Minneapolis is home to many cultural landmarks and attractions for the whole family to enjoy like the award-winning Children's Theatre Company, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with the famous Claes Oldenburg's ‘Spoonbridge and Cherry’ sculpture, the Science Museum of Minnesota, and Nickelodeon Universe, the biggest indoor amusement park.
1.Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA)
© Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA)
Located in the neighborhood of Whittier, on an eight-acre campus formerly known as Morrison Park, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA) is government-funded fine art museum that is open to the public free of charge. Featuring an encyclopedic collection of over 80,000 objects, spanning 5,000 years of world history, the MIA is home to one of the finest wide-ranging art collections in the country, consisting of remarkable exhibitions and collections of art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas, as well as a vast collection of Asian art and sculpture. Inspiring wonder through art, the MIA also features traveling collections from other museums, as well as the Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program, which focuses on displaying works by local artists from Minnesota.
2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404, Phone: 612-870-3011
2.Children’s Theater Company
© andrys lukowski/stock.adobe.com
Formerly known as The Moppet Players in the 1960s, the award-winning Children's Theatre Company is a regional theater that specializes in plays, shows, and concerts for families and young audiences in Minneapolis. The theater was founded in 1965 by John Clark Donahue and has since become a leader in the theatrical community by exposing and educating young people through art. In 2003, the Children's Theatre Company was the Tony Award for Children's Theatre Company. Productions have included classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and The Wizard of Oz, amongst other favorites. The Children's Theatre Company presents performances year-round.
2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404, Phone: 612-874-0400
3.Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is an 11-acre park that is home to Minneapolis’s famous giant spoon sculpture, Claes Oldenburg’s ‘Spoonbridge and Cherry.’ Established in 1988 and located near the Walker Art Center, the 11-acre garden houses more than 40 stunning works of sculpture from the nearby Walker Art Center’s collections, including the crown jewel of the garden – the giant spoon - which is one of the most photographed sites in the city. The garden also regularly hosts outdoor concerts and educational activities for visitors of all ages and free garden tours take place on the grounds from May through August. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is open 365 days a year, from dusk until midnight.
725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403, Phone: 612-375-7600
4.Science Museum of Minnesota
© Science Museum of Minnesota
Overlooking the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul, the Science Museum of Minnesota is a large regional science museum that uses a hands-on approach to science learning and entertainment. Founded in 1907, the museum features a variety of permanent and temporary collections and exhibitions, state-of-the-art research facilities, a public science education center and an Imax Convertible Dome Omnitheater. Five permanent galleries and an array of temporary exhibits cover the topics of physical science and technology, the human body, paleontology, and the peoples and cultures of the Mississippi River. Popular collections and exhibitions at the museum include the interactive Experiment Gallery, an authentic Mississippi River towboat, an ancient Egyptian mummy, and a variety of interactive exhibits for all ages. The museum offers innovative and interactive science education programs for teachers and children and provides ongoing research in a range of scientific fields.
120 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102, Phone: 651-221-9444
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Minnehaha Falls is a beautiful 53-foot waterfall situated within Minneapolis’ most-visited park, Minnehaha Park. Formed by the Minnehaha Creek, which flows to the Mississippi River from Lake Minnetonka, Minnehaha Falls was previously known Little Falls or Brown’s Falls and was immortalized as the ‘laughing water’ in the epic 1855 poem The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. In addition to the falls, the park is home to several hiking and mountain paths, cultural and historic sites such as Longfellow House, Princess Depot, and the John H. Stevens House, public artworks and sculptures, playgrounds for children of all ages, and a disc golf course. Other facilities include volleyball courts, decorative and drinking fountains, a bandstand, picnic areas, and a wading pool. Bikes can be rented from Fun Wheel to explore the park.
4801 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis, 55417, MN
6.Mill City Museum
Resting on the banks of the historic Mississippi Riverfront and built into the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill, known as the Washburn "A" Mill, Mill City Museum is a small, intimate museum that presents birth and growth of Minneapolis and the subsequent convoluted histories of the growing city with the flour industry and the river. Dating back to the 1870s, the mill complex is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is part of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District, playing an essential role in the preservation and education of the state’s heritage. The museum offers award-winning programs, exhibitions, and events that cover the history of the area, including exhibits about the history of Minneapolis and how the flour industry played a role in the development of the city.
