Minneapolis, Minnesota is one of the most underrated cities in the United States for a vacation. This city is absolutely full of diverse and unique activities that will cater to anyone interested in having the time of their lives exploring a new city! Keep reading to learn about best things to do in Minneapolis from a local.
Save Big on Your Minnesota Vacation
Check out the Top Tours & Day Trips from Minnesota
Read Reviews of the Best Hotels in Minnesota on TripAdvisor
Things to do in Minneapolis, Minnesota for One Perfect Day
Minneapolis is a perfect choice for a hip, fun getaway in the Midwest. Minneapolis is one of the Twin Cities (St Paul is the other & the state’s capital). If you enjoy seeking out historic architecture or lively nightlife or craft breweries and great restaurants you’ll find what you’re looking for in Minneapolis vacation. Let’s talk about how to have a perfect day exploring Minnesota’s premier city. Below are our top picks to incorporate into your Minneapolis vacation.
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Best Breakfast in Minneapolis – Urban Eatery
Every perfect day starts with a great breakfast, and Minneapolis is full of incredible options. No matter where you are in the city, you’ll be able to sit down for a delicious meal to fuel your day. Our personal favorite is Urban Eatery.
First off, the location is beautiful, and you’ll be right on one of Minnesota’s famous 10,000 lakes. On top of the location and view, the food is SO SO yummy, you will have to try it to believe it!
Urban Eatery Address: 730 W Lake St
You might not think ‘sightseeing’ when you first think of Minneapolis, but we’re here to tell you that there are some SITES to see! You will be able to fill way more than one day with sites to see, so let’s pick the best for your perfect day in Minneapolis.
Stone Arch Bridge
The Stone Arch Bridge was accurately named. This is a BEAUTIFUL brick bridge built in 1883 that is still around today! Fun fact: it only cost $650,000 to build at the time. The Stone Arch Bridge crosses the Mississippi River and is only open for biking and walking, so you’ll be able to enjoy a beautiful stroll across the river with the Minneapolis skyline in view.
Also, there are almost always dogs all over the bridge, and who doesn’t love seeing some pups out on a walk?? Make sure the Stone Arch Bridge is on your agenda.
Visit the Uptown Lakes – The Best Outdoor Activities Minneapolis Offers!
Uptown Minneapolis is an awesome place to be. There is tons of great shopping, coffee shops, bars & restaurants, and things to explore. The BEST thing in Uptown are the lakes! Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun), and Lake Harriet are some of the best outdoor activities Minneapolis has to offer. They are all grouped in a relatively small area right outside of downtown. All of these lakes are beautiful and unique in their own way.
The number 1 thing to do in Minneapolis is to take a bike ride around the miles and miles of trails, or go for a jog if you’re up for it. If you just have time for 1 activity in Minneapolis, we recommend heading to Bde Maka Ska; the largest lake in Minneapolis. It is surrounded by city park land and circled by bike and walking trails
So, take some time at a nearby park or beach and enjoy the sun! Yes, Minnesota does have sun, people. Summer months are GORGEOUS!
Downtown Minneapolis is home to a Sculpture Garden that will knock your socks off! Right in the shadow of the Minneapolis Skyline is an expanse of green grass dotted with incredible sculptures for you to explore. This urban artwork is a great place to walk around for 30 minutes with a latte in hand.
Sculpture Garden Address: 726 Vineland Place
Visit Mall of America
We can’t write about a perfect day in Minneapolis without at least mentioning the Mall of America. Do you hate shopping? Then skip to the next section. Do you love shopping? Then get ready for the ride of your life! Mall of America is the second-largest mall in the USA and the 12th largest in the entire world! 4 floors and almost 8 MILLION square feet of shopping.
You can spend DAYS wandering the mall if you’d like to, or just a few hours hopping into a store or two and walking through Nickelodeon Universe, the theme park at the center of the mall! Mall of America is a must-stop for Minneapolis tourists, even if you don’t want to shop in any of the 555 stores.
