We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

Which Minneapolis hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
Denver, CO
posts: 23
reviews: 24
7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

I land late morning at MSP a full 7 hours before my 2 travel companions land. I'll pick up my rental car and have some time to explore someplace close by. Was thinking the zoo, maybe, but would love suggestions for nearby parks for walking, or attractions that would be do-able and see-able in 6 or so hours. Would consider shopping, museum, etc. it just needs to be relatively easy access from and back to the airport. Any suggestions? Would the zoo be a reasonable goal? Better idea? Needs to be close by and interesting, I guess.

Edited: 12:25 am, August 28, 2013
12 replies to this topic
Minneapolis MN
posts: 388
reviews: 3
1. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

The MN Zoo is a fairly short car ride from the airport but keep in mind that it will be about $30 for your ticket and parking, not to mention food and drink costs a lot there. Also might not be enough there to fill 6 hours. I was just there and you can do the whole thing in about 2 or 3.

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,078
reviews: 18
2. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

You mention the word "layover," which makes me wonder if you mean you have a flight to make. So are you making a connection with your travel companions and are just getting into MSP 7 hours before them? Or is Minneapolis your destination and you are arriving before your friends?

The reason I ask is that if you have 7 hours between flights, you don't need a rental car to explore. You could get on the light rail and take it downtown, hit Mill City Museum and walk the riverfront and Stone Arch Bridge. Maybe do some shopping along Nicollet Mall downtown too depending on time spent near the river.

Those are things you could do with a rental car too if Mpls is your destination. But I wanted to make sure you knew about the light rail connection with downtown. The ride from the airport would be about 35 minutes

Denver, CO
posts: 23
reviews: 24
3. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

Thanks. Yes, I am meeting my friends in the MN airport, and we are driving together from there. We have a destination north, out of the city (a cabin). I'll investigate the light rail. Maybe it would be easier than trying to navigate an unfamiliar city in the car. Are your ideas for destinations easily reached on the light rail? I'm not very savvy when it comes to public transit, but could probably figure it out with some guidance.

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,078
reviews: 18
4. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

The light rail runs through (or underneath) the airport -- both terminals. So when you deplane, you could hop on that and take it to Minnehaha Park or to the Downtown East/Metrodome stop to visit the riverftont and Mill City Museum. However, it kind of depends on how much luggage you have I guess. If you are getting a car anyway for the drive north, it might make sense to get it for this exploration of MInneapolis so you can keep the luggage in the trunk.

Not a very difficult drive at all to either spot. Just navigate to Highway 55 toward Minneapolis from the airport. Head up Hwy 55/Hiawatha into Minneapolis. The park will appear on your right or you can keep going into downtown. Hwy 55 will turn into 7th Street as you arrive downtown near the Metrodome stadium. Get in the right lane and turn on Park Avenue. Take it until it ends. When it ends, you're at Mill City Museum. And the riverfront area and Stone Arch Bridge are on the other side of that row of buildings.

rpaulson7
posts: 50
reviews: 27
5. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

You mention shopping as a possibility. The Mall of America is across the highway from the airport, and connected by the light rail as well. It's a big mall without much culture, but you can spend some time there.

Minnesota
posts: 737
reviews: 299
6. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

If it were me, I would stay at the Mall of America. Lots to do there.

Denver, CO
posts: 23
reviews: 24
7. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

Thanks. How 's parking in the area of the museum or the riverfront - stone bridge? Lot, street, free?

Minneapolis...
Destination Expert
for Minneapolis
posts: 4,078
reviews: 18
8. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

www.mplsparking.com/CurrentMeterMap.pdf

I don't know if you want to spend time looking at that PDF because it can be hard to find the spot in question. And I can tell you what you need to know from it.

If you follow the directions I provided that will take you right to the front door of the museum, which is on S. 2nd Street right at the end of Park. I would park right on that street, and it is multi-space metered parking. And it costs $1 per hour. So pay 4 bucks and you have a prime spot to access the museum and riverfront area and then to exit the downtown area (on the way back to Hiawatha you would use one-way streets in the opposite direction to the ones you used to get there. Portland Avenue to 8th Street. Take a left and it will turn into the ramp onto Hiawatha.)

Multi-space metered parking just means there is a pay station whwre you put in your spot number and then your cash or credit card.

Make sure you leave plenty of time to walk around the Stone Arch Bridge and over to the other side of the river. It's really a pretty area. The museum takes maybe an hour or 90 mins. Walk over to St. Anthony Main and get a bite to eat at the old Pracna Building on Main Street. It's pretty good food in a cool old building on a nice scenic street along the river. That area is Minneapolis but originally was the village of St. Anthony before being annexed by Mpls

Edited: 11:49 am, August 29, 2013
Denver, CO
posts: 23
reviews: 24
9. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

Thanks to all for your advice.

MNtoAthens: thanks much for the detailed directions. I'm looking forward to this mini portion of my trip. Sounds like I'll see sights to tell my friends all about. Your info is really helpful. I feel like I've got what I need.

Minneapolis
posts: 8
reviews: 23
10. Re: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?

I think this guidance is good. Get to Mill City, which is an area downtown near the Mississppi and Guthrie Theatre. Park the car, and enjoy the area. Be prepared to walk a lot, as not to hassle with the car. When I have out of town guests this is often what we do.

On the way downtown from the airport, I'd stop at Minnehaha Falls and walk around. Great, natural environment that feels peaceful for walking and being outside.

Reply to: 7-hour layover,....zoo maybe?
Get notified by e-mail when a reply is posted