Minneapolis, Minnesota is known for its lakes, art museums, diverse cultures, Prince, U of M, and Mall of America. But what should you do if you travel to Minnesota?
For someone visiting or who’s just getting used to Minneapolis – look no further – this guide will cover:
- A quick – no BS history of Minneapolis.
- The absolute best stuff to do if you only have 2-5 days here.
- The best event calendars if you’re looking for specific events
- Minneapolis networking events worth attending.
Table of Contents
A Quick History of Minneapolis
Minneapolis used to belong to the Dakota Indians – and that history is likely long and storied, however, I don’t have that information. Father Louis Hennepin was a French missionary and is believed to be the first European to explore – and he named St. Anthony Falls, now very central to modern Minneapolis, Minnesota. The U.S. acquired the land in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and set up shop at Fort Snelling where the Minneapolis and Minnesota rivers meet.
The Minnesota Territory was created in 1849, and Minnesota officially became a state in 1858. Both the town of St Anthony and the younger town of Minneapolis shared the resources of St Anthony Falls. This waterpower fueled the thriving industries of sawmills, grist (grain) mills, and flour mills for many years. – Lake Sotheby’s
5 Other Fast Facts you should know about Minneapolis History & Culture:
- Minneapolis is Minnesota’s largest city, though St. Paul (the other of the ‘Twin Cities’ is the capital)
- A huge biking city – 10,000 cyclists hit the roads, paths, and trails in Minneapolis every single day.
- R.I.P. to Minneapolis’s most iconic musician, Prince (Bob Dylan was originally from the iron range but moved to NYC for most of his career.)
- The Mayo Clinic in Rochester is one of the best hospitals in the entire world, and Minneapolis native Dr. C. Walton Lillehei was the first surgeon to successfully perform open-heart surgery at the U of M in 1953. – Only in Your State .com
Counterintuitively, Minnesota’s climate is actually near perfection much of the summer – even the frigid cold temperatures of Minneapolis from Nov – March and the phrase “OH yeah sure, donchya know?” is what people not from the midwest think Minnesota is all about. The award-winning directors of the movie Fargo (that popularized these colloquialisms), Joel and Ethan Coen, were actually born and raised in St. Louis Park, Minnesota & have produced plenty of other movies that we love.
Minneapolis Travel Guide / Things to Do in Minneapolis
Minneapolis sports in the form of the Vikings, Twins, and U of M are common mainstays amongst the locals, but what about food – art – comedy – and bars? While here’s a true insider’s guide to Minneapolis from myself, someone who can see the skyline and the Mississipi river from his apartment on the main vein of Minneapolis, Hennepin Avenue.
A quick video tour of Minneapolis site-seeing locations:
Here are the top 10 things you can do to take on Minneapolis like a local!
#1. Wander down Eat Street: Being sure to stop for cocktails and Steak Tartare at Eat Street Social. Save room for dessert and cuteness overload at Glam Doll Donuts- hitting every craving imagined, and they even offer a selection of Vegan options.
#2. Scratch your nature itch by exploring the trails behind the Stone Arch Bridge. Finish off with dinner and a view on one of the patio restaurants along the St. Anthony and Main strip. My favorite is the Aster Café.
#3. Grab a coffee and Minneapolis’ Best Cinnamon Roll (which you can top with as much frosting as you can handle) at Isles Bun and Coffee. You can justify this indulgence by walking around Lake of the Isles after. There is also a nice ride station right around the corner if that’s more your speed.
#4. Shop the Farmers Market on a Saturday morning. The Lyndale Market is open every day from 6 Am- 1 pm, but what better way to start your weekend than with fresh veggies and flowers?
#5. Get your fall fix by picking your own apples. Ok, you’ll have to venture a little out of the city for this picture-perfect opportunity, but nothing says hello fall more than grabbing your own apples off the tree. You can apple pick, sample wine from the Saint Croix Vineyard and eat apple brats all at Aamodt’s Apple Farm. Let’s get real; your photos will be -Cute.
#6. Attend a show at First Ave.
#7. Sample beers at a local Brewery. Surly had a great food menu and allows dogs on their patio. Bauhaus has great beers and rotating food trucks and also allows pups. Not a beer fan? Try Sociable Cider Werks- rotating ciders on tap along with their own beer and root beer. Curious Goat is the resident food truck so you won’t leave hungry.
