You could spend weeks exploring all the arts and cultural opportunities that Minneapolis has to offer. For those crunched for time, it’s possible to see some of Minneapolis’ most impressive art museums, galleries, and other art-related establishments in 24 hours—but you need a plan. Here’s a guide to some of the city’s most popular places to check out art.
Must-Visit Art Museums
Minneapolis Institute of Art
This incredible fine art museum known as MIA is free. That’s right folks, free! It’s a special gem on the Minneapolis art scene and features exhibitions from 40,000-year-old artifacts to world-famous masterpieces, and artwork from Monet to Matisse.
Insider Tip: Before you visit, check out MIA’s social media pages to see all the amazing art on display. It’s helpful to plan out the must-see masterpieces if you’re pressed for time—you can spend hours meandering through this museum.
Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2400 3rd Ave S, Minneapolis, MN, USA, +1 612 870 3000
Walker Art Center & Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
This art institution is one of the most popular spots for the arts in Minneapolis. Walker Art Center is a multidisciplinary, contemporary art center, which began as a lumber baron’s collection, and today, it is a catalyst for the creative expression of artists. It’s one of the five most-visited modern art museums in the United States.
Insider Tip: Adjacent to the Walker Art Center is the not-to-be-missed Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, known for the famous Spoonbridge & Cherry sculpture shown below. Walker Art Center is closed on Mondays, so plan your visit around its opening hours.
Weisman Art Museum
This modern museum, located on the University of Minnesota campus, is a sight to behold—its stainless steel exterior is impressive. Inside, you’ll find art with relevant cultural, social and historical contexts. Its purpose is to make art accessible to the university and surrounding communities, so it hosts several major exhibitions each year and serves as a teaching museum for the university. Admission is free.
Insider Tip: Parking on campus can be confusing for those who aren’t familiar. Luckily, there’s parking available at the museum for about $3/hour, or you can take Metro Transit buses right into the campus.
Weisman Art Museum, 333 E River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN, USA, +1 612 625 9494
Exceptional Art-Themed Cafés
This restaurant, located in the Walker Art Center, is inspired by seasonal ingredients and led by Chef Doug Flicker. Its unique eats represent the layered sensory experience of eating food. Esker Grove is open for lunch and dinner, and brunch is often available during the winter.
Insider Tip: Esker Grove gets busy, and Yelp users say it can be hard to get a table. Plan an off-hours meal for the best experience, such as visiting at 11:00 a.m. or 2:00 p.m. for lunch. Also, keep in mind that this restaurant is closed on Mondays.
Esker Grove, 723 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN, USA, +1 612 375 7542
Agra Culture Kitchen & Press
Drop by Agra Culture Kitchen & Press inside the Minneapolis Institute of Art for a coffee, cold-pressed juice or alcoholic beverage to pair with a post-museum snack. The coffee shop-café is open during all museum hours.
Insider Tip: If you’re seeking a heartier meal, the Agra Culture Restaurant is open for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Unexpected Art Stops
Minneapolis Public Art Self-Guided Tour
The City of Minneapolis put together an awesome map featuring more than 300 individual pieces of public art. The website has six interactive map tours with detailed information about the artwork and directions to the works on Google Maps.
Insider Tip: Use the hashtag #TourMplsArt and #OnlyinMN to have photos from your adventure seen on social media.
Minnesota Center for Book Arts
This popular art stop celebrates books as a vibrant art form that takes many shapes—such as printmaking, letterpress printing, bookbinding and more. It’s one of the largest and most comprehensive independent, nonprofit book arts centers in the United States.
This gallery is a special spot in Northeast Minneapolis. Located in an old warehouse near the banks of the Mississippi River, Soap Factory showcases contemporary visual and performing art. It’s known for being a laboratory for artistic experimentation and innovation.
Soap Factory, 514 2nd St SE, Minneapolis, MN, USA, +1 612 623 9176
Based in Minneapolis’ Kenwood district, Bockley Gallery features local, national and international artists, with a focus on imaginative folk and native art. Bockley Gallery sits near author Louise Erdrich’s Birchbark Books and Native Arts, which is one of the Twin Cities’ best independent bookstores.
Bockley Gallery, 2123 W 21st St, Minneapolis, MN, USA, +1 612 377 4669
American Swedish Institute
Whether you have a link to Sweden or not, the American Swedish Institute is an impressive, stately museum you should pop on your must-visit list. It features Swedish history exhibits and art classes and is a gathering place for people to share experiences around themes of culture, migration, the environment, and the arts.
American Swedish Institute, 2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN, USA, +1 612 871 4907