Vacation to Minneapolis and WI Dells

Updated on March 16, 2016
M.G. asks from Olathe, KS
4 answers

We are thinking of vacationing in Minneapolis and WI Dells this summer. Hubby and I and our two boys, 17 and 14. We will definitely be going to a Twins game to see the KC Royals!!! ( we live in Kansas City ) Do you have recommendations of places to visit or places to stay in those areas or on our way there? Great restaurant recommendations are certainly welcome too!

Thank you, M.

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Thanks for the great info!!

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answers from Rochester on

We live south of Minneapolis/St. Paul (aka The Cities) and go up there quite often.

I would suggest staying in the Bloomington area near the Mall of America. You can get to pretty much anywhere in the Twin Cities area within 20-30 minutes. There is a light rail station at the Mall of America. You can park free there and take the light rail to Target Field for the Twins game. Although downtown Minneapolis is pretty cool, I don't think you would spend a lot of time down there other than the Twins game unless you were going to go to a theater or the art museum. A lot of the things I'm going to suggest are in St. Paul or the suburbs.

If you like Thai food, Ruam Mit Thai in St. Paul (not far from the science museum) is the best! It kind of looks like a hole in the wall, but it is consistenly one of the highest rated restaurants. Mikey's Diner in St. Paul (not far from the same area) is an icon. It is a very small greasy spoon restaurant in an old train car. It feels like something out of a 70s sitcom. Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis has a huge variety of ethnic foods and shops.

We love going to the Minnesota Zoo (in Apple Valley) and the Como Park Zoo (in St. Paul). The Minnesota zoo has a summer concert series that pulls in some big names.

The Mall of America (in Bloomington) is probably my least favorite place to go, but teens love it! They have some of the typical chain restaurants like Rainforest Cafe and Bubba Gump Shrimp.

If you can get tickets for a St. Paul Saints baseball game, definitely do that. They are a minor league team and their games are lots of fun.

The Waterpark of America (in Bloomington) is pretty good, but I thought pretty pricey. If you are going to the Dells, you can probably skip that.

Grand Avenue in St. Paul is a fun area to walk around. There are some good restaurants and a yummy ice cream shop. Stillwater is also fun. The Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun areas (in Minneapolis, but not too close to downtown) are good for outdoor activities like canoeing. There are often outdoor concerts in the Lake Calhoun area.

If your family likes to read, definitely check out some of the independent book stores in both Minneapolis and St. Paul. If you like theater, there are some great theaters to go to in both cities. I know there are going to be several off-Broadway shows there this summer (Lion King is one I know for sure.)

The science museum in St. Paul is really good. The Walker Art Museum and sculpture garden in Minneapolis is nice.

I've never done it, but some friends of mine have several times gone on the Wabasha Cave tours in St. Paul. There are some caves under the city that were used by gangsters during prohibition.

Valleyfair Amusement Park (in Shakopee) is a lot of fun for teens. It isn't huge, so you can easily do it in a day.

When you drive from the Cities to the Dells, drive along the Mississippi River down to LaCrosse, Wisconsin. It is a really pretty drive. You can see some of the locks and dams on the river. There is an really nice National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

Take a look at the Explore Minnesota website. There are tons of things to do!! Be sure to check out a calendar of events for the time that you will be there. There seems to be little festivals of all kinds going on all summer long. Have a great time!

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answers from Springfield on

loved my stay at the Kahalari resort. stayed an entire day in the indoor waterpark alone! but i am sure there are other waterparks that would be just as fun

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answers from San Francisco on

ETA: Also, you could check out Valleyfair Amusement Park and either Como Zoo (free) or the Minnesota Zoo (not free but super cool).

My stomping grounds!! Ok, check out Trip Advisor for good recommendations on both places for sure. Staying in downtown Mpls can be pretty spendy so if budget is a concern, check out hotels that are outside of downtown a bit BUT either or on the light rail line or have free shuttles to the places you want to go. Parking in Mpls is atrocious and expensive so if you can shuttle or uber or light rail or bus, you are going to save a ton. If you do stay downtown, check out places that are within walking distance to the places you want to go - Mpls is large and fairly spread out so don't assume just because it says Mpls, you can walk.

Definitely check out the Mall of America, also you may want to check out the WaterPark next to the Mall (it is connected to a hotel so you can get stay and park passes at a discount if you stay there - it is a Bloomington address, but not far from downtown Mpls). Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnehaha Park, and if you can spend a day fishing, that would be awesome! Also, if you get the chance, check out Stillwater, MN for the day. Very cool and you can spend the day there after Mpls and then head out on 94 towards the Dells when you are heading out there.

For the Dells, the Kalahari is pretty spendy (especially to eat). Again, I don't know your budget, but we have stayed at BlackHawk Motel and rented a mobile home for a week, and also at ArrowHead Campground and also rented a trailer for a week. We did do the condo at Skyview one year and that was nice. We have stayed at Chula Vista but I cannot recommend that since it is more for younger kids (in my opinion). We usually do a park a day and then visit the one we liked best again on the last full day. We bought discount tickets on line and some hotels will give you free passes for one day at a park if you stay with them. I would look online in advance, but I would wait to buy tickets until you get to the Dells. With the camping/condo option we tended to cook more at "home" and spent less money eating out. We have a big family so this was a big savings for us.

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answers from Grand Rapids on

Two great places to visit. I would also suggest trip advisor. In Minneapolis, I would suggest the Mill City Museum. It was one of the world's largest flour mill, now museum; sits on the Mississippi River waterfront. Also the James J Hill house in St. Paul. There is Lake Calhoun-Minneapolis that you can rent kayaks, canoes, paddle boats, etc. and I do believe there are trails around the lake to rent segways as well. There is the Como Park and Conservatory (St Paul) that is beautiful. Also on the west side of the Twin Cities, Lake Minnetonka and I am pretty sure there is still a small steamboat that gives tours. Also, Minnehaha Park and Falls is very pretty.
In Wisconsin Dells-Noah's Ark waterpark-it used to the be the largest water park in the U.S. fun place!

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