Best Fun things to do in Downtown Minneapolis is one of busiest hubs in the Twin Cities. A center for business, arts and dining, this area of the city has a lot to offer for visitors looking for a variety of activities. Just a short drive from many of the area’s top airports, it’s an ideal spot to spend a layover, or a long weekend. If you’re planning to visit downtown, here are a few things to consider for your to-do list.
The History of Downtown Minneapolis
The most populous city in Minnesota has humble beginnings. Located on the Mississippi River, the city got its start with flour mills, earning it the nickname “Mill City.” On the river, St. Anthony Falls, located on the northeast side of downtown, helped cement this legacy for the city, since the falls helped power the many mills. The falls helped drive other industry in the city because of the power it provided, including lumber textiles and foundries. From there, the city only grew outwards, with railroads and bridges spanning the river helping connect the well-positioned city to others in the area. A lock and dam system near the falls also made the river above the falls navigable for the first time, helping further drive development in the city. Flour milling also helped drive the financial and banking industry in the city. Today, the city is home to not only some of the world’s most recognizable food companies that started as flour mills like Pillsbury and General Mills (now merged under the General Mills name), but also some large financial institutions like U.S. Bank.
Downtown Minneapolis Today
As the central hub for business in the Twin Cities, downtown Minneapolis boasts the headquarters of a number of Fortune 500 businesses, including Target, U.S. Bank, and Ameriprise Financial. But the area has also emerged as a booming arts, dining and entertainment hotspot. Not to mention some of the major league sporting facilities that have been developed or remodeled in the immediate downtown area in the last decade. With such a convenient location, and sprawling transit system, the downtown area is a great place for many people to work, play and visit.
Fun things to do in Downtown Minneapolis
Minnesota’s most populous city supplies a ton of fun things to do. Take a look at some of the highlights below:
Arts, Theatre and Museums in Downtown Minneapolis
- If you’re interested in catching a show while you’re in town, you’re in luck. Located along the main drag of Hennepin Avenue, you’ll find the State Theatre, Orpheum Theatre and the Pantages Theatre, just to name a few of the big ones. This is where you can catch some of the big acts and touring shows that are in town.
- Also located in the theater district are a number of popular music venues. Grab a show at the famed First Avenue, and see some of the famous stars that have performed on stage here.
- If classical music is more your thing, you can catch a performance by the Minnesota Orchestra, who perform at Orchestra Hall.
- Downtown Minneapolis also is home to the Mill City Museum, site of the Washburn “A” Mill explosion in 1878. You can still see the ruins of the old mill, and explore the history of the flour industry that helped Minneapolis get its start, with some amazing views of the Mississippi River.
Restaurants in Downtown Minneapolis
- If you’re looking for world-class dining while in the city, you’re in luck. The city’s restaurant industry boasts some acclaimed foodie spots, like 112 Eatery for an eclectic mix of fine dining or Spoon and Stable for an unforgettably unique dining experience.
- For those looking to kick back and enjoy a cocktail, stop by the Prohibition Bar located at the top of the Foshay Tower. This building used to be the tallest in downtown, and while it has since been eclipsed by taller skyscrapers, the views are still amazing. Looking for craft cocktails? Try out Parlour Bar for tasty hand-crafted cocktails in a swanky locale.
Shopping in Downtown Minneapolis
- The North Loop neighborhood of downtown is one of the fastest growing spots in the city. Known for hip restaurants and retail shops, you’ll be able to find whatever you’re looking for. Try out men’s retailer Askov Finlayson for high-end clothing, Goldfine Jewelry for all things sparkly, or PARC Boutique for women’s clothing, jewelry and other small goods.
Other Fun things to do in Downtown Minneapolis
- If you’re a sports fan who finds themselves in downtown Minneapolis, you’re in luck. With the home of the Minnesota Twins, Timberwolves, Lynx and Vikings all located in downtown, you’re almost certain to be able to catch a game. The Twins’ home base of Target Field boasts some of the best views of downtown Minneapolis, and is one of the best spots to spend a perfect summer evening. Opened in 2016, U.S. Bank Stadium, home turf of the Vikings is a wonder to behold. And the recently renovated Target Center, home to the Timberwolves and Lynx, also hosts a number of popular music acts.
- Team with the top flight crew in downtown Minneapolis, Inflight Pilot Training and fly an airplane (under direction of a professional flight instructor, of course). With their Discovery Flight offering, you get the chance to take control of the yoke yourself and explore the Twin Cities metro area from thousands of feet above.
Do you want to become a licensed pilot? Whether you want to experience flying before signing up for lessons or you’re ready to start training today, our certified instructors will help you experience the joys of becoming a pilot. We have hundreds of hours of flying under our collective belts, and specialize in private pilot licensing throughout the Minneapolis metro area. Find out what it’s like to work with our team and explore the skies at the helm of an airplane — contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.