Minneapolis Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Minneapolis

Minneapolis, Minnesota's major metropolis straddling the Mississippi River, is known for its parks and lakes. The city is also home to a number of cultural landmarks, such as the Walker Art Center, a contemporary art museum, and the nearby Sculpture Garden, famed for Claes Oldenburg's "Spoonbridge and Cherry", to name but a few. If you have the taste for art and architecture, you will find plenty in Minneapolis to please your senses. To explore the city's most notable attractions, follow this self-guided walking tour.
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Minneapolis Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Minneapolis Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Minneapolis (See other walking tours in Minneapolis)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.8 Km or 2.4 Miles
Author: ChristineS
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Mill City Museum
  • Minneapolis City Hall
  • Foshay Tower
  • Nicollet Mall
  • Orpheum Theatre
  • Basilica of St Mary
  • Walker Art Center
  • Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
1
Mill City Museum

1) Mill City Museum (must see)

Mill City Museum is a Minnesota Historical Society museum opened in 2003, built in the ruins of the Washburn "A" Mill next to Mill Ruins Park on the banks of the Mississippi River. It focuses on the founding and growth of Minneapolis, especially flour milling and the other industries which used water power from Saint Anthony Falls.

The mill complex, dating from the 1870s, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is part of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and within the National Park Service's Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. The museum features exhibits about the history of Minneapolis, flour milling machinery, a water lab and a baking lab.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is the multi-story Flour Tower, in which visitors sit in the cab of a freight elevator and are taken to different floors of the building, each designed to look like a floor in a working flour mill. Voices of people who worked in the Washburn A Mill are heard throughout the show. Visitors exit on the 8th floor, where extant equipment is interpreted by staff, and are then lead to the ninth floor observation deck to view St. Anthony Falls. The work of local artists is featured throughout the building.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Minneapolis City Hall

2) Minneapolis City Hall

Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse, or Municipal Building, designed by Long and Kees in 1888, is the main building used by the city government of Minneapolis, as well as by Hennepin County. The structure has served many different purposes since it was built, although today the building is 60 percent occupied by the city and 40 percent occupied by the County. The City Hall and Courthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

The building replaced an earlier City Hall that existed from 1873 until 1912 near the old intersection between Hennepin Avenue and Nicollet Avenue. That structure eventually was razed to make way for Gateway Park, which continues to occupy part of the old City Hall site. The building also replaced an earlier courthouse and also the earlier Hennepin County Jail.

City Hall is built of Ortonville granite, with many stones greater than 20 tons in weight. nside, on the 4th Street side, there is a large five-story rotunda including a large sculpture, "Father of Waters," by American sculptor Larkin Goldsmith Mead. Originally, the building had a red terra cotta roof, but it began leaking so a copper roof was installed. At 180,000 pounds, it was said to be the largest in the country.
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Foshay Tower

3) Foshay Tower

The Foshay Tower, now the W Minneapolis – The Foshay hotel, is a skyscraper in Minneapolis. Modeled after the Washington Monument, the building was completed in 1929, months before the stock market crash in October of that year. Its observation desk on the 30th floor has a stunning view of the Minneapolis downtown.

The building, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, is an example of Art Deco architecture. As the building was designed to echo the Washington Monument, the sides of the building slope slightly inward, and each floor of the Foshay Tower is slightly smaller than the one below it. Internally the building uses steel and reinforced concrete. The exterior is faced with Indiana limestone, while the interior features African Mahogany, Italian marble, terrazzo, gold-plated doorknobs, a silver and gold plated ceiling, ornamental bronze, hand wrought iron and three commissioned busts of George Washington.

Foshay Tower was the lifelong dream and namesake of Wilbur Foshay, an art student turned businessman who amassed his fortune by building up three utility company empires.
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Nicollet Mall

4) Nicollet Mall (must see)

Nicollet Mall is a twelve-block portion of Nicollet Avenue running through downtown Minneapolis. It is the shopping and dining district of the city, and also a pedestrian and transit mall. Along with Hennepin Avenue to the west, Nicollet Mall forms a cultural and commercial center of Minneapolis.

Several notable Minneapolis buildings line the Mall, notably the IDS Center, the former Dayton's flagship store, Orchestra Hall, and the Hennepin County Library. On Thursdays during the summer, the Nicollet Mall hosts a farmers' market while in the winter the Holidazzle Parade, now entitled "Holidazzle Village", are hosted in the Mall. The parades were held from the day after Thanksgiving until a couple days before Christmas. The event started in the early 1990s to increase business for downtown stores.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Orpheum Theatre

5) Orpheum Theatre

The Historic Orpheum Theatre is one of four restored theaters on Hennepin Avenue, along with the Pantages Theatre, the State Theatre and the Shubert Theatre (now Goodale Theater). The building opened on October 16, 1921, originally named the Hennepin Theater. The theater actually consists of two separate structures: a long, fingerlike lobby that extends back from a narrow facade along Hennepin Avenue, and the auditorium, which is set back and parallels Hawthorne Avenue. The restored lobby includes six terra cotta bas relief sculptures. The auditorium is intricately plastered, with a number of garlands, swags, medallions, and other decorations. The ceiling has a dome with 30,000 squares of aluminum leaf.

