Public parks invite you to take in the Twin Cities' natural beauty.
Pay a visit to some of our within-city-limits parks. While they may be packed into tight quarters, there is no shortage of fun.
Chain of Lakes Regional Park
Waterfront access, miles of biking trails, equipment rental and prime nature viewing all within a few minutes of downtown Minneapolis. This park comprises the shorelines of Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet in south Minneapolis. Outdoor fun takes on many forms here: hop on a bike and ride the paved trails around the lakes, enjoy a classical music concert at the Lake Harriet Bandshell, or paddle your way from Lake Calhoun into Lake of the Isles and back. Whatever your pleasure, this park is sure to have it.
Father Hennepin Bluff Park
City meets nature in this on-the-water park. Located near the Stone Arch Bridge, Father Hennepin has unique views of the downtown Minneapolis skyline and the Mississippi River. Enjoy traversing footpaths and bridges that transport you into a heavily wooded forest right in the shadow of the city.
Mill Ruins Park
Mill Ruins Park is located in downtown Minneapolis, and is more of the brick-and-mortar kind of nature. Located a hop, skip and a jump (and a small walking path) from the Stone Arch Bridge, Mill Ruins Park is home to the historic and now exposed ruins of what used to be Minneapolis’ famous milling district before it was buried beneath a tomb of sand and gravel. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the ruins’ storied past while taking in the sights of what used to be one of the biggest flour-producing powerhouses in the world. Be sure to visit at least once in the evening, and catch a special view of the park when the sun goes down and the lights come on. Carefully placed, these lights add a dramatic effect to the ruins and atmosphere that’s hard to top on a warm night. Add the spectacular sight of a lit up downtown Minneapolis as a backdrop, and you have all the makings of a park experience that’s truly unique.
With a babbling stream running through it, along with seasonal flower gardens and trees sprinkled throughout, Mears Park in St. Paul’s Lowertown brings Mother Nature’s beauty into the heart of the city. It offers visitors a charming spot for a picnic or an afternoon office getaway, but its popularity as a music hotspot is why it joins the ranks of the Twin Cities’ most unique parks. Mears Park hosts Music in Mears, a Thursday night concert series every spring and summer featuring local opening and headlining acts, as well as a variety of food trucks to satisfy your hunger and thirst as you get your jam on. Thursdays don’t get all the fun, however. Other musical festivals including the Twin Cities Jazz Festival also find a home in Mears Park.