Walking Twin Cities - 3rd Edition  by Holly Day and Sherman Wick

Walking Twin Cities - 3rd Edition Guide Book

by Holly Day and Sherman Wick (Wilderness Press)
Walking Twin Cities - 3rd Edition  by Holly Day and Sherman Wick
Grab your walking shoes, and become an urban adventurer. Holly Day and Sherman Wick guide you through 35 unique walking tours in the urban epicenter of the Upper Midwest. The Twin Cities are home to world-class museums and theaters, a mosaic of distinct neighborhoods, and an extensive greenbelt that combine to make it one of the most beautiful metropolitan areas in America. Each self-guided tour includes full-color photographs, a map, and need-to-know details like distance, difficulty, points of interest, and more.

© 2018 Holly Day and Sherman Wick/Wilderness Press. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Walking Twin Cities - 3rd Edition" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 35.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 35.

Minneapolis was born on the shores of the then-murky Mississippi River. Bridge Square and the Gateway District were the original housing and government centers of the hardworking city in the 19th century. In the early years of the Mill City, lumbering was the main source of wealth, and Boom Island was where the branded logs were sorted. The Gateway was then the locus of the city, where Hennepin Ave. and Nicollet Ave. converged, with Bridge Square at the south side of the Hennepin Avenue Bridge. Nicollet Island remained a blighted industrial area until the 1960s, and Basset Creek in the 1850s was the site for at least seven sawmills. Until the 1950s, the area was an industrial warehouse district. In the past few decades, the area has been transformed.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 2
The Cathedral, Ramsey, and Summit Hills—often referred to simply as the Hill District—was recognized by the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, and the area is acknowledged for some of the best-preserved Victorian homes in the U.S. However, it fell into hard times in the Depression years of the ’30s. It did not recover until the late ’60s, when urban pioneers purchased the homes, often for a pittance of their value, and restored them to their architectural glory. Located on the bluff above downtown St. Paul, the first mansions were built on Summit Hill in the 1850s, but many of the eclectic Victorian mansions were built in the 1880s. James J. Hill, the railroad-tycoon creator of the Great Northern Railway, built his massive red sandstone mansion in 1891.
Saint Paul, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 4.25
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Cedar-Riverside has an enduring history as one of the Twin Cities’ great ethnic salad bowls. It has also been an exemplar of a combined commercial and residential area, albeit for the working class or working poor, throughout each historic epoch. The triangle-shaped community is nestled between the Mississippi River, University of Minnesota, and two important interstate highways, I-35W and I-94. Diverse groups of people over the years have resided and shopped in the area sometimes referred to as the West Bank. Genuine counterculture and ongoing immigration history come alive on the streets of Cedar-Riverside.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 1.75
Since 1887, Como Park has been a favorite retreat for St. Paul residents and visitors alike. Within its 300-plus acres of parkland are hiking trails, historic bridges and monuments, a free zoo, a restored wooden carousel, an amazing glass-enclosed conservatory, a Japanese garden, multiple butterfly and wildflower gardens, picnic grounds, baseball fields, an amusement park, a pavilion that offers live music during the summer, and, of course, Como Lake. Since the park’s opening, the grounds have been worked by some of the finest gardeners in the world, starting in the early 1900s with Itchikawa, landscape gardener for the Mikado of Japan.
Saint Paul, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 2.75
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There is a never-ending debate over the origin of the name Dinkytown. The most compelling theories hark back to the small cars for hauling railroad goods and workers, which were called dinkies, or from the long-lost “dinky” movie theater. The approximately five-block commercial district of the Marcy–Holmes neighborhood, nestled just north of the University of Minnesota (U of M) campus, is home to nearly 40 restaurants, numerous live-music venues, and plenty of quirky places to shop. To survive here, businesses must meet the strict tastes of students, college professors, and international students in their search for authenticity, value, and adventure. Dinkytown is the Twin Cities’ tiny answer to Greenwich Village. In 2015, the heart of Dinkytown was designated as a historic district, in response to homes and institutional buildings being converted into multistory student apartments.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 0.5
The Downtown neighborhood, just off the Mill District, is another area in flux. Less than 20 years ago, it mostly consisted of abandoned warehouse buildings, machine shops, and lots of parking ramps, with the big white bubble of the Metrodome as the key point of interest. Today, this neighborhood is home to one of the largest literary collectives in the country and a world-renowned theater, as well as upscale restaurants, publishing houses, and architectural 10 firms. A walk down Washington Avenue means a stroll among old railroad beds converted into parking lots, as well as candy factories and meatpacking plants converted into performance spaces for National Endowment for the Arts prize–winning poets and writers.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 1.75
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Former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura once caused a near scandal by stating on the Late Show with David Letterman that St. Paul’s streets were laid out by drunk Irishmen—a claim that car-driving visitors to the area have been more than happy to agree with. However, we think that the following St. Paul walk, starting at Mears Park and looping past Rice Park, might reveal a little bit of the genius in the madness. The angles of the streets and sidewalks give pedestrians the best possible view of the architecture, from the ornate buildings in Lowertown to the historic cultural centers that encircle Rice Park. In the winter, this area comes alive with Winter Carnival events, from subzero parades to sparkling ice sculptures; during the rest of the year, the streets are lined with flowers and perfectly manicured trees.
