I need a good view of Minneapolis
August 14, 2007 8:46 AM   Subscribe

Minneapolis: I want to find an observation deck downtown where I can take pictures of the city from above.

I know the Foshay Tower was supposed to have an observation deck, but now that it's under reconstruction, I suspect that it's closed. Is there anywhere else in the towers downtown where the general public can go and get a view of the city from above? (Even if it's indoors; a restaurant would work too.)

Also, if that's not possible, I'd like to find a good spot on the edge of the city where I can get a perfect shot of the skyline (ie including the three tallest buildings, maybe the dome).

(Tips for places in St. Paul would be interesting as well.)
posted by BradNelson to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I don't know of any observation decks, but you can see part of the dome and the skyline from the east bank on the U of M campus.
posted by chriswarren at 9:44 AM on August 14, 2007

I'm pretty sure the Foshay tower is it for public observation decks. Years and years ago I was on a similar mission, and the Foshay was all I could find.

This Google search sorta verifies that, too.

I'd love to be proved wrong, though.

posted by jeffxl at 9:54 AM on August 14, 2007

rooftop gallery of the Walker has an amazing view.
posted by pencroft at 9:56 AM on August 14, 2007

AND, said view was voted the city's best.
posted by pencroft at 9:59 AM on August 14, 2007

The previous IDS observation deck is divided up into event spaces for rent now--but if you take the elevator to the top floor and hang out in the 'lobby' area, you might be able to run over to a window in the common space.

If you're feeling less sneaky, you could ask someone if it's okay just to take a quick picture or two.

(For that matter, perhaps someone here has a connection in an office in the IDS who could let you in briefly--many have great lobby views.)
posted by gimonca at 10:23 AM on August 14, 2007

Floor plan for Windows on Minnesota. Note the "Prefunction Lobby" next to the elevators.
posted by gimonca at 10:26 AM on August 14, 2007

Also, there's a scenic spot on the parkway system right about here on Ridgeway Parkway between Stinson and St. Anthony Blvd. where you can get a colossal shot of the skyline. Mornings are probably best for daytime shots.
posted by gimonca at 10:33 AM on August 14, 2007

There's a water tower or something in Kenwood that looks out over the Minneapolis skyline (my memory's a bit fuzzy). The IDS view is pretty great too.

In St. Paul, I would go to Prospect Park on the West side, to Mounds Park, or to the overlook behind Methodist Hospital near the state buildings.
posted by B-squared at 11:32 AM on August 14, 2007

How high up do you have to be? Would something lower like the rooftop space at Solera work? Or the top level of one of the parking garages, like at 9th and LaSalle?

If it's just an elevated view of the skyline you're after, go to the MIA, go to the top floor, and head for the extreme eastern end. There's a giant glass window with a great view of the skyline, complete with an MIA label laying out what's what.
posted by COBRA! at 12:03 PM on August 14, 2007

Foshay is closed now while it's turned in to a hotel. I've seen a few people asked to leave the IDS observation area because they were not attending an event.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 1:32 PM on August 14, 2007

The rooftop deck of Stella's in uptown has a pretty great skyline view, though it's not as close-up as you're obviously going for. My other favorite skyline view was on the now-missing 35W bridge or the adjacent 10th Ave bridge, but I think that's still closed for the recovery effort. You might be able to find a good hallway window near the top of the Holiday Inn Metrodome (next to Grandma's in the 7 Corners area) for a similar view.

The one time I tried to get to the top of the IDS, the security guards wouldn't even let me into the elevator bank. Dress up like a serious business person if you're going to try - I don't look threatening, but apparently jeans and sneakers gave me away as someone who had no "real" reason to be there.
posted by vytae at 3:01 PM on August 14, 2007

2nding the MIA. Although having been on the Foshay observation deck a couple times before it closed, you're not going to get anything that good.
posted by Utilitaritron at 5:39 PM on August 14, 2007

I have actually been to events at the top of the IDS, and there's more than one possibility. If nothing's going on, you'll have no reason to be there, and you'll get the bum's rush. If the entire floor's booked (does this ever happen?), then you'll have to justify your presence pretty much immediately.

If there's a typical event situation, there'll just be one or two rooms in play. There'll be people sitting outside the room itself at a collapsible table checking names off a printed list and handing out nametags like you've seen at any convention center or hotel setting, with people milling around outside. Not a big deal.

Admittedly, I probably fit in. If you look scruffy, or look like an obvious tourist (look at the view, honey!), you'll attract the wrong kind of attention.

Or, slap down $25.95 for the Sunday brunch, and you can hang around all you want.
posted by gimonca at 7:18 PM on August 14, 2007

I think that B-squared was referring to the Witch's Hat water tower, and that is definitely a great view. Here are a few pix I took from there a few years ago with my crappy old camera. (I'm sure you could do much better with a good camera and a good zoom lens).
posted by ekstasis23 at 12:04 PM on August 20, 2007

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