clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
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

Ice Palace in St. Paul’s Rice Park

Copy Link

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.

Guthrie Theater, endless bridge

Copy Link

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

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

Copy Link

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

Walker Art Center

Copy Link

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

Chain of Lakes

Copy Link

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

Psycho Suzi’s year-round patio

Copy Link

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.

The Electric Fetus

Copy Link

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.

American Swedish Institute

Copy Link

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

First Avenue

Copy Link

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

James J. Hill House and Summit Avenue

Copy Link

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.

Midtown Global Market

Copy Link

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

Basilica of St. Mary’s

Copy Link

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

St. Paul’s Curling Club

Copy Link

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

St. Paul’s Union Depot

Copy Link

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

Market House Collaborative

Copy Link

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

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

Copy Link

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

Bakken Museum

Copy Link

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.

Paisley Park

Copy Link

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

Mall of America

Copy Link

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

Minnesota History Center

Copy Link

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

Foshay Museum and Observation Deck

Copy Link

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

Mill Ruins Park

Copy Link

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

Nicollet Island

Copy Link

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

Can Can Wonderland

Copy Link

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.

Ice Palace in St. Paul’s Rice Park

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.

Guthrie Theater, endless bridge

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.

Barry Winiker/Getty Images

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

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.

Saibal/Getty Images

Walker Art Center

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.

Tim Bewer/Getty Images

Chain of Lakes

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.

JoeChristensen/Getty Images

Psycho Suzi’s year-round patio

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.

The Electric Fetus

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.

American Swedish Institute

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.

Shutterstock

First Avenue

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.

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

James J. Hill House and Summit Avenue

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.

Midtown Global Market

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.

Photo by visitlakestreet / CC BY-NC 2.0

Basilica of St. Mary’s

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.

Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

St. Paul’s Curling Club

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.

Photo by Lorie Shaull / CC BY-SA 2.0

St. Paul’s Union Depot

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.

Education Images/UIG via Getty Images

Market House Collaborative

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

Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

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.

Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock

Bakken Museum

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.

Paisley Park

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.

Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

Mall of America

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.

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Minnesota History Center