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Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to a one day in Minneapolis itinerary. Internet Stranger, I imagine if I asked you to name the nicest city in America, you might come up with Minneapolis, Minnesota immediately. After all, the phrase is Minnesota Nice, not Nevada Nice, which is probably the name of a brothel somewhere outside Reno.

But if you enjoy a one day in Minneapolis itinerary, you might be surprised at how avant-garde the city can be. We can see experimental art at the Walker Art Center, attend the theater, and even dine in Hell. You believe me now, dontcha?

One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary

Where to Stay?

What kind of hotel would you like for your One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary? Would you choose something in a convenient location? Want a place with a friendly staff that will help you get to the airport? Need a large and yet cozy room complete with an ice machine so you can depuff your eyes with fresh cubes every morning? Then The Residence Inn in the Downtown/City Center is for you!

If you want a great deal on this hotel, just click here. And if you’d rather explore great deals on other hotels in Minneapolis, click here!

One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary

What to Pack?

A Perfect One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary 3

You’ll need comfy shoes for all the walking we’re going to do. If it’s summertime, I love my special pink Birkenstocks. These aren’t your grandpappy’s Birkenstocks anymore. They come in every shade, and I always get compliments on my electric magenta shoes.

A Perfect One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary 4

If the weather is rainy or snowy, which can happen in Minnesota, I recommend the Asgard Rain Boots. They are comfy/cozy and keep my feet dry all day. Plus they’re cute enough that I can wear them out without feeling like some gauche tourist with gross feet.

A Perfect One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary 5

Finally, since we’re going to be out all day, you’ll want a battery for your cell phone. I always use the Anker charger. It’s light enough to fit in even a small purse. Plus the Anker lasts for several full charges of a phone, so I’ll never run out of juice!

One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary

One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary

Morning: Walker Art Center

On this One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary we are going to visit several of Minneapolis’s most beloved cultural institutions, and this is merely the first. The Walker Art Center is dedicated to showing the very last word in contemporary art.

The last time I was at the Walker Art Center, I saw a show that featured a beat-up refrigerator and a display or murder weapons. Who’s Minnesota Nice now, bitches? But since the Walker Art Center shows so much contemporary art, their exhibitions change often. It’s hard to predict what will be on display. So instead, I’ve decided to share some of the highlights from the famous Walker Art Center sculpture garden…

approximately top 5: walker art center sculpture garden

Spoonbridge and cherry
1) Spoonbridge and Cherry

So the Walker Art Center’s Sculpture Garden is officially the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Unlike some gardens, it is open year round. Also unlike some gardens, it features a giant spoon with a cherry balanced on top. Spoonbridge and Cherry is the love child of Claes Oldenburg and his wife Coosje van Bruggen. It was the very first sculpture in the garden.

According to Oldenburg, the spoonbridge looks like a Viking ship in a nod to Minnesota’s Viking heritage. I don’t really think anything says Minnesota Nice more than a giant friendly sculpture of a cherry. Just looking at it puts a smile on my face.

Hahn/Cock
2) Hahn/Cock

This sculpture just proves how determined the Walker Art Center is to make you smile. It is Hahn/Cock by German artist Katharina Fritsch. She says that the title is a pun. But I looked up the word Hahn and apparently it means tap. Tap/Cock? Is this some new sexual innuendo that I don’t understand? Is it a reference to Hancock, like someone’s signature? But then how is tapping involved? It’s very possible I just don’t understand German “humor”.

Woodrow
3) Woodrow

This adorable horsie is Woodrow. How sweet! Was the artist, Deborah Butterfield, a Woodrow Wilson fan? Or is there a deeper meaning here?

Woodrow Closeup

If you look closely, it really looks like wood, doesn’t it? But in fact, it’s just metal that has been painted to look like wood. My mind? Is BLOWN. My knuckles? Hurt like hell because I tapped on this thing thinking it was wood and smashed my poor fingies.