Saint Paul, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 2
A little more than a decade ago, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone truly excited about visiting this little area that weaves in and out of both Northeast and Southeast Minneapolis. Today it’s a destination for haute couture shopping and dining. Previously, this mostly dilapidated historic district was where now-defunct shops such as Cashman’s Furniture and Bank’s department store struggled to bring in customers. These days, however, the area has been reborn into something of an extension of nearby downtown Minneapolis, with all the glamour and sophistication of the uptown district.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 1.25
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The High Bridge connects West Seventh Street and Cherokee Regional Park. The bridge reflects its name: it is the highest bridge on the Mississippi River in Minneapolis and St. Paul. With a 4% grade, it is 0.5 mile long with a 160-foot deck height. The current bridge was constructed in 1987. The first bridge (1889) was replaced after a tornado/severe storm struck, and was rebuilt in 1904. Today, the new bridge affords a breathtaking vantage point of the Mississippi River, St. Paul, and the surrounding area. Today, craft brewers’ talent is measured on the India Pale Ale (IPA) and countless creative and revived styles—the cold clear style of the malt-forward lager was all the rage in 1857, when the saloon originally opened. After completing this challenging walk, imbibe in a lager that transports you to that time.
Saint Paul, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 3
Highland Park is one of St. Paul’s most affluent neighborhoods. It has an abundance of natural and cultural amenities, thanks to its location atop an idyllic bluff east of the Mississippi River and its diverse population. The Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plant, which called the area home since 1925, closed in 2012. Minnesota baseball legends who played or lived in the area as kids include Jack Morris, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor, and Joe Mauer, 2006 American League Batting Champion of the Minnesota Twins. Highland Park is also a historic neighborhood for St. Paul’s Jewish population, including Orthodox and Lubavitch Hasidim groups.
Saint Paul, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 4.5
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The Historic Mill District is not a neighborhood but a confluence of historic Minneapolis communities surrounding the city’s quintessential life source: waterpower from St. Anthony Falls. Energy was a limited commodity in the 19th century, and the abundant hydroelectric source provided an accessible, affordable, and consistent supply. As a result, industry—followed by communities—developed on both east and west banks of the energy-rich Mississippi River.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 2.5
Established in 1893, Indian Mounds Park is one of the oldest parks in St. Paul. The park’s name comes from the American Indian burial mounds that were found here by early settlers. These included 2,000-year-old Hopewell mounds, while others were constructed by the Dakota much later. Originally, there were 36 mounds in the park, but due to shortsighted construction projects and vandalism, only 6 remain. Pack a lunch—you won’t find anywhere to buy food along this route, but you will find plenty of scenic places to stop and have a picnic. For more in-depth background on the park and its fascinating history, give a ranger a call at 877-7271172, ext. 11, to listen to a recording about the area.
Saint Paul, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 4
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This walk juxtaposes St. Paul’s oldest surviving neighborhood, Irvine Park, with the newest hot spot where St. Paul goes to party, West 7th St. Historically, the West 7th St. neighborhood was a hardscrabble, working-class, and close-knit community largely from two villages in southern Italy. The Italian immigrants made the most of the often-flooded Upper Levee Flats, later known as Little Italy. They were relocated by the city after 1960—Cossetta is one of the surviving businesses that moved up the hill from the levee, where Shepard Rd. and upscale condos are now located. Since Xcel Energy Center opened in 2000, the area has transformed into a bustling business district filled with restaurants and bars that are popular venues for celebrating after Minnesota Wild hockey games, concerts, conventions, and events.
