Take a long weekend in Minneapolis and St. Paul to immerse yourself in culture, theater, music and fine dining. Getting out on the town will stimulate all of your senses.
Day 1: Mill City Museum & Guthrie Theater
Visit the Mill City Museum, located along the picturesque Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis. The museum is built into flour mill ruins, and tells the story of the flour industry, the river and the city. Explore the adjacent riverfront area, where highlights include the picturesque Stone Arch Bridge, Gold Medal Park and St. Anthony Falls.
Choose from three dining options at the Guthrie Theater to suit your taste buds or pocketbook, or opt for Thai, Japanese, Italian or American fare at one of the many nearby eateries. The theater’s Target Lounge is the place for cocktails and an extraordinary view of the Mississippi River from the cantilevered bridge.
Alternatives for live theater abound in Minneapolis. Check the lineups at downtown theater district venues such as the historic State, Orpheum and Pantages theatres. Other venues include Mixed Blood Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Pillsbury House Theatre, Ten Thousand Things Theater and more.
Day 2: Minneapolis Institute of Art, Russian Art Museum & the music scene
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is the Twin Cities’ encyclopedic museum, housing more than 80,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of world history. General admission is always free, with some special events and exhibits requiring tickets. The Museum of Russian Art, located in a beautiful, remodeled church, hosts exhibits of all types of Russian art and culture. Both museums are located in south Minneapolis.
Indulge at one of the many fine restaurants on or near Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis, and select the perfect venue to experience the city’s music scene. Orchestra Hall presents classical and pops by the Minnesota Orchestra and other programs with a wide variety of special guests. The Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant features top international jazz artists and local talent and some artists outside of the jazz genre. First Avenue and Fine Line Music Cafe present up-and-coming and established acts in rock, hip-hop and other genres.
Day 3: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden & St. Paul theaters
Walker Art Center is internationally renowned for its contemporary art collection, exhibits, performances, films and programs with legends from the art world. While there, don’t miss the adjacent, free Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the largest urban sculpture parks. The garden’s centerpiece is Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Spoonbridge and Cherry, which has become a Twin Cities icon.
For your last evening, head to St. Paul for dinner and a show. You’ll find fine restaurants downtown, including Meritage and the St. Paul Grill in the historic Saint Paul Hotel. Stroll through Rice Park en route to a show at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts. The Ordway is home to award-winning musicals, touring Broadway shows, and performances by The Minnesota Opera, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Schubert Club. Additional downtown venues include the History Theatre, the Fitzgerald Theater, Park Square Theatre and the newly restored Palace Theatre. Penumbra Theatre Company, one of the nation’s preeminent African-American theaters, is located west of downtown.
Trip extenders: Minnesota Fringe Festival, suburban art & theater
Plan a trip during Minnesota Fringe, the Midwest’s largest performing arts festival. More than 1,000 artists present theater, comedy, dance, storytelling and other performances at more than a dozen venues in Minneapolis and St. Paul over 11 days in August.
Soak up art in communities just outside Minneapolis and St. Paul. In the western suburbs, check out the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, Old Log Theater, and Hopkins Center for the Arts. South of the Twin Cities, explore the Ames Center and Caponi Art Park, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and Bloomington Center for the Arts. A great summer destination is the 20-acre (8 hectare) Franconia Sculpture Park, about 45 minutes northeast of the Twin Cities.