I say Minnesota, you say Mall of America! True, Minnesota houses the main business center in Minneapolis, but it’s also full of tourist amenities. The architecture, shopping, and amusement parks are among the top tier of the country. If you find yourself in town for a vacation, quick escape, or even a business trip, the city is sure to leave its mark. There are plenty of indoor things to do in Minnesota during its cold winter months, but if you forget the great outdoors while you’re planning your spring and summer, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The hiking and natural attractions are easily accessible and will take your breath away.
Water, Water, Everywhere
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way: the Mississippi River. As one of the most famous waterways in the United States, it runs through Minneapolis, and it is a sight to behold and definitely a goal to cross off on a bucket list. However, the area also boasts over 20 lakes and wetlands. There are gorgeous waterfalls and enchanting creeks that can be toured on a linked series of parks. The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway allows you to see the green zone that the city has bought to preserve and remind the public of the natural beauty that abounds in the area. Bring your bike or just a comfortable pair of sneakers, and get lost among the many (well-marked) trails. If biking isn’t your thing, there are boat tours that allow you to get up close and personal in one of the city’s most abundant resources. Also, be sure to seek out Minnehaha Park to see the falls, whose beauty was immortalized by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “The Song of Hiawatha.”
Summer in the City
If you need something a little faster paced, there are also tours of the downtown area of Minneapolis. Guided bike tours, food tours, and even engaging historical tours are sure to keep you and your loved ones happy. With carriage rides, running audio tours, and your pick of surreys and bicycles, there is no shortage to wheels or ways you can learn about Minneapolis and taste what the city has to offer. While you are out and about, do not miss seeing the Stone Arch Bridge. It spans the entire Mississippi River, the only stone bridge to do so. It was built originally by railroad tycoons for trains in the 1880’s, but now, being a historical landmark, it’s duty is to serve bikes and pedestrians. If history is your thing, continue on to Mill Ruins Park, which is home to flour mill ruins that serve as an interpretation of the history of that era in Minneapolis history.
A Little Greenery
Where there is water, there will be lawn; and where there is lawn, there is sure to be an abundance of golf greens. Both for the golfing expert and the beginner, the area is known for some of the most beautiful and popular courses in the state. Rest assured, some of the courses are known for being especially challenging, so be sure to bring your “A” game. If you’d rather camp than golf, the surrounding areas have peaceful sites that are appropriate for RV’s and tent camping. Some options are fairly close to the city, in case you fear missing out on the other countless things to do in Minnesota. There are restaurants and entertainment facilities within easy reach, but you still get to enjoy roughing it beside your roaring fire and quiet lake of your choice. Some campgrounds have fishing available, like Lake Prior, so never fear for those who love to catch their dinner! The bike trails are accessible from these camp grounds, and make for easy adventuring for miles during the day.
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