Sunshine Chaser's Guide to Minneapolis

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After a brief hiatus, the Sunshine Chasers series is BACK! And this one is a goodie. On Saturday, I hop on a flight to Minnesota for TBEX North America. Jenna from Jenna Redfield Designs is a native with all the insider spots in Minneapolis and surrounding areas. So if you're planning a trip (or if we'll be at TBEX together!), you're in luck. We've got all the best spots for warm weather Minneapolis now. Take it away, Jenna!

Minneapolis, the largest city in Minnesota, is a growing and multicultural city in the heart of the midwest. It's been in the news recently, as we lost our state's most honored hero, Prince, and the city has had so many celebrations in his honor.

I've lived in the suburbs of Minneapolis for most of my life and I will most likely never leave. My family has lived in this beautiful state for over 100 years. It was hard to narrow down some of the awesome experiences you can have here in the summer!

Warm Weather Minneapolis

There are so many places to go visit, I haven't even been everywhere! Here are some of my favorites.

Minneapolis Outdoor Must Sees

Stone Arch Bridge/Guthrie Theatre/Mill City Museum-Mill District, East Minneapolis The Mississippi River runs straight through the heart of Minneapolis and there are many bridges that cross it. None are as beautiful as the Stone Arch Bridge. With views of the skyline, it's one of the most popular places to take pictures of and on!

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Falls-Nokomis East, Minneapolis, Southeast Minneapolis One of the coolest places in Minneapolis is Minnehaha falls, our own natural waterfall! Although I grew up just 20 minutes from the falls, I never visited until last year. So beautiful and a definite must see on your visit.

Como Zoo and Observatory-Como Neighborhood, St. Paul The Como Zoo is a free zoo in St. Paul. One of the best parts is the observatory, an indoor botanical garden with an entirely glass exterior. Just google it, trust me :)

Lake Harriet-Roller Blading & Ice Cream, concert at bandshell-Southwest Minneapolis A huge memory of mine as a child was rollerblading around Lake Harriet, a one of the lakes in the heart of Minneapolis and a popular area for walkers and bikers, as well as sailors, grabbing ice cream and a concert at the bandshell. I also go to the Lakewood cemetery, which has been named one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the country, to visit my grandparents who are buried there. Such a beautiful area and very special to me and memories of my childhood.

Walker Art Museum & Sculpture Garden (Cherry and the Spoon!) or Minneapolis Institute of Art-Lowry Hill, Minneapolis When you think of Minneapolis, you probably think of the cherry and the spoon sculpture. That is located in the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Museum, one of the major museums in Minnesota. They have many different sculptures and interesting modern works of art. The MIA is another option for more traditional art exhibits.

Minneapolis Food & Drinks

SpyHouse Coffee-Northeast, North Loop, Uptown Spyhouse is huge in the three major neighborhoods for 20 somethings-Northeast, The North Loop and Uptown. It's become the must-go.

But there are also many other options for coffee. I recently sat down at Urban Bean in Uptown with fellow Minneapolis-based creative Kayla Hollatz for a hot chocolate.

Psycho Suzis-Northeast Minneapolis Rooftop dining is all the rage in Minneapolis, since we have such short summers and such gorgeous views of all the lakes and rivers. I recently had brunch with some ladies I met on #createlounge (an amazing twitter chat) at Psycho Suzis, a tiki themed restaurant with outdoor seating looking out onto the Mississippi River. (editors note: I visited here when I was in Minneapolis and I second this suggestion!)

Uptown, Minneapolis One of the hippest areas in Minneapolis is Uptown, which is mostly filled with 20 somethings. Many bars, restaurants and clubs are in this area. Chino Latino, Pizza Luce, Stella's Fish Cafe and more restaurants are hot spots.

Minneapolis Breweries:

Breweries are HUGE in Minneapolis. They have been popping up all over the place. Surly opened a huge beer hall and it's been the place to be since late 2014. Or check out all the other breweries in town with this master list.

