Museum


112 Eatery An acclaimed cheeseburger appears on the menu next to pan-fried skate wing with prosciutto crust.

Bar La Grassa James Beard Award-winning chef Isaac Becker crafts twists on traditional Italian food such as cavatelli with braised rabbit or crab ravioli.

Borough For lunch it’s hard to beat the Parlour Burger, a mix of ribeye, brisket and sirloin. Dinner in the former warehouse building goes fancy with choices like octopus, quail and scallops.


Butcher and the Boar Steakhouse classics get modern updates, such as Wagyu ribeye with farro-beet risotto and grilled asparagus.

Colita Playful touches like a tiny rubber duck on your cocktail set the tone for your experience. Expect a mix of upscale Mexican (lobster tostadas) and barbecue (Kansas City pork ribs).

Hai Hai Each shareable plate shows chef Christina Nguyen’s understanding and creative interpretation of Vietnamese food.

Hell's Kitchen You can't go wrong with anything at this underground joint known for its Mahnomin porridge (wild rice, cream, berries and hazelnuts).

Milkjam Creamery Flavors both familiar and unexpected guarantee a choice for every taste bud. Lil Jam, aka Milkjam Ice Cream and Hot Dogs, is open seasonally in south Minneapolis.

Nighthawks Diner + Bar Chefs grind, cure and smoke meats on-site, elevating dishes like pulled pork and burgers. Neon purple lights at the bar illuminate 20 taps with local and regional brews. Nighthawks Diner's Facebook page.

Midtown Global Market Shop for ethnic groceries and ready-made foods at an indoor market. 

Pizza Luce The namesake pizza comes topped with Italian sausage, garlic, onion and mounds of gooey mozzarella. Mashed taters and bacon star on the popular Baked Potato Pizza.

Red Stag Supper Club A green restaurant in northeast Minneapolis offers a Friday fish fry featuring seasonal catches.

Smack Shack Go all out with the lobster boil: a whole lobster with corn on the cob, Polish sausage, red potatoes, coleslaw and milk bread.

Spoon and Stable James Beard Award-winner Gavin Kaysen churns out French-inspired cuisine made with seasonal Midwest ingredients, like duck breast with green wheat berries and kale.

Surly Brewing Company You might have to wait for a seat in the cavernous beer hall, but it’s worth it for beers like the hoppy Surly Furious and top-notch pub food: cheese boards, squash tacos and smoked meats.

Spoon and Stable

Travail Kitchen and Amusements  Music thumps and chefs cheer when the doors open for the 5 p.m. seating of the nearly three-hour culinary masterpiece at this Robbinsdale restaurant. Chefs prepare at least 10 courses and on some nights parade past guests to dole out avocado mousse and hot-pepper macaroni accompanied by a symphonic soundtrack.

Young Joni Chef-owner Ann Kim continues her success with gourmet wood-fired pizza at her third area restaurant. But diners can also branch out with dishes inspired by her Korean heritage: Korean beef short ribs and grilled whole fish.


Alma Seven rooms in a historic building come with handwoven rugs and custom furniture made from local white oak. Round out your stay with contemporary American dishes at the casual Cafe Alma, or the prix fixe, dinner-only Restaurant Alma.

The Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel The train depot offers comfy modern rooms (some with whirlpools), plus beer and wine flights at the Stone Arch Bar.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Minneapolis Downtown The renovated 1910 Plymouth building offers two-room suites accented with local artwork, plus an excellent breakfast buffet.

Hewing Hotel Framed hatchets, exposed timber and brick, and custom Faribault Woolen Mills throws reflect the artsy vibe of this former warehouse in the North Loop. On-site restaurant Tullibee serves Nordic-inspired cuisine.

Hotel Emery The former Hotel Minneapolis reopened last year after a boutique makeover. The 222-room downtown hotel features midcentury minimalist style, a Spyhouse Coffee in the lobby and Giulia, an Italian restaurant that hand-pulls mozzarella tableside.

Le Meridien Chambers Minneapolis The owner's art collection adorns guest rooms at this boutique hotel in the heart of the theater district and near Nicollet Mall.

Loews Minneapolis Hotel This super-luxe hotel spares no detail, even when it comes to pets. Four-legged family members dine on gourmet room service.

Radisson Blu Mall of America A lobby awash in a blue glow welcomes guests to this hotel attached to the Mall of America. Relax in the spa or indoor saltwater pool.

Radisson Blu Mall of America

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