2.5 Days to Wander by Bike in Minneapolis
Free Cultural Bike Map and Travel Itinerary
If you haven't visited Minneapolis on a bike, you are in for a treat. New York City, Portland, and Chicago jostle with one another to dominate the North American bike press, but humble Minneapolis waits quietly in the northern heartland with all of the goods it takes to blow your mind. They've got natural beauty, car-free infrastructure, friendly people, top-shelf food, a well developed art scene and brewery density to compete with anyone. See our itinerary and free cultural bike map below.
Use this guide for our complete bike friendly hotel, Airbnb, airline, train and bike rental recommendations, as well as our favorite places to grab a bite to eat, drink or photo along a bike route.
- Nice Ride (bike share)- $4 per 30 minutes or $10 for a 3-day pass with unlimited 30 minute rides. These are sturdy city bikes with front bag holder, lights, fully enclosed chain guard and skirt guard.
- Perennial Cycle- $45 daily for a Brompton folding bike includes lights, fenders, bag (optional), lock (optional), and 1 helmet.
Sun Country Airlines is based in Minneapolis and offers inexpensive, direct flights to the city. We upgraded to an exit row seat for only $10! Want to bring your bike? Simply turn the handlebars sideways and secure with a bungee, remove the pedals and pay $75 to check it as luggage. For you Brompton owners, as long as the bike fits in the carry on measuring box, we've never had problems bringing our bikes on board.
- The Grand Hotel
Reservations, (612) 288-8888615, 2nd Avenue South, Minneapolis
Amenities: Bikabout map (self-guided cultural route), complimentary Public bikes
Check out our Pinterest board of Airbnbs chosen because their hosts have complimentary bikes and / or they are in bikeable neighborhoods.
Day 1, Friday
A. Minnehaha Falls
Upon arriving at the Minneapolis airport, reset your soul and see this "City by Nature" with a stop at Minnehaha Falls. Hop on the Metro Transit's pristine light rail and 3 short stops later, you'll arrive at the Falls. You can pick up a Nice Ride across the street or walk 10 minutes to the Falls and then grab a bike after relaxing. We definitely recommend walking down the stairs to see it from the ground up.
B. Grand Rounds Scenic Bikeway
After hitting the reset button at the Falls, grab a Nice Ride and head up the Mississippi River towards downtown on the Grand Rounds Scenic Bikeway.
C. Sabo Bridge
Named after one of the city's bike infrastructure godfathers, the "Sabo Bridge" gives people biking and walking an uninterrupted and scenic connection on the Midtown Greenway.
D. Perennial Cycle 3342 Hennepin Ave S | www.perennialcycle.com | 612-827-8000
One of the best bike shops in North America, Perennial sells and rents Brompton Bicycles, the best folding bike on the market, and have a wide selection of transportation bikes and unique accessories. $45 daily for a Brompton folding bike includes lights, fenders, bag (optional), lock (optional), and 1 helmet.
E. Gold Medal Park
With picnic in bike basket, you are ready to bike up Gold Medal Park's curly-Q and take in spectacular views of the Mississippi River and downtown Minneapolis.
F. Stone Arch Bridge
The Stone Arch bridge, though best viewed from Guthrie's Jundt Terrace (Day 2), is best experienced while biking or walking across. Stop for a moment and admire the the city's unique skyline, including Mill City Museum's facade exhibiting the flour dust explosion of 1878.
2016 has been a rough year for music and if you're a super fan of Prince like we are, you definitely need to see the club where he got his start and which also played host to Purple Rain's live music scenes. Ride on 1st Avenue's buffered bike lane past First Avenue and cross the street to pay tribute to the master's star.
Day 2 - Saturday
H. Dinkytown Greenway
A dedicated biking and walking bridge across the Mississippi takes you from downtown to the Dinkytown Greenway, named after the University's famous neighborhood.
I. Guthrie Theater 818 S 2nd St | www.guthrietheater.org | 612-377-2224
Few locals know about or have taken advantage of the city's most spectacular vantage point that is the Guthrie's Jundt Terrace on the "Endless Bridge", a cantilever masterpiece designed by Jean Nouvel. Free entry include a cool escalator ride.
