I found myself in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago, aching to discover a new city. I was there as a chaperone for my son’s choir group. Which worked out perfectly because they were in rehearsals all day and gave me time to explore. I had been watching the weather a few weeks before; temperatures in March were in the 40s to 50’s. That was not too cold for that part of the states and I was excited I would be able to explore. Then it came time to visit and of course, it dropped to the teens. Brrr!
I’m in Minneapolis and it’s freezing, now what?
I live in Arizona and enjoy the sun and warmth. Temperatures in the teens are not for me, especially when the windchill brought it down to 5 degrees. 5! I don’t do 5. There was no way I was going to sit in the hotel all day, although as a blogger, it is easy to be on the computer for hours at a time. On the other hand, had I chose to stay put, the Hyatt Regency downtown is the place to be. It is a beautiful hotel, evident the moment you walk in.
The grand fireplace provides a beautiful backdrop in the lobby and makes for a great meeting place or just hanging out. The granite making up the fireplace was locally quarried and contrasts nicely with the modern design. There is an indoor pool and also a full gym. The gym has everything you need, including a racquetball court and basketball court! In the lobby, there is a market that makes wonderful coffee and offers things to eat like sandwiches and salads. Everything was pretty reasonably priced. They also have a nice bar and restaurant, Prairie Kitchen. The food here was very good, I ordered the SKOR Nachos. You know I’m a nachos girl! The menu items are locally grown with seasonal cuisine.
St. Mary’s Basilica Walk
One of the things on the top of my list was The Sculpture Garden. As a fine art major in college, I studied many of these pieces and I really wanted to see the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry, designed by husband and wife Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. You can imagine my dismay when I learned that it was closed for renovation. UGH! I decided I would head out anyway and try and catch a glimpse and at least see what was going on. I started with a stroll through Loring Park. It was a quick and brisk stroll but enough to enjoy the Redwing Blackbirds chirping and see the ice skating rink. Next to the park, I found a bridge that went over the freeway and led to the sculpture garden. It was a perfect view from above and it was right above the sculpture I wanted to see. Win!
At this point, my legs were frozen so I made my way to St. Mary’s Basilica. Upon entering, I just wanted to sit down, warm up and take in the sights. The smell of burning candles representing people’s prayers filled the air. I felt like I was transported to Rome, as it is reminiscent of many of the churches there. St. Mary’s was built in 1907 and is our country’s first basilica. It also is adorned with Minnesota granite and stands with an 187 ft. dome, which is only about 1/3 of the size of the dome of St. Peter’s in Rome. But, pretty large for an American church. The church is quite beautiful with it’s curved vaulted ceiling adorned with gold accents. The nave walls are lined in stained depicting the life of Mary.
Minneapolis Institute of Art (MIA)
The MIA is a great way to spend a few hours out of the cold. And the best part, it’s FREE! This is the first large art museum I have been to where I didn’t have to pay admission. They have a great collection ranging from antiquities to Modern Art. The area that houses the modern art is one of the coolest I have ever seen. The walls are painted a fun blue and are drawn upon. I easily spent a few hours here and they also have a very nice little cafe in the lobby.
The Mall of America
What is a visit to Minneapolis without going to the Mall of America? This was a must with 10 teenagers and great entertainment for hours. There is an assortment of rides in the middle surrounded by a plethora of stores and eateries. Among the attractions are a children’s museum, an aquarium, House of Comedy, The Crayola Experience, and Flyover flight simulation ride. You’ll be happy you saved your pennies at the art museum because everything here costs money.
Here are some of the great places that we ate
- Lotus Resturant, Counter order Vietnamese
- Brit’s Pub, fantastic English style fare
- Asian Taste, classic Chinese food with sushi bar
- Buca di Beppo, family style Italian fare
- Barrio Tequila Bar, modern latin eatery
- Espresso Royale, laid back coffee shop