Here are some can't-miss highlights:
Enjoy the Great Outdoors
- The Grant Rounds National Scenic Byway comprises seven different recreational districts connected by 55 miles of parkways, and features a dozen lakes and ponds, two waterfalls, natural and planned gardens, creek and river views, and over 50 miles of hiking, biking and skiing paths. Love to golf? There are seven courses available.
- Lake Calhoun is part of the Chain of Lakes district, connecting with Lake of the Isles on the northeast, Cedar Lake on the northwest and Lake Harriet on the south. It's the biggest lake in Minneapolis and is popular for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and windsurfing.
- The Lyndale Park Rose Garden is one of the oldest public rose gardens in the US, and can be found near the northeast corner of Lake Harriet. Over 3,000 plants in 100 different varieties can be found in the 1.5 acre garden; roses begin blooming mid-June and last until early October.
- Meander among the outdoor displays at the 11-acre Sculpture Garden across from the Walker Art Center. Don't miss the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry for a truly unique photo-op.
- The city celebrates its watery landmarks every July during Aquatennial, where visitors are treated to some 70 events including parades, tennis tournaments, sandcastle building and a spectacular fireworks display, one of the nation's largest that concludes the weeklong festival.
Down by the River
- The Mississippi River runs through Minneapolis, and the Downtown Riverfront Byway District is the oldest part of the city. Learn why Minneapolis was once called the "Flour Milling Capital of the World" in the Mill City Museum, located in what was once the world's largest flourmill.
- Walk or bike across the James J. Hill Historic Stone Arch Bridge - the only stone bridge that crosses the Mississippi River. This 1883 National Civil Engineering Landmark offers stunning views of St. Anthony Falls and provides a connection between the various parks along the riverbanks, including Mill Ruins Park where visitors can learn more about the city's early history.
- Open Memorial Day through October, Historic Fort Snelling is just a short drive from the Riverfront district at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers. Spend the day learning about frontier life, local Indian tribes and two hundred years of military history featuring docents in period dress, cannon firings, vintage buildings, parades and a variety of hands-on activities.
Other Fun and Delights
- Burger lovers will want to try a "Juicy/Jucy Lucy," Minneapolis' contribution to the world of pub fare. Invented in the 1950's, it's a hearty cheeseburger with cheese sealed inside of the meat before cooking; biting into the burger releases a torrent of gooey, melted cheese. Several local restaurants lay claim to being the first to offer the creation.
- Fans of architecture will delight in finding literally dozens of examples of classic American style throughout the city, including Art Deco, Beaux-Arts, Colonial Revival, Craftsman, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Prairie School, Queen Anne and Tudor Revival.
- For the art connoisseur, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts museum will keep you busy for more than a day gazing at large collections from around the world, including prehistoric, African, Asian and Modern art objects. Tours are available – they're free and no reservations are necessary.
- The Minnesota Zoo is in nearby Apple Valley and is home to more than 4,000 animals (not counting the insect colonies). There's also an Imax Theater at the zoo.
- And oh, yes – there is a mall close by. But this is no ordinary shopping mall. The Mall of America is only minutes away from downtown Minneapolis and includes the largest underground aquarium in the world with sharks, sea turtles, jellyfish, and thousands of other amazing creatures. You can also fly Hornet jets and vintage WWII planes in the A.C.E.S. flight simulator; same-day reservations are accepted. For more screams, check out the rides at Nickelodeon Universe, also at this world-famous Mall.
- Several nearby RV parks including a KOA (Kampgrounds of America) make it easy to establish a home base within a short drive to all the attractions.
- Minneapolis is a fascinating place to explore – there really is something for everyone. Create some truly unforgettable memories this year in Minneapolis – the City of Lakes. No snowballs required.
About the Author
Joe Laing is the Marketing Director for El Monte RV Rentals . You can see more great RV vacation ideas in their Monty's Musings RV Travel Blog and be sure to check out their RV Camping Pictures .