What’s my favorite city to travel to with my family, you ask? It’s New York or Chicago, right? Or maybe it’s Orlando or San Francisco? Yeah, it’s gotta be Orlando, right?
Nope. Not even close.
My favorite city to travel to with my family is Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Now, those closest to me would guess that I’m partial to Minneapolis because both Prince’s ‘Purple Rain’, and the wildly wacky, yet profoundly educational and barrier breaking film, ‘The Mighty Ducks’ were filmed in the City of Lakes. And while the very mention of ‘Minneapolis’ does, indeed, provoke visions of Emilio Estavez fairies dancing in my head, the real reason I enjoy this Midwestern Metropolis so much is because my children do.
Minneapolis offers enough entertainment and culture to keep a smile on the faces of my little ones, and does so at a cost low enough to keep a big smile on mine.
Here are few of the fantastic family attractions in Minneapolis:
1. The Minnesota Zoo
This place is awesome! It’s located on the south side of the Minnesota River, but super easy to get to from downtown. The large outdoor section of the zoo is populated with the largest bears our family has ever seen, and seeing them in their natural habitat provides a unique appreciation for just how powerful and thoughtful these enormous creatures are. The Minnesota Zoo has many of the traditional exhibits you would expect to find at any zoo, but the feature that really makes it a must-get-to stop is the fantastic IMAX theater. My kids could spend all day inside the IMAX, and most of the films are educational so I have no problem obliging.
2. Catch some Theater!
Did you know that Minneapolis is second only to The Big Apple in live theater per capita? Never would have guessed it, right? There is some excellent theater in Minneapolis. Some of the best venues to take in the talent include The Illusion, the Minnesota Dance Theatre, Mixed Blood and the Children’s Theatre Company. Children’s Theatre Company, or CTC, is our favorite since they stick to catering to and entertaining families. We saw Alice in Wonderland here a couple of years ago, and it was far superior to a performance of the same play we caught in Chicago a year earlier.
3. How ‘bout ‘dem Twinkies?
Okay, so the Minnesota Twins haven’t exactly been world-beaters recently. Nevertheless, Target Field is only a couple of years old, and it’s clean and the attending clientele are friendly. What more can you ask for? The stadium is easily accessible from all areas of town, and it’s only the second LEED-certified professional sports stadium in the US – that’s pretty cool, right? My favorite ballpark snack at Target Field is the Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese – it doesn’t get any better
4. The Mall of America
It doesn’t get any more American than a mall. I’m not really into shopping, and I certainly wouldn’t characterize my family as a bunch of shop-a-holics. However, we cannot get enough of the Mall America. It’s not the stores that keep us coming back, it’s the Nickelodeon Universe Amusement Park! This place has over 25 different rides and there’s even an underwater aquarium! My kids could spend hours running around this carousel of capitalism.
5. The Chain of Lakes
Minneapolis is a beautiful city, and the people that call the City of Lakes home appreciate and respect that beauty. The Chain of Lakes is a series of parks consisting of Lake Harriet, Lyndale Park, Lyndale Farmstead, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake (my favorite) and Brownie Lake. I spend a lot of time on my bicycle, and Cedar Lake provides a great venue for a nice cruise. Lake Harriet is pretty cool, too, because there’s often live music and a super cool bird sanctuary.
So, there ya’ have it! I’m telling ya,’ add Minneapolis to your must-visit list and you won’t be disappointed – Dontcha Know!