Family Fun in Minneapolis, Minnesota... on a Monday
When I plan multi-city trips, I like to travel from east to west. Being from California, that means the longer flight is on the way to the destination and it doesn't take quite as long to get home. This doesn't always work out.
I had intended our 5-state Nashville to Charlotte trip to start in North Carolina and end in Tennessee. But I just couldn't make the places we wanted to visit fit into the schedule. Too many museums and other attractions were closed on the wrong days of the week. When I reversed the schedule to travel west to east, everything fell into place.
The same thing happened with this Minnesota-to-Wisconsin trip. Sort of. It was supposed to be a Wisconsin-to-Minnesota trip, but no matter how much I tinkered with the itinerary, there were must-see items on my list that would be closed on the days we were in town. This surprised (and annoyed) me a lot. The tourist season there has to be pretty darn short - why are so many things closed 3 or 4 days of the week during the height of summer?! Regardless of the reason, that's how it was. When I flipped the itinerary, I was able to mostly make things work out. Except for Monday, August 1. Almost nothing we wanted to do in Minneapolis was open on Mondays. Museums, restaurants, city tours - closed, closed, closed.
Thank goodness for Urban Adventure Quest. It's always a must-do for us, but it's particularly excellent when everything else is closed. It was the perfect way to start our final morning in Minneapolis. It started at the US Bank Stadium...
... home of the Vikings.
The Quest took us to Gold Medal Park...
... to Guthrie Theater...
... and through the Mill District.
The Quest had us reading signs, taking a closer look at artwork, and focusing on details. As always, it taught us a lot about the city and gave us a deeper understanding of the place we were visiting. And it was a lot of fun!
Lunch was at the excellent Hen House Eatery. YUM. Everything we had was outstanding.
So what else do you do in a city when all the attractions are closed? You walk and you visit parks. We strolled through beautiful Loring Park...
... over the Irene Hixon Whitney Pedestrian Bridge...
... to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
The Walker Art Museum is closed on Mondays (argh) but the Gardens are free and accessible to the public even when the museum is closed. There were at least 100 other tourists walking around taking pictures of the sculptures while we were there, who in theory could have been paying customers at the museum if it were open.
Dinner that night was at EaTo.
Everything we had was absolutely delicious and the service was spot-on. I highly recommend the pizza puffs. And the pasta. And the desserts. Yum!
We finished our evening with another walk across Stone Arch Bridge to watch the sun set over St. Anthony Falls.
On Tuesday morning, we rented a car. We had one more Minneapolis site to see on our way out of town: Minnehaha Falls. It was underwhelming, but I'm glad we went.
The regional park in which the falls are located is lovely. We had a nice stroll.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in the park is the Stevens House. It was closed when we were there (of course), so we couldn't go in. But interpretive signs nearby taught us all about it. The story of how it ended up in the park is fascinating, to say the least. The house was originally built in 1849 near St. Anthony Falls, then was moved twice as industry encroached. In 1896, the Minneapolis Journal decided the neglected house had historical value and purchased it, then donated it the school children of Minneapolis. That's not the interesting part.
Get this: As the beneficiaries of the gift, the children themselves would have to pull the house to Minnehaha Park, where it would be protected from future city growth. Literally pull it themselves. The city declared a public holiday one school day in May, hitched the house to two 500-foot ropes, and divided the kids into six groups who each had a shift pulling the house! That would have been quite a memorable school day.
We had an hour drive to our next destination. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.