Navigating the US: Getting Around in Minneapolis, Minnesota
As the largest city in the state of Minnesota, Minneapolis is oftentimes thought of as a surprisingly fun, attractive city, with approximately 390,000 residents calling it home. Though the city is landlocked in the middle of the states, it’s still surrounded by water with its location next to the Falls of St. Anthony, which is the largest source of water power on the Mississippi, and a “Chain of Lakes” within its borders. These lakes in particular are what gave the city the name Minneapolis, which means “The City of Lakes,” making it a top choice for vacations all year around—even in the bitter winters.
Recommended Modes of Transportation
- By Car—Besides the alternative ways of seeing the city that we mention below, driving is probably the most convenient and easy-to-use way to get from one place to another. The City is on a grid system, divided into quadrants: North, South, Northeast, and Southeast. This setup makes driving easy, once you get a hang of it.
- By Bus—The Minneapolis bus system is notoriously confusing for out-of-towners, but the Metro Transit Trip Planner makes things a whole lot easier. If you choose to take a bus, we suggest you use the planner. Pass options include 1-day, 7-day, and 31-day options, along with pay-per-ride. Day passes are $6 and can be purchased online, from a bus driver, or a ticket machine at any light rail station.
Major Highways and Roadways to Know
There are two major interstates that run through Minneapolis. The first is I-35W, which runs mostly north and south, and I-94, which runs east and west. The I-494/694 beltway is also an important fixture, allowing you to traverse the metropolitan area with ease. Be aware of the lane you’re in though—freeway exchanges can sneak up on you quickly.
Alternative Ways of Seeing the City
- Skyways—Because of the harsh winters in Minnesota, when the temperatures drop below freezing, Minneapolis uses the Skyway to make sure people can still get around downtown. This walkway, which treks through the second floor of downtown buildings, stretches between buildings for an approximate 7×7 block region of central downtown, providing sightseers and residents alike with the ability to stay warm while moving quickly through the city. You can find a map of the Skyway on their website.
- Biking—As one of the biggest methods of transportation, biking is a pretty big deal in Minneapolis. There are multiple bike trails, lanes, and “bicycle boulevards,” allowing the city to have one of the country’s largest urban bike rental programs, which is called Nice Ride Minnesota. For more information on that method of transportation, check out the Nice Ride Minnesota website.
The major airport in the area is the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP), which is dominated mostly by Delta Air Line flights, since it’s a major hub for the airline. There are two separate terminals—Terminal 1 and Terminal 2—so it’s important to know which one you’re flying into and out of. If you’re looking to get to the city for a cheap price, the Blue Line Light rail runs from the airport to downtown for anywhere from $1.75-$2.25 depending on the time of day.
- Mall of America—While it’s not located within the city limits, the Mall of America is one major attraction that draws tourists to Minneapolis. It’s the most visited mall in the world with over 40 million visitors each year. Though it’s only the second largest mall in America, it’s still considered the largest when it comes to total store vendors. Within its walls, it has an indoor theme park complete with roller coasters, the SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium, and an entertainment space that usually holds up to three different exhibits at once.
- Minneapolis Institute of Arts— With one of the best art collections in the country, this museum is a great place to go for some cultural enrichment. Art pieces vary from Monet to Matisse, coming from several continents and a variety of time periods. One of the best parts about visiting this gorgeous museum? It’s completely free.
- The Metrodome— Though the Metrodome is currently being demolished to make room for the new Vikings Stadium, seeing the location of this historical place is still worth the trip. As the only facility to host a Super Bowl, World Series, MLB All-Star Game, and NCAA Division I Final Four, it’s an important location close to the hearts of all sports fans.
Looking for more information on getting around in Minneapolis? Make sure you check out these websites: