We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

looking for quirky things to see/do

Burlington, VT
Level Contributor
368 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
looking for quirky things to see/do

Will be tagging along to Minneapolis/St. Paul in early August where my wife will attend a convention. I tend to look for lesser known destinations that aren't too crowded and don't have huge swarms of kids. Don't much like shopping or sports, either.

In the "things to do" list here, the flour mill museum appeals to me. In other cities, I've gone to a medical/surgical history museum and taken a walking tour of Chinatown.

WIll go anywhere I can get to by walking or public transp, and will be staying at the Hilton on Marquette Ave.

Any suggestions? Thanks.

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
882 posts
98 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

Well, here's a few ideas off the cuff...

1) If you want a bit of nature in the city, you could take the Light Rail Train (on 5th Street in downtown) to Minnehaha Falls. There's plenty of history if so inclined, but mostly neat area for, again, nature in the city. During the week, probably not a lot of kids and it's open spaces. minneapolisparks.com/default.asp…

2) Keep in mind you will be visiting the land of 10,000 (and a lot more) Swedes, so you could visit the American Swedish Institute (http://www.asimn.org/ASI/Home.html)

3) On the University of Minnesota campus, there is the Weisman Art Museum (http://www.weisman.umn.edu/)

4) This may push the limits of easy to get to via public transportation and number of people visiting, plus has limited options for tours, but you could check out the Summit Beer Tour (http://www.summitbrewing.com/)

5) For magnificent architecture, could check out the Cathedral of St. Paul. http://www.cathedralsaintpaul.org/tours

6) Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is free and interesting to check out - maybe not entirely "quirky" but usually not terribly busy (http://garden.walkerart.org/index.wac)

Minneapolis...
Level Contributor
1,635 posts
1,070 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

You don't give your exact dates, but the Uptown Air Fair is August 3rd - 5th and is a great event, but crowded.

A river boat ride is a great way to get an overview of the city www.twincitiescruises.com

A segway tour is definitely a quirky way to see the sights by land www.magicalhistorytour.com

A visit to Mpls is not complete without a visit to one of the city lakes ie: Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet to walk around, roller blade or bike. You can really soak up the true culture and heart of the city. Sometimes there are band concerts in the evening at Lake Harriet.

Minneapolis
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
Level Contributor
3,927 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

Walk the StoneArch Bridge, StAnthony Main, WaterPower Park, and Nicollet Island.

Try paddle boat ride on Mississippi.

Consider Macy's huge salad bar on the 12 Floor SkyRoom M-F lunch time.

Burlington, VT
Level Contributor
368 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

Lots of great suggestions here. I've made a list so I can look them up.

Are there any interesting ethnic neighborhoods in M/SP? Maybe Asian?

Burlington, VT
Level Contributor
368 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

Oh, here's another question: Do people ever walk from one twin city to the other, or is it too far or difficult for walking?

Saint Paul...
Level Contributor
574 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

From one downtown to another? Difficult, no? But the downtowns are ~ 5 miles apart. The Mississippi River separates Mpls & StP for several miles - from approximately the UMN campus south approximately Fort Snelling - so you could easily cross if you wanted too. There are great biking/walking paths on both sides of the river and I love that part of the twin cities.

If you get to downtown St. Paul it does not get quirkier than Mickey' Diner.http://www.mickeysdiningcar.com/

University Avenue from approximately Lexington Ave. to the capitol has significant influence from SE Asia and there a dozens of small restaurants and shops. Be aware the area is a construction disaster right now as a light rail line connecting the downtowns is in full swing.

The lower west side of St Paul (the area south of the river - some of our city/neighborhood names are geographically challenged!) has a significant Mexican influence, there are some great restaurants and shops along Cesar Chavez between Wabasha & Hwy 52 - especially near Robert St.

When you get back to Mpls go to Nye's - piano bar/restaurant on one side and live music on the other, on weekends it's The World's Most Dangerous Polka Band Definitely needs to be experienced!

http://www.nyespolonaise.com/Diffic

Burlington, VT
Level Contributor
368 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

Wow, TripAdvisor forums are really THE resource for trip planning.

OK, here's one: good, inexpensive, filling, early breakfast (open by 7 or 7:30) fairly near that Hilton hotel?

Minnetonka...
Level Contributor
19 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

Best breakfast! Al's in Dinky town. If you're looking for something... quirky. but go VERY early!

Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
882 posts
98 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

May not be the absolute most inexpensive, but quality food worth the small premium: Hell's Kitchen (not related to Gordon Ramsay), block or two away.

http://www.hellskitcheninc.com/

Otherwise, if you're in mood for something closer to greasy spoon (but great food and atmosphere), Band Box Diner about 7 blocks from the hotel. Be forewarned, while I had no problem in the neighborhood and don't suspect you will either, the neighborhood isn't Mayberry (however, North Central University, an evangelical college, is nearby so provides a stabilizing influence on the neighborhood):

www.yelp.com/biz/band-box-diner-minneapolis

Burlington, VT
Level Contributor
368 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: looking for quirky things to see/do

What about LouAnn's? I've put Al's and Hell's Kitchen on my list.