12 Weeks of Summer: Week 7

Downtown MPLSThis week, which is already Week 7 of the 12 Weeks of Summer, we’re suggesting you explore Downtown Minneapolis.

After all, Petula Clark did say this about it:

So go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
No finer place for sure, downtown
Everything’s waiting for you

Everything is waiting for you, including a bus or light rail train from Metro Transit, which we recommend you use as your mode of transportation so you don’t have to deal with parking.

Once you get downtown, we suggest you check out a couple of Minneapolis landmarks.

The first is the Minneapolis City Hall and Courthouse.

This building, which sits at 350 S. 5th St., was built between 1887 and 1906  and is owned by both the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County. It is an architectural treasure and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building is home to a wide array of local history and urban legend and there’s much to see inside City Hall. You can take a docent-led tour on the third Wednesday of each month at 12:00 pm, or a self-guided tour any time. To explore the building on your own, stop by the security desk in the rotunda and ask for a self-guided tour brochure.

From City Hall, you can walk the Skyway or stay on the street level and make your way over to the Foshay Tower, which actually is now the W Minneapolis Hotel, at 821 Marquette Ave.

The history of this building is really quite interesting, and at one point in time it was the tallest building in the city. The observation deck is located on the 30th floor and offers a unique perspective and view. The hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am until 5:00 pm. There is an admission fee of $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and free for children under 12.

Another great downtown building is the Minneapolis Central Library, located at 300 Nicollet Mall. While it is the largest library in the Hennepin County public library system, it bills itself as being the third largest per capital public library collection of any major city in America, with a collection of more than 2.4 million items, including books, DVDs, music and government documents.

More than that, though, it’s a really cool building.

It was renovated in 2006 and now has 353,000 square feet of room, including two levels of underground parking and a beautiful atrium. It also boasts 300 computers with internet access that the public can use for free, and a light and open children’s section. Plus, there’s a Dunn Brothers on the premises.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is another worthwhile building to check out. It sits on the north end of downtown close to the Mississippi River. The current building was completed in 1997 and houses about 1,500 employees. The address, 90 Hennepin Ave., was selected to signify that the Bank represents the Ninth Federal Reserve District.

Guided walking tours are offered every Friday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm from June through October in to families and small groups of five or less. The tour is intended for people ages 12 and older, and you must register at least 24 hours in advance. To do so and for more information, please click here.

Of course, as you meander around downtown you will no doubt get hungry. There are plenty of food trucks to be found, primarily on Marquette Avenue between 5th & 8th Streets.

If that doesn’t strike your fancy, you can step inside a Skyway-connected building and walk until you find something you like, which shouldn’t take long. You’ll find options for every ethnicity of food, and your biggest issue might be trying to figure out what exactly you want to eat.

After you whet your whistle and if you are feeling ambitious, you can walk toward the Mississippi and the Minneapolis Riverfront. Cross the Hennepin Avenue Bridge and explore Historic Main Street on the other side as you make your way to the Stone Arch Bridge.

When crossing back over the river on the Stone Arch Bridge, make sure you stop to take a look – and maybe even a picture – of  St. Anthony Falls. And after this walk, you most likely be ready to catch Metro Transit back to where your adventure all started.

So again, in the words of Ms. Clark:

So go downtown
Things will be great when you’re downtown
Don’t wait a minute more, downtown
Everything is waiting for you, downtown

Stone Arch Bridge


Curious about the other 6 Weeks of Summer? Check out Week 1 by clicking here, Week 2 by clicking here, Week 3 by clicking here, Week 4 by clicking here, Week 5 by clicking here, and Week 6 by clicking here.

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