Minneapolis/St. Paul is among the biggest metropolitan areas in the country. The Twin cities are given the strong work-ethic and fun-loving spirit of its people, which make them have a vibrancy that you can experience just after a stopover. Aside from all of the major and popular chain stors and restaurants, Minneapolis has its own specialities as well.
Getting to the Twin Cities on Amtrak is easy since it less than nine hours away from Chicago. The station is technically located in St. Paul but it is about equidistant from either downtown. Here are five tips/hints for experiencing the uniqueness of Minneapolis:
One: The Minneapolis Institute of Art is one of the highest ranking art museums in the country. It is a comprehensive museum that showcases African, Oceanic, Native American, Asian and Ancient art. It has important collections of paintings, modern sculpture, photographs, prints, drawings and decorative arts. There are daily public tours of the galleries to give your visit greater depth
Two: Since you arrived by railroad, you may find the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis interesting. Although the exhibits in the museum itself chronicles the history of flour milling (think General Mills, Pillsbury and other local food companies), you may be interested in the Railroad History Tour. This tour, which runs only on Saturday and Sunday, describes the impact that railroading has had on Minneapolis and its industrial growth (including flour milling, of course.) It walks by historical railroad landmarks and begins and ends at the museum. Finally, it discusses the current renaissance of commuter rail activity that is taking place in Minneapolis.
Three: If you are looking for an unusual romantic experience, why not get married or renew your vows in the largest shopping mall in the country. In the Mall of America in Bloomington, amongst its 500+ stores, you will find the Chapel of Love. Over 5,500 couples have been married there! With a little planning (mainly choosing wedding and photo packages), you can utilize their tasteful facilities and licensed officiants and even buy your wedding dress at their Bridal Boutique next door. Believe it or not, the Chapel of Love has been selected as one of the top ten places in America to get married by CitySearch!
Four: If you enjoy eating, Minneapolis has a number of fascinating restaurants. For an upscale and romantic meal, you may wish to choose La Belle Vie, which specializes in French-Mediterranean cuisine. Its nationally recognized chef, Tim McKee, also has a fun and more moderately-priced tequila bar called Barrio. For a completely different experience, go to Nye’s Polonaise Room that serves prime rib, lobsters and Polish specialties, but features the World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band on Friday and Saturday nights.
Five: Since you are on a railroad trip, you may decide to stay in the historical Milwaukee Road depot in Minneapolis. Built in 1899, it was one of the two major railroad depots in Minneapolis (the other was built by the Great Northern Railroad upon whose tracks the Empire Builder still runs today.) Although the last passenger train left in 1971, it stands today as a host of two hotels: a Renaissance and a Residence Inn. Among the Depot’s amenities are an indoor water park and a seasonal ice rink.