City By Nature Basics

Minneapolis is the perfect blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication. No other American city has a chain of lakes, the mighty Mississippi and 200 miles of walking, biking and cross country ski trails within the city limits literally steps from the most vibrant arts and music scene outside NYC, the best shopping in the region and museums among the finest in the nation.

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From ski hills to shopping malls, muskie to Monet, biking to beef bourguignon, Minneapolis is the American city where natural and urban drama share a single stage.

Continue below to read the first sections of the media kit and learn more about the City by Nature.

Note: The content in this section will be updated at least once per year. Due to COVID-19 changes and restrictions, please check with individual businesses before making plans. 

The Basics

U.S. Census
Minneapolis: 422,331 (2017)
Hennepin County: 1,252,024 (2017)
Downtown: 49,781 (2019)
16th largest metro area

Latitude: 44° 58’ 39’’
North Longitude: 93° 15’ 56’’
West Area: 59 square miles or 37,516 acres
Land: 35,244 acres
Water: 2,324 acres
Lakes: 22
Elevation: 824 feet above sea level

IDS Center: 57 stories, 775 feet

Public: 3 Private: 8

Average high in January: 24° F
Average high in July: 83° F
Overall: 45° F 
Average annual precipitation: 30.64 inches
Average annual snowfall: 55 inches

8.025% (downtown Minneapolis) 
6.875% (elsewhere-statewide)
*There is no sales tax on apparel or shoes in Minnesota


Fast Facts

Settled: 1858 
Capitol: Saint Paul 
State Bird: Common Loon 
State Fish: Walleye Pike
State Flower: Pink and White Lady’s Slipper

5,611,179 (2016 U.S. Census estimate)
Geography Area: 86,943 square miles 
Water: 7,326 square miles of Minnesota are covered by water

11,842 of 10 acres or greater (22 within Minneapolis city limits)

2018: 34.5 million
2017: 33.3 million
2016: 32.5 million
2012: 27.9 million
2008: 17.9 million
2000: 11.1 million
1990:   4.5 million

Mill City 
City of Lakes


Stroll from the iconic Sculpture Garden by Loring Park to the picturesque Mississippi river to catch the sunset on the skyline in Northeast. Get the High Score at an all-night pinball bar in Lyn Lake. Or enjoy an incredible Ethiopian meal in Cedar-Riverside. All without ever leaving the city limits. This is what living and exploring Minneapolis is all about.  

Three stadiums, river walks, world class theaters, live music venues, hotels, shopping and dining options - you'll never run out of things to do downtown. Locals work and play in downtown Minneapolis. They live there too, in artsy lofts and upscale condos - nearly 40,000 residents call downtown home. You can't beat a city that overlooks the scenic Mississippi River, is easy to get to, easy to get around, and is filled with trendy restaurants, cool shops, festive events and diverse entertainment ranging from pro sports to Broadway shows. 

You're in the middle of it. The heart of downtown. And lucky for you it's not all office buildings and government centers. The Central Business District has high quality dining options, a thriving nightlife that includes a whole block of theaters, and of course the famous skyway system that'll make you forget all about the subzero temperature outside. Conveniently, some of downtown's best hotels are here in the thick of it, meaning many days of amusement can be planned without stepping a toe into a car. 

Venture on the northern outskirts of downtown Minneapolis and you'll stumble upon "North Loop" or "the Warehouse District." The two terms are used interchangeably in reference to pretty much everything north and west of 1st Avenue North. This melting pot of trendy shops and innovative restaurants has transformed warehouses from the late 19th and early 20th centuries and created a vibrant neighborhood that is continually growing. It's an area with a bustling nightlife, where you'll find a lively crowd after a concert or a game looking to extend the night just a little bit longer. 

Scenic parks and pathways, landmark restaurants, and historical attractions line the banks of the Mississippi River, which once fueled Minneapolis' flour milling boom and now defines downtown's northern edge. Many milling era buildings have been reborn as housing and cultural venues, while concerts and festivals along the historic cobblestone-lined Main Street bring the riverfront to life. 