Shopping/Suburbs

Mall of America in Bloomington (15 minutes south of Minneapolis) Visiting the Mall of America is one of the main reasons many visit Minnesota. One of the largest malls in the country, inside are 2 hotels, a theme park, an aquarium and much more! It's also located very close to the MSP airport and they have transportation to and from.

Galleria-Edina (about 15 minutes southwest of Minneapolis) Edina, one of the wealthiest areas in the State, has many high end stores to shop at. Minnesota has no sales tax on clothing, so many people buy high end clothing here. There are many areas around town to shop, but 50th and France is a very popular area to shop.

Excelsior (30 minutes west of Minneapolis): Maynards Restaurant Growing up in the south western suburbs, I would frequent the lake town of Excelsior, just 30 minutes from Minneapolis. Lake Minnetonka, the 9th largest lake in the State and the largest in the Twin Cities. Excelsior is the closest Minnesota gets to California, with public beaches, speed boats and on the lake dining. Maynards is a must visit in the summer.  Every Thursday, either they or their neighbor restaurant Bayside have a singer/band play live for free. I got to see NeedToBreathe!

Fun Fact: Minnetonka is where Minnetonka Moccasins and Tonka Trucks got their name. It's also the name of the city I currently live and went to High School.

After eating, head over to Adele's Frozen Yogurt for dessert. If you have time while in Excelsior, catch either the Refurbished Streetcar or the Steamboat Minnehaha.

Arts & History in Minneapolis

American Swedish Institute in Phillips Neighborhood, Minneapolis

Basilica of St Mary in Loring Park, Minneapolis

Minneapolis Summer Events:

Twins Game or St. Paul Saints Game (Spring/Summer)-North Loop in Minneapolis Both the Twins Stadium and the St. Paul Saints stadiums were built within the past decade, so they are great fun and exciting events to go to!

River Rats Waterski Show (Thursdays)-Near North and Willard Hay along the west side of Mississippi River I went 2 summers ago to see the River Rats Waterski show on the Mississippi river. It was fantastic and a free event that happens on Thursdays during the summer

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Northern Spark-All Night Art Festival (Mid June)- many locations in Minneapolis One of the coolest events I've heard about (but sadly never attended) is Northern Spark, all night art festival where the city lights up and you can go to different museums, great place to see new music and art.

Basilica Block Party (mid July)- Loring Park, Minneapolis Basically our version of Coachella, this huge music festival is a crowd favorite. It takes place right outside the Basilica of St. Mary, one of the largest and most prominent churches in the state, and raises money for its preservation.  First Avenue & Target Center are other places to attend concerts.

MN State Fair (late August)- Como- St. Paul The Great Minnesota Get Together! Nearly 2 million people visit the state fair during it's 10 day run every year. It's one of the largest in the country and most Minnesotans go every year. I actually vlogged my visit last year. Super fun!

Day Trips from Minneapolis

Have even more time in Minneapolis? Check out these awesome places.

Stillwater One of the most beautiful areas of Minnesota, about 30 minutes northeast of Minneapolis, reminds you of a city on the East Coast, Stillwater and the Stillwater Cave Tours sounds like an amazing stop!

ValleyFair Amusement Park in Shakopee, Minnesota Besides Nickelodeon Universe at Mall of America, Valleyfair is the biggest theme park in Minnesota and has a waterpark inside as well.

St. PaulMinnesota Science Museum/Minnesota History Center in Downtown St. Paul James J Hill House in Summit- University Neighborhood, St. Paul Fort Snelling in Macalester- Groveland Neighborhood, St. Paul

Jenna is a branding photographer and videographer from Minneapolis. She enjoys adventures, hanging out with friends, shopping, and working feverishly on all her business ventures. She works full time in marketing and also has two side businesses, a blog, and a Youtube channel which keep her extremely busy. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Let's Chat!

  • Who knew Minneapolis could be such an incredible Spring and Summer spot? It's not all about the winters here.
  • Are you going to TBEX North America? Let me know and we'll have to meet up!