When doing research on things to do in the Twin Cities area, we came up with quite a punch list of attractions. Today we attacked that list.
The day started with a drive through the University of Minnesota campus. Back in 1848, a territorial convention gave Minneapolis the university, St. Paul the capitol, and Stillwater the prison. Seems everybody did okay except Stillwater.
The campus spans across the Mississippi river, and we drove back and forth several times as we admired the campus (and looked for a bathroom).
We also drove briefly through downtown Minneapolis. They had a building very similar in looks to the Landmark Center in St. Paul, which was still in use. I hope that we can make it back to Minneapolis to do some more exploring.
Next up was a tour of the Mill City Museum. Due to the city’s location on the river, it was the flour producing capitol of the world for decades. This gave the city of Minneapolis its nickname of Mill City. This museum, located inside the ruins of one of these mills, told the story.
The museum not only told the stories of the mills, but also of the wheat production happening in Minnesota and the surrounding states. Because the railroads were very aware of the need for field hands during harvest, they allowed them to ride on the cars into the area – sometimes as many as 100 on a single freight train.
The museum even had a baking center with both contemporary equipments like the Nitrous Whip and traditional ones that were used by people in the past. The staff would set out cake and bread for you to taste test. We may have walked past that kitchen a few times.
The highlights of the tour were a 19 minute video which told the history of the city, and the elevator ride to the 8th floor of the mill, which had great views of the river.
The mill where the museum is located was the Washburn A Mill, and was the largest flour mill in the world at one time. It was shut down in 1965, and was nearly destroyed by a fire in 1991. Now it houses the museum, community events and weddings.
We went for a walk on the Stone Arch Bridge afterward. The bridge is just downstream of the only natural waterfall on the Mississippi River, St. Anthony Falls.
One of the important to-dos on our list in to try a “Juicy Lucy” hamburger. This is a style of burger popular here where the cheese is melted between two patties. Our cousin, Allison, recommended a place called the Blue Door Pub, so we visited their original, St. Paul location. It was a hole in the wall place, and we enjoyed it. The burgers were delicious, and the cheese curd appetizer added some local flavor.
We texted Allison while we were eating and turns out that her and Paul have rented a house just around the corner. So after lunch, we walked over and got to see their new digs from the sidewalk. Looks like a great part of town and a neat street to live on. (And they will never go hungry living so close to the Blue Door Pub.)
Our next stop was a visit by Minnehaha Park, and the Minnehaha Falls. Minnehaha was one of the first state parks in the country, created in 1889. The falls were very nice, and the viewing areas were not very crowded while we were there.
One fun fact we learned today is that Minneapolis comes from a combination of the words “Minnehaha” (Dakota for Falling Water) and “polis” (Greek for City).
The park facilities were very nice, shaded, and there were a lot of people of all ages hanging out. KK likes to ask if every odd-looking person that walks by is a hipster. We found one at the park.
The University of Minnesota mascot, Goldy the Gopher, stopped by the park, supposedly for a photo shoot according to Stephanie. There was a dad yelling at Goldy that he wanted a picture of him with his child, but Goldy never turned around. We don’t think Goldy is very nice.
We made a final stop at the Duluth Trading Company, a store that KK had on his list. They offered complimentary water, coffee and tea, so we lounged and shopped and got refreshed. And not to worry, the lady working inside said she was going to move to Independence, Missouri, to manage their new store there, so we will have one closer to home.