Minneapolis has a strong affinity to Seattle, with a shared Scandinavian immigrant stream and famous for some serious “Nice”. It’s also known as a city of neighborhoods, much like Seattle, meaning that unless I hopped in a cab or rented a bike, I wasn’t going to see much of what make Minneapolis a desirable place to live for so many.
Out to research and find good stories about online education, I didn’t have much time to explore the city and spent a good bit of it lost in the Skyways, which are a bit like a rat’s maze to keep folks in out of the bitter cold. It’s, by far, quietest downtown I’ve ever been in, with so much of the life of the downtown workers happening inside on the second floor. It is also incredibly flat and for me, hard to get a bearing.
I did find time to walk down by the Mississippi River a bit in the dark and had lovely stroll over toward the Walker Gallery looking for a farmer’s market, that was recommended to me by the bartender at the fine Grand Hotel. That walk took me through Loring Park, where I got a small glimpse of the city’s real culture at Loring Corner and had a nice conversation with the old school printers at LunaLux (lovely paper makes a great souvenir).
There seems to be plenty to do to make a very nice short vacation in the city, and while I’d never thought of Minnesota as a possible bicycle touring destination, I am definitely intrigued now. The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway looks like a fun day out on a bike and a ride from the Mississippi headwaters to somewhere south of Minneapolis (New Orleans, anyone?) would likely make an incredibly interesting ride.