Are you wondering where to stay in Minneapolis? We’ve highlighted the best places to stay in Minneapolis, along with recommended sights, to-dos, and lodgings to ensure the best possible stay in the Mini-Apple.
One half of Minnesota’s famous “Twin Cities,” Minneapolis has long been regarded as one of America’s most beautiful and inviting cities to both visit and live.
Famed for its stunning Chain of Lakes and bisecting Mississippi River, as well as its rich milling history and sensational Mall of America, it’s no understatement to declare that there is truly something for everyone in the most populous city in Minnesota.
Where to stay in Minneapolis: Best Areas
1. Downtown, the best area to stay in Minneapolis
Comprised of six unique neighborhoods which combined receive nearly 30 million visitors a year, Downtown is the heart of Minneapolis, and where you’ll find no shortage of enthralling sights, mouthwatering eats, and plenty of activities.
Guests can enjoy a traditional paddle wheeler or steamboat-style tour of the Mississippi River, complete with arguably the best views of the Downtown Minneapolis Skyline, as well as stunning natural sights such as the St. Anthony Falls.
Additionally, guests can opt for Happy Hour and tasting cruises promoting everything from pizza to tacos to nouveau cuisine.
For history and architecture devotees, the City Hall building is a Gothic masterpiece inspired by London’s Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. If you’re lucky enough to catch yourself there during midday, you’ll be treated to the clock tower’s magnificent 15-bell chime.
Art lovers will want to check out Louvre It Or Leave It, a contemporary art museum housed in two of the Northstar Center Building’s floors and boasting an ongoing rotation of exhibits featuring everything from original Picasso works to fun and unusual modern pieces.
For nighttime entertainment there is the Acme Comedy Club, routinely cited as one of the best comedy clubs in the US, featuring talent from around the country as well as its own in-house restaurant.
There is also the historic Orpheum Theater, which dates back to the 1920s and was once a popular vaudeville house. Today the theater continues to attract both guests and locals alike thanks to its sumptuous interior and noteworthy bill of Broadway musicals.
Fans of the Mary Tyler Moor Show will be delighted by Downtown Minneapolis’s own nod to the iconic sitcom heroine with a life-size statue located just beside the Nicollet Mall Metro Station.
The mile-long pedestrian mall is home to countless retail shops, cafes, restaurants, and even live events. (Make sure to look down and take in the 50 manhole covers that have since been converted into urban art installations.) Guests can also access the skyway for additional eateries and boutiques.
A Downtown sojourn wouldn’t be complete without a stroll through the Mill City Farmers Market, where visitors will find so much more than fresh produce; live music events, cooking and yoga classes, and more than 40 stalls of handmade crafts of all varieties await.
Additionally, the Downtown Minneapolis area is ideal for bicycle and Segway touring.
Hotels, bed & breakfasts, hostels, and private rentals can all be found in the downtown area, with something for every budget and preference.
If you are looking for a convenient locale where to stay in Minneapolis, you won’t find a better lodging point than Downtown.
2. Mill District, a lovely historic area where to stay in Minneapolis
The Mill District is one of Downtown’s eastern neighborhoods. Named for the industrial mills that produced much of the city’s wealth in the 19th century, the district was the original home of universally recognizable names such as General Mills and Pillsbury.
At the height of its industrial power, the Mill District was the largest producer of flour in the world. Although many of the mills closed during the 1930s and were left abandoned until recent years, today the area is a bustling reminder of the city’s booming Gilded Age industry.
Guests are encouraged to visit the Mill City Museum to learn more about Minneapolis’s milling industry, with fun and informative features including an elevator ride to the top of the flour tower and multiple floors to stop off on and explore en route.
Additional exhibits include authentic millstones and even a 19th century boxcar initially used to transport flour and equipment.
Mill Ruins Park, located on the west side of St. Anthony Falls, is where visitors can stroll among and explore the ruins of several sizable flour mill buildings, as well as the remains of an excavated tailrace canal and railroad bridge.
The park has a wonderful network of footpaths and bicycle trails, and frequently hosts special seasonal events including public archaeological digs.
There are a number of recognizable hotel names in the Mill District, as well as luxury and boutique lodgings. For those looking for an especially unique area to stay in Minneapolis, the Mill District is a lovely historic option.
3. Warehouse District, coolest place to stay in Minneapolis
Alternately referred to as the North Loop, the Warehouse District is a busy, vibrant neighborhood famed for its hip up-and-coming bars, restaurants, indie shops, and creative collectives.
The titular warehouses played an integral part in Minneapolis’s shipping industry during the 19th and early 20th centuries, and have since been rehabilitated and converted for a variety of purposes.
Voted one of the most bike-friendly neighborhoods in the US, the Warehouse District is perfect for pedaling around, with plenty of bicycle rentals and even special cycling tours.
Baseball fans won’t want to skip a visit to Target Field on game days, as it’s home to none other than the Minnesota Twins. Built in 2007, the open-air field is the first of its kind to receive the LEED Silver Certification by the US Green Building Council.
The Traffic Zone Center for Visual Art, an artistic co-op founded in 1993, currently produces and exhibits the work of 23 members and is open to the public year-round. As of 2015 the center boasted eight different gallery sets, and continues to expand as word-of-mouth spreads.
