Exploring the Twin Cities on a Budget

This blog is by Hannah Toedter.

Being a transplant from “way up north,” I have discovered how important it is to get to know the city in which you live in order to feel at home and connected. It is important for us as humans to take a moment out of our busy schedules to relax and take in the city in all its beauty. 

So, here you will find a list of five ways you can explore the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan area, while not hurting your wallet:

1. The MIA

The Minnesota Institute of Art is free every day. It’s great for those not-so-nice Minnesota days. Departments include: Arts of Africa & the Americas, Arts of Asia, Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Textile & Sculpture, Paintings, Photography and New Media, Prints and Drawings. Basically, there is something for everyone. Art is a beautiful thing that can educate cross-culturally and cross-generationally. Allow yourself to be stricken by its beauty!  

2. Lakes, lakes, lakes!

We are the Land of 10,000 Lakes. You can beat the summer heat (it’s coming, I promise you) by hitting up a local lake. You can go swimming, have a barbecue, go fishing or play some sand volleyball, all the while catching some sweet, Minnesota sunshine. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!

3. Utilize Your Local Library

Ben Franklin made them free for a reason! You can take out a library card and make the world your oyster. Aside from being able to check out all sorts of books and media, the public libraries offer tons of classes and events that of course vary by location. There is something for all ages. Some of the sessions offered include video game clubs, kids’ storytimes, and job search and technology assistance classes.    

4. Historic Northeast--The Riverfront District

If you happen to like taking in magical scenery, think about checking out Historic Northeast Minneapolis. There are various running, walking and bike trails in the area if being active is your thing. You can always check out the Mill City Museum to get a little taste of the flour industry and its history in Minneapolis. The Stone Arch Bridge is a great way to take in the city. The view from atop the bridge never ceases to amaze. In addition, the area is definitely not lacking restaurants, bars, and shops that are worth checking out, even if one is just perusing. 

5. Hang out in Lowertown

Lowertown AKA Downtown St. Paul is a bit of a hidden gem. Mears Park and Rice Park are located right inside the city with beautiful landscaping work and gardens kept by members of the community. The Lowertown Farmer’s Market is a pretty hopping place come growing season with affordable produce, meats and flowers. You can even just take in all the great food samples if you’re not looking to buy. Additionally, there is the brand new Saint’s Stadium right downtown, so if you’re a baseball fan, have at it! The St. Paul Green Line now runs directly to Lowertown, so there is no more fussing with circling the block over and over for parking. 


These are just five options for exploring the Twin Cities on a budget. It doesn’t really matter if you choose an option from this list or any other option Minneapolis or St. Paul has to offer, but I encourage you to get out and experience your city because it has a pulse and a vibrancy that is one of a kind and worth your attention.

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