Ever wonder what Minneapolis is known for?
Maybe you’re a newly arrived visitor who wants to make sure to get the true Minneapolis experience while in town for a quick trip.
Or maybe you’re a longtime local and just curious about how the rest of the country views our humble Twin Cities.
Either way, today the DiscoverTheCities.com team is putting our heads together, and we’ve got this list of the top 14 things Minneapolis is famous for!
Juicy Lucy Cheeseburgers
Without a doubt, no food is as famous to Minneapolis as the Juicy Lucy.
These bizarre cheeseburgers ditch the cheese on top, and instead mold the patty around the cheese. In other words, you’ve got a burger grilled up with the cheese on the inside, and the result is a molten-hot concoction that’s oozing dairy-lava with every bite.
It’s a unique spin that’s classic Minneapolis. And even though nobody can seem to agree on the exact origins, local historians know enough to conclude that this burger was definitely created somewhere in Minneapolis. (Matt’s Bar and The 5-8 Club have an intense rivalry, each one claiming themselves as the original inventor.) That’s a fact made even more obvious by the disappearance of this Minneapolis style burger as soon as you leave the city limits.
The Mall of America
The Mall of America, located just 15 minutes south of Minneapolis in Bloomington, MN, is the largest mall in the United States.
Drawing 40 million visitors annually, it’s undoubtedly one of the most landmark attracts that Minneapolis is known for.
With a $650 million price tag and a footprint so big that you could fit 10 great pyramids inside (not to mention a 7 acre theme park!) it’s absolutely a spectacle to America’s love of shopping.
Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, so it’s not surprising that Minnesota’s biggest city carries on that reputation.
The city of Minneapolis is known for its collection of lakes dotting its urban areas. The most famous group is the “Chain of Lakes” – three inter-connected bodies of water just minutes south of downtown, each with beautiful views of the city’s skyline.
In the summer, these lakes turn into a sunny paradise, complete with beaches, kayaks, sailboats, and evening concerts. And even in the winter, their frozen beauty takes on an oddly peaceful vibe.
Okay, technically the state of Wisconsin is probably more famous for cheese curds than any city in Minnesota. But the Twin Cities is only 30 minutes from the Wisconsin border, so naturally we’ve adopted this fried-cheese appetizer as the unofficial starter of our city.
Cheese curds are curdled chunks of milk that Northerners love to down as snacks by the basket-full. Curds can either be eaten raw or fried, so naturally everywhere around here serves them deep fried to crunchy, golden perfection.
If you just read that description and are wondering if we’re serious or this is some sort of a prank, know that we’re 100% serious, and you will be too once you taste how delicious these are.
If you need help finding the best, Sean wrote up his guide to the best cheese curds in the Twin Cities.
Did you know the honeycrisp apple was invented at the University of Minnesota, right here in Minneapolis?
The honeycrisp has become the third most purchased apple in America, thanks to its bright red color and delicious taste. And that’s not just consumer perception; the honeycrisp’s flavor literally has science to back it up. It was bred specifically for taste, with larger cells that correlate to extra juiciness!
The mad science experiment that reached that discovery took place right here in our city. The University patented their honeycrisp creation in 1988, and the first varieties were delivered to grocery stores in 1997.
Since then, apples have become an oddly large part of our city’s culture. There’s tons of Apple Orchards near Minneapolis, and for most families, spending a chilly Fall afternoon picking apples straight from the trees has become an annual tradition.
Prince is one of the most famous musicians of all time, and he was born and raised right here in Minneapolis.
In the 1970s, his funk rock style became known as “The Minneapolis Sound.” And while he was still living, Prince was known for impromptu performances around Minneapolis, many of which occurred at small bars around the city or his private estate, Paisley Park. (Our own Lily was lucky enough to attend one of these legendary performances at Paisley Park before his passing, and the rest of us will never stop being jealous about it…)
Today, you can visit Paisley Park, located 30 minutes southwest of downtown, to see a Prince Museum as unique as the music legend.
First Avenue is an ultra-famous music venue in downtown Minneapolis.
Since it first opened in 1970, First Avenue has acted as both a launchpad to some of the most famous musicians in the country (Prince being the most obvious example) and also a revolving door to some of the biggest names in the business (high-profile past performers are commemorated with their names painted inside the 500+ stars on the buildings exterior).
The endless history of Minneapolis’s favorite music venue led Rolling Stone to call it the second best music venue in America, and The New York Times to name it among the 6 most culturally influential clubs in the entire United States.
