The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is one of the only nationally designated byways located entirely inside an urban area and is considered one of the most beautiful of the 96 in the country. Encompassing more than 50 miles of parks, parkways, bike trails, and pedestrian paths, the Grand Rounds offers scenic, historic, and archeological attractions within its seven districts. Grab some cheap eats to go and settle in by a waterfall or a wildflower refuge, check out a quaking bog, take in a round of golf, pedal a Nice Ride bike around the lakes, or trek through some historic spots in Minneapolis. Some of the highlights include:
Victory Memorial: Tour the historic rows of trees and markers that commemorate the Hennepin County servicemen of World War I and reflect on world history at the memorials that line Victory Memorial Parkway.
Photo by Todd Buchanan
Theodore Wirth Park: The largest regional park in the city, Theodore Wirth offers swimming and a golf course (plus awesome snow tubing in the winter!). Stop by the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, the oldest public wildflower garden in the nation, and spot lady’s slippers, irises, trilliums, and much more.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden: Find 40 different sculptures sitting on 15 acres. Spot Frank Gehry’s Standing Glass Fish and the Spoonbridge and Cherry, an iconic image of the Twin Cities.
Chain of Lakes: Around lakes Calhoun and Harriet and Lake of the Isles, you can do pretty much anything. Walk, run, sail, swim, play volleyball, canoe, or kayak. Hear live music at the Lake Harriet bandshell or smell the roses in the rose garden.
Stone Arch Bridge
Photo by Jeremy Nelson
Minnehaha Park: Hike the trails and visit Minnehaha Falls, which tumbles anywhere from 40 to 53 feet. At the top of the falls, spot the bronze statue of Hiawatha carrying Minnehaha in his arms. Eat at the Sea Salt Eatery (open seasonal hours) and play at the nearby splash pad.
Downtown Riverfront District: One of Minneapolis’ oldest neighborhoods, Northeast Minneapolis and St. Anthony Falls are home to some of the city’s oldest buildings and flour mills. Walk across the Stone Arch Bridge, the only bridge of its kind across the Mississippi River. Take a tour of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, which accounts for more than 10 percent of the total height change of the river between here and St. Louis, Mo.