Loring Park is best known for housing some of our biggest festivals. You'll find the Twin Cities Pride festival in June, Loring Park Art Fair in July, and Holidazzle in November through December. When a festival isn't taking over, you can find foodies swooning over the trendy eateries just outside the park, people strolling through the Sculpture Garden at the Walker Art Center, and convention-goers popping in and out of the Convention Center. 

Northeast's neighborhood can be divided into two main sections: the Arts District and the Riverfront District. Both bring a unique flavor to the area and make it one of Minneapolis' favorite neighborhoods to explore.

If you're looking for local art and locally made items then you'll need to make a stop in the Northeast Arts District. This is where hundreds of artists call home and where you can visit multiple open art studios and galleries. The area is filled with diverse businesses, including all along the popular Central Avenue, showcasing the best and most authentic international dishes and cuisines. 

The Riverfront District is your best bet for stunning views of the downtown skyline. You'll be lead into this part of town by the Hennepin Avenue Bridge where you'll also catch a glimpse of the memorable Grain Belt Beer sign. Since it sits right along the MIssissippi, The Riverfront District is all about spending time outdoors. Boom Island Park is a beautiful place for hiking, biking and picnicking. And don't leave here without taking a stroll through Main Street, a charming walkable area filled with restaurants, outdoor patios and shops. 

Decidedly urban and unabashedly hip, Uptown supplies trendy 20 and 30-somethings with cutting-edge cuisine, intoxicating nightlife, funky, high-end fashions, independent movie theaters and home accessories. Located immediately south of downtown Minneapolis, just steps away from the scenic Chain of Lakes, Uptown centers around the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, where you'll find cool coffee shops, filled restaurants and trendy salons on just about every corner. 

A modern village with a view of the downtown skyline, Linden Hills occupies an idyllic pocket of southwest Minneapolis between Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) and Lake Harriet. Born as a resort community at the turn of the century, the area remains an escape from the everyday – a unique shopping and dining destination minutes from beaches, gardens, concerts and winding recreational paths. 

A fun selection of indie stores, entertainment, bars and restaurants in the most walkable neighborhood in Minneapolis makes for a pleasant day and night of indulgence. Lyn-Lake is an entertainment district that has strong visitor appeal. Some of the city's most diverse shops are here as well as live performance spaces and delightful places to keep you energized throughout the night. 

More than 50 ethnic restaurants, groceries and cafes form the urban buffet known as “Eat Street,” a 17-block stretch of Nicollet Avenue running south from downtown Minneapolis. Asian flavors abound in noodle shops and authentic markets, while German, Greek, African, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisine are among the flavors available. 

There's absolutely nothing dinky about Dinkytown - with the exception being its square footage compared to other neighborhoods. But in its relatively small footprint, expect to be amazed by the cultural and culinary offerings here. Rubbing shoulders with the University of Minnesota, Dinkytown features a vibrant mashup of college-town coffee shops, plus refined dining and lodging for when the parents come to visit. During Gopher sporting events, the neighborhood amps up the excitement at sports bars and restaurants. Arts lovers find plenty to engage with, too, at cultural meccas Northrop Auditorium, the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum and the iconic Varsity Theater. 

50th Street and France Avenue intersect in the posh community of Edina, where classy restaurants, upscale gift shops, esteemed art galleries and designer boutiques thrive amidst cobblestone streets and elegant street lighting. 

Famous Minnesotans

Many public figures who have made huge splashes on the national scene in politics, art, music and movies hail from the land of 10,000 lakes. Throughout Minnesota’s rich history, an abundance of people have stood out as stars among us, including actors, musicians, politicians, entrepreneurs, cartoonists, radio stars, writers and pro-wrestlers.


Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman in Duluth in 1941, and raised in Hibbing, Minn., attended a year at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, then dropped out, assumed the name Bob Dylan, and continues to perform today. Dylan won the Nobel Prize for literature in 2016. A mural depicting Dylan in several stages of his career was painted by muralist Eduardo Kobra on a building on 5th Street near Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis in 2015.

