Minneapolis Attractions and Activities
Meet Minneapolis, the biggest underestimated place in the north. A dramatic riverfront skyline, three professional sports stadiums within 1.3 miles, so much art you’re literally surrounded by it and a theater on almost every corner. A culture committed to perfecting the craft of the brew, the best park system in the nation, and a foodie paradise where you can get Nordic cuisine for breakfast, Ethiopian for lunch and this thing called a “Jucy Lucy” for dinner – and oh yeah, cocktails on a Ferris wheel. A place to bring your dancing shoes and party at festivals all year round, enjoy four gorgeous seasons surrounded by 13 lakes, the Mississippi River and a waterfall, and meet friendly locals who can’t wait to show you why they love living here.
The city is a major city of the arts, with many art centers and galleries that you can visit being practically right next to each other. If you think yourself as one with refined taste, come on down, to the Twin Cities, they got something for you there.
The Walker Art Center, one of the five largest modern art museums in the U.S., sits atop Lowry Hill, near the downtown area. The size of the Center was doubled with an addition in 2005 by Herzog & de Meuron, and expanded with the conversion of a 15 acres park designed by Michel Desvigne, located across the street from the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
The Minneapolis Institute of Art, designed by McKim, Mead & White in 1915 in south central Minneapolis, is the largest art museum in the city, with 100,000 pieces in its permanent collection. New wings, designed by Kenzo Tange and Michael Graves, opened in 1974 and 2006, respectively, for contemporary and modern works, as well as more gallery space.
The Weisman Art Museum, designed by Frank Gehry for the University of Minnesota, opened in 1993. An addition that doubled the size of the galleries, also designed by Gehry, opened in 2011. The Weisman Art Museum offers free admission. The Museum of Russian Art opened in a restored church in 2005 and exhibits a collection of 20th-century Russian art as well as lecture series, seminars, social functions and other special events.
USA Today voted the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District as the nation’s best art district in 2015, citing 400 independent artists, a center at the Northrup King Building, and recurring annual events like Art-A-Whirl every spring, and the Fine Arts Show Art Attack and Casket Arts Quad’s Cache open studio events in November.
Speaking of the arts, there also is a large audience for the theatric and performing arts here in Minneapolis. The has been a cultural center for theatrical performances since the mid-1800s. Early theaters included the Pence Opera House, the Academy of Music, the Grand Opera House, the Lyceum, and later the Metropolitan Opera House, which opened in 1894.
The city is second only to New York City in terms of live theater per capita and is the third-largest theater market in the U.S., after New York City and Chicago. Theater companies and troupes such as the Illusion, Jungle, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, Mu Performing Arts, Bedlam Theatre, Blackout Improv, HUGE Improv Theater, the Brave New Workshop, the Minnesota Dance Theatre, Red Eye Theater, Skewed Visions, Theater Latté Da, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Lundstrum Center for the Performing Arts and the Children’s Theatre Company are based in Minneapolis.
The Guthrie Theater, the area’s largest theater company, occupies a three-stage complex overlooking the Mississippi, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. The company was founded in 1963 by Sir Tyrone Guthrie as a prototype alternative to Broadway, and it produces a wide variety of shows throughout the year. Minneapolis purchased and renovated the Orpheum, State, and Pantages Theatres vaudeville and film houses on Hennepin Avenue, which are now used for concerts and plays. A fourth renovated theater, the former Shubert, joined with the Hennepin Center for the Arts to become the Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, home to more than one dozen performing arts groups. The city is home to Minnesota Fringe Festival, the largest nonjuried performing arts festival in the U.S.