Photo by: Doug Kerr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Self-Guided Walking Tour

Minneapolis

Self-Guided Walking Tour

On the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, you’ll walk through towering grain silos, get a close-up view of the Saint Anthony Dam and glimpse the remnants of bluff and prairie that preceded European settlement in Minneapolis. This scenic,1.8-mile loop follows both banks of the Mississippi from the Stone Arch Bridge in the south to the Hennepin Avenue Bridge in the north.

The Stone Arch Bridge, a former railroad bridge that’s been restored for pedestrian and cyclist use, is a wonderful place to stop and observe the churning water running over the dam, the skyline and the people passing by. On nice days, find busking musicians, couples taking wedding photos and every breed of dog you can image (plus their owners), along with the usual runners and bikers.

On the east side of the Stone Arch Bridge, Main Street, a cobblestone street lined with picturesque nineteenth century brick buildings, offers the perfect mash-up of old and new worlds. Stop for a drink at one of the sidewalk cafes and take in the towering oaks along the river and looming skyline across the water.

Also on the east side of the bridge is Water Power Park. The City of Minneapolis processes drinking water at the adjacent facility, but visitors can walk out on the grassy peninsula of the park to get the best close-up view of the St. Anthony Dam and a glimpse of the remaining bluffs, which used to characterize this landscape. Markers along the way tell the story of the falls and the role they played in the development of the city.

Farther along the riverfront is Nicollet Island where the historical Nicollet Island Inn has stood since 1893. Appreciators of architecture may want to wander around the island where Victorian homes are tucked away among the trees.

Cross back to downtown on the Hennepin Avenue Bridge and head south. History buffs and lovers of architecture will want to stop in at Mill City Museum, which tells the history of Minneapolis’ brief reign as the flour milling capitol of the world. Food lovers will want to check out the Saturday Farmers Market at Mill City where the best of Minnesota’s short but sweet growing season can be enjoyed.

Next door is the Jean Nouvel-designed Guthrie Theater. It’s open to the public and worth a look. The Endless Bridge offers a unique experience. Suspended from the side of the building overlooking the river, it seems to go on forever thanks to the glass wall at its end.

Finally, climb the hill at Gold Medal Park, named after the flour brand, on a paved sidewalk that goes all the way to the top. Take shelter under the grove of trees and check out the view. Izzy’s Ice Cream, at the southeast corner of the park, is a good place to stop for a cone.

Things to see and do in Minneapolis

Aster Caf¿

125 SE Main St, MN, Minneapolis, 55414
astercafe.com

One of the most pleasant patios in Minneapolis, Aster Caf¿ is on a dreamy spot to stop for a drink or dinner. It's only across the river from downtown, but it feels a world away, especially once the...

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Aster Caf¿

125 SE Main St, MN, Minneapolis, 55414
astercafe.com
One of the most pleasant patios in Minneapolis, Aster Caf¿ is on a dreamy spot to stop for a drink or dinner. It's only across the river from downtown, but it feels a world away, especially once the live music starts.

Izzy's Ice Cream

1100 S 2nd St, MN, Minneapolis, 55415
www.izzysicecream.com

Gourmet ice cream in tons of creative flavors, do you really need to hear more?

Read More

Izzy's Ice Cream

1100 S 2nd St, MN, Minneapolis, 55415
www.izzysicecream.com
Gourmet ice cream in tons of creative flavors, do you really need to hear more?

Mill City Museum & Mill City Farmers Market

704 S 2nd St, MN, Minneapolis, 55401
www.millcitymuseum.org

This museum tells the story of the milling industry in Minneapolis and is built inside the ruins of what was once the world's largest mill. The Washburn A Mill ruins have been restored in such a way...

Read More

Mill City Museum & Mill City Farmers Market

704 S 2nd St, MN, Minneapolis, 55401
www.millcitymuseum.org
This museum tells the story of the milling industry in Minneapolis and is built inside the ruins of what was once the world's largest mill. The Washburn A Mill ruins have been restored in such a way that reveals the story of the explosion that once rocked it ¿ check out the courtyard.

Guthrie Theater

818 S 2nd St, MN, Minneapolis, 55415
www.guthrietheater.org

Conspicuously clad in cobalt, the grand dame of the Minneapolis theater scene offers riverfront views from the Endless Bridge, which make it worth a stop, whether you plan to stay for the play or...

Read More

Guthrie Theater

818 S 2nd St, MN, Minneapolis, 55415
www.guthrietheater.org
Conspicuously clad in cobalt, the grand dame of the Minneapolis theater scene offers riverfront views from the Endless Bridge, which make it worth a stop, whether you plan to stay for the play or not.

Stone Arch Bridge & St. Anthony Dam

Downtown Minneapolis, MN, Minneapolis,
www.nps.gov

Saint Anthony Falls (now a dam) was the only natural waterfall in the Upper Mississippi and it allowed for the development of the lumber and grain milling industries. These industries supported the...

Read More

Stone Arch Bridge & St. Anthony Dam

Downtown Minneapolis, MN, Minneapolis,
www.nps.gov
Saint Anthony Falls (now a dam) was the only natural waterfall in the Upper Mississippi and it allowed for the development of the lumber and grain milling industries. These industries supported the growth of the city we know today as Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Trails

Grand Rounds Scenic Byway

Minnesota - 50 miles

At the heart of Minneapolis’ world class trail system is the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, a series of interconnected parks and parkways that loop around...

Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail

Minnesota - 9.3 miles

A quintessential part of St. Paul's extensive trails system, the Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail offers a variety of sights and sounds along its...

Dinkytown Greenway

Minnesota - 1 miles

Although only 1 mile long, the Dinkytown Greenway provides an important link in a biking network connecting Minneapolis and Saint Paul. The trail...

Accordion

Hiawatha LRT Trail

Minnesota - 4.7 miles

Minnesota’s Hiawatha LRT Trail runs along a north-south route paralleling both Hiawatha Avenue and the Metro Transit Blue Line in Minneapolis. The...

Kenilworth Trail

Minnesota - 1.5 miles

The Kenilworth Trail runs through dense forest along the eastern side of Minnesota's Cedar Lake. Occasionally, trail users can catch glimpses of some...

Cedar Lake LRT Regional Trail

Minnesota - 4.5 miles

The Cedar Lake Light Rail Transit (LRT) Regional Trail is an integral component of Hennepin County’s extensive trail network, in which rail-trails...

Midtown Greenway (MN)

Minnesota - 5.5 miles

The 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway follows a former railroad corridor through the heart of south Minneapolis, heading due west from the Mississippi River...

Willard Munger State Trail (Gateway State Trail)

Minnesota - 18.3 miles

The Gateway State Trail is an 18.3-mile-long segment of the Willard Munger State Trail that offers an urban link to the countryside. The western end...

Bruce Vento Regional Trail

Minnesota - 7 miles

The trail is named in honor of Bruce Frank Vento, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1977 until his death in 2000, representing...

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