The Twin Cities are a bustling area where urban living and abundant nature thrive together in one majestic setting. Take advantage of everything Minneapolis and Saint Paul have to offer!
A historic train depot turned modern-day playground, The Depot in downtown Minneapolis now houses two hotels, a giant indoor water park, a history center, an enclosed ice rink, a bar and restaurant. Even if you're not a hotel guest, visitors are welcome to enjoy the incredible amenities.
With a three-story water slide, four pools, a splash fountain, a whirlpool and an arcade for those who prefer to remain dry, The Waterpark at the Depot will keep your kiddos busy for hours. While it does cost $20 per person for non-hotel guests (those younger than two are free), it's worth every penny.
If you're visiting during the winter months, The Depot Rink is an unforgettable experience. An old converted train shed, the indoor ice rink is a perfect way to stay warm while participating in an iconic Minnesota past time in a legendary landmark.
Minnesota is known for its fandemonium. The kids will jump at the chance to paint their faces and don jerseys at a Minnesota sporting event. Depending on the time of year, chill out at a Minnesota Wild hockey game at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown Saint Paul. Swing for the fences at a Twins baseball game at Target Field or score big at a Vikings football game.
For a change of culture, stroll the gorgeous University of Minnesota campus. Make a day of it and stop for a milkshake at Annie's Parlour in Dinkytown, followed by a Gopher game of your choice.
Uptown and Lake Calhoun
Uptown is where the hipsters live and play. From funky coffee shops like Spyhouse Coffee & Espresso to vibrant fusion restaurants (stop by our favorite Chino Latino) and colorful boutiques, this eclectic part of town is your one-stop shop for browsing, dining and people watching. When you tire of that, walk a few minutes west to beautiful Lake Calhoun, where you can fish, kayak, sail, paddle boat, lie on the beach or simply walk the perimeter of its well-manicured trail with stunning views of the skyline.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Showcasing more than 40 works from the Walker Art Museum, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is known as the jewel of Minneapolis and home to the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry. Both entertaining and educational, the children can expend energy roaming the breathtaking gardens. Appreciate the art, but be sure to stop by the Cowles Conservatory as well, blooming with exotic and tropical foliage. And bonus — this attraction is free!
I know what you're thinking, "Horse racing isn't kid-friendly!" But hear me out. What kid doesn't love animals? Plus, it's so loud out in the grandstands at Canterbury Park (just southwest of Minneapolis in Shakopee), your kids can run around screaming and won't even be noticed. So put a few bucks down on your kid's favorite horse and let them cheer and roar with the rest of them.
The Mall of America, just 20 minutes outside of Minneapolis in Bloomington, isn't just a mall. Your family could spend an entire weekend here and never get bored. Shop at more than 520 retail stores, dine at one of dozens of eateries, see a movie, climb aboard a ship at Camp Ice Age, coast through Nickelodeon Universe, play at the Lego Store and discover creatures at Sea Life Aquarium — all under one roof!
Minnesota Children's Museum
Encourage your kids to create, play, learn and explore at the Minnesota Children's Museum in the heart of downtown Saint Paul. With fun interactive games and activities, the small fries will use their imagination to connect with their favorite characters and animals.
Save a visit to the zoo for your next vacation and instead, become one with nature at Minnesota's oldest park, situated on the jaw-dropping Mississippi River — complete with waterfalls, wildlife and bluffs. Make it memorable with a picnic, a nature hike and an energizing bike ride.
More family travel in the Midwest
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An architectural tour of Chicago
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