Minneapolis: Get Iconic in this Artful Metropolis

By Katie Reiser | Photos courtesy Explore Minnesota

It might not offer more warmth or less snow, but Minneapolis nevertheless entices, with many interesting sights, good eats, satisfying drinks and unique shops.

Enjoy the four-hour drive from Madison to the tune of a Minnesotan playlist, featuring the state’s finest exports, including Bob Dylan, Prince and The Replacements.

Once in the city, you’ll find no shortage of sights and activities to flesh out your itinerary. And, naturally, you can fill in the time between them with dining, maybe a few drinks and some shopping.

The Walker Art Center in the Lowry Hill area of Minneapolis gets lots of love—and inspires a lot of selfies—alongside the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture, which, as it sounds, is a giant spoon and cherry erected in 1985 by artist Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen. The sculpture is the centerpiece of the Walker Center’s sculpture garden, the largest urban sculpture park in the world.

The Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA) is just as rewarding a destination with plenty of selfie-worthy works of art. Personal favorites are the giant Chuck Close self-portrait and the playful panda sculpture by Takashi Murakami. MIA offers two female-centric exhibits this summer. “Hearts of Our People: Native Women Artists,” runs from June 2 to Aug. 18, showcasing achievements of over 115 artists from the U.S. and Canada, spanning over 1,000 years. And, from July 14 to April 21, “Emblems of a Prosperous Life: Women’s Robes of Late Imperial China,” features the sumptuous court clothing of aristocratic Chinese women in the 1700s and 1800s. With free general admission and ample spots to sit down and chat about the art, it’s an inspiring oasis.

Infuse some more culture into your getaway by taking in a show at the Guthrie Theater, where a full slate of performances awaits you.

Need more action? You can combine learning and sampling with a macaron baking class at Amy’s Cupcake Shoppe or a tour followed by drinks at Twin Spirits, the first female-owned distillery and cocktail room in the Twin Cities.

Need more sweets? Notable choices include the delightful concoctions at Glam Doll Donuts with two sassy, vintage-inspired locations, or the giant shareable gooey caramel roll that accompanies the family style brunch at Ike’s Food & Cocktails. (With five locations you’ll likely be close to one of them.) Not in the mood to share? The popular Hen House Eatery offers myriad choices of rolls, in addition to other tasty breakfast offerings—definitely worth the typical wait to get a table.

The Mall of America in Bloomington is an obvious shopping mecca, but for an array of both luxe and quirky options, head to the 50th and France area of Edina, a town a bit south of Minneapolis. You’ll find beautiful home goods and gifts at Gather, silly and stylish treasures at Pink Door Boutique (including Bob Dylan icon candles, naturally) and gorgeous yarns at Harriet & Alice.

If your shopping budget is a little wanting, you may have more options at Primp, a mini chain of six area stores with carefully curated offerings that are “cheap and chic.”

In need of some libations after shop- ping and sightseeing? Parlour, with locations in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, is frequently at the top of “best cocktails” lists, and Martina offers Argentinian food and craft cocktails with clever names that have customers swooning.

Before you head out of town, pay homage to the Mary Tyler Moore statue at 7th and Nicollet. As we emerge from a seemingly never-ending winter, you might want to celebrate with your own hat-toss!


The Hewing Hotel, a brick-and-tinder warehouse before its transformation into a unique boutique hotel in Minneapolis’ North Loop neighborhood, gets rave reviews for its gorgeous décor and friendly staff. Another chic option at this higher price point is the recently remodeled Hotel Ivy.


Can’t agree on dinner? World Street Kitchen in Minneapolis is a funky spot with reasonably priced global street food.

Spoon and Stable, helmed by James Beard award winner Gavin Kaysen, is a special destination in Minneapolis (you’ll need a reservation). It’s also on best bars lists, so if you can’t get a dinner reservation go for a drink (and dessert).


To view more Midwest destinations, read our City Sojourns.

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