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Top Rated Attractions in Minneapolis/St. Paul

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Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts boasts an impressive selection of Impressionist paintings. Originally constructed in 1915, the Institute has been amazing gallery-goers with its substantial collection of over 85,000 pieces of American and European artists' works for roughly a century. Works on display here range from those by such legends as Matisse and Kandinsky to Picasso and Rodin. In addition to American and European paintings, there is also an excellent Asian collection.

Lake of the Isles

Some of the city's largest and most elegant homes frame Lake of the Isles. This man-made lake is well stocked with panfish, attracting anglers of all ages in the warm months as well as the cold. Swimming is not advised, but the setting is delightful for sunbathing, a picnic or reading a book under a large shade tree. In winter, park officials designate skating areas and erect a warming house. Walking, jogging or biking around its 2.7 miles of shoreline provides outstanding views of the downtown and the surrounding neighborhood. The serene atmosphere of Lake of the Isles makes it the lake of choice for canoeists. The southern portion of the lake is connected to the city's largest lake, Lake Calhoun, by a quiet channel.

Minnehaha Regional Park

This is one of the most spectacular urban delights of south Minneapolis. Winding its way from the south shore of Lake Harriet, Minnehaha Creek cuts a 5-mile path along 50th Street on its way to the Mississippi River. Picturesque Minnehaha Parkway, running parallel to the creek, is a splendid drive featuring lush gardens and large shade trees. The route can also be traversed by foot or bike via the trails. The culmination of the gurgling and bubbling creek as it rushes to meet the mighty Mississippi is the cascading splendor of Minnehaha Falls and 170-acre magnificent Minnehaha Park. One of the city's most-used stretches of parkland, it features several large picnic grounds, formal gardens, playing fields, hiking trails, and undeveloped natural areas. Four different staircases, made of local stone, lead from the uplands to various spots along the creek bottom. There they connect to a trail that follows the creek to its confluence with the river across from St. Paul's Hidden Falls Park. A separate paved trail connects the park to historic Fort Snelling State Park. Of special historical significance is the John H Stevens House Museum that was recently moved to park grounds south of the Falls.

Mill City Museum

Once the largest flour mill in the world, the Mill City Museum aims to showcase the ins and outs of the intricate process of milling. The flour milling industry was one of the top industries in Minneapolis and the museum will show visitors the vast history of flour production. Walkthrough the old factory and take in the sights. Don't forget to check out their classes, lectures and many other special events that take place throughout the year.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

In close proximity to the Walker Art Center sits what many consider one of the boldest and most unique displays of art in the country, if not the entire world. Inaugurated in 1988, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is a showcase for more than 40 works of art including major sculptures by George Segal, Ellsworth Kelly, Jenny Holzer, Henry Moore and Franz Lipschitz. The entrance to the 11-acre garden is bordered by Ampersand, a pair of colossal granite columns by Martin Puryear. The garden's centerpiece is the 'Spoonbridge and Cherry' sculpture and fountain by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The small conservatory is also home to a Frank Gehry-designed giant fish with scales of glass that rests on its tail.

Minnesota History Center

Housing a collection of more than 100,000 objects and 500,000 documents, this is a must-stop for residents and tourists alike. The dramatic setting alone is worth the trip. Inside the History Center, past times are alive and well. 'Minnesota A to Z,' an ingenious depiction of various aspects of Minnesota life over the past 150-plus years, will jog the memories of longtime residents. Kids can climb inside a full-size boxcar and replica of a grain elevator. Changing exhibits use interactive techniques, recordings and videos to make history lessons interesting.

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