Actor Jessica Lange, winner of an Academy Award and Tony Award, was born in Cloquet, Minn., and once owned a home in Stillwater, Minn., a suburb east of Saint Paul. 

Joel and Ethan Coen, writers/directors/producers of such movies as Fargo, No Country for Old Men, The Big Lebowski, A Serious Man, Burn After Reading and True Grit, grew up in the Minneapolis suburb St. Louis Park and filmed Fargo and A Serious Man in the area.

Josh Hartnett, the heart-throb movie star of films such as "The Black Dahlia" and "Pearl Harbor," grew up in Saint Paul and lived in Minneapolis for several years in the early 2000s.

Hailing from Minneapolis, Louis Perry "Louie" Anderson (born March 24, 1953) is an American stand-up comedian. Anderson created the cartoon series "Life with Louie," has written three books, and was the initial host of the second revival of the game show "Family Feud," from 1999 to 2002.

Melissa Peterman, a product of the Brave New Workshop, wrapped a successful run on the TV show “Reba” in 2007. She’s also known for her memorable prostitute role in the movie "Fargo."

“Six Feet Under,” “Dirty Sexy Money” and “Parenthood” star Peter Krause, grew up in Alexandria, west of Minneapolis.

Prince Rogers Nelson was born in Minneapolis on June 7, 1958, and passed away on April 21, 2016. He was as an international recording star, musician and actor whose fame rose in the early 1980s with the release of "Purple Rain," which was filmed at Minneapolis' First Avenue. The “Minneapolis sound” was truly pioneered by Prince’s hybrid mixture of funk, rock, pop, R&B and New Wave. It has influenced many other musicians. 

T.R. Knight, known to his fans as George O’Malley on the Emmy-winning “Grey’s Anatomy,” is a Stillwater, Minn., native. For many years, he was a member of the Guthrie Theater’s acting company.


Charles Schulz, the cartoonist who drew “Peanuts” for nearly 50 years was born in Minneapolis and lived in Saint Paul through his young adulthood.

F. Scott Fitzgerald author of “The Great Gatsby,” is one of many literary geniuses to grow up in Saint Paul.

Garrison Keillor, the well-known humorist whose long-time, weekly radio show, “A Prairie Home Companion,” inspired Robert Altman’s last film of the same name, hails from Anoka, just north of Minneapolis. 

Harry Sinclair Lewis (1885–1951) was an American novelist, short-story writer and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Three-time Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas Friedman is a prolific author, columnist and expert in Middle East affairs for the New York Times.


Even before Arnold took over California, Minnesota began producing Hollywood stars-turned-politicians.

An Emmy Award–winning comedian, actor, author, screenwriter, political commentator, radio host and “Saturday Night Live” alumnus, former Senator Al Franken grew up in St. Louis Park, attending the same high school as the Coen brothers, and is a Minneapolis resident. Noted for his liberal social and political views, Franken won Minnesota’s United States Senate seat in 2008 and stepped down in 2018. 

From feather boa in the wrestling ring to glasses and suits as governor of the state, Jesse “The Body” Ventura raised Minnesota’s profile by unexpectedly beating two high-profile candidates to become the state’s 38th governor.


Alexander Ramsey, second Governor of Minnesota (1860-1863), U.S. Senator (1863-1875) and first territorial governor of Minnesota

Hubert H. Humphrey, Vice President of the United States; serving from 1965-1969, he was the 38th vice president

Paul Wellstone, U.S. Senator for the state of Minnesota from 1991 until his death in 2002

Walter Mondale, Vice President of the United States; serving from 1977-1981, he was the 42nd vice president; U.S. Senator for the state of Minnesota (1964–1976); Democratic Party nominee for president in 1984

Warren Burger, Supreme Court Chief Justice; serving from 1969 to 1986, he was the 15th chief justice of the court