Lunch in Minneapolis – Copper Hen
Copper Hen is a perfect lunch stop on your Minneapolis adventure. Located in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis, Copper Hen is equal parts delicious and chic! They have a wonderful brunch menu and an on-site cake bakery if you are looking for any sweet treats!
Dinner in Minneapolis – Young Joni
Young Joni is your Minneapolis dinner stop, and oh boy is this ever a good one! Young Joni is a wood-fired pizza parlor located in Northeast Minneapolis. There is even a back bar that is modeled after the speakeasy bars of the early 20th century. On top of that, Northeast is a great place to grab an after-dinner drink, so Young Joni doubles as a great place to eat AND a great place to kick off the night!
Why wouldn’t you want to visit the coolest speakeasy in town for one of their delicious craft cocktails & upscale bar food?
Young Joni Address: 165 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis
The 1029 Bar
The 1029 Bar is located in Northeast not far from Young Joni. This place has karaoke every day and an AWESOME local crowd. If you want to get meet some Minnesotans this is a perfect place to do it!
1029 Bar is a fun neighborhood hangout offering cocktails, seafood-centric dishes & karaoke.
1029 Bar Address: 1029 Marshall St NE
The Loop is our favorite place to go out. When we say ‘go out’ we mean stay out until 2:00 AM grabbing drinks with friends and dancing into the night. And The Loop is the PERFECT place for that scene.
Day Block Brewery
Okay, we went over 2 bars, one ‘go out’ bar and one local ‘hang out’ bar. Now we need to tell you about a brewery. Minneapolis has a TON of brewery options with taprooms where you can enjoy locally crafted beers and games! Our favorite in the city is Day Block Brewing!
Day Block is located downtown right near the Mississippi River, actually not far from the Stone Arch Bridge! Day Block has a great selection of beers and an even better ambiance. This is a wonderful place to go for a daytime beer OR a nighttime beer!
Day Block Brewing crafts beers from locally sourced ingredients & offers a full lunch and dinner menu featuring pizza with many organic ingredients.
Day Block Brewing Address: 1105 S Washington Ave
Where to Stay in Minneapolis
Minneapolis has a ton of great places to stay, no matter what your budget is. Here are our recommendations on places to stay for anyone and everyone.
Budget – Millennium Minneapolis
Millennium Minneapolis is located in the Loring Park neighborhood. It’s a quaint section of town with nice cycling and walking paths, close to Loring Park and near upmarket restaurants & cute cafes.
Mid Range – Courtyard Bloomington by Mall of America
The Courtyard Bloomington by Mall of America is especially a good idea if you plan on spending a lot of time at Mall of America. And if you are coming to Minneapolis with kids, this may be your best bet. You’ll be right near the airport and MoA, so it will be a very convenient location, in addition to being right on the Light Rail which can take you downtown!
Luxury – Hotel Ivy
Hotel Ivy is in downtown Minneapolis and is an incredible luxury experience. This hotel pulls out all the stops when it comes to class and comfort, you will be riding in style when you book your stay at Hotel Ivy!
5 Fun Facts about Minneapolis
If you are planning a Minneapolis vacation, below are a few interesting Mini-Apple facts.
Day Trips from Minneapolis, Minnesota Top Tours
I love to do a combination of exploring on my own as well as a few organized tours when I travel. I love to learn about the history and culture in a new location and tours with local experts is a great way to do this. I recommend Get Your Guide because you can cancel most bookings for free up to 24 hours before they start and their customer service is available 24/7 in multiple languages.
A few Top Tours in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Recommended Travel Resources
- Travel Insurance: World Nomads.
- Transport: AirfareWatchDog and Skyscanner (Best Sites to Research Flight Prices)
- Accommodation: Hotels.com and Orbitz
- Top Minneapolis Hotel Reviews: TripAdvisor
- 52 Tips to Travel Around the World
There you have the plan for a perfect day in Minneapolis! You’ll have an incredible 24 hours, so good you’ll want to do it again!
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. 52 Perfect Days is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
We are Julie & Zach Ruhl, creators of Ruhls of the Road. We share travel recommendations and stories around the world!