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Land of 10,000 Things to Do


Jill Schildhouse, with information provided by the Greater Minneapolis
Jill Schildhouse is a writer for Inside Supply Management®.

March 2006, Inside Supply Management® Vol. 17, No. 3, page 28

From Museums and Landmarks to Excursions and Parks, Fun and Engaging Sight-Seeing Opportunities Immerse Conference Attendees into the Heart of Minneapolis

With a rich history impacted by the region's natural beauty, its original Indian and immigrant residents and its fluid relationship with the mighty Mississippi River, be sure to take some time to enjoy all Minneapolis has to offer while attending ISM's 91st Annual International Supply Management Conference & Educational Exhibit, held May 7-10.

Convention Center

Located in the heart of downtown, the Minneapolis Convention Center hosts events for local and international clientele. Providing innovative meeting solutions, it boasts a state-of-the-art auditorium, superb production capabilities and flexible technology options. Built in 1989, it is situated alongside Grant Street on the southern edge of the city's central business district. The success of the Center prompted the City of Minneapolis to plan for expansion less than 10 years after its completion; the expansion added approximately 600,000 additional square feet to the complex.

Indoor Activities

Highlighting world-class collections that span millennia, the city's museums engage, inspire and educate millions each year. Housed in a striking abstract stainless-steel building, the Frank Gehry-designed Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is a unique museum experience. A teaching museum for the University of Minnesota and the community, its collection features early 20th-century American artists. The Walker Art Center has a building as dynamic as the events and artwork it presents. A stunning expansion opened in April 2005, adding more exhibit and performance space to this popular museum. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts puts up a classical front, and possesses works from every age and medium — including one of the largest displays of classical Chinese art and architecture in the country.

Featured in the movie Purple Rain, First Avenue & 7th Street Entry is one of the hottest clubs in town. Stop in and rock out to musical stylings from major, national acts to local, emerging artists.

The skyway system is one of Minneapolis' most striking assets, especially if you want to shop without having to brave extreme temperatures. One floor above ground, this seven-mile system links shopping, restaurants, entertainment and more with enclosed walkways. It connects 72 blocks of downtown Minneapolis in climate-controlled bliss — which will allow you to leave your umbrella at home during the rainy month of May.

The Mall of America, the largest mall in the country, boasts more than 520 stores, an entire level of restaurants and bars, an amusement park and a 1.2 million gallon walk-through aquarium. With no sales tax on your clothing or shoes, Minneapolis is a shopping destination like no other.

Rain or shine, the Twins will be in town May 5-7 playing Detroit. Across downtown Minneapolis from the Target Center sits the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, where the two-time World Series Champions play.

With more theater seats per capita than any U.S. city outside New York, Minneapolis is home to nearly 100 theater groups and more than 30 performance venues. The glittering Hennepin Avenue Theatre District is home to the opulent State, Orpheum and Pantages theaters hosting Broadway shows and headliners. Classics grace the stage of the globally renowned, Tony Award-winning Guthrie Theater, while Theatre de la Jeune Lune, also a 2005 Tony Award winner, presents inventive theater with a French accent.

Outdoor Attractions

Part of the Chain of Lakes, Lake Calhoun is a popular site for fishing, windsurfing, swimming, sailing and canoeing. More than three miles of trails for walking, jogging, biking and in-line skating encircle the lake with the Minneapolis skyline as an urban backdrop. The popular lake is also part of the 50-mile Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Having transitioned from industrial to recreational, the Mississippi Riverfront delights outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs with parks, picnic areas, landmarks and monuments along miles of well-kept trails.

Enjoy St. Anthony Falls with a stroll across the Stone Arch Bridge, the only one of its kind to span the Mississippi River. As part of the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, this pedestrian crossing is the oldest mainline railroad bridge in the Northwest. Chronicling Minneapolis' milling history are the nearby Mill Ruins Park and Mill City Museum.

The Spoonbridge and Cherry has been Minneapolis's signature sculpture since its completion in 1988. The spoon tips the scales at 5,800 pounds and the cherry weighs 1,200 pounds. The 11-acre Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of the largest of its kind and includes more than 40 works of art. It's also just across the street from the Walker Art Center.

Just across the street from where the hat-tossing scene at the end of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" credits was filmed, catch a glimpse of her bronze statue. Nicollet Mall is a pedestrian-only thoroughfare that's home to countless shops, watering holes and sidewalk dining spots.

Just south of downtown, Uptown is the center of Minneapolis' hip energy, which includes off-beat shopping, late-night dining, vibrant nightlife and up-and-coming music. Just steps from the Chain of Lakes, you'll know you've entered Uptown when you see the iconic Uptown Theatre sign towering over the neighborhood.

Steamboat, trolley car, scenic railway — you name it, you can ride it. Stately paddlewheelers cruise the Mississippi River, while the Minnesota Zephyr, a historic dining train, makes tracks along the St. Croix River. The Minneapolis RiverCity Trolley offers engaging tours highlighting history and hotspots. Experience the Mississippi Riverfront area aboard the Minneapolis Queen, a paddlewheeler that goes through the river's uppermost lock and dam.

What's Cookin'?

From Uptown to downtown, the Warehouse District to Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis bursts with top-notch restaurants and talented chefs. An appetizing stretch of more than 50 ethnic restaurants, Eat Street encompasses several continuous blocks of Nicollet Avenue, which runs south from downtown. This culinary cornucopia places authentic German, Greek, Israeli, Thai, Vietnamese and more, not to mention ethnic bakeries and grocers. Popular Rainbow Chinese Restaurant, Evergreen Taiwanese and Black Forest Inn highlight restaurants ranging from no-frills noodles shops to the sleek pan-Asian bistro Azia, named by Bon Appetit as one of the best restaurants in 2004.

"Box Page 29"

Fun Minnesota Facts

  • Population
    Minneapolis/St. Paul: 2.9 million

  • Geography of Minneapolis
    Area: 59 square miles
    Land: 35,244 acres
    Water: 2,324 acres
    Lakes: 22
    Elevation: 824 feet above sea level

  • Tallest Building
    IDS Center: 57 stories, 775 feet

  • State Bird, Fish & Flower
    Common Loon
    Walleye Pike
    Pink and White Lady's Slipper

  • Famous Minnesotans
    Louie Anderson, comedian
    Bob Dylan, musician
    Ameilia Earhart, pilot
    Al Franken, Saturday Night Live writer
    Judy Garland, singer/actress
    Josh Hartnett, actor
    Hubert Humphrey, vice president
    Peter Krause, actor
    Jessica Lange, actress
    Sinclair Lewis, author
    John Madden, sportscaster
    Walter F. Mondale, vice president
    Prince, musician
    Winona Ryder, actress
    Charles M. Schulz, Peanuts artist
    Seann William Scott, actor
    Jesse Ventura, former governor

To contact the author or sources mentioned in this article, please send an e-mail to

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