Meet Minneapolis, the Midwestern city full of charm

Sitting on the banks of the mighty Mississippi River, Minneapolis is famous for its beautiful lakes, bountiful parks, rich cultural scene and of course, that fabled Midwestern friendliness. Together with its neighbouring city of Saint Paul, the Twin Cities form the largest metropolitan area in Minnesota, the state that gave music icons Prince and Bob Dylan to the world, and was the backdrop to hit TV show, Fargo, and the 90s Disney classic, The Mighty Ducks.

With Ireland’s first direct Dublin – Minneapolis-Saint Paul service launching next summer, get ready for a warm welcome to Minnesota’s largest city. Here’s a little taste of what’s waiting to be explored in The City of Lakes.

Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota
Downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota

SPECTACULAR NATURAL BEAUTY

While the Big Apple proudly claims its ‘concrete jungle’ status, the Mini Apple takes a greener approach to city living. Visitors to Minneapolis are never further than six blocks from one of the city’s 197 parks. In fact, 97% of the city’s 420,000 residents live within a 10-minute walk of an open green space.

Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis, Minnesota

MINNEHAHA PARK: The sprawling 170-acre Minnehaha Park is a must-visit on a trip to Minneapolis. The city’s largest park is home to gorgeous hiking trails, the majestic Minnehaha Falls, the Longfellow House (a replica of the Massachusetts home of one of America’s best-loved poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow), the colourful Song of Hiawatha Gardens, and so much more.

Hire a bike from Wheel Fun Rental, stop at Sea Salt Eatery for a tasty seafood lunch, or pack a picnic and prepared to be wowed by the incredible views of the Minnehaha Creek and beyond.

Don’t skip a visit to the park on a winter trip to Minneapolis – the frozen Minnehaha Falls make for a spectacular vista.

HIT THE WATER: With 22 different lakes and a major river running right through downtown Minneapolis, some of the best views of the city can be enjoyed along the water. Rent a kayak, try the highly-recommended Magical History Segway tour, or sit back and relax on a Mississippi River cruise.

The beautiful Chain of Lakes (made up of Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet and the Lakes of the Isles) is a short trip from the city centre. With its 15 miles of lakeside walking and biking trails, five pretty beaches, outdoor theatre, and great choice of water activities, this is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of downtown Minneapolis.

If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try a log rolling class, a unique watersport popular with the locals.

Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis
Lake Calhoun, Minneapolis

WORLD-CLASS THEATRE

Minneapolis is making its mark on the national U.S. theatre scene – it’s recently been named one of the most ‘creatively vital’ cities in the country and the city is enjoying major growth in its already rich cultural scene.

Take in a world-class theatrical production at the famous Guthrie TheatreGuys and Dolls and new comedy production, Floyd’s, will be taking centre stage next summer.

Check out the 1950s-style Riverview Theatre for a movie-going experience to remember, or enjoy a musical at the beautiful Orpheum Theatre.

THE BEST SHOPPING IN THE MIDWEST

TAX-FREE CLOTHING: Credit cards at the ready – Minneapolis is a shopper’s paradise. With no sales taxes on clothing in Minnesota, it’s the perfect city for a spot of retail therapy.

Check out the super hip North Loop neighbourhood for a great selection of independent stores and fashion boutiques showcasing the best of locally-made clothes, leather goods, jewellery, stationery and more.

MALL OF AMERICA: The epic Mall of America, the largest shopping centre in the U.S., is a 15-minute, $2.25 train ride from Minneapolis-Saint Paul airport. And it’s so much more than a mall. This is the number one tourist destination in the Midwest.

An incredible 520 stores (including a four-storey Lego shop, a nostalgia-inducing Crayola Experience Store and the best-stocked Lululemon store in America), 50 restaurants, a Nickelodeon Universe theme park, a nightly laser show, comedy clubs, an aquarium, nightclubs, and a whole lot more awaits at the 5.5 million square foot site.

Download the Mall of America app and check out the Mall’s deals page before you visit to see the latest promotions, happy hours and restaurant offers.

MAGNIFICENT MUSEUMS AND CULTURE

MILL CITY MUSEUM: Take in the beautiful view of the famous Stone Arch Bridge and get to know the history of Minneapolis at the iconic Mill City Museum, which sits right on the Mississippi riverfront. Built within the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, the museum is packed with fun for all ages.

Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Mill City Museum, Minneapolis

TAKE A STEP BACK IN TIME: The Minneapolis Institute of Art is the city’s leading art museum. Visitors can explore some 80,000 works of sculpture, photography, drawing and paintings, including masterpieces by Matisse, Gaugin, van Gogh, Manet. 2019 highlights at the museum will include the incredible Egypt’s Sunken Cities exhibition, which will showcase ancient monumental statues from lost Egyptian cities discovered deep in the Mediterranean Sea.

Modern art fans will love the Frank Gehry-designed Weisman Art Museum sits within the grounds of the University of Minnesota. The permanent collection includes over 25,000 works of art and is especially rich in the areas of American modernism, ceramics, Mimbres pottery, and Korean furniture.

Find about more about our new direct Dublin-Minneapolis-Saint Paul service here.

Planning a 2019 trip to North America? Read our all-American road trip guide, check out 12 incredible things to do in Seattle or find out how to spend 48 hours in Washington D.C.