clock menu more-arrow no yes
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Tim Bewer/Getty Images

Curbed Twin Cities Pocket Guide: Super Bowl edition

These are the places that you must visit in Minneapolis and St. Paul right now—new classics, old favorites, and other essentials

View as Map
The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
| Tim Bewer/Getty Images

Minneapolis might not be an obvious choice for a winter getaway, but the city takes great advantage of its longest season with tons of activities celebrating the fun that can be had in deep drifts of snow. Plus, with thousands of visitors descending on the city for the Super Bowl, it’s good to remember that the Twin Cities are also home to cultural institutions, parks, neighborhoods, and even islands.

Curbed’s editors have chosen 24 sites—some are the latest and greatest things to hit the scene, while others are always worth a look, no matter the season—that you should see right now.

Read More

1. Ice Palace in St. Paul’s Rice Park

Copy Link
109 W 4th St
St Paul, MN 55102

Every winter, St. Paul throws a massive outdoor party to prove that the cold never bothered us anyway. This year, that party includes an ice castle in St. Paul’s downtown Rice Park, designed by John Culligan of the Minneapolis-based Cuningham Group.

2. Guthrie Theater, endless bridge

Copy Link
818 S 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55415

The Jean Nouvel-designed Guthrie Theater hosts tours and locally produced plays on its three stages. The breathtaking modern structure was built in 2006 and the views of the Mississippi River and Mill City Ruins from the Guthrie’s Endless Bridge are spectacular.

Barry Winiker/Getty Images

3. Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Copy Link
2400 3rd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404

The grandest museum in the Twin Cities is also the one place to see ancient sculptures and internationally renowned work by artists like Van Gogh, Degas, and more for free. And don’t forget to walk down the the painstakingly reassembled Frank Lloyd Wright hallway inside the museum.

Saibal/Getty Images

4. Walker Art Center

Copy Link
725 Vineland Pl
Minneapolis, MN 55403

Minneapolis-St. Paul’s premier contemporary arts museum, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, opened in 1971 and underwent a major expansion by Herzog & de Meuron in 2005. The updated space, includes an events space, retail shop, and on-site restaurant, Esker Grove. The sculpture garden, which reopened last summer to great fanfare (and some controversy) is a must see during warmer months.

Tim Bewer/Getty Images

5. Chain of Lakes

Copy Link
Lake of the Isles
Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis’s chain of lakes includes Lake Harriet, Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) and Lake of the Isles, and each features a uniquely striking walking path. You can find a warming house and skating rink on Lake of the Isles in Winter, and The Art Shanty project has small ice fishing “houses” set up as art installations on Lake Harriet through February 11. You can also go all in and try ice fishing.

JoeChristensen/Getty Images

6. Psycho Suzi’s year-round patio

Copy Link
1900 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

An icy city like ours might not seem like the most obvious place to have a tiki drink outside in winter, but Minneapolis is a place that defies expectation. This wild spot by the river has irreverent decor that leans heavily on Polynesian-punk-rock.

7. The Electric Fetus

Copy Link
2000 4th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Minneapolis has made a name as a music city. Stop by this historic record store that has served as ground zero in the development of the Minneapolis sound since 1968. Score some rare vinyl and maybe catch an in-store performance.

8. American Swedish Institute

Copy Link
2600 Park Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404

A mansion and modern museum pay homage to the Swedish immigrants who settled the area and celebrates a modern wave of new Scandinavian art. Stop by the restaurant called Fika, which means “coffee break” in Swedish for cardamom buns, cocktails and open faced sandwiches.

Shutterstock

9. First Avenue

Copy Link
701 N 1st Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

First Avenue has been the home away from home for generations of Minneapolis musicians. And yes, it’s the iconic rock club that Prince made famous in Purple Rain, but also be sure to check out the stars painted along the sides of this former bus station. Check out a show in the main room, or in the smaller, 7th Street Entry.

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

10. James J. Hill House and Summit Avenue

Copy Link
240 Summit Ave
St Paul, MN 55102

St. Paul’s sprawling Summit Avenue is home to rows of historic mansions from the Gilded Age—including a brownstone where F. Scott Fitzgerald once lived. The grand James J. Hill House, a national historic landmark, offers tours of the city’s answer to Downton Abbey.

11. Midtown Global Market

Copy Link
920 E Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Get to know some of the vibrant cultures that make up Minneapolis by touring the former Sears building that has been converted into shops and a food hall. Somali, Vietnamese, Mexican, Moroccan, Italian, French, are just a few of the nationalities that are represented.