Loni Anderson, Actress
Richard Dean Anderson, Actor
The Andrews Sisters, Vocal Group
James Arness, Actor
Jessica Biel, Actress
Nate Berkus, Interior Designer / Author / TV Personality
Surya Bonaly, Figure Skater & Coach
Kelly Carlson, Actress
Eddie Cochran, Musician
Mo Collins, Actress
Rachael Leigh Cook, Actress
James Denton, Actor
Judy Garland, Singer / Actress
J. Paul Getty, Businessman
Terry Gilliam, Screenwriter / Actor
Genevieve Gorder, Interior Designer / TV Host
Peter Graves, Actor
Maud Hart Lovelace, Author
Jeffrey Hatcher, Playwright / Screenwriter / Actor
John Hawkes, Actor
Garrett Hedlund, Actor / Model / Singer
Tippi Hedren, Actress / Model
Ernie Hudson, Actor / Playwright
Linda Kelsey, Actress
Kelly Lynch, Actress
John Madden, NFL Player / Coach / Sportscaster 
Roger Maris, Baseball Player
E.G. Marshall, Actor
Eugene McCarthy, Politician, Poet
Frances McDormand, Actress
Noel Neill, Actress
Chan Poling, Musician (The Suburbs)
Chris Pratt, Actor
Marion Ross, Actress
Winona Ryder, Actress
Richard W. Sears (of Sears & Roebuck), Businessman
Jane Russell, Actress
Seann William Scott, Actor
Brian Setzer, Musician
Miriam Shor, Actress
Kevin Sorbo, Actor
LaVyrle Spencer, Author
Cheryl Tiegs, Model
Analeigh Tipton, Actress / Model / Figure Skater
Lea Thompson, Actress
Ann Tyler, Novelist
Vince Vaughn, Actor
Bobby Vee, Musician
Lindsay Vonn, Olympic Ski Racer
Steve Zahn, Actor


Visitors will find lots of must-sees in Minneapolis. Here is a quick guide to the top 10 icons that represent the city’s diverse offerings.

This has been Minneapolis’ signature sculpture since its completion by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen in 1988. The spoon tips the scale at 5,800 pounds and the cherry weighs 1,200 pounds! The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, where the Spoonbridge and Cherry resides, is currently being renovated and expanded from 11-acres to 17-acres and is one of the largest sculpture gardens of its kind.It will have more than 56 works of art after the expansion. It is located across the street from the renowned Walker Art Center, which was renovated and reopened in June 2017.

Featured in “Purple Rain,” this Minneapolis classic is still one of the hottest clubs in town. Stop in and rock out to musical stylings from major national acts and local emerging artists. It was named number five in the ClubTop100 Worldwide Rankings by Pollstar, January 2013, and third best large music club by Rolling Stone, April 2013.

Housed in a striking stainless steel building, the Frank Gehry-designed Weisman is a unique museum experience. A teaching museum for the University of Minnesota and the community, its collection features early 20th-century American artists such as Georgia O’Keefe, Alfred Maurer and Marsden Hartley.

Part of the Chain of Lakes, Bde Maka Ska is a popular site for windsurfing, swimming, sailing and canoeing. More than three miles of trails for walking, jogging, biking and in-line skating encircle the lake with the unique Minneapolis skyline as its urban backdrop. The popular lake is also part of the 52-mile Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Bde Maka Ska, meaning "White Earth Lake," is the lake's original Dakota name.

Enjoy the roaring St. Anthony Falls with a stroll across the Stone Arch Bridge – the only one of its kind to span the Mississippi River. As part of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, this pedestrian crossing is the oldest mainline railroad bridge in the Northwest. Chronicling Minneapolis’ milling history are the nearby Mill Ruins Park and Mill City Museum.

This two-story retail hot spot lies in the heart of downtown action, along with Target Corporation’s world headquarters. With a unique escalator for shopping carts, this flagship retail experience shouldn’t be missed. The store began as part of Dayton's department store on 7th Street and Nicollet and opened it's first store in Roseville, Minn. in 1962.

