There are countless ways to play at Lake Harriet, part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes Regional Park. Nearly 3 miles of pedestrian and bike trails circle the perimeter and pass some of the city’s most stunning homes. No matter where you’re at on the lake, it’s hard to miss the castle-like Band Shell, complete with turrets. Here, you’ll find a full lineup of free concerts and movies through the summer, plus sunrise yoga facing the lake every morning from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
During warmer weather, lounge on three beaches, get active on the soccer and softball fields or sand volleyball court, and rent bikes—in addition to canoes, kayaks and paddle boats—through Wheel Fun Rentals.
As the chill sets in and the lake freezes over, the area continues to draw outdoor enthusiasts even on the coldest days. You may spot people ice fishing, snowshoeing, snowkiting, and skijoring across the frozen surface. Each February, the sky above the lake is festooned with a rainbow of kites both large and small during the annual Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival.
A stone’s throw from the lake’s western shoreline, The Bakken Museum offers a treasure trove of science and technology discoveries. The only Smithsonian-affiliated museum in the state features immersive experiences including Frankenstein’s Laboratory. “Meet” author Mary Shelley and watch Frankenstein’s famous monster come to life.
Decades before the Light Rail came to town, commuters hopped aboard streetcars to get from home to work and back. The Minnesota Streetcar Museum offers rides aboard the beautifully restored trolleys. Hop on the Como-Harriet Streetcar Line for a scenic tour between the lakes, and enjoy a full calendar of annual events, from Vinternatt holiday rides to the Trick 'r Trolley each Halloween.
On the western edge of the neighborhood at France Avenue and 44th Street, get your wine and cheese fix at the aptly named France 44. This family-run destination has specialized in a worldly selection of wines, beers and spirits—plus ethically sourced cheeses—for over 60 years. Sign up for a personalized tasting for up to eight wine and cheese lovers, or dig deeper with one of their enlightening courses focused on a variety of foods and beverages.
Farther south on France, around 50th Street, more character-filled shops—along with restaurants and an indie movie theater—reinforce this area’s must-visit status.