For Whom the Bell
4) For Whom…

This work is from Belgian artist Kris Martin. It is a non-functioning bell from a church in Germany. As it doesn’t work properly, the artist decided to have it ring silently. Regularly, creepily, and silently. The title is from the John Donne poem, “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. So this sculpture is reminding everyone we’re all going to die? That’s not very Minnesota Nice! Take that stuff over to Wisconsin where they like that sort of thing.

rabbit bell walker art center
5) Hare on Bell on Portland Stone Piers

That’s so much better. This work, by Barry Flanagan, is of a bunny jumping over a bell. This bell seems so much more cheerful. The bunny is happy. I’m happy. You’re happy. None of us are ever going to die! Suck on that, Wisconsin!

without words
6) Without Words

This work is Without Words by Judith Shea so…………………..

rock bottom brewery

One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary

Afternoon: Heart of Minneapolis Food Tour

Just a few scant years ago, if I said Minneapolis food tour to you, you might assume I was joking. How could one have a food tour with just Church Picnic Potato Salad and lutefisk. But all over the country, the restaurant scene is taking off, and Minneapolis is no exception. So I was excited to find the Heart of Minneapolis Food Tour. I could explore the highways and skyways of downtown Minneapolis and get all the Midwestern snacks my little heart desired.

On this One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary, allow me to share with you…

approximately top 5: One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary Food Tour

rock bottom brewery shrimp
1) Rock Bottom Brewery

Rock Bottom Brewery is a chain, and our guide said that normally they don’t include chains on the tour. However, they made an exception because all the beer here is brewed locally. We sampled two of their beers. One was hoppier and one was lighter, so there was something for everyone. The lighter beer was Hibiscus Pride, which was almost a pink color. Only Minneapolis would be nice enough to have a pink beer. Our guide said that it was made for pride month.

We paired the beer with the perfect bar snack: crispy fried shrimp with a thai chili sauce! Minneapolis sure has changed since I was a kid! I think the only snack you could get with beer back then was fried cheese curds in the shape of Kirby Puckett’s head.

prince first avenue
2) The Prince Show

Every good food tour includes local fun facts and landmarks along the way. Usually I try not to share too many of them because that would defeat the purpose of taking the tour. But I did need to share Prince’s Gold Star. The concert venue First Avenue has been a Minneapolis legend since the 70s. And it is even featured in the movie Purple Rain. (Prince is famously from Minneapolis.)

The exterior of First Avenue is covered with stars for legendary musicians. Of course when Prince died, they wanted to honor him. That’s why they changed his star to gold. I personally think they should have painted it purple, but no one asked me.

Firelake chicken wings
3) FireLake

Our next food stop was at a hotel restaurant: FireLake. It’s a little unusual to have a hotel restaurant and a chain on a food tour. But as long as the food is good, that’s all I care about! And the chicken wings at FireLake were delicious. They were a little sweet with a maple glaze that got all over my fingers. That just gives me an excuse to lick it off! We also got some more nibbles like artichoke dip with pita and cole slaw.

So far, all the food we were eating was elevated comfort food: popcorn shrimp, chicken wings, beer, dip. But they were all made with fresh and interesting ingredients instead of the bland flavors you might have seen in Midwestern kitchens years ago.

Candyland
4) Candyland

Speaking of comfort food, how about popcorn and chocolate? Some of you might notice that the wrapper on the popcorn says Chicago Mix. But we’re in Minneapolis! Should that be Twin Cities Mix? Apparently the owner of Candyland realized that no one had trademarked the popular popcorn snack of mixed cheddar and caramel popcorns. So she did it herself and called it Chicago Mix. Other companies can see cheddar and caramel; they just can’t call it Chicago Mix. Somewhere the CEO of Garrett Popcorn in Chicago is shaking his fists to the skies, screaming, “CURSE YOU CANDYLAND!”

