A Visitor’s Guide to the Minneapolis Art Scene

Say “Minneapolis,” and you might think of Viking football and snowy winters, but this Minnesota city isn’t just about lakes and frozen tundra.

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Say “Minneapolis,” and you might think of Viking football and snowy winters, but this Minnesota city isn’t just about lakes and frozen tundra. It has a busy, unique art scene that can blow your mind. Take a drive through one half of the Twin Cities to find all the best museums with everything from traditional art to cool, contemporary pieces guaranteed to start some crazy conversations. Seeing is believing, so drop what you’re doing and go see what the buzz is about in this Midwestern city.

Minneapolis Institute of Art

Looking for the best bang for your buck? Head to the Minneapolis Institute of Art to check out from every type of art and geographical region. See works from renowned artists like Dali and Renoir, and then turn to Chinese architecture, African artifacts, and 18th-century French pottery — all in the same day. Except, the institute is so big, you might not squeeze everything into a single day. No worries, with free admission, you can stop in several times during your Minneapolis stay.

Walker Art Center

View of the Walker Art Center building in downtown Minneapolis, surrounded by other buildings in the city, on a clear sunny day

If modern art is your thing, don’t pass up a trip to the Walker Art Center, a huge mix of all things contemporary. During your visit, catch one of the film screenings, gawk at cutting-edge — and sometimes mind boggling — exhibits, and even see your own drawings come to life in the museum’s in-house design studio. After browsing the center’s campus, head to the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, and stroll through the park-like setting to view 11 acres of sculptures, including the super-famous “Spoonbridge and Cherry,” an oversized sculpture.

The Soap Factory

Eclectic, modern, and local are three words that nicely sum up The Soap Factory. Just think of it as way cool. This gallery took a historic factory building and turned it into a showroom for hip art pieces, performances, and exhibits almost solely from Minneapolis artists. The gallery also sponsors many events and exhibitions throughout the greater Twin Cities area. Check the calendar before your visit to see if anything interesting comes up during your stay.

Chicago Ave. Fire Arts Center

View of the Walker Art Center building in downtown Minneapolis, surrounded by other buildings in the city, on a clear sunny day

Must check out the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center to see how fire and art go together so perfectly. The artwork is created by both fledgling students and master artisans, but they all have one thing in common: a talent for turning heat into art. Each piece is created using some sort of heat, spark, or flame. If a certain piece speaks to you, you might be able to buy it (it never hurts to ask). Interested in learning how to create your own masterpiece? Grab a friend and take one of the classes, like Enameling & Metal Coloration or Metal Casting.

Gallery 360

When you’re out shopping the small boutiques in southwest Minneapolis, don’t pass up a trip to Gallery 360, an independent retail gallery with a variety of art media. You can take home some traditional art like paintings and sculptures, but the more off-the-wall finds, like art jewelry and textiles, are the real attractions. You can find investment pieces to purchase, but the gallery places more emphasis on unusual pieces from local artists. Exhibits rotate every six weeks, so there’s always an element of freshness, even if you’ve been here before.

Where do you like to go to experience Minneapolis art? Let us know on our Facebook page.

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