COMMUNITY VOICES | Must-see Minneapolis: A Twin City vacation guide


The Land of 10,000 Lakes has a rich history of offering the comforts of home balanced out with the conveniences of an urban city. Whether you’re a full-fledged Minnesotan ready for a staycation, or an outsider planning a visit to the Twin Cities, you won’t want to miss these must-see spots.

Twin Cities Gateway

The Twin Cities Gateway is on the northern edge of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area and features all kinds of vacation activities. Minnesota’s largest outdoor water park is there, as is the National Sports Center, along with all kinds of indoor and outdoor activities.

Water enthusiasts will enjoy a number of activities, including:

  • Anoka Aquatic Center
  • Boating
  • Fishing
  • Ice fishing
  • Snowshoeing
  • Ice skating
  • Broom hockey
  • Hunting

Thanks to the abundance of lakes and parks in the area, there are plenty of activities for kids of all ages to take part in while exploring what Minnesota has to offer.

Adventure Seaplanes

Adventure Seaplanes airplane tours give a unique perspective of the area, taking passengers across the mighty Mississippi, over the rolling Minnesota plains, above the hills of Wisconsin, and even offer extended trips to the Northwest Territory and into the arctic. If you have the time and resources, you can even learn to fly your own plane, taking the trip up a notch.

A romantic trip for two on one of these tours is a great way to pop the question. Families and groups of up to four people can customize the flight paths to fly over any attraction you wish to see. These tours will take you miles beyond any experience you’ve ever had and will show you the very best scenery America’s heartland has to offer.

The Mall of America

Nestled within the simple suburb of Bloomington, Minn., on the south side of the cities, you’ll find the largest fully enclosed shopping mall in all of the U.S. This isn’t your everyday mall, either. This mall includes plenty of activities that don’t even require you to step in a store:

  • Nickelodeon Universe, America’s largest indoor family theme park, is full of fun with Dora, Spongebob, and all the other Nickelodeon characters. Rides for kids of all ages will break up your shopping extravaganza.
  • Underwater Adventures Aquarium features a 1.2-million-gallon aquarium you can walk through, where you can become one with the fish, sharks, jelly fish, and stingrays that call the MOA home.
  • Chapel of Love, where you can marry your sweetheart and join the ranks of more than 6,000 other couples who have done the same since it opened 18 years ago. There is also a section for wedding apparel and accessories for sale for those who aren’t quite ready to tie the knot but want to prepare.
  • A.C.E.S. Flight Simulation, where would-be pilots can compete against their friends when they hop into one of the flight simulators on the third floor of the MOA. These sophisticated simulators are replicas of those that military pilots train with. This is the real deal, folks.
  • The Flying Dutchman Ghostly Gangplank Adventures Ropes Course is an adventure-seeker’s ideal challenge. From the heights of this obstacle course, you’ll be able to see right into the Nickelodeon Universe as you climb 56 feet in the air through 38 sections, covering more than 950 feet.
  • “Hollywood” of the Midwest, as the mall is often called, draws actors, musicians, politicians, athletes, and other celebrities to the Midwest to meet fans and promote their projects. Some visitors include Zac Efron, Rascal Flatts, the Jonas Brothers, and Sarah Palin. Some local celebrities are proud to call the Twin Cities home as well, including Prince, the Coen Brothers, and Adrian Peterson, among others. It’s no surprise that each of these celebs chose to build their billionaire bunker in our safe, pleasant, thriving city.
  • Metropolitan Stadium Home Plate, inside Nickelodeon Universe, serves as a reminder that the MOA sits on what used to be the site where the Twins and the Vikings played from 1961 to 1981.

Of course the opportunities for retail therapy abound at the MOA. If shopping is your pleasure, you’ll be over the moon at this place. It features more than 520 stores and shops with every piece of merchandise you can think of.

Catch a Ball Game

Sports fans will not have any problems finding games to watch across the Twin Cities. No matter what time of the year, you’ll be able to satisfy any sporting obsession. Minnesotans are especially proud of their sports teams:

  • The Twins (MLB) play at Target Field, just off I-394 in the heart of Minneapolis.
  • The Vikings (NFL) play at Vikings Stadium, which is currently under construction in the Downtown East area of Minneapolis.
  • The Wild (NHL) play at Xcel Energy Center in downtown St. Paul.
  • The Timberwolves (NBA) also play at Target Center, also in downtown Minneapolis.
  • The Golden Gophers (NCAA Football) play at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of ball games, outdoor adventures, and fun to be had in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. No matter what time of year you find yourself in our city, kick back and enjoy the experience.