By Antonia Grant
Minneapolis is a great “low-cost” travel destination in Minnesota (United States). With a large music, food, and outdoor scene, Minneapolis has a lot to offer travelers of all ages. This itinerary can help you plan a no cost/low cost adventure to get the very best of the “Mini Apple”!
This itinerary works for a full day or mixed and matched throughout the week with other experiences. For instance, families with small children may want to start their day at the Sculpture Garden and skip one or two of the afternoon stops. As a local, these are my low-cost/no cost recommendations for a great visit to Minneapolis!
Start your morning walking across the Stone Arch Bridge. This iconic Minneapolis landmark crosses the Mississippi River and gives you a great view of the city and Saint Anthony Falls. Once the only major waterfall on the Mississippi River, Saint Anthony Falls was replaced by a man-made falls in the 1860s to assist with one of Minneapolis’s first major industries – flour milling. Then, families can try one of the nearby coffee shops (I recommend Aster Cafe).
Afterward, head to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Here, you will see the famous Spoon and Cherry sculpture. It is a Minneapolis “must see” – and perfect for a family photo shoot. Kids will love the huge statues, wind chime tree, and chance to run around the garden. In addition, families can check out Skyline Mini Golf, located across the street at the Walker Center terraces (not free, but definitely fun). The Walker Art Center is also worth a visit for those interested in art (entrance is also free the first Saturday of the month).
After the Sculpture Garden, take a break for lunch. There are many great places near the Sculpture Garden and the next itinerary stop (Punch Pizza is a great option for families!). Then, head to Lake Bde Maka Ska for a nice stroll around the lake (approximately 3 miles all the way around). Around the lake, you will find beaches, walking paths, two very kid-friendly playgrounds (I recommend the one on E Calhoun Parkway), and a great understanding of why Minnesotans are home-state proud. Paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes are also available to rent from Wheel Fun Rentals (on site).
Next stop, the Wild Rumpus. This children’s bookstore is amazing and a hidden gem! It offers a unique collection of children’s books (including books in many languages). Plus, it is an opportunity to hang out with some cats, a chicken, and birds, among other animals. It’s a nice break from the heat of the day, offering a chance to slow down and enjoy a good book. It truly lives up to its name!
Afterward, families can head to Sebastian Joe’s Ice Cream, which is a short walk from the Wild Rumpus. A family-owned and truly local ice cream shop, Sebastian Joe’s offers unique Minnesota flavors like Nicollet Avenue Pothole and Honey Cinnamon Crisp. There is a wonderful patio outside of the shop to relax and enjoy the delicious ice cream. A little ice cream before dinner never hurts on vacation!
Then, head to Minnehaha Park. Boasting an urban waterfall, plenty of biking/walking paths, and gardens, Minnehaha Park is a great way to end the day. Kids of all ages will love seeing the waterfall, passing sticks under the bridge at the base of the falls, and exploring the trails. If you want to have dinner with views of the falls, Sea Salt (on site) has great seafood and drinks.
Minneapolis is a fantastic city to visit with kids! With so much to do, you really can’t go wrong. I hope you found these low cost/no cost itinerary items perfect for your upcoming visit to Minneapolis. As a local, they are some of our favorite spots and I hope you enjoy them too!
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