Just south of downtown, Uptown is the center of Minneapolis’ hip energy, and includes off-beat shopping, late-night dining, vibrant nightlife and up-and-coming music. Just steps from the Chain of Lakes, Uptown has everything an urban neighborhood should and then some. You’ll know you’ve entered Uptown when you see the iconic Uptown Theatre sign towering over the neighborhood and the more than 100-year-old art deco movie house.

The stunning Jean Nouvel-designed riverfront home for the world-renowned theater company opened in July 2006. Nouvel won the Pritzker Prize for its design. With three theaters, 11 bars and lobby space and the Endless Bridge and Amber Box offering breathtaking views of the surrounding area, the bold blue building laid the groundwork for continued growth in the Mill District.

Stop for a photo with the bronze statue where it sits on the corner of 7th Street and Nicollet, near where the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” credits were filmed. The show's setting was in Minneapolis.

The skyway system is one of our most striking assets. One floor above ground, this over 9-mile system links shopping, restaurants, entertainment and more through enclosed elevated walkways. It connects more than 80 blocks of downtown Minneapolis in climate-controlled bliss. The 84th skyway over Third Avenue from Accenture to Ameriprise opened Dec. 29, 2011. The skyway expanded further when the new connection was made to U.S. Bank Stadium in July 2016.

Community & Business

Minneapolis combines the bustle of a big city with the intimacy of neighborhood life. Big enough to attract world class theater, sports teams and businesses, yet small enough to avoid the crime and overcrowding of bigger, denser cities, this city by the Mississippi has it all.

Why? Well, start with employment. Target, US Bancorp, United Health Group and Best Buy are just a few examples of the Fortune 500 companies which, along with strong local businesses, bring a low rate of unemployment and a high tax base to the area. The good public schools and many options for higher education (including the University of Minnesota) mean an educated, skilled workforce, resulting in good business in Minneapolis.

Companies from nearly every U.S. industry provide the local economy with a strong base, representing manufacturing, health care, publishing and many others. There are 24 Fortune 1000 companies in Minnesota as of 2019. Wide-reaching public facilities and investment in transportation and infrastructure have yielded a city that’s good for business.

And business is good for the city. Companies here, both big and small, have a tradition of giving back to the communities that help them succeed. Private funding and corporate philanthropy help keep Minneapolis vibrant and exciting. One example: A large portion of five major venues in Minneapolis (Central Library, Guthrie Theater, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art and Children’s Theater Company) were funded by the generous giving of businesses and individuals throughout the city.

Locally Grown Goods

It might surprise you, but a lot of products you use every day were developed right here in Minnesota. The land of 10,000 lakes is also the land of 10,000 innovators!

  • Aveda beauty and wellness products
  • Betty Crocker baking goods
  • Bisquick
  • Bundt cake pan
  • Caribou Coffee
  • Dairy Queen ice cream treats
  • Green Giant vegetables
  • Honey Crisp apples
  • Indoor shopping mall (Southdale Center)
  • Jucy Lucy burgers
  • Magnetic Poetry
  • Milky Way, 3 Musketeers and Mars bars
  • Minnetonka Moccasins
  • NERF Ball
  • Wearable pacemaker
  • Polaris snowmobiles
  • Post-it notes
  • Rollerblades
  • Wet/dry sandpaper
  • Scotch tape
  • SPAM
  • Toastmaster toaster
  • Tonka trucks
  • Toro
  • Twister
  • General Mills products
  • Wheaties cereal
  • Red Wing Shoes
  • Zubaz

Powerhouse Businesses

With 16 Fortune 500 companies (2020), Minnesota's business community thrives globally.

