Yesterday I had an interview at WCCO radio, and it was such a nice day I decided to go by bicycle. My route took me up the West River Road from Lake Street to the Stone Arch Bridge, and along the way I passed by several of the places in the book (as well as some neat places that aren’t). This ride would make a pretty great outing with kids: there’s a dedicated bike path all the way (though the hills on either side of Bohemian Flats can be demanding, especially on short legs that are pushing the pedals on a bike with small wheels), and there are plenty of places to stop.
Here are the highlights that I passed on my ride:
- The Mississippi River Gorge: the only gorge on the Mississippi, and a little piece of wilderness in the city: I’ve seen foxes, racoons, beavers, and bald eagles on the lower trails, and the view from the bike path is spectacular.
- Bohemian Flats: this park is named for the Czech neighborhood that was once located here, prone to frequent flooding but known for its vibrant culture; it’s a nice, wide, grassy place to rest on your trip.
- Gold Medal Park: the best rolling hill in the Twin Cities–I saw plenty of kids tumbling down the grassy slopes as I biked past!
- Mill Ruins Park: tailraces and sluiceways are all that remain of the flour mills that built Minneapolis
- Stone Arch Bridge: once a railroad bridge, now a pedestrian and bicycle path from downtown to Old Main Street, the Stone Arch Bridge would probably be the symbol of Minneapolis if not for that pesky cherry
- Mill City Museum: not only is this museum packed with hands-on activities about water power and flour milling, it also has a café (where I stopped for a root beer) and a gift shop (where you can buy a copy of Dad’s Eye View)
- Foshay Tower: once the tallest building west of the Mississippi, the Foshay Tower has an observation deck and museum (and is part of the Museum Adventure Pass program at the library–you can literally check out a trip to the top of the city!)
- Minneapolis Central Library: great kids section, fun elevators, exciting programs, and a coffee shop with tasty cookies–what more could you ask for?
- Cancer Survivors Park: located at Marquette Plaza, in front of the distinctive U-shaped old Federal Reserve building, this is a lovely grassy space that’s perfect for picnics and games of tag
There’s a lot more about many of these places in the book, of course, and I’m sure there are exciting secret spots along the way that I missed. The fun of having adventures with kids is that their sharp eyes will often pick out the fun long before yours!