The Most Haunted Places in Minneapolis—and Other Fun Scary Things to Do
Ghost hunters, haunted lovers, and fans of the paranormal take note! We’re sharing the insider’s scoop on the top scary things to do in Minneapolis, from haunted restaurants and ghastly tales from the Minneapolis Institute of Art to haunted tours and spooky legends from our most popular Minneapolis landmarks.
Get ready to feel a chill, catch a glimpse of something strange, and enjoy the most mysterious haunted places in Minneapolis. If you do choose to enjoy some ghost hunting in Minneapolis, please be respectful of the businesses and city offices located at these sites, or you could suffer a gruesome fate of your own…
Reason #1 to love Mia: General admission is always free. Reason #2: they’re not afraid to lean into their own ghost stories and share the scary details of sightings with museum guests! Visit the Haunted Mia site on your phone on your next visit, pop in some headphones, and enjoy some spooky tales at various locations throughout the museum. Not sure where to start? Head to the museum’s most haunted rooms—the Connecticut Room and the Tudor Room—and immerse yourself in ghost stories from security guards and staffers.
A few blocks from Mia, the German restaurant and beer garden Black Forest Inn is said to be home to some historic haunts as well. On its 50th anniversary in 2015, the Uptown restaurant’s owners invited the Twin Cities Paranormal Society to investigate spectral sightings and eerie occurrences in its basement. Staffers have reported the sound of stomping while alone in the restaurant, and tales of a former cafe proprietor named Nellie who met her unfortunate end falling down the basement stairs continue to give locals the frights.
Visit Minneapolis’ Oldest Existing Cemetery: the Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery
Home to gravesites as old as 1853, this historic cemetery is a true anchor of Minneapolis history, both the light side… and the dark. Hundreds of military veterans from conflicts ranging from the War of 1812 to World War I were laid to rest here, alongside several thousand immigrants—primarily from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe—and many prominent pioneers and working-class citizens who built the city we know and love today. Section H (also known as the Pauper’s Section) has a sadder past, as it is the site of a mass grave of bodies used by medical students in the early 1900s, as well as graves of abandoned infants, suicide victims, and the city’s nameless dead. If you would like to visit, be warned: the cemetery is only open from 8 am to 4:30 pm, Wednesday through Sunday, from April 15th to October 15th.
While most tales about Minneapolis’s legendary rock venue are of the musical kind—most notably of the lauded names on the white stars out front—First Avenue also has some ghost stories to tell. Since the 1980s, multiple staffers and concertgoers have reported sightings of a hanged woman wearing a green coat in a bathroom stall, reportedly the victim of a suicide back when the building housed an art deco Greyhound Bus station. In the Record Room, DJs have reported hearing odd sounds through their headphones, and (in the analog days) record player arms would bob about on albums.
One of the city’s most recognizable landmarks, the 32-story Foshay Tower held the title of the tallest building in the midwest and also holds the title of one of the most haunted spots in Minneapolis. The tower’s builder, Wilbur Foshay, is rumored to have taken his life by leaping from the tower, a fact refuted by his well documented quiet death by stroke in a North Minneapolis nursing home. Nevertheless, sightings of the builder have been reported throughout the building, along with other strange occurrences, like quirky elevator behavior and chilling apparitions. You can visit the tower’s 31st floor museum and observation deck to enjoy 360 views of the city, and maybe some spookier views as well.
At this North Loop dive bar institution, the walls are covered in dollar bills, the tater tots are crisp, and a resident ghost named Betsy is rumored to haunt the joint. She’s been known to move condiments, flicker the lights, and give unsuspecting servers and guests a spectral hug. The menu sports this friendly warning: “If your drink starts to move around on its own, check for moisture first, and if that can’t explain it, you may ask Betsy to leave it alone.”
Visit the historic grounds of the American Swedish Institute and you may feel unexplained blasts of cold air, hear pianos making music without a visible player, and witness other manifestations corroborated by the Twin Cities Paranormal Society. Staff at the 1908 Turnblad Mansion—also known as Minneapolis’s Swedish Castle—get in on the fun every year with a flashlight tour of the hallowed (and possibly haunted) halls around Halloween.
Built in 1965, the Washington Avenue Bridge ferries pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, buses, and the METRO Green Line across the Mississippi River, including thousands of cheerful students and university staffers—but less happy visitors bely the bridge’s darker past. The bridge has been the site of several suicides, including poet and university professor John Berryman, and visitors to the bridge at night have reported ghostly activity, from unexplained footsteps to flags torn off poles by unseen hands.
Haunted Minneapolis: Do Victims of the Washburn A Mill Tragedy Still Haunt Mill Ruins Park?
On May 2, 1878, a massive explosion sparked by airborne flour particles at the Washburn A Mill, the largest flour mill in the world. The tragedy killed 18 people and greatly reduced Minneapolis’s flour milling capacity for years, as safety measures and new designs leveled up the building (both physically and technologically). But it wouldn’t be the last disaster on the site—a fire completely destroyed the building in 1991. You can visit the site, now the Mill City Museum and Mill Ruins Park, and hear thundering booms evoking the 1878 explosion and perhaps feel the presence of those unlucky 18. You can also visit their final bodily resting place at Minneapolis’s Lakewood Cemetery.
Taking up a full city block between 4th and 5th Street and 3rd and 4th Avenues , this 130-year-old fortress of a building is one of the most haunted places in Minneapolis. Paintings fall off the walls, doors open and close with no apparent user, lights flicker, ghastly presences are felt and voices are heard, and things generally go bump in the night. The night shift hauntings are attributed to John Moshik, a man convicted of theft and murder said to be the only person ever hanged in the building (on the fifth floor, to be precise).
Go on a Tour of Haunted Places in Minneapolis
For more haunted Minneapolis walking tour fun, check out Minneapolis Ghost Walks, tracing spooky legends, cold spots, and residual hauntings in Minneapolis from Mill Ruins Park and the Washington Avenue Bridge to the Soap Factory and beyond. The Minnesota Trolley holds a Candlelight Ghost Tour exploring the most haunted sites in the city, aboard an historic trolley which itself is said to be haunted. On board you'll have a knowledgeable narrator explaining all the legends and lores surrounding the most paranormal happenings in Minneapolis' history.