Minneapolis, once the flour milling capital of the world, is a city of many lakes and rivers. Home to hugely influential musicians such as Prince and Bob Dylan, Minneapolis has a lively and varied music scene.
Before visiting any town or city make sure you know the basics. General details and important information.
Researching various official sources, we perceive the risk to holiday makers and travellers are as follows;
Top travel advice and interesting tip bits of information from experienced travellers.
- With average winter temperatures of -9°C , you better be prepared to deal with the cold. Dressing appropriately is the most important thing to do when exploring an icy city. Layers are your friend as you can trap lots of heat between different items of clothes whilst, if you get too warm, you can always remove them and stow them in a bag. Bring waterproofs too as being out in snow will make you wet too and there's nothing harder than trying to stay warm in damp clothes.
- There is an increased number of the homeless population in parts of Minneapolis. Residents advise offering to buy them food rather than cash, if you feel moved to help them, as showing off where your wallet is and how much money you have in it can lead you to being followed and getting mugged. Of course, this will not always be the case but remember to exercise caution.
For the Emergency services just dial 911.
Minneapolis Visitor Center: 612-397-9278
Minneapolis has an airport, a train station and a metro. The metro lines connect the airport, the university, the central mall and the wider city. Minneapolis has an excellent Walk Score and Bike Score as it has a Skyway system that links up 80 city block via elevated pedestrian walkways. There are also countless trails for cyclists to get in and around the city.
Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport: 612-726-5555
How dangerous is Minneapolis?
The city has been the site of recent civil unrest after the death of George Floyd on May 25, 2020. The people of Minneapolis were protesting unnecessary uses of force from members of the police causing harm to civilians. In the last decade, the police have caused 11 separate deaths and a 2021 report outlined 200 police related deaths in the state this century. This has culminated in an increase of protests and riots in the past year.
Residents advise that the city is still ultimately safe (and- statistically compared to the rest of the US crime averages- it is) but to keep in mind that there will be trials of those officers and likely further protests in the future. Also, there is reduced police presence as many have quit or opted for early retirement in light of recent events.
What’s a safety top tip?
Minneapolis has a lot of economic disparity between its neighbourhoods. Like any city, there are affluent parts and rougher parts. North Minneapolis and Dinkytown are both places to exercise caution as they have increased crime rates.
Try to take public transport or drive through these areas, especially at night. Stay in more populated areas and remain in a group if you can. Don’t dress to flashily and don’t carry around too much money.
What’s the weather like?
Minneapolis is a upper-midwestern city and has a humid continental climate. Therefore, it has very traditional weather: with hot, humid summers and cold, snowy winters. It rains fairly often, especially in June.
The average summer temperature is 23 °C whilst the average winter temperature is -9 °C.
For the most reasonable weather, visit in spring and summer.
Dress and plan accordingly.
Annual events allow a city come together for some amazing experiences. If visiting at this time, make sure you have your accommodation booked and are always aware of your surroundings when travelling around.
This is a cross-country ski festival for the whole family! The Loppet features a tonne of winter fun, including ski races for all ages, skill-levels, and abilities. You’ll find skijoring races, a kubb tournament, a snow sculpture competition, sprint races, ice biking, and more. This is Minneapolis’ biggest celebration of winter sports, featuring wondrous light and sculpture displays created by local artists (for the less athletically inclined). Grab your snowshoes and explore or post up by a communal fire with a vantage point of the action- the choice is yours.
Head on over to the Northeast neighbourhood of Minneapolis to celebrate the local art. Art-A-Whirl gives you a chance to meet all kinds of different artists, including painters, jewellers, photographers, and woodcarvers, and purchase any or all of their varied crafts. There’s something for everyone with over 800 artists at more than 60 different locations showing off their work. You can visit private artist studios and galleries or get involved with demonstrations and mini-workshops. There will be installations and special exhibitions all over, you just have to find them which will be easy as this festival is open to the public and free.
Situated by one of the most iconic places in Minneapolis , the Stone Arch Bridge Festival is a weekend of energy and fun. Head to Water Power Park for the concert that kicks off the whole event on Friday night. The rest of the weekend is filled with more live music too, as well as the Art of the Car show, Stone Arch Beer Sampler, local artists demonstrating and selling their creations and a range of local eateries will have set up stalls and food trucks so you can keep your energy up through all this excitement. This festival will show you the best of Minneapolis.
