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.
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.
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.
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.
One of the country's largest and most spectacular churches, the Cathedral of St. Paul sits high on a hill (aptly known as Cathedral Hill) overlooking downtown and the Mississippi River Valley. The structure opened in 1915, although extensive interior work continued for several more years. The massive copper dome is 300 feet above the nave's floor and the walls are covered in pale Minnesota granite. A pair of carillon towers flanks the building's Summit Avenue façade and the sanctuary seats 3000 worshipers. Guided tours are offered on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1p.
The State Capitol, considered by many to be one of the nation's most beautiful, is a spectacular structure designed by local architect Cass Gilbert. Opened in 1905, it took six years to be built, and cost USD4 million. The building, modeled after St. Peter's in Rome, features a stunning 220-foot (67-meter) marble dome and an extravagantly detailed interior. Built on a hill overlooking St. Paul, the top of the front steps yields a breathtaking view of downtown. Sheltering Minnesota Senate, Minnesota House of Representatives and the offices of the Attorney General and the Governor, the capitol harbors opulent chamber rooms and elaborate murals, while the glorious, gilded chariot lodged at the entrance presides over the area's landscape. A striking canopy of pride and poignancy, the Minnesota State Capitol is the crowning glory of Saint Paul.
Formerly known as the Lock and Dam No. 2, the Meeker Island Lock and Dam, is not only a place of excellent picturesque views but also an amazing place to take a day off and spend some family time. Be it a family outing, or a picnic with friends, one can thoroughly enjoy the scenic views of the dam, along e=with the trails along the dam. One can just sit and enjoy the serenity of the view at the benches or just spend family time at the picnic tables.
For all those model railroad buffs out there, the Twin City Model Railroad Museum is the place to go. Miniature replicas of the American trains of the '30s, '40s, and '50s, perfect down to the last detail, chug along the tiny tracks and stations, to the delight of both young and old alike. Tour groups are also welcome.
A landmark in its namesake neighborhood, St. Anthony Park Branch Library is a Carnegie library established in 1917. It is home to a collection of over 55,000 books and items, including several multi-lingual publications. Their selection for children is one of the largest in the city. This branch is as renowned for its stunning architecture as it is for its repertoire and cultural events.
Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum's mostly 20th-century collection contains the world's largest assemblage of works by Marsden Hartley and Alfred Maurer, as well as paintings and prints by Georgia O'Keefe, Arthur Dove and Robert Motherwell. However, many critics consider the building itself to be a stunning piece of art. Designed by Frank Gehry, the flamboyant 1993 building is possibly the most talked-about structure in the Twin Cities. The museum's collections are displayed in galleries the New York Times has referred to as possibly the five best rooms for art viewing in the world. Admission is free. Visit the website for updates and additional information.