The Super Bowl LII comes to the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although football fever may overtake the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, there is still an abundance of exciting activities away from the world of sports. Whether you want to brave the cold at the frozen Minnehaha Falls or check out the local cultural scene, the Twin Cities boast plenty to keep you busy. Book a stay at one of many vacation rentals in Minneapolis or St. Paul, and prepare for an action-packed getaway.
1. Super Bowl LIVE
Head to Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis for Super Bowl LIVE, the official fan village that runs from January 26 through February 4. The highlight of the event is the free concert series, which includes performers such as Idina Menzel, Soul Asylum, and Minnesota legends Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. During the day, check out snowmobile stunt riders in Polaris UpsideDowntown, take free sleigh rides pulled by Ford trucks, and meet NFL players in the Built Ford Tough area. Other activities include the Hyundai Ice Skating Rink and tubing and cross-country skiing on the snow-covered American Birkebeiner International Bridge.
2. Mill City Museum
Get a fascinating peek at Minneapolis history at the Mill City Museum, which is located near the U.S. Bank Stadium. Built inside the ruins of a historic flour mill, the museum is a feast for the eyes. Watch the Flour Tower multimedia show to see how flour played a role in early Minneapolis life, let your little ones play in the Water Lab, and head up to the observation deck on the ninth floor for gorgeous views of the Mississippi River and St. Anthony Falls.
3. Explore the Frozen Minnehaha Falls
Slip behind a frozen 53-foot waterfall into an otherworldly ice cave at Minneapolis’ Minnehaha Falls. The sunlight filters through the ice in the winter, filling the cave with rainbows. The trip involves a short, easy hike that’s manageable for kids; be sure to wear warm, waterproof boots to stay dry in the snow. There’s plenty of parking available at the park, and the Blue Line of the MetroTransit light rail also stops at the nearby 50th Street / Minnehaha Park Station.
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4. Mall of America
It’s not uncommon for temperatures in Minneapolis to dip well below zero; if that happens, get out of the cold at the Mall of America. A single loop around the mall is longer than 1 mile, so you can get a workout while you shop. Check out the thrill rides in the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, watch sharks swim by in the Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium, or play a round of black-light mini golf at Rock of Ages. The mall also features a movie theater and a wide selection of restaurants, so you can stay all day.
5. Visit the Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory
Transport yourself into the tropics at the Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, where an enormous glass-enclosed greenhouse stays warm year-round. Stroll through the majestic Sunken Garden, watch birds fly freely overhead in the Tropical Encounters rainforest, and walk under towering palm trees in the crystal Palm Dome. The zoo’s animals are also on display in their indoor habitats; the Primates and Large Cats exhibits are particularly fascinating.
6. Take a Brewery Tour at Summit Brewing Co.
Check out Minneapolis’ burgeoning craft beer scene on a tour of Summit Brewing Co. Watch how the brewery’s popular blends are made, and learn how the company uses natural carbonation. Tours are free with a canned or boxed food donation, which goes to Second Harvest Heartland. After your visit pop into the Summit Beer Hall to taste the signature Oatmeal Stout and Dakota Soul. A food truck is always on hand to provide snacks, and the brewery hosts live music and regular trivia competitions.
7. St. Paul Winter Carnival
If you’re staying in one of St. Paul’s many vacation rentals, head to Rice Park to see how Minnesotans make the most of winter at the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Bundle up and stroll through a forest of ice sculptures, check out the shimmering EcoLab Ice Palace, and enjoy a cocktail at the ice bar. In the evening, stay for live music. On Saturday, February 3, head to the nearby Wells Fargo WinterSkate outdoor ice rink at Landmark Plaza to join in the Ledermann Boot Hockey Tourney.
8. Explore the Walker Art Center
Experience Minneapolis’ legendary art scene at the Walker Art Center. Inside, you’ll find a huge collection of contemporary art, including more than 100 pieces from Andy Warhol. Other featured artists include Yoko Ono, Kiki Smith, and Chuck Close. Be sure to stroll through the spectacular outdoor Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, where enormous pieces of art dominate the landscape; the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry, in particular, makes for fantastic Instagram shots.
9. Minnesota Children’s Museum
If you’re visiting Minneapolis with little ones, escape the freezing temperatures at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, which was renovated and expanded in 2017. Kids can explore Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, climb a four-story play structure in The Scramble, and play in a laser maze in the Super Awesome Adventures area. In the Imaginopolis, little ones can explore a pool noodle forest and build huge forts. The onsite Tomato Tomato Cafe offers coffee and snacks to keep the whole family going strong.
10. Watch the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships
If you’re in town the weekend before the Super Bowl, check out the U.S. Pond Hockey Championships in the Lake Nokomis area of Minneapolis. Each year, amateur teams compete on a series of 25 ice rinks built on the frozen lake. Dress warmly to partake in this beloved Minnesota tradition, which bursts with a fun, celebratory atmosphere and plenty of beer in the Labatt Blue Blue Zone. Bring the kids for a spin around the outdoor Family Skating Rink.
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