Photo by visitlakestreet / CC BY-NC 2.0

12. Basilica of St. Mary’s

Copy Link
88 17th St N
Minneapolis, MN 55403

America’s first Basilica, built in 1908 by Franco-American architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, the designer of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, is open to all. Take a self-guided tour or get the inside scoop from a docent.

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

13. St. Paul’s Curling Club

Copy Link
470 Selby Ave
St Paul, MN 55102

Curling, for the uninitiated, is a sport of flinging heavy round “rocks” down an icy lane and manipulating the landing by swiping a broom back and forth across the ice. And at this club, which opened in 1912, it’s an artform. A heated observation deck and bar is open to the public.

Photo by Lorie Shaull / CC BY-SA 2.0

14. St. Paul’s Union Depot

Copy Link
214 4th St E
St Paul, MN 55101

Originally the neoclassical train destination for anyone entering the capitol city, this mammoth marble-forward station was recently refurbished and restored to its historic glory. Designed by architect Charles Sumner Frost, the depot was first completed in 1926.

Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

15. Market House Collaborative

Copy Link
289 5th St E
St Paul, MN 55101

Located in St. Paul’s vibrant Lowertown neighborhood, this beautiful former warehouse contains a casual seafood restaurant from nationally renowned chef Tim McKee, fish market, butcher counter and bakery/cafe from pastry chef Michelle Gayer. The St. Paul Farmers Market takes place here every Saturday with rotating pop ups and tons of local food samples.

A post shared by Octo Fishbar (@octofishbar) on

16. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Copy Link
1225 Estabrook Dr
St Paul, MN 55103

Sometimes, it’s just really, absurdly cold here. Take a break with some much-needed warmth and humidity in this lush 100-year-old conservatory filled with orchids, tropical plants and a koi pond. The glass-domed conservatory first opened in 1925.

Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock

17. Bakken Museum

Copy Link
3537 Zenith Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55416

This museum named after Earl Bakken, the inventor of the pacemaker, is housed in an English Tudor home known as West Winds. Designed by Carl Gage for William Goodfellow, Bakken was originally dedicated to studying electronic therapies. It is now a library and museum of electricity.

18. Paisley Park

Copy Link
7801 Audubon Rd
Chanhassen, MN 55317

Prince was a musician who could have lived anywhere, but he made a Minneapolis suburb his home. The plain, white exterior belies the purple Graceland-like interiors that await at his home and music studio. After Prince’s death, his family converted Paisley Park into a museum.

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

19. Mall of America

Copy Link
60 E Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425

It’s a mall that’s run like its own city, with that an underground aquarium, a movie theater with $25 ticket prices, and an indoor theme park.

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

20. Minnesota History Center

Copy Link
345 W Kellogg Blvd
St Paul, MN 55102

Led by interactive exhibits, this center does an impressive job at taking visitors through the state’s history. Perhaps most engaging is a show based in a home located in a working class part of St. Paul, brought to life through stories of largely-immigrant residents, who have lived there throughout the years.

Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

21. Foshay Museum and Observation Deck

Copy Link
821 S Marquette Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55402

Head up to the top of this art deco building that was modeled after the Washington monument. Completed in 1906 and designed by Léon Eugène Arnal for the Magney & Tusler firm, it is on the historic register as an example of art deco majesty with African mahogany, gold accents, and Italian marble. Take in the gorgeous sites of downtown Minneapolis on the observation deck.

Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

22. Mill Ruins Park

Copy Link
102 Portland Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401

Even in the winter, the ruins along the Mississippi River where icy water rages over the crumbling bricks, merit a nice walk. Take a quick jaunt up to the nearby Mill City Museum to learn how the flour industry shaped Minneapolis.

Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

23. Nicollet Island

Copy Link
Nicollet Island
Minneapolis, MN 55401

This is a gorgeous little island tucked away in the middle of the city where time seems to have stopped. Take a self-guided tour of the homes that look like gingerbread houses come to life, many built by Franklin C. Griswold. Or reserve a horse-drawn carriage if you’d like to kick it up a notch.

Independent Picture Service/UIG via Getty Images

24. Can Can Wonderland

Copy Link
755 Prior Ave N
St Paul, MN 55104

Built by artists and aimed squarely at the young-at-heart, this trippy, indoor mini golf track also has a huge selection of pinball games and a bar. Drinks are ridiculous and fun, like That Carrot Drink that looks like a potted plant with edible cookie-dirt.

