4 Free Things And 1 Very Cheap Thing To Do In Minneapolis

A few weeks ago, I had to complete a capstone project for a photography class that I was in. I was originally going to do a day in the life of a downtown entrepreneur, but after seeing other examples in-class, decided against that idea.

I wanted to challenge myself with this project while also providing value to my audience and not bore them in the process.

Which led me to capture 4 free things and 1 very cheap thing to do in Minneapolis.

This guide, jam-packed with pictures, of course, will provide you with some of Minneapolis’ most noteworthy spots that also happen to be free. Making them a college student or frugal spender’s dream spot.

With that, we’ll jump in and get to the spots!

Mill City Museum

The first stop on my little tour was the Mill City Museum/Ruins.

Now, I apologize for starting off with this one but it’s better to get the attraction that you must pay for out of the way, right? It’s not free to enter the Mill City Museum.

In fact, it costs $12 per adult, which isn’t bad if you’re looking for a quick and educational date idea.

The Museum is listed in the Minnesota Historical Society and it’s located downtown along the Mississippi River. It’s very close to the Stone Arch Bridge if you know where that is.

Essentially though, the museum focuses on Minneapolis in its heyday when it was a big milling city (we used to move a lot of flour and grain, you know).

If you haven’t been there, you should check it out.

Our city has a lot of history.

Stone Arch Bridge

The second place on my tour was conveniently located right next to my first spot. All I had to do was walk a couple of blocks toward the Mississippi to get there.

The Stone Arch Bridge is probably one of my favorite locations in Minneapolis. I spent several hours here just watching the people, photographing the bridge, and photographing my fiance on the bridge (and under it).

It truly is a work of art.

In fact, the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis is the only stone arch bridge of its kind to span the Mississippi and the second oldest bridge across the Mississippi next to the Eads Bridge in St. Louis, MO.

How cool is that?!

It also used to be an old railroad bridge that carried flour, grain, and other raw materials from NE Minneapolis to downtown. Now it’s used as a pedestrian walkway, bicycle path, and Minneapolis skyline selfie spot.

All great things.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

My third stop was a familiar place, as I’ve been to it about 1 million times. But if you’ve never been to MIA, then this place will blow you away.

Located in South Minneapolis, the Minneapolis Institute of Art sprawls nearly 8 acres and it’s one of the largest art museums in the United States.

They do, surprisingly, allow personal photographs of the art in the museum (which is how I got these pictures, obviously) and boy, there are many subjects to admire.

The museum houses approximately 100,000 works of art, representing more than 5,000 years of world history, so, you will always have plenty to look at and discuss and whatnot if you’re into that sort of thing.

Side note: I thought the buff dude statue on the right was the statue of David.


His name is Dimorphous or something. Shows how much I know about art.


Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

My fourth stop was another one of my personal Minneapolis favorites – the Sculpture Garden.

Not only is this place wicked cool but it’s also one of the largest urban sculpture gardens in the United States.

The park itself boasts approximately 40 pieces with the famous Spoonbridge and Cherry piece that ties the entire park together.

Of course, it’s free to go there and the park is open 365 days a year, surprisingly.

Though, you probably wouldn’t want to visit it when it’s like -20 degrees out.

That would just suck.

Basilica of St. Mary

My last stop on this adventure was the Basilica of St. Mary. Mind you, I had never been in this cathedral before (although, I probably should have). But it was certainly my favorite location that I visited all day.

The majesty and grandeur of this place both inside and out cannot be described with simple words (good thing I took some pictures).

All the religious symbols, both Twin Cities and Christian, gave this place a much more sentimental appeal than any of the places that I had visited this day.

Did you know this was the first basilica in the United States?! Man, Minneapolis has some cool stuff.

Anyway, go and check out this place if you haven’t.

I promise you’ll be blown away by its beauty.

Notable Mentions

 A few other places that I ended up visiting that deserve some recognition are the Bob Dylan mural on Hennepin Ave, the Foshay Tower, and the Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicollet Ave.

Visiting the Mary Tyler Moore statue and Bob Dylan mural are free, obviously, but you’ll need to pay something like $10 to get to the top of the Foshay Tower.

As you can see, I did not cough up the $10.

Still cool pictures though.


So, that was one Saturday afternoon for me and my fiance as we traveled around Minneapolis looking for some great photo opportunities and notable landmarks!

If you have any landmarks that you’d like to add to this list (along with some photos and cool facts), feel free to email me. There is A LOT that I didn’t include.

Ciao for now.