Top 8 Places for Art in Minneapolis

You can sight-see a world of art, right here in the city. Discover how art speaks to you through the curations of 8 different Minneapolis art galleries and museums. Here are our top picks.

1. Walker Art Center

If you’re into the new and sometimes unconventional, we give the ultimate thumbs up to the Walker Art Center. You’ll be impressed by its national reputation in collections and exhibits of paintings, sculpture, films, performance and new media. Walk the multi-level galleries and discover local artists, as well as special Native American artist exhibits. Stop at the Walker gift shop for unique jewelry, and more. Take a break at Esker Grove restaurant, with tasty menu and bar options, an outdoor patio, and rooftop views of the downtown skyline. Discoveries await you outdoors as well—the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is known for the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry as well as summertime mini golf. And don't forget to check out the free Saturday family art programs each month.

*Currently open. Check their website for more details on their response to COVID-19.

2. Minneapolis Institute of Art

If you’re game to travel the globe in a day, go no further than the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the leading museum in fine and decorative art from six continents. With a global collection of 90,000 artworks that span more than 5,000 years of world history, you can spend all day perusing art galleries devoted to cultures of Africa, Asia, the Americas; decorative and textile arts, sculpture, paintings, drawings, photography and more. Find new perspectives at contemporary exhibits such as Native Women’s Art and “When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Art and Migration,” an art installation featuring thousands of discarded lifejackets worn by refugees. Set aside time for monthly Sunday Family Days where kiddos create their own masterpieces and explore the world through art. Before you leave, be sure to stop at the café for a few treats.

*Currently open. Check their website for more details on their response to COVID-19.

3. American Swedish Institute

If you’re searching for a Nordic vibe (beyond Swedish meatballs and ABBA rock music), come to the place where everything Swedish is always in vogue. At the American Swedish Institute, you can immerse yourself in the world of Swedish culture—customs, traditions, history, art, and food. You’ll be intrigued by Nordic heritage exhibits, art gallery collections, the Wallenberg peace library, and the popular “Cocktails at the Castle” where you can tour the Turnblad Castle with a drink in hand. Check out the gift shop and discover your Nordic style in jewelry, crafts, and home decor. If you're getting hungry, your taste buds will love FIKA, the attached cafe featuring New Nordic cuisine dining, espresso, and pastries.

*Temporarily closed. Re-opening on September 11th, 2020.

4. Museum of Russian Art

Curious by the mystique of Russian culture? Check out the Museum of Russian Art. Situated in a Spanish Mission-style former church in South Minneapolis, you’ll be captivated by stories told through collections of paintings, historical photography, and prints dating from Muscovite and Russian Empire times to the former Soviet Union to modern post-Soviet Russia. Even if what you know of Russian culture is limited to borscht or vodka, you’ll be awed by the beauty and history of the extensive collections of lacquer, porcelain, textiles, nesting dolls, and holiday ornaments.

*Currently open. Check their website for more details on their response to COVID-19.

5. Weisman Art Museum

When you want to see modern art, just head to the glimmering stainless steel and brick building overlooking the Mississippi River. You’ll come upon the Weisman Art Museum, a teaching museum at the University of Minnesota and leader in the world of modern art, integrating the perspectives of local culture and history.  You can’t miss the unique exterior facade of curved metal structures by architect Frank Gehry. Browse more than 24,000 artworks including American modern, ceramics, Mimbres pottery, and traditional Korean furniture.  You’ll be wowed by exhibits such as “Prince from Minneapolis,’ a photo exhibit by several local photographers of the musical icon’s early years, and of course the famous Purple Rain costume.

*Temporarily closed.

6. Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery

If you’re in search of a place where art stirs the soul through inspiring life stories, get to know the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery. Fairly new to the museum scene, you’ll discover a leading arts center and gallery highlighting African American history and poignant stories of life in Minnesota. This compact museum features early African American artists such as George Bonga, alongside contemporary artists. You’ll be touched by the permanent exhibit, “UNBREAKABLE: Celebrating the Resilience of African Americans in Minnesota” showcasing early settlers in the 1800s. The exhibit “Great Migration” tells the stories of African Americans who moved north to Minnesota from the rural South from 1916-1970. On Saturdays bring the kids to Storytime for songs and puppetry.

*Currently Open. Check their website for more details on their response to COVID-19.

7. All My Relations Arts (Mitakuye Oyasin - Dakota translation)

Do you see art as a spiritual journey? We invite you to take one through the arts of indigenous people at All My Relations Gallery—a leading center of native art, history and cultural stories of the original people of our land. You’ll be inspired by retrospective and contemporary exhibits—paintings, prints, photography, sculpture—that feature Native American historic art as well as contemporary fine art. Exhibits tell cultural stories such as “Horse Nation”—how horses shaped the history, spirituality and culture of the Dakota people. Or check out “Changing Horizons” commemorating the 100th birthday of renowned artist George Morrison. The “Mini Art Wall” displays local and emerging native artists. And don't miss stopping in the Pow Wow Grounds coffee shop for a treat. The All My Relations Gallery is located in Minneapolis’ American Indian Cultural Corridor. 

*Temporarily closed.

8. The Third Place Gallery

The Third Place Gallery is a community gathering spot for fostering conversations about art and telling stories through public art installations. A permanent exhibit shows excerpts from resident artist Wing Young Huie’s award-winning photos of neighborhood people, sights, and scenes, installed along well-traveled Lake Street in Minneapolis and University Ave. in St. Paul. Check out monthly gallery events featuring national and local guest artists in music, film, and performance. Connect in social conversations with artists and others in an “urban living room” setting. Plus, try out karaoke and ping pong. The Gallery is named for the “Third Place” concept - a place of community building and fostering social relations. While most of us see the first and second places (home and work) as essential, the "third place" is sometimes forgotten about. The Third Place Gallery hopes to create a space for this important community engagement.

*Currently open. Learn more about the gallery here.