Minneapolis is a quiet and peaceful city that is known for its family-friendly atmosphere, thriving arts and theatre scene and abundant outdoor parks and lakes. Those moving to Minneapolis are often concerned about enduring the city’s harsh winters that bring below-freezing temperatures and several feet of snow. Be that as it may, this has not stopped residents from enjoying life to the full, with many leading an active and exciting lifestyle in the Twin Cities.
Shopping in Minneapolis
As the birthplace of Target and home to the largest mall in the US, the Mall of America, it goes without saying that new arrivals will be spoilt for choice with shopping options in Minneapolis. The Mall of America, located in the suburb of Bloomington, houses more than 550 stores, an indoor theme park and the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, so there is plenty to keep the whole family occupied.
For a unique experience, shoppers can head for the independent boutiques and international fashion brands at Nicollet Mall, a pedestrian shopping avenue in downtown Minneapolis. Edina is another popular shopping neighbourhood, home to the 50th & France shopping district, which is packed with independent stores.
Eating out in Minneapolis
Those wanting to dine out in Minneapolis are sure to find cuisine to suit their particular tastes and budget. The city is multicultural and this is reflected in its dining options: from traditional and ethnic to international cuisine, including Mexican, Italian, African and Asian, anyone will find a restaurant to satisfy their palate. The most diverse cuisine in Minneapolis can be found in the aptly named Eat Street, an area with a wide array of restaurants.
Nightlife and entertainment in Minneapolis
Minneapolis has a thriving nightlife, along with exciting performing arts and live music scenes.
The Warehouse District is the heart of Minneapolis’ nightlife. Trendy nightclubs, eateries and bars offer partygoers a range of entertainment options here. The Downtown area also has plenty of options for those looking for a night out.
Theatre lovers are in for a treat in Minneapolis. The city is renowned for having one of the best theatre scenes in the US outside of New York, and a number of touring Broadway shows and major musical acts have graced stages in Minneapolis.
Sports and outdoor activities in Minneapolis
Despite the harsh winters, Minneapolis residents are known to enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle. Straddling the Mississippi River and home to many lakes, the city provides abundant opportunities for water sports in the summer, and in winter, opportunities for skiing and ice skating abound.
With Minneapolis and St Paul frequently named as the USA's top region for parks, residents have plenty of room to enjoy walking, jogging and cycling. Those less active can indulge in a picnic or just relax in the shade of the trees during the summer.
See and do in Minneapolis
Those moving to Minneapolis will find plenty to see and do in the Twin Cities area. Whether hiking or biking in the great outdoors or indulging in a bit of culture at an art gallery or theatre, the wide range of attractions in Minneapolis will suit new arrivals from all walks of life. Parents will be pleased to know that there are many child-friendly activities on offer in the city too.
Below is a list of some of the most popular attractions in Minneapolis.
Fort Snelling State Park
Located at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers, this well-loved park combines history with outdoor recreation. The park gets its name from the fort located on its grounds, dating back to the 1820s. Visitors can tour the fort and learn about the area's fascinating history.
Minnehaha Regional Park
This sprawling park full of limestone bluffs and rivers lies halfway between the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. It is particularly popular during the summer months when visitors can catch a concert by the bandstand, enjoy a picnic while watching the 53-foot waterfall or simply take a relaxing walk along one of the trails.
Minneapolis Institute of Art
Visitors to the Minneapolis Institute of Art can view around 80,000 works that span over 5,000 years of history. Popular exhibits include the contemporary gallery and the Asian art collection. Works by renowned artists such as Édouard Manet, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin are also on display.
Minneapolis Theatre District
Three of the city's most prominent theatres – the Pantages, State and Orpheum Theatres – are all located within a block of each other in downtown Minneapolis. All three have a variety of offerings sure to delight any theatre buff, from plays and musical theatre to comedians and internationally famous musicians.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
A visit to this free art park in downtown Minneapolis is a must for all new arrivals to the city. The garden is home to more than 40 outdoor works of art, including the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture that has become a Minneapolis icon.
Minnesota Children’s Museum
This is a great place to take kids in Minnesota. Each of the museum's varied exhibits, spread out over three floors, is geared towards allowing young people to have an interactive experience. Highlights include the laser maze, giant slide, pretend town and makerspace.
What's on in Minneapolis
Minneapolis has a thriving arts and culture scene and there are many annual events and festivals taking place across the city each year, so new arrivals will never have to look far to find a new and interesting experience.
Here are some of the city's most popular annual events.
Minneapolis St Paul International Film Festival (April)
This annual film festival is one of the most popular in the Midwest and one of the oldest in the US. Over two weeks, the festival presents a diverse range of more than 200 local and international movies, documentaries and short films.
Twin Cities Pride (June)
One of the largest LGBTQ+ festivals in the country, the Twin Cities Pride celebration is attended by close to half a million people each year. The festivities feature parades, fireworks and free music concerts on several stages.
Minnesota State Fair (August)
The Minnesota State Fair takes place over 12 days with fun and entertainment for the whole family, including live music, food stalls, games and thrill rides.
Minnesota Fringe Festival (August)
The Minnesota Fringe Festival is a celebration of live stage performances, including theatre, dance, performance art, puppetry and comedy. Performances take place in venues across the Twin Cities over 11 days in August.
Minnesota Renaissance Festival (August/September)
The city's Renaissance Festival is a celebration of medieval times with live entertainment, armoured jousts and markets. More than 320,000 people attend the festival each year, many of them in costume as wizards, knights, witches and fair maidens, and there is food and fun to be had for the whole family.
Twin Cities Marathon (October)
The Twin Cities Marathon is known as one of the country's most beautiful urban marathons and is great fun for spectators and participants alike. The route passes a number of the city's lakes and follows the Mississippi River for several miles before culminating at the State Capitol in downtown Saint Paul.
Holidazzle Parade (November/December)
This annual festival is a celebration of the holiday season in Minneapolis and runs for a month over November and December. Highlights include festive activities such as s'mores-making stations, 'meet Santa' events, and outdoor movie nights.
►Learn more about transport in Getting Around in Minneapolis
"Minneapolis is a beautiful city with a fancy downtown, woods, lakes, and nice people. Minnesota is one of the most economically developed states and the quality of life is higher than in many other states. I wish my home country had the same life quality."
Find out more about the expat experience in Minneapolis in our interview with Armenian expat Emma.
Are you an expat living in Minneapolis?
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