Angel Food
5) Angel Food Bakery

Remember how I said we would dine in Hell? Well this is Opposite Day in Dante’s Inferno because we’re starting in Heaven and working our way down. Welcome to the Angel Food Bakery where they make everything from scratch. They don’t like to waste any of their baked goods because they’re angels.

They never do things like buying a whole loaf of whole-grain sourdough thinking they’re going to eat healthier and then ending up throwing it out after not eating any of it and just subsisting on pizza and Ben and Jerry’s for a week. That’s why they take their leftover donuts and turn them into donut bread pudding. It is as delicious as you would expect. It’s also the first time in my life I’ve felt virtuous while eating donuts.

Hell's kitchen
6) Hell’s Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen is in the basement of the same building as Angel Food Bakery. It’s something of a Minneapolis legend. Apparently former Senator Al Franken got their porridge shipped to him in Washington DC before he resigned in disgrace. Well, the devil is in the porridge, as my grandmother used to say.

ham and pear sandwich

Instead of cursed porridge, we had some damn good ham, pear, and melted cheese sandwiches. Salt + Sweet + Fat + Carbs = The Perfect Sandwich. That’s just science. My only criticism is that this sandwich didn’t come with devil horns or something. I think if you start with a theme, you should stick with it!

Devil Girl
24 Hour Tip

Don’t leave Hell’s Kitchen without checking out the bathrooms. Among other things, you’ll see this portrait of this cute child with ringlets that morphs into a hideous devil. It’s kind of like me when people try to talk to me before my morning coffee.

minneapolis skyway

One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary

Late Afternoon: Minneapolis Skyway System

This may come as a newsflash, Internet Stranger, but Minneapolis is “hella cold” in the winter. The temperature created problems when encouraging commerce in downtown Minneapolis because no one in their right mind would want to go for a shopping stroll in subzero Minnesota temperatures. That’s why the clever denizens of “The Mini Apple” created the city’s famous Skyway system. All told, the Skyway system stretches out over 11 miles.

skyway

Yes, it’s hard taking good photos from inside the Skyway because of the glare, but you can’t have everything.

Mary tyler moore
24 Hour Treasure

Pipe “Love is All Around” into your headphones and use the Skyway to head over to the most famous statue in Minneapolis. It honors Mary Tyler Moore and the character, Mary Richards, whom she played on her eponymous 70s sitcom. In the opening credits, Mary Tyler Moore famously threw her hat in the air on the streets of Minneapolis. So the statue captures that exact moment of joy.

(The MTM statue is located on Nicollet and 7th Street, but when I visited MPLS, it was being housed in the tourist center because of construction.) Believe me, it’s more fun when the statue is outside because you can throw your hat in the air much higher.

Sea Salt

One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary

Evening: Dinner at Sea Salt Eatery

Like many things in Minneapolis, the Sea Salt Eatery is seasonal and only open from April to October. This is because winter in Minneapolis is colder than the reception a group of green-coated Green Bay Packers fans would get at a Minnesota Vikings game.

Sea Salt served the finest seafood you can find in Minnesota. That sounds like damning with faint praise because Minnesota is not remotely near even one ocean. But remember it is the land of 10,000 lakes, and many of those lakes have fish in them.

Sea Salt is pretty casual, so you order your dinner at the counter and wait for them to bring it to you. (I recommend the light and flavorful fried fish tacos, which are a million times better than Minnesota Fried Fish Tacos have any right to be.) When you’re done, enjoy the scenery!

One of Sea Salt’s main selling points is that it’s located in Minnehaha Park, near the gentle Minnehaha Falls. It’s a fun waterfall to look at, and an even more fun waterfall to say. (Minnehaha! Haha!)

That’s a Perfect One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary

What would you do with One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Minneapolis right now? Which sculpture at the Walker Art Center was your favorite? And what is cuter, a spoonbridge with cherry or saying the name Minnehaha aloud? Please leave your thoughts below!

Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary. If you have time for another One Day in Minneapolis Itinerary, just click here!

Stella Jane
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