704 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55401, Phone: 612-341-7555
© Nickelodeon Universe
Nickelodeon Universe is the world’s biggest indoor amusement park and offers a wealth of attractions and activities for children of all ages. Located in the heart of the Mall of America amidst more than 525 stores and two hotels, the seven-acre indoor park is themed around the familiar characters from the Nickelodeon Channel and features huge skylights, 400, 35-foot trees and more than 30,000 plants to create an outdoor feel. The park features a wealth of rides, slides and other exhilarating attractions, including roller coasters, spinning rides, junior rides for toddlers and preschoolers, arcades and games, and a variety of light shows, dance parties, and character meets. Other attractions include the Dutchman’s Deck Adventure Course with a 60-foot high multiple-level Sky Trail ropes course, and FlyOver America – a 4D virtual experience takes riders over the landscapes of America.
5000 Center Court, Mall of America, Bloomington, 55425, MN, Phone: 952-883-8800
8.Izzy’s Ice Cream
© Izzy’s Ice Cream
Voted the ‘Best Ice Cream in the Twin Cities for 2015’ by City Pages, Izzy’s Ice Cream is an ice cream institution, with shops in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Owned and managed by wife and husband Lara Hammel and Jeff Sommers, what began as a small kitchen serving handmade ice cream has grown into the city’s favorite ice cream spot. Ice Cream-lovers can choose from over a hundred delicious flavors, ranging from classics such as chocolate, blueberry cheesecake, and maple nut, to signature flavors like black walnut, crème de menthe, and Mexican chocolate fiesta. Mix in your favorite nuts or candy or enjoy a coconut-based or sorbet treat if dairy is not your thing. Izzy’s Ice Cream also caters for large corporate events and offers pick-up ice cream for special occasions such as birthday parties, family celebrations and corporate and team building events.
1100 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415, Phone: 612-206-3356
9.Foshay Observation Deck and Museum
The Foshay Observation Deck and Museum is set within the Foshay Tower, a 447-foot, a 32-story skyscraper that was built in 1929 by utility magnate Wilbur Foshay as a homage to the Washington Monument. One of the most recognizable landmarks in the Twin Cities, the tower is home to the Foshay Museum, which explores the history of the unique skyscraper and its eccentric creator and tells the story of how it was developed and built. The tower also has an outdoor Observation Deck on the 31st floor, which boasts spectacular 360-degree panoramic views of the city and up to 30 miles into the distance on a clear day.
821 S Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402, Phone: 612-215-3783
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10.Midtown Global Market
© Midtown Global Market
Midtown Global Market is a collection of more than 50 vendors offering the finest selection of international produce, gourmet food items and delicacies, prepared foods and snacks, and unique gifts from around the world. Located in the old Sears building, the Market brings the global community to Minneapolis and highlights the diversity South Minneapolis has boasted for decades. The market is packed shops brimming with color and texture with beautiful objects from around the world in, as well as plenty of places to eat delicious global cuisine from East Africa to Jerusalem. The center of the market has plenty of seating to enjoy a variety of foods from different vendors, and some eateries offer cozy seating on site.
Office-G10, 920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407, Phone: 612-872-4041
11.Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
The Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary is a 15-acre garden and sanctuary for birds that is home to more than 500 plants and 130 bird species, and spectacular seasonal displays of native wildflowers in a wetland, prairie, and woodland areas. Tucked away in the corner of the garden is the Martha Crone Visitor Shelter, which features natural history displays and interpretive displays that showcase the garden’s fauna and flora. The gardens are also home to lovely picnic spots, benches, and wheelchair accessible walking paths, and visitors can enjoy guided or self-guided tours of the park. Amenities include drinking fountains, restrooms, public artworks on display throughout the garden, and paid parking in a secure lot.
1 Theodore Wirth Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55405, Phone: 612-370-4903
© Pizzeria Lola
Pizzeria Lola is a perennial Minneapolis favorite for wood-fired pizzas, opened in 2010 by owner and chef Ann Kim. The restaurant has been featured on the popular Food Network television series Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives for its inventive internationally-influenced pizza pies, which are prepared with housemade pizza dough and top-quality ingredients. Diners can enjoy classic favorites such as margherita or pepperoni pizzas or select from unusual pies like the Lazy Zaza, stuffed with kimchi and Korean sausage, or the Sunnyside, which pairs guanciale and leeks with sunny-side-up eggs. All pizzas can be prepared gluten-free for an additional charge. Clever shareable appetizers range from oven-roasted chicken wings to full antipasto plates with local charcuterie and cheeses.
