Written by Michele Herrmann, published on January 31, 2018
As the host city for Super Bowl LII, Minneapolis will welcome thousands of ticket holders to its U.S. Bank Stadium this Sunday. But the Minnesota city has much to entice visitors year-round.
A museum melting pot
For a look at the many different cultures that make up Minneapolis, head to a museum. Offerings include the American Swedish Institute (closed Mondays, admission $10/adults, $7/seniors, $5 ages 6-18; 2600 Park Ave. S., 612-871-4907, asimn.org), which holds programming on Swedish arts and culture and has a FIKA restaurant serving new Nordic cuisine; the Museum of Russian Art (admission $10/adults, $8/seniors, $5/ages 14 and up; 5500 Stevens Ave. S., 612-821-9045, tmora.org), with exhibits inside a former congregational church on religious icons, Soviet era works or cultural symbols such as the matryoshka doll; and the Somali Museum of Minnesota (closed Mondays, admission $11/adults, $8/seniors and ages 5-17; 1516 E. Lake St., Suite 011, 612-234-1625, somalimuseum.org), with a small yet fascinating exhibit space on the traditions and daily life of the Somali.
For music aficionados
Jazz lovers will dig the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant (1010 Nicollet Ave., 612-332-1010, dakotacooks.com), while First Avenue (701 N. First Ave., 612-332-1775, first-avenue.com), a beloved downtown venue, is where Prince, a Minneapolis native, filmed parts of “Purple Rain.”
The Minneapolis Institute of Art (closed Mondays, FREE admission; 2400 Third Ave. S., 612-870-3000, new.artsmia.org) — or just Mia — is a massive treasure trove, with decorative arts, craftsmanship from Africa and the Americas, Asian architecture such as a Japanese teahouse, European art, new media and more in its collection. The Walker Art Center (closed Mondays, admission $15/adults, $13/seniors, $10/students; 725 Vineland Pl., 612-375-7600, walkerart.org) is a contemporary mixed media museum. Nearby, the outdoor Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (726 Vineland Pl.) features sculptures from the center’s collection; a signature piece is “Spoonbridge and Cherry” — a large spoon with a stemmed cherry on its rim.
Flour milling was once a prime industry in Minneapolis. On the banks of the Mississippi River, the Mill City Museum (closed Mondays, admission $12/adults, $10/seniors, $6/ages 5-17; 704 S. Second St., 612-341-7555, millcitymuseum.org) explores that history inside the former Washburn A Mill, once the largest flour mill in the world. Go on “Flour Tower,” an eight-story elevator ride telling the history of the mill with audio stories by former employees. Head up another floor for views of the riverfront, then go back down to the lower level to sample a baked treat from the baking lab.
To eat . . .
Minneapolis’ diverse dining scene is epitomized by Midtown Global Market (920 E. Lake St., 612-872-4041, midtownglobalmarket.org), a cornucopia of restaurants and shops, with options including Mexican, Korean, Italian, Thai, classic American fare and specialty shops and bakeries. Zen Box Izakaya (closed Sundays; 602 S. Washington Ave., 612-332-3936, zenbox.com) offers Japanese comfort food, like tonkatsu (a panko pork loin). For local staples, there’s Murray’s Steakhouse, (26 S. Sixth St., 612-339-0909, murraysrestaurant.com), Matt’s Bar (cash only; 3500 Cedar Ave., 612-722-7072, mattsbar.com), which is credited as the birthplace of the cheese-stuffed burger Juicy Lucy, and Hell’s Kitchen (80 S. Ninth St., 612-332-4700, hellskitcheninc.com), known for specialties like Mahnomin wild rice porridge.
. . . and drink
Tour the brewery Surly (520 Malcolm Ave. SE., 763-999-4040, surlybrewing.com), then settle into its restaurant for elevated pub grub and beer pairings. Between rounds of margaritas named after Ivy League institutions at Betty Danger’s Country Club (2501 Marshall St. NE., 612-315-4997, bettydangers.com), play mini golf course and ride the Ferris wheel.
Good to know
Getting there: Between its two terminals, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport services 16 airlines, including American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, United and Spirit.
Getting around: Public transit options include the light rail, which runs from the airport to downtown Minneapolis as well as connects to downtown St. Paul and the Mall of America in Bloomington, and buses. Cabs, Uber and Lyft are also options.
Where to stay: Hotel options within downtown include the AC Hotel Minneapolis Downtown (401 Hennepin Ave., 612-338-0700, marriott.com) and Loews Minneapolis Hotel (601 First Ave. N., 612-677-1100, loewshotels.com).