Minneapolis is a place for outdoor-lovers, with myriad biking trails, watersports on the Mississippi River and 170 parks, rightly earning the Minnesota city its moniker of “Fittest City in America.” Minnesota Landscape Arboretum and the Chain of Lakes that break up the city beckon walkers and swimmers respectively. But don't let the greenery fool you, Minneapolis also has a growing artistic community inspired by multiple museums like Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Arts Center, first-rate venues like the Guthrie Theater, and an eclectic line-up of shops and restaurants.
Minnehaha Creek, a Mississippi River tributary, has earned lasting fame thanks to Minnehaha Falls, the 53-foot-tall waterfall that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow mentions in his poem “Song of Hiawatha”. You'll find these falls at Minnehaha Park, an urban oasis encompassing picnic grounds, a dog park and the Princess Depot historic train station. Also on the premises is the John Harrington Stevens House, constructed around 1850, and the first government-approved home west of the Mississippi.
Take a free look at painting, sculpture and design from across the globe at Minneapolis Institute of Arts, with its roving temporary exhibits, interactive kid-friendly exhibits, and works by the likes of Poussin and Georgia O’Keefe.
Head over to the University of Minnesota campus and you can spy some of architect Frank Gehry's finest work in designing the Weisman Art Museum, also home to modern art from Alfred Maurer and other notables. Minneapolis also has the Bell Museum of Natural History, for imaginative displays of everything from moose to gophers.
Opening in 1929, the 447-foot-tall Foshay Tower was Minnesota's first skyscraper, and it remained Minneapolis' tallest building until the early 1970s. Now a hotel, its opulence is a reminder of the 1920s heyday of America and you can see exhibits that tell Wilbur Foshay's life story at the Foshay Museum. Travel up to the observation deck on the 31st floor for citywide views that won't disappoint.
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) services the two cities in its name. It's among the busiest airports in the country and includes two terminals. You can pick up a rental car, shuttle, taxi, light rail train or bus there and it takes around 20 minutes to drive to downtown Minneapolis. A good smattering of Minneapolis hotels is located close to the airport, including a Hyatt Place and an Embassy Suites property.
In May 2014, Amtrak stopped using the venerable Midway Station for passenger service; nowadays, if you travel by rail to the Twin Cities, you disembark at Saint Paul Union Depot, which is about a 17-minute car ride from central Minneapolis. A gorgeous station with a neoclassical exterior, you can board a bus or light rail to get around town. Day and longer-lasting Metro Transit passes are available for hopping from one train to other.
For people who love winter sports, the best time to visit Minneapolis is in December, January or February. Be forewarned, however, that the region's wintertime temperatures are usually below freezing. Even if you're in Minneapolis in November, March or April, you're still likely to see snow on the ground.
Fortunately, it's easy to find cheap room rates during all of the months listed above. Note as well that the city is adept at snow removal, and there are many enclosed bridges downtown to help keep travelers warm.
As far as summer goes, while the city does experience the occasional hot and humid day, June, July and August mostly feature temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. During this season, a host of festivities take place, the most impressive of which is August's Minnesota State Fair.