5557 Xerxes Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55410, Phone: 612-424-8338
13.Sea Life Aquarium
The all-new SEA LIFE® Minnesota Aquarium at Mall of America® is home to thousands of marine creatures ranging from sea turtles, sharks and manta rays to jellyfish, seahorses and more. The aquarium boasts a 1,500-gallon Pacific Northwest Rockpool where visitors can explore unusual sea creatures such as cucumbers and sea anemones by touch, as well as a 300-foot glass underwater tunnel for unforgettable views of the "the best shark exhibit on the planet" as described by Animal Planet. Scuba certified divers can brave the waters and dive with sharks, while less courageous visitors can enjoy feeding times with stingrays, seahorses, and rainbow reef fish. The aquarium offers an array of fun sea-based activities and adventures for all, including stamp stations with dive books for children, behind-the-scenes tours and overnight stays in the aquarium.
East Side, 120 E Broadway level 1, Bloomington, MN 55425, Phone: 952-853-0612
14.Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
Located a few miles west of Chanhassen in Minnesota, the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum is an arboretum and horticultural garden that forms part of the Department of Horticultural Science in the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Open to the public year-round, the 1,137-acre garden features a variety of annual and perennial display gardens, demonstration gardens, gardens with plants developed explicitly for northern climates, a beautiful Japanese garden and tracts of natural areas with prairies, marshes, and woodlands. The Arboretum also features exceptional collections of wildflowers, dahlias, hostas, clematis, and ornamental grasses, along with a conservatory, a horticultural research library, and miles of hiking trails.
3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska, MN 55318, Phone: 952-443-1400
15.Minnesota United FC
Minnesota United FC is an American professional soccer club that plays in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer. The club was established in 1976 when the Knicks first began to play at the old Met, and the legacy continued for 40 years until the United beginning MLS play in 2017. Minnesota United FC is temporarily based at the University of Minnesota’s state-of-the-art college football stadium while their new soccer-specific stadium in the Midway neighborhood of St. Paul is being built. The stadium features the largest high-definition video display in college sports boasts Daktronics HD-16 technology. Visitors can enjoy guided tours of the stadium which take them behind the scenes to learn about the history of the club and football in the Twin Cities.
4150 Olson Memorial Hwy #300, Golden Valley, MN 55422, Phone: 763-331-8777
16.Como Zoo and Conservatory
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The Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, also known as just the Como Zoo and Conservatory are a large park based around Como Lake that features an animal sanctuary and conservatory, as well as an amusement park, a traditional carousel, a golf course, and a swimming pool. The century-old zoo is home to an array of exotic zoo animals from around the world, ranging from polar bears and zebras to gorillas and giraffes. The adjacent conservatory is packed with tropical plants and beautiful flowers, and the park offers a wide range of fun-filled attractions for the whole family to enjoy in the summer months, from watching Como’s playful sea lion show to enjoying thrilling rides at the nearby Como Town Amusement Park. Special events at the zoo include day camps, Zoo Snooze sleepovers, and free Little Explorer programs for toddlers.
1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul, 55103, MN, Phone: 651-487-8201
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The Minnesota Twins are an American professional baseball team based in Minneapolis that compete in the Central division of the American League. Named after the Twin Cities area, which is made up of Minneapolis and St. Paul, the team is based at the famous Target Field. Rated the Number One Fan Experience in all of the major league sports by ESPN the Magazine, this unforgettable guided 90-minute tour will take you to parts of the ballpark that are rarely seen by regular visitors. Depending on the availability, the tour will enable you to explore a variety of different spaces within the ballpark, such as the press box, the clubhouse, and the dugout. Head up to the suite level to get a bird’s eye view and visit the Metropolitan Club, Legends Club, Champions Club. Check out the Budweiser Roof Deck before heading back down to the playing field. The tour will take you through the history of the Twins team, highlighting past and present players, as well show excellent displays of baseball memorabilia, special environmental and sustainability features of the playing field. Tours vary from a non-game day, game day and pre-game experience tour options, all of which are guided by a local and knowledgeable baseball expert.
