CHASING THE SUN
A beautiful sunset deserves an equally awesome spot to watch it from
Images by Natalie Hall
By Natalie Hall
In the Land of 10,000 Lakes, it is only fitting that the top sunset viewing points are also waterfront. Relax in a picture-perfect scene and let the day fade with the sunlight. Whether you want to be in the action of downtown Minneapolis or to kick back in a suburban retreat, these sunset spots are sure to gratify your eyes, and the surrounding eateries will fill your belly too.
Although the Stone Arch Bridge is a common place to watch sunsets, venturing off the beaten bridge can lead to some spectacular views along St. Anthony Main. On the east side of the Stone Arch Bridge, Pillsbury Park has a trail that leads down to the river and a west-facing bridge, which creates a secluded sunset sanctuary.
If your stomach is rumbling, enjoy the view over garden-fresh food at Aster Café’s outdoor courtyard, named best all-around patio space in Minneapolis and best place to go on a first date by City Pages. The cobblestone streets and thick canopy of trees overhead give this neighborhood a quaint, old-fashioned vibe, harkening back to the heyday of steamboats and flour milling.
The Mechanical Tree, a Ferris wheel for drinking and dining, at Betty Danger’s Country Club in Northeast Minneapolis has a unique sunset view. Play a round of mini golf and then sip cocktails that mock various high-society activities—Falconry, Fox Hunting and Sport a Sweater are some options—before boarding the Ferris wheel for some revolving sunset reveling. Rides start about every 20 minutes, so you can spin off into the sunset for only $6.
The Lyndale Park Rose and Peace gardens near Lake Harriet provide fragrant sunset perches. Easily accessible by car, with a paid parking lot at the gardens, or via biking and walking paths, this is a cozy retreat from the bustle of South Minneapolis. Pack a picnic and spread out in the gardens to watch the sky reflect the colors of the surrounding blooms.
Join college students and neighborhood residents at The Monument, a white pillar in a park on the west end of Summit Avenue, and watch the sun silhouette the downtown Minneapolis skyscrapers. Sit in the park or venture onto the rocky bluffs for a lower vantage point that includes the sky’s reflection in the river and the illuminated Marshall Avenue Bridge.
You can bike, walk or rollerblade to this sunset spot via the paved trail along Mississippi River Boulevard, however if you choose to drive, there is free parking at The Monument.
Before the sunset, indulge at one of the many restaurants along Grand Avenue. Popular spots include French Meadow Bakery and Café, Salut Bar Americain, Italian Pie Shoppe and Winery and Brasa Rotisserie. For dinner-dessert duos, try Grand Ole Creamery and Grand Pizza, old-fashioned ice cream and pizza, or Café Latte, bistro cuisine and cake. Or satisfy your sweet tooth at Bread and Chocolate, a Café Latte affiliate, or Woullet Bakery.
Fuel up pre-sunset with coffee from Coffee Bené or bubble tea at Sencha Tea Bar, or toast to Twin Cities sunsets at the Wild Onion or Tavern on Grand.
The philosophy if a little is good, a lot is better certainly applies to Minnesota lakes. Behold: Lake Minnetonka, the largest lake in the greater metro area, with about 22 square miles of water and more than 100 miles of shoreline. For spectacular views of the sunset and the lake, head to Wayzata—a longer drive, but worth the distance—for a coastal dinner at Cov and a mind-freezing dessert Ben and Jerry’s ice cream or Yogurt Lab. A lakeside stroll will take you back in time to a coastal town with brick sidewalks, a large clock hanging in town and railroad tracks along the water.