The travel bug has been hitting me hard the last few weeks, as winter continues to thrive. Although I’d love to pack my bags and head to Greece or the Caribbean, my budget and lack of vacation days will not currently allow it.
I decided to satisfy my travel bug, at least for a little while, it was time to take advantage of places nearby that I could drive to and visit on the weekends. Though Minneapolis, Minnesota isn’t a popular choice for February, it is a city in my backyard that I’ve never really taken the time to see from a tourist’s perspective. Lucky for me, I have a friend from college who lives in the neighboring city of Shakopee who hosted my stay and acted as my tour guide.
I drove to Shakopee after work on Friday and arrived around dinner time. We went to a local Mexican restaurant called Pablo’s and celebrated National Margarita day (a day late) with a jumbo beverage.
The next morning I was looking to do some touristy site-seeing around Minneapolis. We started with the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and I finally got to see the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry.
Some of the pathways were shoveled, others we had to make our way through the snow, which wasn’t too bad. We meandered through the garden, taking time to read some of the plaques that described the artwork and/or artist.
You can see the Basilica of St. Mary peaking out of the skyline in the back. Beautiful building! I was told there are concerts held there in the summer. We were able to get a closer look at it from the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge in the sculpture garden, a pedestrian bridge that crosses Hennepin Avenue and leads into Loring Park.
We could’ve gone inside to see some of the art exhibits, but instead of spending the $15, we decided to head to our next destination, the Stone Arch Bridge.
The Stone Arch Bridge was the attraction I was looking most forward to. Located in downtown Minneapolis, it crosses the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls. Even for winter, there were quite a few people out and about. There was even a couple taking their engagement photos.
The only downside to visiting the bridge in the winter was the stairways that led to a closer look at the bridge were closed off because of the snow and ice.
Near the bridge is the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie Theater. We didn’t go in the Mill City Museum itself, but we did pass the unique architecture of the museum that incorporates the ruins of the flour dust explosion that occurred in the 1800’s. There’s a small plaque on the side of the building that explains a little bit about the event. You can even take a peak into the courtyard ruins from the street.
Next we headed into the Guthrie to take in a view of the city from the Yellow Room. The Yellow Room overlooks the Stone Arch Bridge and has gorgeous views of Minneapolis. It’s walls are made of yellow glass, hence the name.
I don’t know why it’s yellow…in my opinion I’d rather have it be clear glass so the photos would be in color lol.
Disclaimer: We had a bit of trouble finding the Yellow Room. Surprisingly, there were no signs directing us to the popular tourist destination. We had to take an elevator from the lobby to the 4th floor, walk across the floor to another elevator and take it to the 9th floor (and this was after much trial and error and asking for directions).
Our final destination before lunch was Minnehaha Falls, about a twenty minute drive from downtown. I think this is a more popular destination in the summer, but it was actually a very pretty winter scene with the frozen blue water.
Like the Stone Arch Bridge, there were stairways that allowed for a closer look of the attraction, but they were blocked off for winter. Some brave souls, however ventured down and onto the ice, although it looked a little slippery. We decided to be rule-followers are play it safe.
After lunch and a little rest, we decided to check out the Shakopee Brewhall, a relatively new establishment in the area.
We each got a flight, with four beers of our choice, and spent a few hours enjoying the atmosphere and our brewskis. The staff was very friendly–bartender even replaced one of the beers I didn’t care for.
There also happened to be a cask release that day, a tropical coconut flavored beer that was really interesting. I was pleasantly surprised! It would be a great summertime beer.
After we finished our beer, we went to the Muddy Cow for dinner. Great food and fast service. They have free cheeseballs available while you wait (not that we had to wait long) and their cheese curds come with ranch and a honey Sriracha sauce. So yummy!
Before heading home the next morning we had some coffee at Munkabeans Coffeehouse. It was a cute, artsy little coffee shop with mismatching furniture and lots of artwork on the walls.
Overall, a fun, quick trip to the cities to temporarily satisfy my travel bug and a great way to catch up with an old friend!