The Warehouse District is notable for its emphasis on locally sourced, organic, and farm-to-table fare. Foodies won’t want to miss the Minneapolis Farmers Market, founded in 1876 and featuring over 170 stalls and 230 vendors to date.
The Warehouse District is where you will find boutique hotels along with overall shabby-chic lodgings, and is idyllic for visitors wishing to live like a trendy local during their stay in Minneapolis.
4. Dinkytown, one of the most happening areas in Minneapolis
Don’t be fooled by the name; Dinkytown is one of the most happening areas in Minneapolis.
The center of student life thanks to its proximity to the University of Minnesota, Dinkytown offers a dizzying mix of shops, eateries, cafes, and bars, with plenty of live music and event venues to liven up the evenings.
It’s impossible to visit Dinkytown and not rub shoulders with Stadium Village, the ultimate student sporting hotspot.
During seasonal games at the Huntington Park Stadium the neighborhood gets livelier than ever, with every sports bar, restaurant, and venue filling up and spilling out into the streets in classic tailgating style.
Sporting events aren’t the only draw of Dinkytown; there are also plenty of arts & cultural offerings to take advantage of during your stay in Minneapolis.
The Northrop Auditorium, built in 1928 and restored in 2014, seats approximately 2,700 people for lectures, music and dance concerts, and theatrical performances, with particularly noteworthy guests including the Dalai Lama.
There is also the art deco-style Varsity Theater, which has since gone on to become a much-loved music venue.
Last but hardly least, there is the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, located on the Mississippi River and housing over 25,000 pieces of modern art, as well as traditional Native American pottery and Korean furniture.
Thanks to its bustling student population and expectant visiting friends and family, there are some lodging options in Dinkytown, from trusted hotel chains to private rentals, as well as budget hostels and Airbnb-style residences.
5. Mall of America – Airport, where to stay in Minneapolis for shopping
No visit to the Twin Cities is complete without a trip to the Mall of America, located near the airport in Bloomington and easily accessible via car and public transport (the average commute from Minneapolis is just 15 minutes).
Opened in 1992, the Mall of America is the seventh largest shopping mall in the world and largest in the western hemisphere, with over 520 stores, 60+ eateries, and zero sales tax on apparel.
In addition to all the shopping one could dream of, the Mall of America also boasts two Nickelodeon Universe amusement parks, 400 annual events, and plenty of celebrity appearances.
Due to its fame and proximity, there are plenty of hotels in the Mall of America/Airport area, many of which offer special packages and transportation services.
6. Downtown St. Paul, great place to stay in Minneapolis for everyone
The capitol of Minnesota, St. Paul is a not-to-be-missed stopover during your stay in Minneapolis, with the Downtown area in particular an immensely popular point of interest.
Brimming with venues, shops, historic sights, and every imaginable eatery, Downtown St. Paul has no shortage of to-dos for every traveler. Best of all, the warm and inviting atmosphere ensures a stay as pleasant as it is enriching.
The Minnesota History Center is the perfect starting point, and is located just a short walk from the Minnesota State Capitol buildings.
Covering more than 4,000 square meters, the center offers an extensive chronicle of the region’s history, beginning with the native tribes and spanning the state’s industrial and social progress.
Visitors can additionally make use of the Minnesota History Center Library, which welcomes researchers and casual history lovers alike.
The nearby Cathedral of Saint Paul is a must-see attraction, and is now a Vatican-verified shrine to Paul the Apostle.
Erected in the early years of the 20th century, the cathedral boasts an awe-inspiring combination of Gothic and Baroque architecture, with several interior chapels devoted to the various patron saints of St. Paul’s immigrant communities.
Summit Avenue, another short jaunt from the steps of Saint Paul Cathedral, takes a page from the past with its elegant Victorian mansions and red brick buildings, and contains such historic sites as the National Historic Landmark of Summit Terrace, the reported home of F. Scott Fitzgerald, as well as the nearby home of Frank B. Kellogg.
Families and visitors of all ages will delight in the Minnesota Zoo, opened in 1978 and occupying 485 acres of land.
The zoo boasts an astonishing assortment of animal as well as flora & fauna exhibits, each categorized by regional habitat, from native Minnesota species to exotic tropical and even Russian specimens.
The Minnesota Zoo was among the first of its kind in the US, and continues to be an immensely popular tourist draw.
The Science Museum of Minnesota makes for the perfect partnering excursion, and features a fascinating collection of hands-on science exhibits as well as exhibits dedicated to the natural history of Minnesota, including paleontological finds like triceratops and stegosaurus fossils.
Guests can also enjoy special one-off traveling shows, which have even included real Egyptian mummies.
Music lovers will no doubt appreciate the Schubert Club Musical Instrument Museum, which displays centuries of musical instruments both classical and rare, as well as manuscripts and personal effects from some of the world’s most famous composers.
There are plenty of lodging options for those wishing to stay the night (or more) in Downtown St. Paul, from major hotels to more niche boutique rentals, as well as budget-friendly hostels.
Traveler’s Tip: Know Before You Go
Minneapolis has one of the largest and most reliable public transport systems in the country, with frequent service between the Twin Cities as well as the Mall of America and Airport areas.
Purchasing a visitor pass can save you a considerable amount of money and commute time in the long run, regardless of whether you plan to fly or drive to Minneapolis.