1 Twins Way, Minneapolis, MN 55403, Phone: 612-659-3400
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The Commons is a large urban park in the heart of downtown Minneapolis that spans two blocks and 4.2 acres and is designed to emulate a large outdoor room framed by buildings. The city’s skyline sets the backdrop for the park’s west block while the massive, prow-like U.S. Bank Stadium looms to the east. The Commons boasts three lawns, hundreds of trees and thousands of plants, and a network of paved walking paths that connect the park with the city. The park also hosts a range of free and engaging public programs and events throughout the year, including a weekly farmers market, monthly outdoor movie series, and music concerts.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
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Formerly known as the Minnesota Zoological Gardens, the Minnesota Zoo was founded by the State of Minnesota in 1978 to ‘connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife’ and played a leading role in organizing their animals according to their living environment as opposed to by their species. Exciting exhibits include “Russia's Grizzly Coast,” a new indoor/outdoor exhibit featuring animals from Russia's the Far East, the “Tropics Trail,” an indoor walking trail featuring animals from the tropics, the “Medtronic Minnesota Trail,” showcasing animals native to Minnesota and “Discovery Bay,” an activity area themed around marine wildlife. The zoo also provides educational programs that engage audiences with the animals at the zoo, and conservation programs highlighting animal conservation and protection of the environment.
13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley, MN 55124, Phone: 952-431-9200
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© Crayola Experience
Located on the third floor of the Mall of America®, the Crayola Experience is a museum and a supersized art studio and play area that offers children of all ages a fun-filled and colorful interactive experience. Exhibits include big neon doodle boards, where children can see their computer drawings projected onto an animated wall, a crayon mold that produces a variety of fun shapes, Play-with-Clay, a virtual fashion show, and spinning art with crayons. There are also plenty of color stations with crayons where kids can draw to their hearts’ content, a playground area for toddlers and high-energy kids, and a snack area with treats for hungry visitors. A gift shop sells a variety of Crayola-based gifts and souvenirs.
60 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN, Phone: 610-515-8000
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21.Stone Arch Bridge
© AMB-MD Photography/stock.adobe.com
Located at the intersection of West River Road and Portland Ave in downtown Minneapolis, Stone Arch Bridge is an important piece of Minnesota history. Built in 1883 by railroad baron James J. Hill, the bridge served as a working railroad bridge, allowing for the movement of people and goods across the river until 1965, and is still seen as a symbol of the railroad age today. Named a National Historic Engineering Landmark, the bridge forms a vital link in the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, which is a two-mile trail consisting of winding pedestrian walkways and bicycle lanes that people can enjoy all year round to enjoy the great outdoors and beautiful views of St. Anthony Falls.
100 Portland Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
22.The Old Spaghetti Factory
© The Old Spaghetti Factory
The Old Spaghetti Factory is an Italian-style restaurant chain that renowned for their authentic and mouthwatering Italian cuisine served in a warm and welcoming ambiance. Established over 50 years ago by the Dussin family, the restaurant has an old-fashioned trolley car that doubles as a dining car and is adorned with comfortable décor, intricate stained-glass displays, and antique lighting. The menu features delectable dishes that are made from scratch, using fresh ingredients and includes all the traditional Italian favorites such as antipasto and warm baked bread, fresh salads, pasta and sauces, wood-fired pizza, hearty meat, and fresh seafood entrées and decadent desserts. The Old Spaghetti Factory is open for dinner, seven nights a week and lunch and dinner on the weekends.
233 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55415, Phone: 612-341-0949
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23.The Rainforest Cafe
© The Rainforest Café
Located in the Mall of America®, The Rainforest Café is a jungle-themed restaurant chain that offers a wild place to shop and eat and an unforgettable dining experience. The restaurant is decorated a dense tropical jungle complete with lush vegetation, waterfalls, special effects like mist and jungle sounds, and life-like animatronics like the 25-foot boa constrictor Julius Squeezer, Tracy the Talking Tree, and the 14-foot Nile the Crocodile. The menu offers tasty all-America fare and favorites such as burgers, chicken dishes, pizza, and pasta and features goofily named entrees like Paradise Pot Roast, Mojo Bones and Rasta Pasta. The Rainforest Café is open for lunch and dinner, Friday through Wednesday.