This one day festival is small and mighty! Featuring international independent bands and artists, Rock the Garden is set to the backdrop of the iconic Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and an exceptional view of the city skyline. You can hang out by a stage or take a short stroll to get any number of delicious food and drink options nearby! This festival is short sweet and well-situated.
What museums are there?
The Walker Art Centre is one of the five largest modern art museums in the US and there’s a lot to see and do. The sculpture garden features a huge range of art, including interactive sculptures. There are pieces from all kinds of disciplines and types, such as optical illusions, shadow art, industrial and modern creations. The galleries feature a range of exhibits that combine still art with performance and include detailed articles and interviews with artists. The Walker stage has been presenting and commissioning pioneering performances for over 80 years. Its Performing Arts program offers a platform for everything from contemporary dance to experimental theatre, new jazz, Avant-folk, new global and alt-classical music. The design studio facilitates new artistic endeavours through its award-winning in-house design studio and publishing programs. It’s a hub of creativity, no doubt you will see something unique when you go.
In the ruins of a burnt down Mill, see the 19th-century flour milling machines and vintage advertising. There are interactive aspects of this museum too as you can follow the journey of wheat from farm to market, design your own cereal box, and meet a history player from the city’s past. Take the Flour Tower and follow the flour as it is processed with the addition of films and interviews explaining the how it all happened. The are also baking and water labs so you will gain an intimate knowledge of how Minneapolis economy was supported through the years. You might even get some freshly baked goods on your visit.
What should I do?
Declared the best-designed, best-financed, and best-maintained in America, it wouldn’t be amiss to give a Minneapolis park a visit whilst you’re there. The Theodore Wirth Regional Park, the largest park in the Minneapolis park system with over 740 acres of land, has lots to do in both summer and winter. This scenic park is filled with trails for you to walk, bike and dog walk across the land. Picnic by a lake or dabble in some archery-its up to you. When the snow falls is when this park really comes alive: the walking trails are turned into cross-country ski trails, so grab some gear and take on more than 20 miles of excellent ski trails. Still want to bring your furry friend along? Try skijoring—a winter sport in which your dog assists you while you cross-country ski (try at your own risk). Or simply bring your sled, snow tube, toboggan or snowboard and hit the slopes. There is plenty of equipment to rent from park officials if you don’t have your own!
This section of the Mississippi river is what made Minneapolis the place it is today. As well as appreciating the marriage of nature and human architecture, the public can access the 178-foot cantilever (known as the “Endless Bridge”) for exceptional photo opportunities. The St. Anthony Falls Visitor Centre is open to the public, providing exhibits that tell the story of the falls and its place in Minnesota history. Rangers will lead short tours from the visitor centre twice a day out onto the lock walls and explain how the falls relate to the history and economy of the area. This site is further surrounded my many more historical buildings for you to explore.
Any fun food and drink experiences?
This burger joint, named simply and enigmatically after its first building, has a lot of personality. Head to one of four locations to try a celebrated Minnesotan delicacy quite unlike anything else. A juicy Lucy burger is a burger that is stuffed but The Blue Door Pub takes it further by adding multiple fillings that create spectacular (and slightly bizarre) combinations. An excellent example of this is the Jiffy Burger: featuring crunchy peanut butter, bacon, mayo, pickles and spicy pepper jack cheese. These burgers are an undertaking- delicious and filling- which is reflected in the light hearted humour in their names and descriptions. As the website says: ‘you will probably have to take a nap afterwards!’
This is the Willy Wonka chocolate factory of distilleries (only safer for children surprisingly). Producing a range of quality Vodka, Gin, Rum and Liqueurs, Norseman Distillery knows how to manufacture an experience too. You can take tours, sample products, participate in cocktail workshops or- if you just fancy a drink- there’s The Patio bar. The Patio is a place for expertly made cocktails by specialised professional Norseman employees to showcase the best ways to use their product. But it’s also a very relaxed environment, dogs are welcome as are children (only before 9pm) and there is a small snack menu or you can even have food delivered to the bar to enjoy with your drinks- it’s all about having a good time!