J. Hennepin Avenue Bridge
Get on the wide sidewalk of the Hennepin Bridge to get a proper experience and take a photo of this steel suspension bridge.
Day 3 - Sunday
K. Midtown Greenway
It was Minneapolis' "Mill City" heritage that paved the way for its great biking culture. When the flour and grain industry left behind a network of rail lines, visionary planners applied for a federal grant to turn them into greenways with Midtown being the widest and longest. Ride next to your friends and marvel in the quiet, convenience and scenery on this bike highway.
L. North Cedar Lake Regional Trail
This trail extends from the lake filled, southwest suburb of St. Louis Park through grassy meadows to downtown and like all the other greenways in Minneapolis, biking is separated from walking. If you're an architecture nut, you'll love the mid-century and current modern homes along the trail.
M. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden 25 Vineland Pl | www.walkerart.org
CLOSED, REOPENING JUNE 2017. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden which surrounds the Walker Art Center, is a quick side jaunt off the Cedar Lake Trail and is an oasis of nature and public art.
Eats & Drinks
- Birchwood Cafe 3311 East 25th Street | www.birchwoodcafe.com | 612-722-4474 Hidden away in a neighborhood, Birchwood like the Falls, is the perfect first meal to experience Minneapolis. Freshly baked and prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner with a curated selection of local craft beers and cocktails. The gluten free savory waffles are unbelievable. V, Veg, GF. M-F 7am-9pm / Sa-Su 8am-9pm
- Midtown Global Market 920 E Lake St | www.midtownglobalmarket.org | 612-872-4041 Stop into this multi-ethnic food court of entrepreneurial vendors and pick up picnic provisions. We gravitated towards Taco Cat because of their large number of bike couriers delivering food. V, Veg, GF. M-Sa 10am-8pm / Su 11am-6pm
- Modern Times 3200 Chicago Ave S | moderntimesmpls.com | 612-886-3882 A stellar breakfast joint with friendly service. V, Veg, GF. M-F 7am-5pm / Sa-Su 9am-5pm
- Surly Brewing Co 520 Malcolm Ave SE | surlybrewing.com | 763-999-4040 The city's largest brewery and you'll have no trouble finding bike parking with 100s of racks. This place features a gynormous outdoor area with bonfire pits, yard games and grass for laying. Forget your bike lock? You can borrow one from their host stand! Su-Th 11am-11pm / F-Sa 11-12am
- Red Stag Supperclub 509 1st Ave NE | www.redstagsupperclub.com | 612-767-7766 No trip to the midwest would be complete without the supperclub experience and Red Stag's modern menu does it justice! Plenty of meat, cheese, beer and Old Fashioneds in a spacious wood-filled dining room and bar. Veg, GF. M-W 11-1am / Th-F 11-2am / Sa 9-2am / Su 9-1am
- French Meadow 2610 Lyndale Ave S | www.frenchmeadowcafe.com | 612-870-7855 Don't let their extensive breakfast and brunch menu overwhelm you as you'll have at least 10 minutes to decide while waiting in the ordering line. Then grab a table outside in the front or side patio. V, Veg, GF. Su-Th 6:30am-10pm / F-Sa 6:30am-11pm
- Dangerous Man Brewing 1300 NE 2nd St | dangerousmanbrewing.com | 612-236-4087 Minneapolis' northeast has become the craft brew hood and Dangerous Man is the best for beer. You can also bring your own food! Tu-Th 4-10pm / F 3pm-12am / Sa 12pm-12am / Su 12-8pm
- Sociable Cider Werks 500 Fillmore St NE | sociablecider.com |612-758-0105 We feel slightly disingenuous adding Sociable to the map because we've honestly never been there (every time we visit, it's closed). But as cider nerds, we've read a ton about this creative ciderie and have no doubt that anybody with discerning tastebuds will enjoy it. Th 4-11pm / F 4pm-12am / Sa 12am-12pm / 12-9pm