University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Go to unit's home.

IRM Home

What to do outside the lab

Even our most devoted visiting fellows find the need to occasionally stray from the confines of Shepherd Labs. If you find yourself in a similar position, the Twin Cities offer a range of recreational activities.

Shopping and Nightlife

Downtown Minneapolis (specifically the pedestrian street, Nicollet Mall) is a nice place to do some shopping and also hosts most of the Cities' nightlife. Uptown (south of Downtown) is also a nightlife hotspot, with lots of good restaurants and bars. Of course, the Mall of America is a popular place for shopping and is easy to reach on the light rail.

Museums and Events on Campus

The Weisman Art Museum is a nice on-campus gallery (free admission). The Bell Museum of Natural History on Church Street ($5; $3 for students) is also a stone's throw away and is free on Sundays. The University also presents a wide variety of music, dance, theater, film and lectures, many of which are free. Check the current schedule online.

Museums and Theater Further Afield

The Walker Art Center is a world renowned modern art museum, and a new wing has recently been added. The Walker has a beautiful sculpture garden and a nice high-end restaurant on its second floor. Admission is $10; free Thursday evenings and the first Saturday of each month. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is equally fine (free general admission; special exhibitions may be extra). Saint Paul has a great Science Museum ($11). The Mill City Museum, a striking deconstructed grain mill, is variously billed as the Most Explosive museum in the world and as the Best Smelling museum ever created ($10; $8 students). The Guthrie Theater is not far away, and rush tickets can often be obtained at a discount ($15 - $25). Dozens of other theater venues with a wide range of offerings are scattered about the cities.


There are some great architectural treasures in the Cities as well, including Saint Paul's Cathedral (Saint Paul), the Basilica of Saint Mary (Minneapolis) and the State Capitol (Saint Paul). The State Capitol was built by Cass Gilbert, a native Minnesotan who also designed the U.S. Supreme Court building and many of the University's buildings. Both are the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie Theater are on the river, abutting the Stone Arch Bridge. If you find yourself looking up at the Guthrie, walk across the Stone Arch Bridge and have a drink at one of the nice bars and restaurants on Main Street.


The Cities also has a fine collection of parks if you would like to get out and enjoy nature in the city. The Mississippi River has walking and bicycling paths that follow it on either bank. Minnehaha Park, beautiful year-round, is especially spectacular in the fall. If you visit the park between April and October be sure to eat at Sea Salt to drink some good Minnesotan beer and eat some of the best seafood to be had in the state, most of which is not Minnesotan. Como Park in Saint Paul is also worth a visit. In the middle of winter, you may need a trip to the Como Conservatory to warm up your disposition. The Conservatory is a set of greenhouses featuring a sunken garden and a palm garden. It is well worth its price, as it is free. Como Park also has a small zoo with an entertaining monkey house. The park itself is large, so it is a good place to do some walking. If you really want to stretch your legs, the Chain of Lakes (southwest of downtown Minneapolis) has an extensive set of walking and biking trails. In the summer months you can rent bicycles and canoes.


Sports fans will find the cities well equipped with professional baseball, basketball (mens and womens), football, and hockey teams. Additionally, the minor league Saint Paul Saints are known for their non-baseball distractions, including great sausages, excellent beer, and antics like a massage-giving nun, a pig, and a karaoke singer.


Upcoming Events in the Twin Cities

Comprehensive listings of arts and entertainment events can be found at:
Meet Minneapolis


Summer Events/Activities

Free outdoor concerts

Detailed schedule here. Father Hennipen Park is within walking distance near the Stone Arch Bridge. Other locations are a bus ride away.


Walk/Bike/Canoe/Swim at the lakes

Take the #6 bus to the Uptown transit station where you can easily access walking and biking paths around Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake and Lake Harriet. You can also rent canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, and bikes. There are several swimming beaches on Calhoun, Cedar, and Harriet. The ones on Cedar are usually the least crowded. There's also great fish and ice cream at The Tin Fish on Lake Calhoun. Note that the #6 continues past the Uptown Transit Station to south Lake Calhoun and northwest Lake Harriet.


Waterski Show Team

The Twin Cities River Rats Waterski Show team puts on a free performance every Thursday at 7:00. On the Mississippi River about 2 miles northwest of the University.


Minneapolis Aquatennial 2011

July 15-23


Institute for Rock Magnetism, University of Minnesota, 150 John T Tate Hall, 116 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455