5 Hidden Gems to Discover in Minneapolis

Overview of the City and What It Has to Offer

Minneapolis is one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the United States, known for its world-class art museums, beautiful parks and lakes, and bustling food and drink scene.

This Midwestern metropolis is brimming with music, theater, and cultural attractions, as well as unique neighborhoods that offer a glimpse into the history and spirit of the city.

Minneapolis is a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re an art lover, nature enthusiast, or foodie, there are countless things to do and see in Minneapolis. Some of the top attractions in the city include:

Minneapolis, MN

For those who are looking for something a bit more off-the-beaten-path, there are a number of hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered.

From Lakes & Cemeteries to underground waterfalls, these hidden gems offer a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors and locals alike.

1. Lakewood Cemetery

Lakewood Cemetery is a beautiful and historic cemetery located in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was established in 1871 and has since become one of the most well-known cemeteries in the United States. [1]

The cemetery covers over 250 acres of rolling hills and includes a peaceful lake and several impressive mausoleums.

One of the most striking features of Lakewood Cemetery is the unique monument architecture that is scattered throughout the grounds.

The cemetery is home to a wide variety of monuments and markers, ranging from simple plaques to elaborate sculptures.

Visitors can spend hours exploring the intricate details of these beautiful works of art, which were created by some of the most talented artisans of the time.

Aside from its stunning architecture, Lakewood Cemetery is also a significant historical landmark. Many notable figures are buried here, including Tiny Tim,  Senator Hubert Humphrey, John S. Pillsbury, industrialist William W. Washburn, and former Governor Floyd B. Olson.  

The cemetery also has a rich military history, with a significant number of veterans laid to rest here from the:

Lakewood Cemetery continues to be an active burial ground to this day, but it is also a popular destination for locals and tourists alike.

Visitors can come to pay their respects to loved ones or take a peaceful walk through the sprawling grounds to enjoy the stunning scenery. Lakewood Cemetery is truly a hidden gem in the heart of Minneapolis.

2. Minnehaha Falls

Nestled in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnehaha Falls is a breathtaking waterfall that attracts countless visitors each year.

With a height of over 53 feet, the waterfall is an awe-inspiring sight that is truly a natural wonder. Visitors can take a stroll on the nearby walking and bike trails, which provide stunning views of the waterfall and surrounding area.

There are several vantage points to take in the beauty of the falls, including a viewing tower that offers a panoramic view of the dramatic rock formations and rushing water.

In addition to the falls themselves, the surrounding Minnehaha Park offers plenty of recreational activities for visitors to enjoy.

There are picnic areas scattered throughout the park, making it the perfect spot for a family outing or a romantic picnic with a loved one.

The park also includes several hiking trails, which weave along the banks of the Mississippi River and are surrounded by pristine woods and fields.

Visitors can take a refreshing swim in the calm pools below the waterfall or simply relax on the rocky ledges and enjoy the tranquility of the scenery.

Minnehaha Falls is steeped in history, with the area being inhabited by Native Americans for centuries before European settlers arrived.

The park was designed by pioneering landscape architect Horace William Shaler Cleveland in the mid-19th century, and several of the original features still remain to this day. [2]

Minnehaha Falls

3. Stone Arch Bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge is an iconic symbol of Minneapolis that is as beautiful as it is historic. Built-in 1883, the bridge spans the Mississippi River and is open to pedestrians and cyclists.

It is made up of 23 arches and stretches over 2,100 feet long, offering some of the most stunning views in the city, including views of St. Anthony Falls and the downtown skyline.

Originally built as a railroad bridge, the Stone Arch Bridge was converted into a pedestrian and bike path in the early 20th century and has since been a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. [3]

The bridge is a testament to the incredible engineering feats of the late 19th century and has been preserved so that future generations can enjoy its beauty and history.

The Stone Arch Bridge is not only a beautiful landmark, but it is also a link between two of the city’s most vibrant areas: the iconic Mill District and the trendy Northeast neighborhood.

The bridge was once a crucial transportation artery during the height of Minneapolis’s milling industry, and today it serves as a connection between two neighborhoods.

One of the highlights of visiting the Stone Arch Bridge is taking a stroll along the riverfront and enjoying the picturesque scenery.

