Twin Cities in April
March 21, 2019 3:28 PM   Subscribe

I asked a question about visiting the Twin Cities in the winter previously ( ) but the trip got pushed back. Instead, I'm going out there the first week in April.

Anyone have any recommendations for seasonal event/outdoorsy stuff for things/places etc that aren't doable or pleasant in the winter? Anything new to check out?
posted by Archipelago to Travel & Transportation around Twin Cities, MN (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you're looking for something outdoorsy, I have to recommend the trails along the banks of the Mississippi River on either the St. Paul or the Minneapolis side. They're my #1 all time favorite place in all of the metro area. I would say start at Monument Park in St. Paul. You should see the beginnings of a trail around the small black fence between the monument and the rocks. If you take that trail to the north, you'll be in Shadow Falls Park with a lovely little waterfall (made even more lovely after a spring rain). You can follow trails down to the river or just through the brush on the bank.

If you end up going south, you can follow them to a lovely little garden at St. Thomas and on past a few other waterfalls. I'm not as familiar with the Minneapolis side, but it's quite nice too. In fact, over on that side is Minnehaha Regional Park that comes complete with an impressive waterfall and some lovely trails.

Feel free to memail me if you want some more ideas like these. I spent all of my two years living there exploring these sort of pseudo-wild parts of the Twin Cities. Someday I'll find my way back there...
posted by holmesian at 4:22 PM on March 21, 2019

A bit of a drive, but worth it: Franconia Sculpture Park
posted by sacrifix at 5:48 PM on March 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I would forestall the above for later in the year. As the media reported, we had a crazy amount of snow fall in February, and now it’s all melting, with the accompanying flash flooding, mud, and potholes. This would definitely not be the time to walk on any riverbanks or on any woodland paths, especially NOT Shadow Falls, unless you want to fall down a gorge and wind up on the news.

Luckily, the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes has a network of paved trails for walking and bicycling, and several stations where bikes are available to rent. Weather permitting, you could avail yourself of those and get in plenty of fresh air.

But please keep in mind that the first week of April can be very unpredictable, and snow is common, although it’s usually too warm to accumulate. Expect rain and mud. The lakes will still have some ice cover. All the major outdoor stuff won’t really start cranking up until the end of April.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:52 PM on March 21, 2019 [6 favorites]

Of course if the weather is ugly, the Mia (formerly Minneapolis Institute of Arts) has an amazing exhibit on right now called Egypt's Sunken Cities. And their permanent collection is impressive as well.
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:19 PM on March 21, 2019 [4 favorites]

Seconding Minnehaha Falls. It should be particularly impressive around that time from the spring snowmelt, as will Saint Anthony Falls which is great when viewed from the Stone Arch Bridge across the Mississippi. Hooks directly up with some of the riverside paths and trails, which at that point are well above the river.

I would ordinarily suggest trying to get a baseball game in at one of the most beautiful parks in the MLB, but sadly the Twinkies are out of town until the 12th. Maybe a tour?

The Minnesota Zoo is open year round but would certainly have more options and less environmental misery in April than in the winter.

There may be Nice Ride bike rentals all around Minneapolis, if it's nice enough for them to be out by then. A ride on the bike paths around Lake of the Isles, Bde Maka Ska and Harriet would be a nice way to spend an afternoon.

The weather in MN at that time can have a very wide range, from icy snowstorms to sunny and 70, and everything in between. I would double check the longer term forecast a week before you arrive to get a basic idea of what to expect. Whatever the weather, as Autumnheart says, expect mud, moisture, snirt (yes, that's a thing) and basically a drab, dirty environment but it's still very enjoyable if you can catch a nice warm day.
posted by SquidLips at 9:09 PM on March 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Nice Ride system is scheduled to launch on April 10th this year. Bike rentals might still be open around the lakes before then, but I wouldn't necessarily count on it.

Also, something to keep in mind - The Final Four is in Minneapolis from the 6-8, so that might affect any sort of downtown Minneapolis plans.

Depending how long it's been since you've last been in town, you might want to check out the sculpture garden at the Walker - they redid it about two years ago.
posted by dinty_moore at 7:13 AM on March 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

I send all my guests on the Minneapolis History Tour and everyone loves it, even people who hate tours. (We ourselves are people who hate tours and we loved it!)

Human On A Stick
posted by rada at 12:28 PM on March 22, 2019

Well, you could always drive over to Mounds Park on the east side of St. Paul, overlooking the Mississippi River, and gaze down upon the sure-to-be-flooded-by-then downtown airport. Or you could drive the fifteen miles east to the town of Stillwater and do a walking tour/shop/dine there. It's a very pleasant river city, but be warned: odds are good that it, too, will (still) be at least somewhat flooded at that time.

Thing is, early April in Minnesota is still chilly and thus the number of outdoor options are considerably fewer than what you'll find from May-October.
posted by Lunaloon at 9:13 AM on March 26, 2019

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