Best Twin Cities Attractions for a Fall Weekend Getaway
Now is a great time to visit or revisit the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. While Minnesota is often associated with friendly people or fun on the lakes, the state is also becoming known for its diverse activities and as the perfect destination for a weekend (or more). Whether looking for a world-class art scene, the biggest and best mall in the country, serene nature or all of the above then be sure to put the Twin Cities high on your list. Here are some of our favorite endeavors in the area.
1. Mall of America
The Mall of America has always been a draw for serious shoppers, bargain hunters, and adventuring families alike. In October 2015 the Mall’s finalized Expansion Project reveals an adjoining luxury hotel, The JW Marriott, as well as unique upscale retailers and restaurants. Fashion hunters will love the new Armani Exchange, Kate Spade New York, Michael Kors Lifestyle, and BCBGMAXAZRIA, as well as world-class department stores Nordstrom and Macy’s. Unwind and prepare to look gorgeous with an invigorating package at the mindful flower-based Aveda Progressions Spa, or hang out and people watch at one of over 20 buzzing happy hour or dinner locations. End the day laughing with friends at the House of Comedy. Traveling with the family? Kids will love the Nickelodeon Universe theme park, SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, LEGO, or the new Minnesota Children’s Museum. Hard-to-please tweens and teens? No worries! MOA boasts indoor mini golf, flight simulator, movie theaters, and a bowling alley.
2. Saint Croix River Valley
Just a short scenic drive from the Twin Cities, the Saint Croix River Valley is one of the most beautiful places to witness the changing colors of autumn. Surrounded by a forest, dramatic cliffs, waterfalls, and a winding river, it is also a unique geological and educational site, with visible lava formations and the world’s deepest glacial potholes. Outdoorsy types can hike, kayak, and camp well into October, while day-trippers can take in the view while relaxing with dinner and drinks on an authentic paddleboat cruise. Winter travelers will enjoy local cross-country and downhill skiing or snow tubing. Looking for a fun old-timey experience? Taylors Falls offers “The Old Jail Bed and Breakfast,” a former jailhouse converted into a B&B!
3. Guthrie Theater
In the heart of Minneapolis, the Guthrie Theater was founded in 1963 and has become a premier national center for theater. Rebuilt in 2006, Time called its gorgeous blue $125 million space “a 21st-century dream factory” with three stages and amazing views of the city. The Guthrie is known for profound intimacy between actor and audience, and even offers behind-the-scenes tours Friday and Saturday mornings at 10:00 a.m., where theater buffs will see the stages, costume shops, and rehearsal rooms. One of the unique architectural features of the Guthrie is the “Endless Bridge,” one of the longest cantilevers in the world, which stretches more than half a block from the building. Foodies will love Sea Change at the Guthrie, a sustainable full-service seafood restaurant and raw bar, with menu designed by James Beard Award-winning chef Tim McKee. Have a little time before the show? Walk around downtown Minneapolis and take in the skyline.
4. Mystic Lake Casino and Hotel
Mystic Lake Casino and Hotel is the place for gambling the Midwestern way, with a modern bingo hall featuring Late Night Cosmic Bingo! Of course there are also slots, blackjack, and pull tabs, and Mystic’s on-site hotel offers the perfect place to crash and unwind. Staying at a different hotel, or playing all day at the Mall first? No problem – Mystic Lake’s free shuttle buses make more than 50 stops throughout the Twin Cities, and operate throughout the day and evening. Many people come to Mystic just for the amazing food and drinks – the Casino features eight bars and restaurants, including Mystic Steakhouse, a premier Twin Cities steak experience. Mystic is also known for being a concert and show destination, with appearances by Stevie Nicks, Kenny Rogers, Penn and Teller, Last Comic Standing, and Broadway hits like Cirque Dreams. Mystic is owned and operated by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
5. Tap Rooms and Brewery Tours
Beer devotees know Minneapolis and Saint Paul as the up-and-coming sight for unique craft beers and remarkable tap rooms to drink them in. There are more than 50 breweries with tap rooms around the Twin Cities, with a space for every mood: historic industrial warehouses, minimalist hipster hubs, comfortable wooden lodges, or casual patios with fire pits and live music – it’s all fun and a great way to meet the locals. But seriously good beer is the focus, with locally sourced ingredients, experimental and seasonal taps, and even places to brew your own beer. The best part about taprooms are the experts right on hand to talk about what you both love and recommend a sampler. Like what you tasted? Take a growler home to share. Don’t know where to start? Local brewery tours visit multiple breweries each night!