Enjoy your visit to the Twin Cities no matter what the weather forecast says

Image by Erica Loeks

By Aubrey Schield

Well, it's spring. And in Minnesota that can only mean one thing. We have no idea what the weather will bring each day. Perfect example: I woke this morning to find an inch of snow piled on my car. Just a few days ago it was 60 degrees and sunny! The fluctuation of weather patterns this time of year is enough to drive the most even keeled Minnesotan a little zany, so we've compiled a list of our top 10 indoor activities for those rainy days of spring. There's a wide variety of things to check out—indoor mini golf, a historic home tour, breweries, a seven-acre indoor amusement park and much, much more. So the next time you find yourself in a gloomy spring afternoon, trade in your day snuggled up with a book for an exciting day at one of these rainy day spots.

A mother holds her small child up to the glass at an aquarium as a tiger shark swims by

Image courtesy of Mall of America

1. Mall of America

Bloomington's massive shopping and entertainment destination has so much more than shopping, though, I wouldn't blame you if you spent your rainy day hitting the more than 520 shops in the mall. Be sure to also check out SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium and Nickelodeon Universe, a seven-acre indoor amusement park with rides that are fun for all ages. Check out our footage of the Spongebob Squarepants-themed Dutchman's Deck Adventure Course here!

2. Must-See Museums

Here in the Twin Cities, we have plenty of arts and culture exhibits to transport you into different times, places and experiences. Check out Minneapolis Institute of Art (free of charge for permanent exhibits) for thousands of pieces spanning 20,000 years. Now through May 28, pay $20 to see Mia's current show, Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters. Also free for its permanent collection is the University of Minnesota's Weisman Art Museum, whose exterior was designed by none other than Frank Gehry.

3. Midtown Global Market

Enjoy cuisine from around the world and peruse handmade goods while your at it. Check out our in-depth guide of the offerings at this Lake Street market here, and don't forget to grab a pint from Eastlake Brewery & Tavern, located on the premise.

Kids putting on a vibrant mini golf course inside a warehouse-like building

Image courtesy of Can Can Wonderland

4. Can Can Wonderland

Mini golf meets craft beer meets arcade games meets ping pong meets art gallery. Located in a nondescript warehouse in St. Paul, this place is all about whimsical fun. Can Can Wonderland is perfect for kids and adults alike—or the kid in every adult. Enjoy craft beer from one of their bars, or order a cocktail served up with locally made ingredients.

5. James J. Hill House Tour

Get a glimpse into 19th century life at St. Paul's James J. Hill House. The historic home was built in 1891 and was the residence of the eponymous railroad tycoon, who had a huge impact on the region's economy throughout his lifetime. Tour the home and learn about the period and admire the many details in the design of the 36,000-square-foot mansion such as ornamental wood carvings and opulent chandeliers. The Minnesota Historical Society also offers children's tours, in which younger visitors will learn about the Hill children and grandchildren and participate in special programming.

6. Minnesota Orchestra

The Grammy award-winning Minnesota Orchestra performs in a luxurious concert hall in downtown Minneapolis, Orchestra Hall. The hall was recently renovated to unveil an updated lobby and gathering space, but the performance space itself was untouched (thankfully) as its acoustics are hard to beat. Conducted by Osmo Vänskä, the ensemble performs classics alongside contemporary pieces and even film scores. Don't miss their performance with Minnesota native Dessa on April 14 and 15!

7. Breweries

Many taprooms around the Twin Cities have board games to enjoy with a pint of craft beer. Head to Insight Brewing Co. for board games and Trivia Mafia on Tuesdays at 8 p.m. Bauhaus Brew Labs also hosts Trivia Mafia, and has vintage arcade games to challenge your friends. And if you want to feel like your outside even though it's pouring rain, check out Lakes & Legends Brewing Co., where they bring the outdoors in with yard games, adirondack chairs and green turf.

Inside a garden at a conservatory

Image by Kent Kanouse

8. Indoor Rock Climbing

It may be raining outside, but that doesn't mean you can't get active! Check out one of the Twin Cities' indoor rock climbing attractions. One of our favorite is Vertical Endeavors, which has three locations in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington. Bloomington is also home to an REI store that features a rock climbing wall so you can shop for new outdoor gear and round out the afternoon with a climb.

9. Science Museum of Minnesota

Young and old will learn something new at the Science Museum of Minnesota. Featuring exhibits in paleontology, human anatomy, history of the region and more the St. Paul-located museum is the perfect place to spend a day inside exploring the many facets of the world. Admission to the museum is $18.95 for adults and $12.95 for children, but you can purchase a package for museum and Omnitheater admission for an extra $6.

10. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory

The indoor garden oasis at this conservatory (located at St. Paul's Como Zoo) will transport you into a tropical paradise no matter what the weather looks like outside. Visit the Tropical Encounters room for humidity-loving plantings, and gaze at exotic flowers blooming in the indoor Sunken Garden.


What are your favorite rainy day activities in the Twin Cities? Tweet us @visittwincities!

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