When songwriter Sonny Curtis penned the words to “Love Is All Around”—aka, the theme song for “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”— he was likely thinking about life in general for Mary Richards, Minneapolis’s favorite fictional woman-about-town. But anybody who has spent a day or more wandering the city knows that Minneapolis itself delivers a whole lot of love all on its own.
If you’re heading to the city for the first time, get ready to crush hard on Minneapolis. The following delights — and so much more — await.
Toss Your Hat Alongside Mary
Now that the theme song is firmly planted in your brain, go visit Ms. Richards first, and take the essential iconic tourist photo: you throwing your beret into the air right next to the statue of Mary doing the same. You know you want to take that photo. Don’t even pretend you’re too cool for the job.
The statue hangs out two blocks away from Minneapolis Visitor Information (at 7th and Nicollet Mall) these days. That Mary. Always so thoughtful. You can pick up maps and other Minneapolis-wandering information during your visit.
Pay Your Respects to “The Artist”
Of course, there’s no talking about Minneapolis without at least a mention of Prince. Immerse yourself in the genius that was Prince on a tour of Paisley Park, the estate that houses his home, studio, concert hall and club. The experience is a definite don’t miss, so buy tickets in advance.
Hit the Ice
Temps tumble once winter hits Minneapolis, but the area residents know that as long as they bundle up, there’s no reason to hide away indoors. Lace up some skates at any one of the city’s outdoor rinks at 24 different city parks. Yup, twenty-four! (Feeling wimpy? There’s still skating to be done. Glide onto the ice at the indoor Parade Ice Garden.)
Loosen Your Purse Strings
Forget to pack something? Worry not, dear reader. The Mall of America sells EVERYTHING a person could ever dream of needing. Or not needing, but wanting. And then a whole bunch of things you didn’t even know existed. And the mall, or really, THE MALL, also has an aquarium. And an indoor theme park — so take that, freezing days!
There are also dozens of restaurants and a giant LEGO Shop and … well, this is a whole city of its own. (There’s even a JW Marriott on site. Handy, right?)
Belly up with a Brew
If you’re a thirsty type, Minneapolis is your new best friend. The city and surrounding towns are simply flowing with craft-brewery goodness. Right in town, head to 612 Brew for everything from lagers to porters and beyond.
Start with the brewery’s best-known lager: Gateway Park. Then point your designated driver (or cab driver) toward Bauhaus Brew Labs, one of the most joy-filled tap rooms, well, ever. Prepare to do some serious Instagramming while at Bauhaus. The so-cool design of the place begs for it. After that? Take your pick …
Take an Art Break (with a Cherry on Top)
You know that really cool huge sculpture of a cherry sitting on a spoon? Yeah, that one. Well, it’s in Minneapolis. The spoon sits outside the Walker Art Center, one of the world’s top contemporary art centers.
Before you go, check the calendar to find out what special exhibits and events the Walker is hosting while you’re in town. The Walker is a place worth planning a day, a weekend or a life’s worth of trips around.
Embrace Your Inner Carnivore
With apologies to vegetarians and vegans alike, there’s just no way around it: A visit to Minneapolis that doesn’t include a Juicy Lucy (or as they call it at Matt’s Bar, a Jucy Lucy), is a visit done (at least slightly) wrong.
The it-came-from-Minneapolis burger turns cheeseburgers inside out so that the cheese is at the center and, during cooking, gets all hot and yummy and melty and fierce. And have one early in your trip because you’re going to want another. Herbivores beware: The Juicy Lucy could be your undoing.