  • UnitedHealth Group (7)
  • Target (37)
  • Best Buy (75)
  • 3M (103)
  • CHS (105)
  • U.S. Bancorp (113)
  • General Mills (192)
  • C.H. Robinson Worldwide (208)
  • Ecolab (213)
  • Land O'Lakes (232)
  • Ameriprise Financial (245)
  • Xcel Energy (276)
  • Hormel Foods (337)
  • Thrivent Financial (368)
  • Polaris Industries (442)
  • Securian Financial Group (455)

(Forbes, 2020)

Award-Winning Foodies

Six Minneapolis chefs have won James Beard Foundation Best Chef: Midwest Awards -– commonly referred to as the "Oscars of the food world." Numerous chefs from Minneapolis have continued to be nominated annually and most recently, in 2019, Young Joni's Ann Kim was named Best Chef: Midwest in May 2019.


  • Tim McKee, now a partner with The Fish Guys and consultant for several other restaurants was known for La Belle Vie, which closed in 2015 (won in 2009)
  • Alex Roberts, chef/co-owner of Restaurant/Cafe/Hotel Alma and Brasa Rotisserie (won in 2010)
  • Isaac Becker, chef/owner of 112 Eatery (won in 2011)
  • Paul Berglund, former chef at The Bachelor Farmer (now closed; Berglund won in 2016)
  • Gavin Kaysen, chef/owner of Spoon and Stable, Bellecour and Demi (won in 2018)
  • Ann Kim, chef/owner of Young Joni, Hello Pizza, Pizzeria Lola and Sooki & Mimi (yet-to-open in Uptown in 2020; Kim won in 2019)


Visitor Information: 1.888.676.MPLS (6757) or 1.612.767.8000

For more information or to request a visitor information packet, visit

Visitors can check out the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center on the corner of Nicollet and 5th Street. 

Staff is available to answer questions, share visitor maps and resources about things to do in Minneapolis, City by Nature. 


From fact-checking to interviews and b-roll to royalty-free photos, Meet Minneapolis provides a host of media resources. Visit the Media Section of this site for the latest local destination information, news releases and photos and videos of Minneapolis.


70 degrees and sunny 365 days a year? Boring! In Minneapolis we have four distinct seasons and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Whether nestled by a crackling fire sipping wine, or snowboarding at Theodore Wirth Park; strolling through the Walker Art Center’s world-class sculpture garden or stopping to smell the flowers at Lake Harriet’s rose gardens; watching movies under the stars at one of Minneapolis’ city parks or playing in the water at one of the city’s 22 lakes; apple picking in crisp autumn air or admiring the colorful fall foliage; visitors and residents alike will enjoy the abundance of activities each season brings.


(April through May): Spring in Minnesota varies widely and weather may be glorious or erratic and visitors should pack a heavy jacket. April shows the first true signs of spring when snow melts and gentle showers abound. By May, flowers have pushed their way out of hibernation, trees blossom, gardens are planted and the city bursts into life.


(June through August): The high temperatures (think mid-eighties) and humidity levels in the summer make it the perfect season to hang out at one of Minnesota’s 10,000+ lakes! Downtown restaurants have sidewalk seating and the city is alive with bikers, joggers, sunbathers and festivals. Shorts and sandals are the standard uniform and the abundance of lakes make bathing suits and beach towels a must.


(September through late November): As the air turns crisp and leaves turn to deep golds, oranges and reds, fall is easily one of the most beautiful times in Minneapolis. Visitors can enjoy striking autumn colors and lively outdoor activities in mild temperatures by packing a sweater or a light jacket. Autumn foliage peaks late-September on Minnesota's North Shore and slowly spreads throughout the state and into the cities by mid-October, making the transition from summer to winter a long and leisurely one.


(Late November through March): Snuggled under a white blanket of snow, winter is our coldest season and though our greenery may be hibernating, the city is not! During our winter season lakes are alive with skaters, our landscape is full of snowmen and snowshoers, and downtown bustles with shoppers and diners. Minneapolis has the country’s largest network of glass-enclosed, climate-controlled skyways; however, a winter coat, gloves, hat, scarf and boots are necessary so you can get out and take part in one of our many active winter sports and festivals like the Great Northern festival.


Minneapolis wasn’t built in a day. This dynamic, prosperous city is the current incarnation of its unique past – a history impacted by the region’s natural beauty, its original indigenous and immigrant residents and its fluid relationship with the mighty Mississippi River.

