Minneapolis, Minnesota

I really liked Minneapolis! This was my first visit to the Midwest as an adult and I left Minneapolis impressed with the wonderful city as well as the people. We spent four nights in Minneapolis watching some great volleyball and exploring the city. Having spent the previous day getting to know the “Twin City” of St. Paul, we headed to Minneapolis to make sure we were there for the team meeting the night before tournament play began for Junior Nationals. That allowed us to have the entire day to explore and we had a huge list of things we wanted to see!

Fort Snelling
Since Fort Snelling was on the way and was described as a state historic site, we decided to take a quick look. I didn’t really plan much time for this visit and, boy was that a mistake. There is so much to experience here! The movie that was shown at the Visitor Center really helped us get a better understanding of what we were about to see at the fort. It made the fort come to life and gave us much to think about as we walked around. The movie not only gave an account of what life at the fort was like, but it also put into light the native american people’s experience and how they suffered execution and internment at the fort. There were many people dressed in costume who were more than willing to tell you what life was like during that era and answer any questions you might have. Some of them even demonstrated the kinds of activities they did at the fort like cooking or washing clothes. All of the rooms that we walked into were staged to look like it did during the fort’s active days. There were very knowledgeable greeters at the entrance who took the time to give you even more history. My daughter had fun putting the history that she learned from school into context with the history of the fort. On the way out, I made sure to tell them that we had a fantastic time… because we did!

First view of Fort Snelling from the outside
The Round Tower is the oldest known standing structure in Minnesota (built around 1820)
View of the fort from the Round Tower
The entrance was located at the right, where people are walking in
Demonstration of the cannon being loaded
Many of the rooms were staged, like this Soldier’s Barrack

Mill City Museum
Our next stop was the Mill Ruin area where there is a museum and park dedicated to educating people about the flour milling history of Minneapolis and preserving the site of a big mill explosion. Minneapolis was known as the “Flour Milling Capital of the World” at one point and the city developed around the mills, many of which used the power of St Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River. The explosion of the Washburn A Mill (the site of the museum) occurred because of a flour-dust explosion, killing 18 people and making national news.

It was easy to tell which building was the one that exploded
A modern elevator was built inside the building which also houses the Mill City Museum
Mill City Museum
The building facade has been preserved since the explosion



Mill Ruins Park
The Mill Ruins Park is directly in front of the Mill City Museum and the name of the park aptly describes what is showcased here. The ruins help preserve the rich history of the flour milling industry, an industry that put Minneapolis on the map.

Mill Ruins Park in front of the museum
Part of the ruins displayed at the park
Guthrie Theater (building in navy blue) has a good view of the river, bridge and falls

Stone Arch Bridge
The Stone Arch Bridge was a popular place to be on the Saturday that we visited it. It’s a beautiful bridge made of limestone and granite crossing the Mississippi River with numerous arches (it’s named Stone Arch Bridge after all). This National Historic Landmark is a great way to view the impressive St Anthony Falls.

The Pillsbury Flour Mill
Stone Arch Bridge from the side
View of Minneapolis from the bridge

St Anthony Falls Visitor Center and Lock and Dam (part of the National Park Service)
We accidentally found the Visitor Center for the St Anthony Falls when we went in search of a restroom. There are restrooms behind a gate which was open to the public, and we soon found out that this gated area is for the St Anthony Falls Visitor Center and Lock and Dam. A National Park Service employee asked us if we wanted to view the falls from the Visitor center, then walked us to an elevator, sending us up. Not having seen the falls yet, we walked out of the elevator to an incredible view of the falls. So much great information here as well.

View of St Anthony Falls from the Visitor Center
Visitor Center (as seen from the Stone Bridge)

After an early dinner at Zen Box Izakaya (yummy Japanese food), we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the volleyball days to come.

Cloud City (view from the Hilton)
They even have AT-ATs in Minneapolis, if you squint 😉
First day in Minneapolis was fantastic!

I have one last post about Minneapolis coming up because there was so much to do and see in this city! Here I was worried that we would run out of things to do. Not a chance!

If you’re interested, there are a couple of more posts related to this trip: Minneapolis, Minnesota: Things to do and USA Volleyball Junior Nationals and St. Paul, Minnesota.

6 replies to “Minneapolis, Minnesota

  1. Appreciate the history of this area which we have visited but more in a “going through” way. Treatment of the native Americans was terrible but Minn does have lots of which to be proud. The winters can be tough but not like the past lives of the early settlers. The state of many lakes can be a water wonder experience. Thanks for sharing.


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