Not many major cities have a waterfall in their midst, but Minneapolis is one of the lucky few. When I first heard about Minnehaha Falls I assumed this popular waterfall was located off the beaten path, perhaps hidden among acres of natural growth and seen only after a long and strenuous hike, which honestly sounded fun and adventurous. However, my assumptions were very wrong. Minnehaha Falls is found right off a major road called Hiawatha. Metered parking is available on Minihaha Drive but be sure to keep the meter fed, as the parking spaces are constantly monitored. After parking it’s a short jaunt on a paved sidewalk to see the splendor.
When my family headed to the park with our backpack, water bottles, and our pup, we were surprised by the variety of walkers, runners and leisure visitors in addition to the various wheeled transportation: bikes, rollerblades, skateboards and Razor scooters. Plus we were surprised how much many activities there were in the area. There was even a cultural festival one of the days we visited.
Here are some things to do at Minnehaha Falls and Park:
1. Hike to the base of the falls. I recently read that this popular waterfall was formerly a major tourist attraction but honestly, I think it still is. Both times we’ve visited Minnehaha it was busy with locals and visitors taking photos. Minnehaha Falls can be viewed from above (see left), from the bridge it runs under and at the bottom. And there are a few routes to the base of the falls. The steps we took down weren’t too challenging. It was a few flights and they were easy to maneuver. But the way up was one long, steep staircase. It is so steep that my little Havaneese stopped half way up and stretched out on a step, panting and refused to climb anymore. However, little dogs aren’t the only ones who notice how steep the climb is. By the time you arrive at the top your legs are burning and there is a good chance your breathing may be labored, as I witnessed from the lady behind me who said to her family. “Ohhh-kay. Let’s (gasp) go (gasp) get (gasp) some (gasp) water….” If you’re looking to get in shape, run that path a few times a week.
2. Eat at Sea Salt Eatery. April through October the Minnehaha Falls Park restaurant called Sea Salt Eatery opens and servers a full menu complete with fresh and fried seafood, wine, and local beer including Surly and Summit Summer Ale and Saga. We haven’t eaten here yet, but rumor has it that the food is delicious.
3. Rent a bike or surrey. Minneapolis is regularly ranked as a top bike city, but if you’re visiting there’s a good chance you left your two-wheeled transportation at home. Well, worry not. Bike rentals are available in the park adjacent to the Sea Salt Eatery.
4. Pack a picnic. Minnehaha Park is loaded with picnic tables as well as a playground for the kids.
5. Check out John Harrington Stevens House. Known as the Father of Minneapolis, Stevens was the first documented settler of this now major city. The house was built in 1849 and originally sat beside the Falls of St. Anthony and was noted as a regular location for town congregations. The house was obviously relocated and is now a historical landmark in the park.
6. Admire the sculptures. In all honestly, I don’t know the exact history behind the sculptures in the park but I do know there are several on display. I’ve seen the mask of Chief Little Crow which located near the falls (below) but I also need to seek out the life-size bronze sculpture of Hiawatha and Minnehaha statue by Jakob Fjelde. It’s supposedly a real beauty.
Have you been to Minnehaha Falls and Park? If so, please share what else there is to do and see here.