Minneapolis has it all: great shopping, an active arts scene, tons of places for recreation, natural beauty, and fun around every corner. Whether you want to browse the racks at the Mall of America or peruse the art galleries at the Walker Art Center, our list of attractions has got the details on the best things to do in the City of Lakes.
Prepare your wallet for a shopping expedition at the biggest mall in the country, the Mall of America
. The mall is home to over 520 stores like Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Nordstrom, H"M, the Apple Store, J.Crew, and many other popular national and international retailers. With four floors to explore, shopping may get a little monotonous, so head to attractions like the Theatres at Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe theme park, or the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium for some fun away from shopping.
Address: 60 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425 - MAP
Phone: (952) 883-8800
Head to one of the eight units of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge
. This natural attraction stretches along 34 miles of the Minnesota River, making it the largest American national wildlife refuge near an urban area. Certain areas of the refuge allow hiking, biking, skiing, fishing, hunting, and birdwatching.
Address: 3815 American Blvd. East, Bloomington, MN 55425 - MAP
Phone: (952) 854-5900
Make a trip to Minnehaha Park
and explore the 193-acres of one of Minneapolis' oldest parks. The park overlooks the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Falls. If you're not too busy using the park's hiking and biking trails, hang out at the Wabun picnic area and enjoy relaxing in the wading pool, playing disc golf, volleyball, or a picnic with the family.
Address: 4801 South Minnehaha Park Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55417 - MAP
Phone: (612) 230-6400
Take a walk on the wild side at the Minnesota Zoo
, where you'll see animals like wolverines, bison, caribou, monkeys, moose, tigers, bald eagles, swan, toucan, woodpeckers, red pandas, brown bears, sea otters, and dolphins. You'll visit exhibits and attractions that detail the lives of animals, and you'll see wildlife habitats that mimic those of the north, the tropics, the sea, the farm, and the state of Minnesota.
Address: 13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley, MN 55124 - MAP
Phone: (952) 431-9200
While shopping the racks at Mall of America, take the time to explore the mall's attractions like the wonders of the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium
. The aquarium houses over 10,000 creatures like sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, octopuses, and jellyfish; the aquarium boasts the "world's largest jellyfish collection" - but we'll let you be the judge. If spying the outside of the tank isn't enough exploration for you, step into the aquarium's 300-foot tunnel and get a look at the tank from the inside out.
Address: Mall of America, 120 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425 - MAP
Phone: (952) 883-0202
Experience the loops, swoops, and speed of the the roller coasters at Valleyfair Amusement Park " Soak City
. If you can't quite stomach the ferocity of rides like Wild Thing and Corkscrew, head to Soak City to hang out in the wave pool or brave a water ride. With over 50 rides and water attractions at your fingertips, Valleyfair will keep you up to your ears in thrills and fun all day.
Address: One Valleyfair Dr., Shakopee, MN 55379 - MAP
Phone: (952) 445-6500
Explore the arts at Walker Art Center
, where you'll see art collections, exhibitions and attractions, dance and music events, art and design lectures, and film and theater works. The art center is one of America's "big five" museums, meaning it's categorized with the likes of the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim, and the Hirshhorn.
Address: 1750 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55403 - MAP
Phone: (612) 375-7600
Check out the extensive animal specimen collection at the Bell Museum of Natural History
. You'll see the preserved collection of birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles, insects, invertebrates, plants, and mammals. The creatures are showcased in traveling exhibits, attractions, dioramas, and touch and see exhibits.
Address: 10 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 - MAP
Phone: (612) 624-7083
The race is on at Canterbury Park!
Along with horse races, the park also hosts a card club. Try your hand at the poker and blackjack tables or watch the ponies race to the finish line - all while having access to delicious food and your favorite drink in hand. Place your bets, and may the best horse win!
Address: 1100 Canterbury Road, Shakopee, MN 55379 - MAP
Phone: (952) 445-7223
Let's hope lady luck is on your side when you gamble at Mystic Lake Casino Hotel
. The Midwest's largest casino attraction tests your luck with blackjack, slots, bingo, and more. If you're not having much luck, check the schedule and see who's hitting the Mystic Showroom stage. Heart, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Steve Miller Band, The Beach Boys, B.B. King, Peter Frampton and Hank Williams, Jr. have all played at the Mystic.
Address: 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake, MN 55372 - MAP
Phone: (952) 445-9000
Get ready to feed the slots and wear your best poker face for an excursion to Treasure Island Resort & Casino
. Table games, bingo, slots, and poker are available to those wanting to gamble but if you're looking for some friendly competition or fun recreation attractions, you can find it on the lanes at the bowling alley or the greens of the golf course. Bored with games? Take a look at the calendar for the Island Event Center - your favorite entertainer may just be making an appearance at Treasure Island.
Address: 5734 Sturgeon Lake Rd., Welch, MN 55089 - MAP
Phone: (651) 388-6300
Blackjack, poker, slots, and bingo are calling your name at Jackpot Junction Casino Hotel
. Try your luck at the games, dine on breakfast, burgers, steak, chicken, pasta and all the fixings at a casino restaurant or browse the entertainment calendar for the next best event. You won't get bored while searching for the jackpot at this casino attraction.
Address: 39375 County Highway 24, Morton, MN 56270 - MAP
Phone: (800) 946-2274
Get a closer look at a true Minnesota land mark. The Stone Arch Bridge
was built in 1883 for use on the Great Northern Railway, now the monument stands as a pedestrian and bicycle bridge. The bridge is located near the beautiful Saint Anthony Falls, so you're sure to get some great pictures of the city and its attractions from this vantage point.
Phone: (612) 230-6400
Stroll through the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
and take in all the beauty and floral attractions that Mother Nature has to offer. While walking the area and the 2/3 mile trail, you'll see over 500 plant species and 130 different birds. The 15-acre garden harkens back to 1907 and is said to be the oldest public wildflower garden in the nation.
Address: Theodore Wirth Parkway " Glenwood Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55422 - MAP
Phone: (612) 370-4903