Thanks to an impressive distribution network, the two most famous breweries in the Twin Cities are Surly Brewing Co. and Summit Brewery Company.
But did you know that Minneapolis is also home to over 80 different craft breweries? Here’s our massive breakdown of all the breweries around the Twin Cities.
No doubt, this is a city that loves its beer. Whether it’s soaking in the sun while enjoying a cold one or staying warm in the winter with a toasty brew, Minneapolis is definitely famous for its beer.
Minneapolis is a great sports city!
Right in the middle of downtown, you have three professional sports teams along with their stadiums – the Minnesota Vikings (football) the Minnesota Twins (baseball) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (basketball). Oh, and the Timberwolves share their stadium with the women’s basketball powerhouse, the Minnesota Lynx.
Just a few minutes down the road in St. Paul, you’ll also find MN United (professional soccer) and what’s arguably the city’s most popular sports team – The Minnesota Wild (pro hockey).
To make a good thing even better, in 2021 the St. Paul Saints announced that they’d be joining the Minnesota Twins professional baseball system by transitioning the team to Major League Baseball’s “Triple A” division. (The Saints’ Stadium, CHS Field, is located right in the heart of St. Paul and is always a great time.)
Here’s our full guide to all the sports stadiums around the Twin Cities.
There’s no getting around it – Minneapolis is known for its brutally cold winter months.
When the Superbowl came to town back in 2018, the marketing team devised a slogan that read, “Embrace the bold North.” That’s something Minneapolis locals have been doing for decades, thanks to a winter season where temperatures plummet to anywhere from negative 10 to negative 30 degrees!
In his guide to the pros and cons of living in Minneapolis, Sean reported that this legitimately made Minneapolis one of the coldest cities in the entire world. That’s a fact that’s doesn’t seem lost on the rest of the country, especially when they watch their weather channel’s map and notice Minneapolis’s always eye-popping winter temps.
And that, my friends, is how Minneapolis got famous for its cold weather.
One of the Twin Cities’ most famous residents was Charles M. Schulz, the cartoonist who created The Peanuts. At its peak, The Peanuts was published in 2,600 different newspapers across 75 countries, making it one of the most influential comics of all time.
Schulz was born in Minneapolis and grew up in St. Paul. To this day, one of the more subtle quirks about the Twin Cities is the vast collection of Peanuts sculptures scattered around town. In total, there’s over 100 different statues of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Lucy, and Linus hidden in plain sight.
Good luck finding them all!
The Cherry Spoon
If I had to name an unofficial landmark for the city of Minneapolis, it’d be that giant cherry spoon that you’ve no doubt seen on postcards around the world.
The official name of the piece is “The Spoonbridge and Cherry” and all 6,000 pounds and 52-feet of it sits in the Minneapolis Sculpture Gardens.
The 19 acre gardens got a total overhaul in 2017. With over 40 different sculptures and many more on a rotating basis, it’s definitely worth a stop for any art fans. Read more in our complete guide to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
A thriving art scene
Speaking of art, any city that adopts an oversized spoon sculpture as its unofficial mascot is obviously serious about its art.
Which is probably why Minneapolis is known for its top-notch arts scene. Not only does the city have a trifecta of world-class art museums (that’d be the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Weisman Art Museum, and the Walker Art Center) but even entire neighborhoods that seem to be devoted to the arts, like Minneapolis’s trendy Northeast neighborhood.
In fact, every year Northeast hosts “Art-a-Whirl” – an event where all the neighborhood’s local artists open their doors to show off their art, and the entire city of Minneapolis is reminded of the full force of the city’s art scene. And not to be outdone, Minneapolis’s Twin City hosts their own version of the event each year too, called The St. Paul Art Crawl.
Several world famous companies
Did you know that Minneapolis is home to one of the densest collections of Fortune 500 companies in the world?
As a result, Minneapolis is often known for the high profile companies headquartered around the city, which include:
- General Mills
- Land O’Lakes
- and Best Buy, among others.
University of Minnesota
With over 50,000 enrolled students, the University of Minnesota is one of the 10 largest public universities in the United States.
But a more accurate name for this enormous school might as well be the University of Minneapolis, since the large campus is located right in the city.
To get specific, much of the college action occurs on the “East Bank” campus, which is a reference to its location on the eastern banks of the Mississippi River, just across the river from downtown Minneapolis. (You can actually see beautiful, front-row-seat views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline from campus.)
The University leaves its mark on the city in more ways than one, with the most prominent being how the Dinkytown Minneapolis neighborhood has crafted itself around student life.