1. Ice Palace in St. Paul’s Rice Park

109 W 4th St, St Paul, MN 55102

Every winter, St. Paul throws a massive outdoor party to prove that the cold never bothered us anyway. This year, that party includes an ice castle in St. Paul’s downtown Rice Park, designed by John Culligan of the Minneapolis-based Cuningham Group.

109 W 4th St
St Paul, MN 55102

2. Guthrie Theater, endless bridge

818 S 2nd St, Minneapolis, MN 55415
Barry Winiker/Getty Images

The Jean Nouvel-designed Guthrie Theater hosts tours and locally produced plays on its three stages. The breathtaking modern structure was built in 2006 and the views of the Mississippi River and Mill City Ruins from the Guthrie’s Endless Bridge are spectacular.

818 S 2nd St
Minneapolis, MN 55415

3. Minneapolis Institute of Arts

2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Saibal/Getty Images

The grandest museum in the Twin Cities is also the one place to see ancient sculptures and internationally renowned work by artists like Van Gogh, Degas, and more for free. And don’t forget to walk down the the painstakingly reassembled Frank Lloyd Wright hallway inside the museum.

2400 3rd Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404

4. Walker Art Center

725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Tim Bewer/Getty Images

Minneapolis-St. Paul’s premier contemporary arts museum, designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes, opened in 1971 and underwent a major expansion by Herzog & de Meuron in 2005. The updated space, includes an events space, retail shop, and on-site restaurant, Esker Grove. The sculpture garden, which reopened last summer to great fanfare (and some controversy) is a must see during warmer months.

725 Vineland Pl
Minneapolis, MN 55403

5. Chain of Lakes

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, MN
JoeChristensen/Getty Images

Minneapolis’s chain of lakes includes Lake Harriet, Bde Maka Ska (formerly Lake Calhoun) and Lake of the Isles, and each features a uniquely striking walking path. You can find a warming house and skating rink on Lake of the Isles in Winter, and The Art Shanty project has small ice fishing “houses” set up as art installations on Lake Harriet through February 11. You can also go all in and try ice fishing.

Lake of the Isles
Minneapolis, MN

6. Psycho Suzi’s year-round patio

1900 Marshall St NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418

An icy city like ours might not seem like the most obvious place to have a tiki drink outside in winter, but Minneapolis is a place that defies expectation. This wild spot by the river has irreverent decor that leans heavily on Polynesian-punk-rock.

1900 Marshall St NE
Minneapolis, MN 55418

7. The Electric Fetus

2000 4th Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55404

Minneapolis has made a name as a music city. Stop by this historic record store that has served as ground zero in the development of the Minneapolis sound since 1968. Score some rare vinyl and maybe catch an in-store performance.

2000 4th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55404

8. American Swedish Institute

2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55404
Shutterstock

A mansion and modern museum pay homage to the Swedish immigrants who settled the area and celebrates a modern wave of new Scandinavian art. Stop by the restaurant called Fika, which means “coffee break” in Swedish for cardamom buns, cocktails and open faced sandwiches.

2600 Park Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55404

9. First Avenue

701 N 1st Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

First Avenue has been the home away from home for generations of Minneapolis musicians. And yes, it’s the iconic rock club that Prince made famous in Purple Rain, but also be sure to check out the stars painted along the sides of this former bus station. Check out a show in the main room, or in the smaller, 7th Street Entry.

701 N 1st Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55403

10. James J. Hill House and Summit Avenue

240 Summit Ave, St Paul, MN 55102

St. Paul’s sprawling Summit Avenue is home to rows of historic mansions from the Gilded Age—including a brownstone where F. Scott Fitzgerald once lived. The grand James J. Hill House, a national historic landmark, offers tours of the city’s answer to Downton Abbey.

240 Summit Ave
St Paul, MN 55102

11. Midtown Global Market

920 E Lake St, Minneapolis, MN 55407
Photo by visitlakestreet / CC BY-NC 2.0

Get to know some of the vibrant cultures that make up Minneapolis by touring the former Sears building that has been converted into shops and a food hall. Somali, Vietnamese, Mexican, Moroccan, Italian, French, are just a few of the nationalities that are represented.

920 E Lake St
Minneapolis, MN 55407

12. Basilica of St. Mary’s

88 17th St N, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

America’s first Basilica, built in 1908 by Franco-American architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, the designer of the Cathedral of Saint Paul, is open to all. Take a self-guided tour or get the inside scoop from a docent.