#8. Shop Local. There are so many great boutiques in every neighborhood of the city – and the suburbs. My current faves are Proper in Uptown and Primp at 48th and Chicago. Both have unique pieces at reasonable prices. Take the day and shop downtown Excelsior for multiple unique boutiques all in one place.
#9. Soak up Minnehaha Falls and the Seas Salt Eatery. Although Sea Salt is only open seasonally, the falls can be enjoyed anytime- they look even cooler frozen.
#10. Try the Best Chai in Minneapolis. Head over to Uncommon Grounds for a unique coffee house experience.
5 Fast Facts About Things to Do in Minneapolis:
- Minneapolis is home to a highly underrated comedy scene; including the oldest sketch comedy theater in the United States, Brave New Workshop, which is located in Uptown Minneapolis.
- Walker Art Center… is among the Top 5 modern art museums in the country… and has rotating exhibits and quality programming – it’s garden is also home to the iconic cherry on a spoon, and newer “large blue rooster.”
- The Juicy Lucy at Matt’s Bar (even though it’s a dive bar) is so iconic as the birthplace that even Obama stopped by when he was in town.
- The Minneapolis Institute of Art (or MIA) is home to more than 90,000 works of art representing 5,000 years of world history and is a gorgeous Museum.
- I have to put a plug in here for the place that finally made me love WINGS. Runyon’s – in the North Loop is a great place to go if you want that authentic, divey experience. You can also take our ‘Where should you eat in Minneapolis?’ quiz that tells you where to eat based on your mood. Another common/iconic dive bar that a lot of industry people and hipsters go to is CC club, with pool/billiards and a grungy vibe.
- Minneapolis.org / Meet Minneapolis’s event calendar – Festivals, Open House’s, and fun stuff
- City Pages Event Calendar – Brewery tours, local events, and cultural shows.
- Mpls St. Paul Magazine event calendar – Theater, Influencer events, and comedy
Top 10 Business Meetups
- Startup Grind – “The cornerstone of our global community is monthly events featuring successful local founders, innovators, educators, and investors who share lessons learned on the road to building great companies.”
- Business Professional Networking Minneapolis – “Speed Networking works a lot like ‘Speed Dating’ without the ‘Dating’. A structured opportunity to meet accomplished professionals just like yourself”
- Club E – Entrepreneur – This event is held at Minneapolis Club and is for smaller businesses and startups to network and hear talks on topics entrepreneurs care about.
- Twin Cities Business Events – Women in Business, Diversity and Redefining Leadership.
- Good Leadership Breakfast – Awesome monthly events that showcase ethical leadership and are great places to Mingle.
- MNSearch – A more niche organization that focuses on making website search engine friendly, and promoting websites with Google ads. A must-attend at least once if you are in the marketing community.
- Minnesota Chamber of Commerce – Chamber’s of commerce generally concern themselves with creating an environment in their city for people to thrive.
- New Business Startup Minneapolis – “You will meet other local business owners, network with other entrepreneurs, share ideas and resources, get advice and avoid costly mistakes.”
- Minneapolis LGBTQ Professionals Networking – “This is a group for LGBTQ professionals in the Twin Cities who wish to meet other LGBTQ’s for networking, sharing ideas, good conversation and making new friends.”
- Association for Corporate Growth – More for larger businesses and corporate executives.
Why we love Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis is a great city if you can get over the cold. We have pleasant, loving diversity – there’s a lot of help for the underprivileged and compassion, and it’s a booming town of the industry as well.
Some amazing businesses are headquartered here and in the Twin Cities, large and small:
- General Mills
- Best Buy
- United Health Group
- U.S. Bank
- Mayo Clinic
- Buffalo Wild Wings
- Green Giant
- Edina Realty
Check out the ‘Top Workplaces according to Star Tribune‘ – from Tactile Medical, UCare, and Werner Electric all the way to KwikTrip, WSB, and API Group.
Beyond just the business side of it…
The lakes, bike trails, and friendly faces of Minneapolis make it a super welcoming place. We serve the area with our Minneapolis SEO, and Minneapolis Web Design services – helping small businesses and construction companies get more leads with premium marketing services. Let us know if we can be of service to any of your ventures, and we hope this guide has been useful to you!