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posted on March 28th, 2016

When many people think of the Twin Cities, they think of the many lakes around “The Land of 10,000 Lakes” and the cold, harsh winters. However, there is plenty to do in Minneapolis outside of freezing and boating. Here are some top spots to visit during your next visit to Minneapolis.

Get outdoors

Minnesota winters may be frigid, but getting outside during the three months of warm weather is essential. Here are some favorite spots if you’re planning a visit to Minneapolis during the warm weather season.

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MINNEHAHA FALLS AND MINNEHAHA PARK

The natural waterfalls are located just 20 minutes from downtown in the beautiful Minnehaha Park. Named for the falls’ source, Minnehaha Creek, the falls are a stunning break from the urban and suburban life of the city.

LAKE HARRIET

Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles are all great destinations in Minneapolis on a summer day, but I prefer Lake Harriet over the others. Grab an ice cream or popcorn and catch a concert at the bandshell or rent a bike and ride around the lake.

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SCULPTURE GARDEN AT THE WALKER ART CENTER

The Walker Art Center is a beautiful art museum in its own right, but its outdoor (and free) sculpture garden is a wonderful place to spend an hour or two. The garden is home to many beautiful works, including the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry.

Cozy up indoors

If you’re here in the shoulder season, here are some evergreen stops for any Twin Cities visitor.

MALL OF AMERICA

The largest shopping mall in America is located right by the airport, but make sure you have extra space in your suitcase if you stop by on the way out of town. The mall is home to a full-sized amusement park (with several roller coasters), five major anchor department stores, an aquarium, over 520 stores, and its own underground light rail station on the line connecting the airport to downtown.

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DOWNTOWN SKYWAY

To avoid going out in sub-zero temperatures, residents and office workers downtown can traverse the entire area through a series of skyways connecting nearly all downtown buildings. The system connects 69 city blocks over 11 miles. Major attractions connected to the Skyway include the Nicollet Mall shopping district, the Block E Entertainment District, Target Center (home of the Minnesota Timberwolves basketball team), Target Field (home of the Minnesota Twins baseball team), and the Minneapolis Convention Center.

MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ART

This art museum is home to a world-class collection of amazing works and regularly hosts wonderful rotating exhibits. The 100-year-old institute offers free general admission and is closed on Mondays.

Whatever time of year you swing by the Twin Cities, rent a car from a local and get their insider insights on the best of the best, from the best ice fishing holes to the best beer gardens.

Eric is a personal finance, entrepreneurship, travel, and real estate blogger. When he's away from the computer, he's out flying planes, riding bikes, and DJing the occasional dance party.