An Art Lover’s Guide to Minneapolis, MN, in 24 Hours

Faith in Women at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, MN | © Jason Taellious / Flickr
Faith in Women at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, MN | © Jason Taellious / Flickr
Photo of Kelsey Roseth
26 February 2018

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.

Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Springtime of Life, 1871 | © Sharon Mollerus/Flickr

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.

Spoonbridge & Cherry | © Paul VanDerWerf/Flickr

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 Exterior | © Justin Ladia/Flickr

Exceptional Art-Themed Cafés

Esker Grove

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.

Couple Dining at Esker Grove in the Walker Art Center | © Phil Roeder/Flickr

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.

Agra Culture Kitchen & Press | © Tony Webster/Flickr

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.

Public Arts Administration, 105 5th Avenue South, Room 200, Minneapolis, MN, USA,+1 612 673 3006

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.

Minnesota Center for Book Arts, 1011 S Washington Ave #100, Minneapolis, MN, USA, +1 612 215 2520

Gorgeous Galleries

Soap Factory

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 in Minneapolis | © Interplanetary shoes/Flickr

Bockley Gallery

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.

Minnesota Today Your Host Is Cloud Man Village by Edgar Heap of Birds at Bockley Gallery, MN | © Lorie Shaull/Flickr

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 | © McGhiever/WikiCommons

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