You can do a little bit of everything in Minneapolis and the neighboring city of Saint Paul. Let’s explore the Twin Cities!
The Mississippi River is nestled between two metropolitan powerhouses. Minneapolis, the city that Prince and Bob Dylan called home, and the neighboring state capitol, Saint Paul. You could spend weeks, if not months, exploring all that this area has to offer, and you can do it on a budget. Without a doubt, there’s no shortage of low-cost and free activities for seniors in Minneapolis.
Let’s take a look at all the things to do in Minneapolis.
Go shopping for your heart’s desire
A major tourist attraction in Minneapolis is the Mall of America. It's the largest mall in the country, and it's where you can do more than just shopping. There are multiple restaurants to try out and a full theme park where you can take your kids or grandkids. Wheelchairs and electric carts are both available for rent, starting at $10 daily.
During the winter months, you can use the Skyway System in downtown Minneapolis to get around. It’s an interconnected series of bridges between buildings that allow you to make your way through downtown shops and restaurants without having to endure this frosty weather outside.
Who doesn’t love a bit of thrifting?
Make your way to Minnehaha Mile located in the Longfellow neighborhood to find a number of thrift stores. After scouring for hidden gems, you can stop by a range of dining options.
If you head north on Minnehaha Avenue, take a left on 35th street, and you will run into the Purple Rain House. This is where Prince lived in the 1984 movie Purple Rain.
Art lovers can swing by these spots in Minneapolis
Among the most popular activities for seniors in Minneapolis is visiting the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The museum is one of the most prestigious in the country; it’s been operating for more than 100 years. Visitors can enjoy over 90,000 works of art from six continents spanning 5,000 years. Admission is free, along with daily hour-long guided tours.
The Weisman Art Museum holds a fascinating collection of work from American artists. Frank Weisman was a Minneapolis-born art collector whose collection became well known in Los Angeles, where the Weisman Art Foundation is headquartered. Admission is free.
Another iconic art museum is the Walker Art Center, a 17-acre campus opened by Edward Larrabee Barnes in 1971. These grounds house a contemporary art center with 10 galleries, a theater, cinema, café, and restaurant. It’s a place where avant-garde art meets performance art. It’s also connected to the largest sculpture garden in the United States. Admission is $13 for people ages 62 and up; parking is free.
Take pictures at the iconic Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Have you ever heard of a cherry on a spoon? You can’t miss it when you visit this epic destination.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden receives visitors all year round to see an array of works, such as the Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain by Clae Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen.
Spend the day snapping pictures with your camera of these one-of-a-kind sculptures and the Minneapolis skyline. The garden is open all year long and admission is free.
Catch a show without breaking the bank
Founded in 1963 by the famed theatrical director Sir Tyrone Guthrie, the Guthrie Theatre is a great place to catch a Broadway-quality production. It seats 850 people in its main theater and offers affordable tickets as low as $30. Minneapolis insiders say you can show up at their box office an hour before the main show begins to get rush ticket pricing. There are also senior discounts for people ages 65 and up, and you can save up to 50% on tickets for certain shows.
Scenic walks and views in Minneapolis
Minneapolis is also known as the City of Lakes, and for good reason. It has an abundance of lakes and wetlands, plus waterfalls. You can enjoy these areas in many ways that don’t involve being a professional hiker. Here's a roundup of outdoor activities for seniors in Minneapolis.
Visit Chain of Lakes
The most popular series of lakes in all of Minneapolis belongs to the Chain of Lakes Regional Park.
Each lake has free activities like walking trails, beaches, and expansive gardens where you can stop and have a picnic. In the summertime, the lakes are also great fishing spots.
Another wondrous way of admiring the lake views is touring them in your car down the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Turn up the volume on your favorite playlist and cruise along the epic shorelines of Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska, and Lake Harriet. And if you’d like a day with minimal physical exertion, a good option is live music or a movie in the outdoor pavilion at Lake Harriet Bandshell Park.
Cruise on an old-time paddle-wheel boat
Embark on a beautiful river cruise along the Mississippi River with Padelford Riverboats. These 90-minute sightseeing tours depart from Harriet Island in Saint Paul and coast along the Saint Paul High Bridge, Pig’s Eye Cave, the Minnesota River mouth, and Pike Island. Fall sightseeing cruises are available from September through October. Tickets are $18 for ages 65 and up.
Sit and watch the rolling river at Boom Island Park
Another spot where you can soak up the scenic beauty of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis is Boom Island Park. It’s located on land once used as a logging sorting station. You’ll find great views of the Minneapolis skyline from its picnic area, as well as waterfront trails. The also park connects with the historic Saint Anthony Main and nearby Saint Anthony Falls.
