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What to Do In Minneapolis On a Budget: 8 Great Ideas

For more information about what to do in Minneapolis, check out this Minneapolis City Guide that I wrote.  It has loads more great suggestions of what to do from a local, off the beaten path perspective.

Minneapolis Spoon and Cherry  1


  • Engage in a “local” Minneapolis pastime and head for the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes and the Grand Rounds Scenic byway.  For the uninitiated, the crown jewel of Minneapolis is the string of glacier carved lakes just south of downtown.  Locals use the 12 miles of hiking and biking paths around the lakes year round.  Over 5 million people visit each year, and you should to for an authentic Minnesota experience (especially authentic if it is wintertime…BONUS POINTS!)

Minneapolis Skyline

  • Visit the Guthrie Theater to take advantage of the free wifi and one of the most gorgeous views in the entire city!  The endless bridge at the Guthrie is always free to visit.  It stretches 178 feet out over the Mississippi River and the views are stunning both during the day and at night.
  • Get a taste of campus life by taking a walk around the Northrup Mall area of the University of Minnesota campus.  This spectacular green space is surrounded by old, stately, college-looking buildings and crowned by the Northrup Auditorium.  It is a great place for a picnic, and in the summer time, you can often see free concerts here as well as some great people watching!

University of Minnesota Northrup Mall

  • Visit an iconic Twin Cities photo spot by taking the light rail train to Minnehaha Falls.  It is spectacular in the spring and summer, but it can be equally captivating for a winter visit to see the falls frozen in time as sheets of blue ice.
  • Enjoy a walk along pedestrian only Nicollet Mall and peruse the beautiful window displays.  The windows on Nicollet Mall are particularly festive during the holidays (I remember taking the bus downtown with my grandma when I was little to see the window displays)  Visit the Target flagship store and pop in and out of a number of intriguing gift and specialty stores.  You might even get lucky and hit the Nicollet Mall Farmers market, a great place to pick up a picnic lunch!

Downtown Minneapolis Skyway

  • Get your art fix by visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Art.  Free every day, this top notch art museum has a ton to see and do for adults and children.  My personal favorite piece?  The Jade Mountain, a HUGE chunk of jade (the largest piece of carved jade outside of China) with scenes carved all the way around it. When you have had your fill of creativity, check out two of my favorite restaurants (which happen to be right nearby): Little Tijuana or Krungthiep Thai.

Little Tijuana Minneapolis

  • In the summer time, grab a glass of Sangria and maybe a dessert and catch a movie at the rooftop bar at Solera Restuarant on Hennepin Avenue.   On Tuesdays and Sundays (weather permitting), the show a variety of movies in a spectacular setting in downtown Minneapolis.  A couple of drinks + dessert + free movie=cheap (but very impressive) date night!

Hennepin Avenue 3

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