The Perfect Way to Spend a Rainy Day in Minneapolis

Rain or shine, Minneapolis is filled with activities for everyone.

Here in Mill City, we're experts at adjusting to weather patterns. If you're looking for some indoor things to do while waiting for the sun to come back out, we have a few ideas for both kids and adults. Rain is never an excuse for you not to explore some of Minneapolis' best attractions. Here are a few of our favorite things to do when umbrellas are involved.

Want to avoid driving in the conditions? Let Metro Transit drive you around during the rainstorm! 

1. The show must go on

orpheum theater in minneapolis

In a city where there are more than 80 professional theater companies, staying inside to watch a performance is no problem. The historic and famous Guthrie Theater hosts both contemporary and classic plays and the Orpheum is where you will most likely find a Broadway production. No guarantees on Hamilton tickets though. To see some local talent, which there is plenty of, find a comedy show at Brave New Workshop or a cultural performance at the Mixed Blood Theatre.

If you are looking for a show that will entertain the kids, the Children’s Theater Company puts on plays of children’s stories, including nostalgic favorites like Dr. Seuss. The Riverview Theater is a cheap movie theater option that will transport you back in time to a 1950’s cinema. Here you can see Hollywood blockbusters, Indie films and cult classics, for only $2-3 a ticket.

Music lovers, don’t worry there are plenty of places for you as well. The Dakota Jazz Club and Icehouse are some great options if you like food with your live music. Looking to dance away the rainy day blues? Famous Minneapolis music venues like First Avenue and The Cabooze keep everyone dancing into the early hours of the morning to a wide variety of musical artists.

2. Historically Speaking

Brush up on your history while drying off. History buffs can check out a couple of Minneapolis firsts like the Basilica of St. Mary, the first Basilica built in the United States or the first skyscraper in Minnesota and the tallest building in Minneapolis until 1972, the Foshay Tower.

Another favorite historical spot is the American Swedish Institute. A culture and history museum celebrating the role Swedish heritage has played in the United States, this beautiful building will make an attempt at fulfilling your wish of visiting a castle and offers many types of exhibits. If you get hungry, you can even try out some classic Swedish dishes. Lingonberry rice pudding anyone?

3. Museum Adventures

Many of us could spend an entire day wandering around museums discovering new pieces of art and history. And on a rainy day in Minneapolis that may just be the perfect activity. The city is home to Mia, the Minneapolis Institute of Art where over 80,000 artworks and artifacts are on display, offering hours of exploration.

From the exterior, The Weisman Art Museum is a work of art in itself: a shiny building made with stainless steel and bricks constructed with curves and abstract angles, giving the illusion of a waterfall. Inside is a collection of art from early 20th-century American artists and a selection of ceramics and contemporary art. So wherever you look you’ll most likely find something that pleases the eye.

Home of the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry (we know you’ve seen the pictures) the Walker Art Center features plenty inside the building too. On display are contemporary art exhibits along with theatrical performances and film screenings. As one of the most visited contemporary and modern museums in the United States you won’t want to miss this one.

For a different type of museum experience the Mill City Museum offers a look at what was once the world’s largest flour mill and the impact it had on the city of Minneapolis. While the Bakken Museum lets visitors explore and learn about electricity with fun interactive exhibits like “Frankenstein’s Laboratory."

4. Warm the Soul

Rainy days usually call for cuddling up with a good book and your favorite hot beverage. Spend a few hours strolling down the book aisles of Minneapolis’ favorite book stores to find the perfect read. You’ll find a mass collection subjects and many unusual and hard-to-find editions of books at Magers & Quinn. For kids and the animal lover the Wild Rumpus is a treat. The bookstore is home to a few different animals that roam around, including a chinchilla named Amelia!

Once you’ve found the right book, you are ready to cozy up in one of the many independently owned Minneapolis cafes. Uncommon Grounds provides a homey setting with its renovated Victorian house location. Corner coffee has a relaxed atmosphere and friendly, engaging baristas that will make you feel like you just made a new best friend. And if you need to keep the kids distracted while immersed in that page-turner, Sovereign Grounds provides an indoor play area.

5. Broaden Those Taste Buds

On a rainy day nothing sounds better than a nice hot meal. Why not take that meal to the next level by exposing your pallet to some new flavors? Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, Mexican, Moroccan, East African, Midtown Global Market has it all and more. This unique market celebrates the diversity in Minneapolis with a wide variety of restaurants and stores from many countries around the world.

Or how about warming up with a bowl of pho? This type of Vietnamese soup has quickly become a Minneapolis favorite dish. To get a taste of the real thing visit one of two (or both!) popular and authentic spots: East Street’s Pho Tau Bay and family-run Quang.

6. Shop around

Most cities wouldn’t brag too much about their mall. But we gladly will! And that’s because the Mall of America has 50 restaurants, 520 stores, a theme park, 2 mini golf course and an aquarium. Basically endless possibilities of things to do on a rainy day.

If your motto is “one person’s trash is another person’s treasure” then Hunt & Gather is your kind of place. You could spend hours in this store, filled with vintage, fun and quirky items, searching for the unique hidden treasure of your dreams.

And just in case you forgot, Minnesota doesn’t have sales tax on clothes. So start shopping!