88 17th St N
Minneapolis, MN 55403

13. St. Paul’s Curling Club

470 Selby Ave, St Paul, MN 55102
Photo by Lorie Shaull / CC BY-SA 2.0

Curling, for the uninitiated, is a sport of flinging heavy round “rocks” down an icy lane and manipulating the landing by swiping a broom back and forth across the ice. And at this club, which opened in 1912, it’s an artform. A heated observation deck and bar is open to the public.

470 Selby Ave
St Paul, MN 55102

14. St. Paul’s Union Depot

214 4th St E, St Paul, MN 55101
Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Originally the neoclassical train destination for anyone entering the capitol city, this mammoth marble-forward station was recently refurbished and restored to its historic glory. Designed by architect Charles Sumner Frost, the depot was first completed in 1926.

214 4th St E
St Paul, MN 55101

15. Market House Collaborative

289 5th St E, St Paul, MN 55101

Located in St. Paul’s vibrant Lowertown neighborhood, this beautiful former warehouse contains a casual seafood restaurant from nationally renowned chef Tim McKee, fish market, butcher counter and bakery/cafe from pastry chef Michelle Gayer. The St. Paul Farmers Market takes place here every Saturday with rotating pop ups and tons of local food samples.

289 5th St E
St Paul, MN 55101

16. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103
Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock

Sometimes, it’s just really, absurdly cold here. Take a break with some much-needed warmth and humidity in this lush 100-year-old conservatory filled with orchids, tropical plants and a koi pond. The glass-domed conservatory first opened in 1925.

1225 Estabrook Dr
St Paul, MN 55103

17. Bakken Museum

3537 Zenith Ave S, Minneapolis, MN 55416

This museum named after Earl Bakken, the inventor of the pacemaker, is housed in an English Tudor home known as West Winds. Designed by Carl Gage for William Goodfellow, Bakken was originally dedicated to studying electronic therapies. It is now a library and museum of electricity.

3537 Zenith Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55416

18. Paisley Park

7801 Audubon Rd, Chanhassen, MN 55317
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Prince was a musician who could have lived anywhere, but he made a Minneapolis suburb his home. The plain, white exterior belies the purple Graceland-like interiors that await at his home and music studio. After Prince’s death, his family converted Paisley Park into a museum.

7801 Audubon Rd
Chanhassen, MN 55317

19. Mall of America

60 E Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425
KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

It’s a mall that’s run like its own city, with that an underground aquarium, a movie theater with $25 ticket prices, and an indoor theme park.

60 E Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425

20. Minnesota History Center

345 W Kellogg Blvd, St Paul, MN 55102
Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Led by interactive exhibits, this center does an impressive job at taking visitors through the state’s history. Perhaps most engaging is a show based in a home located in a working class part of St. Paul, brought to life through stories of largely-immigrant residents, who have lived there throughout the years.

345 W Kellogg Blvd
St Paul, MN 55102

21. Foshay Museum and Observation Deck

821 S Marquette Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55402
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Head up to the top of this art deco building that was modeled after the Washington monument. Completed in 1906 and designed by Léon Eugène Arnal for the Magney & Tusler firm, it is on the historic register as an example of art deco majesty with African mahogany, gold accents, and Italian marble. Take in the gorgeous sites of downtown Minneapolis on the observation deck.

821 S Marquette Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55402

22. Mill Ruins Park

102 Portland Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Even in the winter, the ruins along the Mississippi River where icy water rages over the crumbling bricks, merit a nice walk. Take a quick jaunt up to the nearby Mill City Museum to learn how the flour industry shaped Minneapolis.

102 Portland Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55401

23. Nicollet Island

Nicollet Island, Minneapolis, MN 55401
Independent Picture Service/UIG via Getty Images

This is a gorgeous little island tucked away in the middle of the city where time seems to have stopped. Take a self-guided tour of the homes that look like gingerbread houses come to life, many built by Franklin C. Griswold. Or reserve a horse-drawn carriage if you’d like to kick it up a notch.

Nicollet Island
Minneapolis, MN 55401

24. Can Can Wonderland

755 Prior Ave N, St Paul, MN 55104

Built by artists and aimed squarely at the young-at-heart, this trippy, indoor mini golf track also has a huge selection of pinball games and a bar. Drinks are ridiculous and fun, like That Carrot Drink that looks like a potted plant with edible cookie-dirt.

755 Prior Ave N
St Paul, MN 55104