Minneapolis Riverfront District – Downtown Minneapolis’ Best Kept Secret

Minneapolis Riverfront District

Minneapolis Riverfront District

When we hear or see Downtown Minneapolis we often associate it with the bustling skyscrapers and the many commercial and cultural entertainment centers associated with the area. The Minneapolis Riverfront District is actually a very popular tourist destination as there are guided walking tours of this historic area that you can enjoy with your friends and family. The Minneapolis Riverfront District is a laid back area of Downtown Minneapolis that covers the east and west banks of the Mississippi River. The East Bank comprises St. Anthony Main and the Old St. Anthony Business District, replete with historic houses, hip and happening restaurants and art galleries.

History

There is a lot to be thankful for the Riverfront and Mill Districts as historically, without them there would probably be no bustling Minneapolis, as we know it today.  The area is centered on the Mississippi River’s Saint Anthony Falls which at one time rose over 180 feet tall and served as the meeting point for the area’s local Native American Tribes for hundreds of years leading up to the visit of Missionary Louis Hennepin in the year 1680. It was Hennepin that first wrote and described the beauty of the falls and re-named it after his favorite saint.

Settlement in the area began in the early 19thcentury after relocation of the Native American Tribes to reservations. Since then St. Anthony Falls became the powerhouse that provided energy to the many saw mills in the area and the village of St. Anthony, which was established on the north side of the river in 1848. While most of the mills are now gone and the waterfall is but a shadow of its former self, there are still many historic artifacts and remnants in the area to enjoy a walking tour through the River District.

Guthrie Theatre

Guthrie Theater

Probably the most popular feature of the Guthrie Theater is the 4thfloor Endless Bridge, which at 178 feet from the side of the building offers visitors an amazing panoramic view over the entire Mississippi River.  It is a 30-foot wide bridge featuring a great outdoor terrace.  The only other thing to top the bridge is the Dowling Studio Lobby located on the 9thfloor. It is a section complete with floor to ceiling windows that allow visitors a wrap around view of the Mississippi River and the beautiful Minneapolis skyline. The large expansive windows are tinted yellow to allow the room a unique atmosphere and the floor is covered by plexiglass that allows you to see 9 floors below.  Even if you are not able to see a show at the Guthrie, a visit to the Dowling Studio Lobby to see the breathtaking views would be enough to make up for it.  Views include the gorgeous Minneapolis skyline, the dazzling and enchanting Mississippi River and nearby Gold Medal Park.  This park is also a nice place to have a picnic before beginning your tour.

Costume Tours

You can have guided costume tours to see some of the thirty thousand costumes the theater has. It is available every 1stSaturday of each month. Backstage-guided tours are on Friday and Saturday mornings only

Mill City Saturday Farmers’ Market

Ever since 2006, one of the best and sought after farmer’s markets in the Twin Cities setup shop just beside the famous Guthrie Theater.  The market offers visitors a nice selection of fruits and vegetables along with flowers from the best local growers has made this market quite a popular place to be.

Mill City Museum

Mill City Museum

The Mill City Museum was constructed within the Washburn A Mill and features the history of the flour milling business. The Mill was constructed in 1880 and at the time was deemed the biggest structure existing.  However, a fire in 1991 destroyed the structure and left it entirely in ruins. The current museum was built from the ruins of the mill and features an eight story façade that gives the building an eclectic historic and modern look.

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