Minneapolis, the City of Lakes or the City by Nature, is one of few places that sits on the not-so-fine line between urban bedlam and pastoral calm. In the space of a couple miles, travelers can see world class museums and fish for dinner beneath a metropolitan skyline.
Built upon the Mississippi River, Minneapolis gained fame through milling and shipping down the “Old Muddy.” The city is now a corporate enclave of Target, U.S. Bancorp, Xcel Energy, Ameriprise Financial, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and PepsiAmericas.
One would think all those workers would give the city a more urban feel, but the tree-lined corridors and ample green space keep the city feeling far from cramped.
The city park system of lakes, parkways and trails has been called the best in America. After shopping or dining in the bustling Uptown area, visitors can head directly to the popular walking, biking and rollerblading paths of Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Lake Harriet. The city is also home to the most golfers per capita in the U.S. — so don’t forget your clubs.
Despite the liminal qualities of the city, Minneapolis is just that — a city. With more than 3 million people in the metro area shared with St. Paul, there is no shortage of cultural attractions.
Travelers looking for art in the Midwest can get their fix at one of several museums including the Walker Art Center; which houses groundbreaking modern art and rotating national exhibits. The Walker also sits alongside the iconic Weismann Sculpture Garden — the home of the postcard-friendly giant spoon fountain. For a peek at the classics or a glimpse into the classical era, there is also the Minneapolis Art Institute: a free museum with significant art stretching 5,000 years and around the globe.
Travelers looking to cut loose can take in downtown Minneapolis’ vibrant nightlife, though the harsh winters put a damper on the fun. Music fans cannot miss a visit to First Avenue, the iconic venue hosted just about every big name in the music business since opening in 1970. Fans of classical can also take in a concert at Orchestra Hall; which also holds an annual jazz festival outside.
Baseball fans can’t leave town without taking in a Twins game — whether the team on fire or crashing and burning, the new Target stadium is a site to behold. Cavernous hallways and a smorgasbord of concessions, shops and bars are ideal for exploring, snacking and sipping. Standing-room tickets are almost always available and quite affordable for an impromptu visit.
Football fans… lets just say a new stadium is in the works and leave it at that.
As for shopping, maybe you’ve heard of the Mall of America. The MOA is easily accessible from Minneapolis by light rail or highway and lies directly adjacent to Ikea — in case you need a little Swedish flair for the RV.
Speaking of transportation, besides the light rail and bus network, Minneapolis is also home to the Nice Ride program. The citywide project created bike rental kiosks all around the metro. Grabbing one of the green bikes is an ideal way to see the sites and all the city has to offer between stops.
For a place to park the RV, the Maple Grove KOA is close enough to town for a quick commute without having to maneuver the RV through traffic.
One caveat to visiting Minnesota in the summer months is the state bird — the mosquito. But with a few tips to keeping bugs out of the RV and a little extra bug spray, the pests are easily manageable.