Minneapolis was born on the Mississippi, on land the Sioux and Ojibwe people had long called home. Around 1680, Father Louis Hennepin christened scenic St. Anthony Falls, which, centuries later, would give the burgeoning city enormous industrial power. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and the construction of Fort Snelling in the 1820s ushered more Europeans into this pristine region for trading, trapping and settlement.

1850-1930 - FLOUR POWER
Minneapolis grew beside the Mississippi River where St. Anthony Falls fueled the lucrative flour milling industry. From the 1880s to the 1930s, flour production made Minneapolis the milling capital of the world, and established modern corporate giants such as Cargill, General Mills and Pillsbury. Tourists and artists also flocked to the only waterfall on the river, spanned in 1883 by the landmark Stone Arch Bridge, which remains today.

A progressive city claiming many commercial, political, medical and cultural firsts, Minneapolis continues to make history, the city has one of the most stable economic bases in the country and includes global leaders Medtronic, Best Buy and 3M within its broad, successful business community.

Minneapolis has always been empowered by its people, including native residents, pioneers, immigrants and transplants from around the world. Many Lakota Sioux and Ojibwe names – Minnehaha, Minnetonka, Nokomis – attest to the continued presence of Minnesota’s first residents. The cultural influences of the city’s first settlers – Scandinavian, Irish, German, Italian, French-Canadian, Greek, Polish, Jewish and people of many nationalities – can be seen in neighborhood churches, businesses, architecture and events. A massive influx of Scandinavians in the late 1800s had a well-known and lasting impact on area culture. Today the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area boasts the largest Hmong and Somali populations in the country as well as other diverse ethnic groups. This includes recent immigrant groups such as the Karen and Liberians, whom hold large populations in Saint Paul and Brooklyn Park, respectively.  

Minneapolis’ history is an interactive experience. From museums and landmarks to excursions and parks, fun and engaging opportunities immerse residents and visitors in the city’s past. Rightfully, Minneapolis never lost touch with its source, preserving and developing the Mississippi riverfront to combine restaurants, nightclubs, galleries and shops with historic buildings and natural wonders.


Minneapolis has more than 80 green rooftops and counting. The Central Library, the Target Center, a handful of underground parking garages and the lawn-bowling green at Brit’s Pub are just a few located in downtown. One of the oldest examples is the Hennepin County Government Center’s north plaza which is a park area above a cafeteria and office space. A 5,800-square-foot roof at City Hall includes plantings and solar panels.


  • HVAC and lighting systems are monitored around the clock to save energy.
  • 2,613 rooftop solar panels produce 750,000 kWh of renewable electricity per year, offsetting 539 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
  • In 2018, nearly 800 tons of waste was recycled, with the annual rate at 60 percent.
  • In 2018, more than 180 tons of organics are composted or provided as “food to hogs."
  • The MCC Plaza is a green roof, and water is collected from the facility in a cistern to reuse in landscaping.


  • There is no heating system in the mall; it relies on the heat from lighting, skylights and the masses of people. It is 70 degrees Fahrenheit 365 days a year.
  • Leftover food from restaurants is picked up daily by a local hog farmer.


  • The ballpark is the second LEED-Silver-certified Major League Baseball field in the country.
  • The nearby Hennepin Energy Recovery Center (HERC) provides heat for the ballpark with captured waste energy.
  • Nearly 20 percent of Target Field was built with recycled content.


  • Gold Medal Park encompasses 7.5 acres in the heart of Minneapolis’ Riverfront Mill District. The park includes close to 300 mature trees, all hand-picked and between 6 and 12 feet in diameter. The species include maples, lindens, hackberries, oaks and catalpas.


  • The 18,560-square-foot green roof atop the Minneapolis Central Library creates a model for other downtown buildings and developments and promotes a clean, sustainable city.
  • Low-growing prairie plants reduce cooling and heating loads and improves downtown air quality.

Continue to the next section: Things to do