The Minneapolis skyline, set against the backdrop of the Mississippi River, is one of the prettiest in the US, combining an array of skyscrapers of various architectural styles that are connected by a network of skyways that cover approximately eight miles throughout the city. The Minneapolis skyway system allows visitors to traverse the downtown area in enclosed, climate-controlled passageways that connect the second or third floors of individual buildings.
The skyways provide an alternative to walking outdoors in the cold Midwestern winters, and nearly all the major buildings in the Minneapolis skyways can be accessed this way, including commercial buildings, hotels, and retail shopping centers. These include the skyscrapers along Nicollet Mall, including the IDS Tower, as well as the Minneapolis Convention Center and the historic Foshay Tower.
Visitors interested in viewing the Minneapolis skyline at night via the skyways should be aware that each skyway is accessible according to the various operating hours in effect by the individual building owners, some of which may close earlier in the evening. However, the taller observation decks are sometimes open later, and it’s also possible to get great views of the skyline from the Loring Park area, St Anthony Main, the many bridges crossing the Mississippi, and even some parts of the University of Minnesota campus.
The downtown area features a variety of architectural styles, including the Romanesque style of the Lumber Exchange Building. Dating to 1885, it is the oldest structure in Minneapolis and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.
The Minneapolis skyline is an impressive sight during the day, especially the IDS Tower, which has been the tallest building in Minneapolis since its completion in 1973. The exterior glass wall gleams in the bright sun reflecting the cityscape surrounding it. Inside, the Crystal Court features shopping venues. From the connecting skyway, patrons can take interesting Minneapolis skyline pictures of the busy street below. The Capella Tower comes in a close second as being the tallest building making up the Minneapolis skyline.
The third-tallest skyscraper in the city is the Art Deco inspired Wells Fargo Center. On sunny days, the center's reflection is clearly visible on the sheer glass walls of the adjacent IDS Tower, which offers an unusual perspective and can be a great feature of Minneapolis skyline pictures.
Lighting up the skyline at night, the 1929 Foshay Tower was added in 1978 to the National Register of Historic Places. After being extensively renovated, the Foshay reopened in 2008 as the W Minneapolis-The Foshay Hotel. Views of the city can be seen from its 30th-floor observation deck, and on the 27th floor, visitors can enjoy a late night cocktail at the Prohibition Sky Bar. The sides of the hotel are flooded with light each night from sunset until midnight adding a brilliantly illuminated focal point to the Minneapolis skyline at night.
Places of interest in the downtown and surrounding areas include the Minneapolis City Hall, Farmer's Market, and winter Holidazzle Parade along the Nicollet Mall, as well as the Guthrie Theater, Walker Art Center, and the Orpheum Theater on Hennepin Avenue in the cultural district. The Mill City Museum is also worth a visit, if you’re curious about the historic flour mills that line the river near downtown.
St Anthony Falls, which is located northeast of downtown and just across the river, was the only major natural waterfall on the Upper Mississippi, which was re-routed upstream via locks and dams after the falls’ partial collapse in 1869. The area was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 as the St Anthony Falls Historic District, and it’s a great place to spend an evening. Terrific bars and restaurants line the brick streets, and sitting along the river and enjoying the views of the city skyline is a popular activity on summer evenings.
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