Enjoy outdoor recreation, even during the winter months
Centennial Lakes Park is located on the shores of a 10-acre lake with gorgeous landscapes. Spending the day there is one of the most popular activities for seniors in the Minneapolis area. The grounds are rich with year-end activities such as an 18-hole putting course, lawn bowling, and croquet facilities. You can even enjoy a pedal boat ride or catch one of their summer concerts.
In the winter, when the lake is frozen, you can take your kids or grandchildren to rent ice skates for $6. Afterwards, you can hit the Warming House, which features indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and treats like hot chocolate, popcorn, and hot dogs.
Eat your way through the food scene
It might surprise you to learn that exploring the food scene is one of the most popular activities for seniors in Minneapolis. In fact, it's one of the most popular activities for all ages.
You can start your culinary tour by strolling through Saint Anthony Falls, where you’ll find a charming waterfall that once powered flour and lumber mills.
Next, make your way to the Midtown Global Market where you can nibble on authentic Hmong snacks, and dine at local restaurants. This public market features over 50 vendors and is a great place to grab a bite to eat while experiencing diverse culture.
To enjoy some Latin flair, head over to the Mercado Central for food, groceries, and shopping. The market is a great way to experience Latino and Mexican culture through traditional dishes.
The last must-see spot on your culinary tour should be reserved for dessert! Enjoy a local favorite spot, Milkjam Creamery, which offers artisanal ice cream and sundaes.
Minneapolis takes its festivals seriously
Among all of these wonderful activities for seniors in Minneapolis, you’re going to want to add one of these festivals to your plans.
- International Film Festival: An annual event held every spring where you can see more than 250 films from around 70 counties. Admission is $15.
- Uptown Art Fair: In South Minneapolis, view professional works from renowned artists. Enjoy paintings, sculptures, and glasswork for free.
- Holidazzle Festival: During the holiday season, enjoy this outdoor festival that features local entertainment, glittering lights, food vendors, winter activities, plus arts and crafts. Entrance is free and parking is $5 or less on weekends.
- Minnesota State Fair: The second largest state fair in the United States hosts a number of events throughout the year, like their famous car shows. Admission is $15 for ages 65 and up. Check their website for Senior’s Day dates when you can get a discount.
If you’re a sports fan, visit Target Field
Enjoy an educational visit at a History Museum
Enjoy the day learning more about Minnesota’s history at these museums. During the winter months, visiting museums is one of the most popular activities for seniors in Minneapolis. It's a great way to have fun and stay active.
- Minnesota History Center: Experience Minnesota’s history through exhibitions about its stories, people, and places. Admission is $10 for people 65 and up.
- Bell Museum: Established in 1872, this museum showcases the state’s natural history. You can find ancient fossils and an impressive number of specimens from around the world. Admission for the museum and planetarium is $17 for ages 65 and up.
- Bakken Museum: Dedicated to preserving the history of electricity and magnetism, this museum is home to an extensive collection of artifacts that show the discovery and development of science and technology. Admission is $10 for ages 65 and up. Be sure to check their offers and discounts before a visit.
- American Swedish Institute: Home to Swedish and Nordic cultural exhibitions, programs, and publications, the Institute was founded in 1929. It is one of the oldest Swedish Museums in the United States. Admission is $8 for ages 62 and up.
- Somali Museum of Minnesota: Minneapolis is home to the largest community of Somali Americans in the United States. Visit this museum to celebrate and learn more about traditions and culture. Admission is $8 for ages 60 and up.
Learn about the natural world at Como Park Zoo
The Como Park Zoo offers a variety of exhibits and programs all year round. It’s a beautiful spot worth exploring. You can also admire the stunning architecture, relax by the ponds, and take a stroll through the lush gardens. Admission is free all year long.
At-home activities for seniors in Minneapolis
Sometimes, we might prefer staying at home for a multitude of reasons, including the weather during the winter months. There’s a number of ways to stay busy and entertained in your own comfy space.
Organizing a space in your home is wonderful way to declutter and let go of things you might not need.
Do you have a closet that needs some organization? Take some time to sift through these items. Things that you don’t need can be donated and the rest can be organized in labeled baskets. If you need inspiration or help, Papa Pal companion caregivers are great helpers for house tasks such as organizing.
Do you have an upcoming birthday gift or Christmas present you need to give? Make it at home with some arts and crafts supplies. For example, you can make a beautiful bowl out of air dry clay and then decorate it to your recipient's preference. And, don't forget that one of the best places to find low-cost materials is at the dollar store or thrift stores. You can also look for supplies in local Buy Nothing groups.
Work with seniors in Minneapolis
If working with seniors, older adults, and families in the Minneapolis area sounds good to you, consider becoming a Papa Pal. It's a flexible gig and a great way to earn extra money.
Papa Pals are part-time companion caregivers who set their own flexible schedules. They focus on companionship and doing things together with Papa members.
Interested in learning more? Start your application to become a Papa Pal here.