Saint Paul, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 1.5
Lake Calhoun/Bde Maka Ska is the largest lake in Minneapolis’s popular Chain of Lakes system, which includes Lake Harriet, Brownie Lake, Lake of the Isles, and Cedar Lake. Bde Maka Ska, the Dakota name for the Lake, has been recently restored by the Park Board, with plans in the future to commemorate the history of Cloud Man’s Village. It is also a part of the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, a 50-mile route that connects many of Minneapolis’s parks and lakes. Theoretically, with only a few tiny gaps in the circuit, you can travel from park to park by foot or bicycle via the Grand Rounds without ever having to get in a car. All around Lake Calhoun are sandy, well-maintained beaches, perfect for swimming or sunbathing—or, if you’d prefer, you can take a break from walking and rent a canoe or paddleboat instead.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 3.25
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You may have noticed that a few sites in the Twin Cities bear the name Harriet. As a general rule, the Harriet sites in St. Paul are named after Harriet Bishop, who was the first schoolteacher in St. Paul, while the Harriet sites in Minneapolis are named after Harriet Lovejoy, the wife of Colonel Henry Leavenworth. According to legend, Leavenworth missed his wife very much while he was stationed at Fort Snelling, so he named just about anything beautiful he came across after her. Today, Lake Harriet is still one of the loveliest lakes in the region, attracting throngs of park- goers year-round. Along the banks of the lake are hiking and biking trails, benches for bird- watching, places to eat, and, of course, the historic Lake Harriet Bandshell, which features live music during the summertime. Nearby are the Lyndale Park Rose Gardens, historic Memorial Cemetery, Lyndale Park Peace Garden, Como–Harriet Streetcar Line, and Roberts Bird Sanctuary.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 3.5
Loring Park and the Walker Art Center seamlessly integrate artsy aesthetic with earthy utilitarianism. This is the place for contemporary art in all media, as well as the place for reflecting on and basking in the wealth of nature. Despite its geographic shortcomings—several major roads bisect the park and the art center—the beauty of the area’s architecture and green space supplant the nearby freeway’s din. The Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge (1988) is a crucial element in creating this environment—it crosses 16 lanes of traffic; yet the pedestrian and bicycle span provides a panoramic view of the exquisite surroundings, while linking the park and the works of art. Both institutions are rooted in Minneapolis’s early rise to national prominence.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking,Whitewater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 1
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The Twin Cities are second only to New York City in live theater performances and attendance per capita, and nowhere is this more apparent than in downtown Minneapolis’s Theater District. Since the 1920s, the Orpheum, State, and Pantages Theatres have opened their stages to the likes of the Marx Brothers, Jack Benny, George Burns, and Gracie Allen, and, more recently, to live productions of The Lion King—which premiered at the Orpheum—and The Graduate, starring Kathleen Turner. All three venues also offer great live music and comedy, with touring acts as varied as Margaret Cho, Eric Idle, Bebel Gilberto, and Modest Mouse. This walk takes you through the historic neighborhood, as well as all the cool places to hang out before and after theater events.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 1
This walk will take you through one of the most culturally vibrant and constantly changing sections of Minneapolis. The two crown jewels of the neighborhood are longtime-resident Mercado Central and the much newer Midtown Global Market. Mercado Central was one of the first Latino marketplaces in the area, and many local Latino restaurateurs got their start renting a space in the mini-mall. Midtown Global Market is a cultural center representing more than two dozen countries and ethnic groups, with restaurants serving authentic dishes from Mexico, Vietnam, Japan, Sweden, the Middle East, and Somalia, to name a few, as well as pan-fusion gourmet food that transcends borders. Vending kiosks offer clothes, jewelry, toys, knickknacks, and specialty deli and dessert items from just as many countries.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 3
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If you’re a fan of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poetry, or simply interested in 19th-century Americana in general, then a stop at Minnehaha Falls is an absolute must. The falls, which share the name of Longfellow’s tragically fated heroine and translate from the Dakota to mean “laughing waters,” were a major tourist attraction long before the area was designated as parkland in 1883. In the spring and summer, visitors are treated to picturesque waterfalls cascading over a tree-lined chasm and into Minnehaha Creek below; in the wintertime, the falls are frozen into glistening blue, white, and green gigantic icicles. They’re probably not the tallest waterfalls you’ll ever see, but they are unique in their surroundings—an exquisite park with waterfalls, wildflowers, sandstone cliffs, and big, open wilderness spaces, all located in the heart of a busy metropolis.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 2.25
Three of the city’s landmarks rich in natural geography combine for this walk: first, a lovely section of the Grand Rounds, Minnehaha Pkwy.; second, a charming business district, 48th St. and Chicago in McRae Park; and finally, a lake, Lake Nokomis. The proximity of nature and small town–like business districts is relatively common in the Twin Cities, but this walk stands out. Minnehaha Pkwy. is one of the seven byway districts in Minneapolis’s Grand Rounds Scenic Byway. Minnehaha Park passes through the neighborhood en route to Minnehaha Falls a few miles away, and just over the hill lies a quaint and quirky shopping district with numerous independently owned businesses. Nothing could be better on a hot summer day than enjoying a delicious organic ice cream at the Pumphouse Creamery after exploring the parkway and Lake Nokomis.
Minneapolis, MN - Walking - Trail Length: 3
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