306 South Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55425, Phone: 952-854-7500
24.Father Hennepin Bluff Park
© Mikko Lemola/stock.adobe.com
The Father Hennepin Bluff Park is a 5.5-acre park resting on a wooded bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. Named after Franciscan priest Father Louis Hennepin who found the land in 1680, the Father Hennepin Bluff Park is connected to several other parks via a network of walking trails and boasts paths that run all the way down the Mississippi River, allowing visitors to reach the waters of the meandering river. The park features a bandstand, drinking fountains, picnic areas with grills, tables, and benches, and plenty of open spaces for relaxing. The park boasts different sections, including the Phillip W. Pillsbury Park and the Lucy Wilder Morris Park, and is open year-round.
420 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414, Phone: 612-230-6400
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25.Minneapolis Central Library
Founded in 1885 as the city’s first public library, the Minneapolis Central Library is located in downtown Minneapolis and boasts the most significant children’s section in the upper Midwest and an acclaimed comic book collection. The library is home to the Pohlad Hall Theater, which features a variety of educational programs for children once a month, including animated shorts, live entertainment, free books, readings, and snacks and beverages. In addition to a fantastic children’s section, the library also houses the most extensive collection of items in the Hennepin County Library system, and facilities include an adaptive technology lab, the Best Buy Teen Tech Center, Cargill Hall, a piano room, meeting rooms, and an excellent languages section. There is also a coffee shop in the library for refreshments.
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN 55401, Phone: 612-543-5669
25 Fun Things to Do in Minneapolis with Kids of All Ages
- Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA), Photo: Minneapolis Institute of Arts (MIA)
- Children’s Theater Company, Photo: andrys lukowski/stock.adobe.com
- Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Photo: eunikas/stock.adobe.com
- Science Museum of Minnesota, Photo: Science Museum of Minnesota
- Minnehaha Falls, Photo: Brandon Klein/stock.adobe.com
- Mill City Museum, Photo: burningmine/stock.adobe.com
- Nickelodeon Universe, Photo: Nickelodeon Universe
- Izzy’s Ice Cream, Photo: Izzy’s Ice Cream
- Foshay Observation Deck and Museum, Photo: montywheels/stock.adobe.com
- Midtown Global Market, Photo: Midtown Global Market
- Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, Photo: BradleyWarren/stock.adobe.com
- Pizzeria Lola, Photo: Pizzeria Lola
- Sea Life Aquarium, Photo: Anthony/stock.adobe.com
- Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Photo: Pratik/stock.adobe.com
- Minnesota United FC, Photo: jarma/stock.adobe.com
- Como Zoo and Conservatory, Photo: Henryk Sadura/stock.adobe.com
- Minnesota Twins, Photo: StefanoT/stock.adobe.com
- The Commons, Photo: Baan Taksin Studio/stock.adobe.com
- Minnesota Zoo, Photo: Mike/stock.adobe.com
- Crayola Experience, Photo: Crayola Experience
- Stone Arch Bridge, Photo: AMB-MD Photography/stock.adobe.com
- The Old Spaghetti Factory, Photo: The Old Spaghetti Factory
- The Rainforest Cafe, Photo: The Rainforest Café
- Father Hennepin Bluff Park, Photo: Mikko Lemola/stock.adobe.com
- Minneapolis Central Library, Photo: monticellllo/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: AMB-MD Photography/stock.adobe.com
Hard Rock Cafe
Located inside Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America®, the Hard Rock Café is a world-renowned rock ’n’ roll-themed restaurant chain with a high-energy vibe that serves burgers, steaks, and other American classics. The family-friendly restaurant features 15,000 square feet of space across two floors with comfortable dining areas with a seating capacity for up to 425 guests, a live music space with a state-of-the-art stage, and upscale technology and design features, including more than 50 pieces of rock 'n' roll memorabilia from Hard Rock's iconic collection. The café also boasts a merchandise Rock Shop that sells an array of brand-related apparel, items, and souvenirs.
5115 Center Ct, Bloomington, MN 55425, Phone: 952-853-7000