See This, Skip That: Minneapolis

Shop Midtown, Skip the Mall To be frank, the Shopping Mall of America makes judicious spending a favorite pastime for many visitors here; what is one of the largest malls in the entire country is in nearby Bloomington and an easy trip via light rail. But if it’s shopping to satiate your hunger that you’re into, even neophyte foodies will savor a visit to Midtown Global Market, an expansive marketplace inside a restored historic building that allows local farmers and purveyors to feature their wares and consumers to feed the senses. You’ll find fresh fare restaurants, specialty grocers and gift boutiques here, as well as gift items from around the world. Check out the all-year events calendar for rotating cultural programs and events. Parking is free for two hours with validation. Keep in mind that there are a variety of farmers markets throughout the city, including the weekly one run by the University of Minnesota, which features uber-local vendors who’ve traveled 2-1/2 miles or less to sell their fruits and vegetables.

Dine at Pacna, Taste History The food scene is thriving in Minneapolis these days, and awesome restaurants abound. But make time for at least one meal at Pacna on Main, which dubs itself a historic dining saloon. Located along cobblestoned Main Street and overlooking the Mississippi River, this is the oldest restaurant in Minneapolis, dating back to 1890. The décor inside this historic building features the original brick walls and the lunch and dinner menus feature classic sandwiches, pasta and meat dishes and a bevy of craft brews.

All Aboard, Hit the Rink The Depot dates back to the turn of the 20th century – a historic downtown train shed that’s now become one of the hottest skating venues in the country. Open on specific days of the week throughout the year, it features a professional ice venue with floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of the city skyline. It’s part of a seven-block community development project that was completed in 2001 that also includes an indoor water park, a museum and several hotels and restaurants. By the way, the last train left the depot back in 1971.

Visit the Museum, See the World Minneapolis is home to a wonderful array of art, cultural and space museums. And a handful offer one-of-a-kind peeks at inspiration with an international twist. The Museum of Russian Art touts itself as the only museum of its kind in all of North America, featuring works rarely displayed anywhere else. There are multi-level galleries inside this renovated historic building that feature artwork and artifacts that depict everything from Russian traditions to former Russian dynasties. The American Swedish Institute, meanwhile, explored Nordic cultures that are well-rooted throughout the Midwest; exhibitions are housed inside the historic (and castle-like) Turnblad Mansion on Park Avenue.

Gabe Saglie is senior editor for Travelzoo, which features hotel, airfare and a bevy of local deals in Minneapolis at www.travelzoo.com/local-deals/Minneapolis/deals.

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