Discover Twin Cities with your student
333 E. River Road
The art starts on the outside of this striking Frank Gehry-designed teaching museum on the U of M campus. Free, one-hour public tours are offered Saturdays and Sundays at 1 p.m., or you may tour on your own any time (the museum is closed Mondays and holidays). Strengths of the permanent collection include American modernism, Korean furniture and the pottery of the Mimbres, an ancient native people of the American Southwest. Special events to look out for: yoga, live music and coffee hours. Be sure to visit the cool museum shop (U of M students receive a discount). Another U of M gem, the Bell Museum of Natural History (www.bellmuseum.umn.edu), is closed this year as a new museum and planetarium are built on the St. Paul campus with an opening scheduled for Summer 2018.
4801 S. Minnehaha Drive
14 minute drive
Not many city parks include a 53-foot waterfall! Minnehaha is unique and a bit wild. Come here to walk, bike, picnic, wade and play disc golf. You can relax in one of the park’s 12 gorgeous gardens, hike up to a Mississippi River overlook, or dine at the wonderful Sea Salt Eatery (located at the Minnehaha Park Pavilion, and open spring through fall). Energetic hikers and bikers will want to connect via trail to Fort Snelling State Park.
8 minute drive
“The heart of downtown Minneapolis,” the Hennepin/Nicollet district encompasses some of the city’s best restaurants, entertainment venues and shopping. Theatre is a special draw with Broadway plays, modern dance and comedy all on the program. If baseball is more your game, you are just a short stroll from Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. Rent a bike at a Nice Ride station and cruise a few blocks down Hennepin to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (because, yes, you do have to take the obligatory photo with the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture).
215 Wabasha St. South, St. Paul
15 minute drive
Experience the quirky side of St. Paul’s history with a tour at the Wabasha Street Caves, remnants of sandstone mining beneath the city in the 1800s and later repurposed as gangster hideouts and speakeasies. Basic Historic Cave Tours are offered year round, as is the two-hour St. Paul Gangster Tour. More fun can be had seasonally with themes including Caves and Graves, Winter Lights and more. Your tour guides will be in costume — and character! Choose from walking tours and bus tours that explore city neighborhoods as well as the caves — be sure to check the calendar to see what’s available and find out if advanced reservations are required (they aren’t for the basic tour).
704 South 2nd St., 100 Portland Ave.
6 minute drive
$6 and up for museum admission
A modern museum built into the ruins of the Washburn A Mill — once the world’s largest flour mill — brings to life an interesting side of the history of Minneapolis, which grew up around the flour mills in the late 19th century as the hydropower of St. Anthony Falls was harnessed for industry. Take in a movie (“Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat”) and the view of the Mississippi River and the falls from the 9th floor observation deck. There is also a museum store with fun souvenirs and the new Bushel & Peck Café (the casual menu is farm-fresh and locally-sourced). Check the calendar on the website for a variety of walking and storytelling tours that leave from the museum, and be sure to head out onto the nearby historic Stone Arch Bridge for the very best view of St. Anthony Falls and the Twin Cities.