Many Minnesota vacationers catch the summer breeze by cruising on a replica 19th-century paddlewheelriverboat-- and why shouldn’t you? The Minneapolis Queen transports travelers past the historic Riverfront District. Cobblestone streets lead the way to what was once the world’s largest flour mills, now converted into museums and loft apartments, with Minneapolis’ skyscrapers glittering as a backdrop.
The summer sun warms the air and day lilies burst into orange and yellow bloom, framing the artworks at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Amidst multicolored flower beds range bronze horses, steel hedgerows, oversized keys and spoons and intricately-balanced abstract works. A must-visit is the conservatory, where Frank Gehry’s 21- foot-long Standing Glass Fish sparkles in the sunshine.
The Twin Cities celebrate cultural diversity at the summer-long arts festival MOSAIC. African-American artists hip-hop in city parks, children’s theaters stage ”Cinderella” and ”Peter and the Wolf”, and brightly-colored Indonesian dance troupes twirl in manicured gardens. Street vendors cater to noshers with fresh tamales, Chinese dim sum and other delights.
Follow the lead of the locals, who cool off by kicking up their feet on riverfront terraces, sipping tart apple- tinis or ordering frosty mugs of St.-Paul-brewed Summit Beer. As the 19th- century brick storefronts and cafés of Minneapolis’ Riverfront District take on the golden glint of a summer sunset on the Mississippi, their warm patina stands in stark contrast to the angular Minneapolis skyline across the river.
Visitors should savor the cool summer breezes on evening walks along St. Paul’s Summit Avenue before returning to summer hotels in Minneapolis. Set amidst towering sugar maples, imposing Victorian mansions flank Italianate villas. Watch for the tourists with cameras, who will point the way to the homes of American authors like F. Scott Fitzgerald, Sinclair Lewis and Garrison Keillor.
Kayakers scare up herons and ducks while soaking up the summer sunshine as they paddle down the mighty Mississippi River. The river, once the superhighway of 19th-century America, carries boaters past the crumbling remnants of the Twin Cities’ milling history to St. Paul’s newest luxury loft apartments. The Mississippi River Visitor Center helps arrange the logistics.
Climb to the top of the Minnesota State Capitol, but bring your sunglasses. The sun flashes as it hits the 1906 gilded chariot statue, Quadriga, accessible to visitors only in the summertime. Before descending back to earth, enjoy the rooftop perspective views of the Mississippi River, busy with pleasure boaters and paddlers.
Try your hand at fishing or cool off, swimming at refreshing Calhoun Beach just outside the Uptown neighborhood. Minneapolis’ favorite inland lake, Lake Calhoun is one of nearly 10,000 in Minnesota. Pedestrian paths surrounding the lake are ideal for active fun on dry land: a morning jog, an evening stroll or a bicycle ride.