Visitors can watch boats pass through the St. Anthony Falls lock and dam, take in the views of the Minneapolis skyline, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the river.

There are also several parks and green spaces near the bridge that provide additional recreational opportunities for visitors.

Stone Arch Bridge

4. St. Anthony Main

St. Anthony Main is a picturesque part of Minneapolis located along the east bank of the Mississippi River.

The area is known for its charming architecture, cobblestone streets, and stunning views of both the river and downtown Minneapolis. Originally a milling district, St. Anthony Main is now a bustling area, brimming with restaurants, shops, and theaters.

One of the most popular attractions in St. Anthony Main is the Stone Arch Bridge, which offers stunning views of the Minneapolis skyline and the Mississippi River.

Visitors can walk or bike across the bridge and take in the picturesque scenery, or simply relax and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the riverfront.

The bridge also provides easy access to the nearby Mill Ruins Park, which is home to the ruins of several historic mills and offers a glimpse into Minneapolis’s milling history.

Another popular attraction in St. Anthony Main is the historic St. Anthony Main Theater. This 8-screen cinema has been a fixture in the area since 1983 and is known for its unique programming, which includes both mainstream and independent films.

The theater is surrounded by several restaurants, including the iconic Aster Cafe, which offers delicious food and stunning views of the river. [4]

St. Anthony Main is also home to the Pillsbury A-Mill, which was once the largest flour mill in the world. The mill closed in 2003 but has since been redeveloped into a mixed-use complex that includes apartments, artist studios, and office space.

Visitors can take a tour of the mill and learn about the history of Minneapolis’s milling industry.

5. Lake Nokomis Trail

The Lake Nokomis Trail is a beautiful and popular recreational trail that winds around the scenic Lake Nokomis in Minneapolis. The trail covers over 2.7 miles and is ideal for anyone who loves to soak up the natural beauty of the great outdoors, such as bikers, hikers, and joggers. [5]

The trail is well-maintained and has a smooth paved surface, making it accessible for people of all ages and abilities.

Located in the heart of Minneapolis, Lake Nokomis is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful place to go for a morning walk or a scenic spot to catch the local wildlife, the Lake Nokomis Trail is the perfect destination.

The lake is surrounded by several parks, including the Lake Nokomis Park and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed, offering plenty of green space and picnic areas to enjoy some time outdoors.

One of the highlights of the Lake Nokomis Trail is the incredible scenery that awaits around every turn. You’ll be treated to stunning views of the shimmering lake, as well as a variety of wildlife, including:

The Lake Nokomis Trail is also conveniently located near several other popular attractions in Minneapolis, including the Hiawatha bike trail and Minnehaha Park, which are both just a short ride away.

The trail has easy access to parking lots and bike racks, making it an ideal destination for both locals and tourists.

Minneapolis is a city that truly has it all. From its vibrant cultural scene to its rich history and stunning architecture, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Whether you’re immersing yourself in the beauty of the Chain of Lakes, or taking in the amazing views from the Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis offers a wide range of tourist attractions that are sure to captivate visitors.

The city’s beautiful lakes, including Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Nokomis, provide a picturesque backdrop for outdoor activities and leisurely strolls.

With its welcoming locals, diverse cuisine, and vibrant arts and entertainment scene, Minneapolis is a top destination not just in the Midwest, but in the entire United States. So, pack your bags and get ready to explore this hidden gem that embodies the perfect balance of modern urbanity and natural beauty.


[1] Lakewood History – Lakewood Cemetery. (2020, April 29). Lakewood Cemetery. https://www.lakewoodcemetery.org/about/lakewood-history/

[2] Minnehaha Regional Park – Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. (n.d.). Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks-destinations/parks-lakes/minnehaha_regional_park/

[3] Stone Arch Bridge – Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. (n.d.). Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board. https://www.minneapolisparks.org/parks-destinations/historical_sites/stone_arch_bridge/

[4] Discover St. Anthony Main in Northeast Minnapolis. (n.d.). Meet Minneapolis. https://www.minneapolis.org/things-to-do/itineraries/52-must-sees/st-anthony-main/

[5] Nokomis Trail – Lake Superior Circle Tour. (n.d.). Lake Superior Circle Tour. https://lakesuperiorcircletour.info/location/nokomis-trail/


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