The building seats 1500 on the main floor and 1100 on the three level balcony. This theatre has also been the tryout place for the musicals, Victor/Victoria and The Lion King. Both were successful and eventually moved to Broadway.
Sight description based on wikipedia
6
Basilica of St Mary

6) Basilica of St Mary (must see)

The Basilica of Saint Mary is a Roman Catholic minor basilica located on its own city block along Hennepin Avenue between 16th & 17th Streets in downtown Minneapolis. It was the first basilica established in the United States. The Basilica of Saint Mary is the Co-cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis and is one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the country.

The Basilica of Saint Mary replaced a previous church, the Church of the Immaculate Conception. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Its significance is due to three reasons: its excellent architecture and engineering design, as an expression of Baroque influence in church architecture; an example of the history of religious movements in Minnesota; and its place as the first basilica in the United States.

The foundation of the church is of Rockville granite. The walls are built of white Vermont granite, with a height of 70 feet from the floor to the eave-line. The main entrance is a colonnaded portico with two 116-foot spires on each side. The nave is lighted by five large arched stained glass windows. The nave has a barrel vault of 82 feet, exceeding that of the St. Peter's Basilica by two feet. The sanctuary, at the north end of the nave, is topped with a grand dome measuring 40 feet square at the base and rising 138 feet above the floor.
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Walker Art Center

7) Walker Art Center

The Walker Art Center is a multidisciplinary contemporary art center in the Lowry Hill neighborhood of Minneapolis. The Walker is one of the most-visited modern and contemporary art museums in the United States and, together with the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and the Cowles Conservatory, it has an annual attendance of around 700,000 visitors. The museum's permanent collection includes over 13,000 modern and contemporary art pieces including books, costumes, drawings, media works, paintings, photography, prints, and sculpture.

The Walker Art Center began in 1879 as a personal art gallery in the home of lumber baron Thomas Barlow Walker. Walker formally established his collection as the Walker Art Gallery in 1927. With the support of the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration, the Walker Art Gallery became the Walker Art Center in January 1940.

The Walker's new building, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes and opened in May 1971, saw a major expansion in 2005. Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron's addition included an additional gallery space, a theater, restaurant, shop, and special events space.
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

8) Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (must see)

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is an 11 acre (45,000 m²) park, located near the Walker Art Center, which operates it in coordination with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. It is one of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the country, with 40 permanent art installations and several other temporary pieces that are moved in and out periodically.

The land was first purchased by the park board at the turn of the century, when it was known as "The Parade" because it had been used for military drills. It became known as the Armory Gardens after park superintendent Theodore Wirth created a formal design that included a U.S. National Guard armory (Kenwood Armory) for Spanish War Volunteers. In 1988, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden opened, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes and landscape architects Quinnel and Rothschild. In 1992, the Garden was expanded, adding 3½ acres. Michael Van Valkenburgh and Associates, Inc. designed the northward extension to complement the original space with a more open area that features a walkway and the 300-foot-long Alene Grossman Memorial Arbor.

The centerpiece of the garden is the Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985–1988) water sculpture designed by husband and wife Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The grounds also include the Cowles Conservatory, which has more flora and sculpture inside, such as Frank Gehry's Standing Glass Fish. A pedestrian bridge, the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge (1987), designed by Siah Armajani now crosses I-94, once again connecting the sculpture garden to Loring Park.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Create Your Own Walk in Minneapolis

Create Your Own Walk in Minneapolis

Creating your own self-guided walk in Minneapolis is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Saint Paul Introduction Walking Tour

Saint Paul Introduction Walking Tour

Saint Paul is a fantastic example of a city that has grown through a diverse range of cultures. The location near the Mississippi River helped make what would later become the city a significant center of local trade. The Dakota Sioux tribe were among the earliest residents, and European settlement that included French-Canadian fur traders and Catholic missionaries occurred during the 1830s to...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
University of Minnesota - Minneapolis Campus Walking Tour

University of Minnesota - Minneapolis Campus Walking Tour

The University of Minnesota is a public research university in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & Saint Paul. Respectively, its campus is located in these two neighboring cities. Founded in 1851, seven years before Minnesota became a state, this is one of the largest universities in the U.S., with over 50,000 enrolled students.

This self-guided tour takes you to explore the UM Minneapolis...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Historical Churches

Historical Churches

Minneapolis is known as the "City of Lakes”, but lakes aren’t the only pride of this city. You will be amazed by how many cathedrals, churches, temples and other holy places are scattered among the city. Don’t miss the chance to visit the most notable historical churches in Minneapolis with this self-guided walking tour.

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles