15 Best Things to Do in Hennepin County, MN

Hennepin County, MN
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With gorgeous natural areas, Hennepin County, Minnesota is buzzing with life.

I love how its natural areas are filled with beautiful hills, woods, and lakes, which made my trip to the county busier than I thought.

Its county seat is Minneapolis and has a population of 1,281,565 as of the 2020 census, making it the most populous county in the state.

In 1852, the Territorial Legislature of Minnesota founded the county, which was named for Father Louis Hennepin; a 17th-century explorer.

The county prides itself on its progressive economy and beams with natural wonders that you may not be able to find elsewhere.

Whether you're grabbing a quick bite, having a cup of your favorite coffee, or simply sitting at a park and waiting for sundown, this place is a gem!

During my visit, I listed some of my favorite spots in the county, which can be helpful to you.

So, here's a list of the best things to do in Hennepin County, Minnesota.

Learn about the Flour Milling Industry at the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis

Distant view of the Mill City Museum
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The flour milling industry was a major foundation of the growth of Minneapolis, which started in the 1870s with the first Washburn A Mill.

American businessman Cadwallader C. Washburn built the mill in 1874, which was the largest flour mill in the world at the time of its completion.

The Mill City Museum today was built in 2003 right on the old mill complex, which entered the National Register of Historic Places.

Signage of the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis
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I took the eight-story flour tower elevator tour and I was amazed by the milling industry's history.

Upon entry at the Mill City Museum, you get to watch some recorded interviews with plenty of hands-on exhibits for all ages.

Also, don't miss out on the observation deck, which offers terrific views of St. Anthony Falls and the downtown Minneapolis area.

Interior view of the Mill City Museum
Runner1928, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Buy Unique Souvenirs and Gifts at I Like You in Minneapolis

From handmade jewelry to soaps and candles, there's a wide selection of cute and unique gifts and souvenirs to grab at I Like You in Minneapolis.

There are beautiful and unique home decor, wall art, quirky greeting cards, kitchenware, apparel, prints, and cute trinkets, which you can't find elsewhere.

And you know what?

These are made by local artists, which I dig, especially since I'm a big fan of everything handmade.

When I came here, I bought my mom cute handmade dangling earrings and a unique whiskey glass for my dad, which they both love!

I'm sure you'll find something special at I Like You for yourself and your loved ones too!

Cool Down at Deephaven Beach in Deephaven

In the summer, it can be hot in the county too, which is why I drove down to Deephaven to cool off and enjoy the water.

At Deephaven Beach along the beautiful Lake Minnetonka, you get to cool down in the water at its nice swimming area with lifeguards on duty.

I was amazed by this part of the beach for its tranquility and breathtaking views.

There's also a nice dock for boats, and I've also seen some guests diving and jumping on it, which looked fun.

There's also a nice playground for the little ones to play.

Also, it's worth noting that parking at Deephaven Beach is permit-only, but you can easily get a parking sticker at the City Hall sometime between May and September.

Go on a Shopping Spree at the Mall of America in Bloomington

Exterior view of the Mall of America
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If you're traveling with deep pockets and you love malling, the Mall of America offers excellent shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Although I didn't come here to go shopping, I enjoyed its amenities, and I'm sure you will too.

You can choose from any of its leading brands according to your needs whether it's clothing, jewelry, footwear, and more.

People shopping at the Mall of America
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There are about 500 stores at the Mall of America that you can explore.

I also love its themed park and many other attractions to keep you entertained.

Mall of America in Bloomington was established in 1992.

Games at the Mall of America
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Sway Your Club at Edinburgh Golf Course in Brooklyn Park

Tucked in the suburbs of Brooklyn Park, Edinburgh Golf Course is a great place for any skill level.

I'm not a pro at playing golf, but I did try it and I love its practice area.

Opened in 1987, the 18-hole golf course offers amazing greens that roll just fine, its fairways are well-maintained, and the views are terrific.

I'm also impressed by the classic feel of the clubhouse with delicious food and a nice bar.

You don't have to be a pro to play at Edinburgh Golf Course, but you'll have a good time!

Go Japanese at Arigato Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar in Champlin

I was exploring Champlin during my visit and I stumbled upon a Japanese spot, which serves my favorite—sushi!

So, I gave Arigato Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar a try, and I was impressed not only by how it tasted great but also by its presentation.

Its steaks are hand-cut daily to ensure freshness, its dressings and dipping sauces are homemade, and its sushis are made with premium fish.

The sushi bar is the cherry on top, which features different types of sushi rolls to choose from.

I would also recommend its delicious chicken fried rice, hibachi, and gyoza.

If you have kids, Arigato Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar also has something special for the little ones.

Catch a Baseball Game at Target Field in Minneapolis

Baseball game at the Target Field in Minneapolis
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For traveling sports enthusiasts, Target Field hosts different baseball games, whether it's MLB or a local or regional game by high school teams.

If you're in the area, check out the stadium to see what's going on because I remember when I was there with friends, there was a local baseball game that we did enjoy cheering on.

The stadium has been home to the Minnesota Twins since it opened in 2010 and has also hosted the 2014 MLB All-Star Game.

Crowd gathered outside the Target Field in Minneapolis
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Target Field is located in downtown Minneapolis' historic warehouse district and can seat up to 38,000 spectators.

Also, I grabbed some delicious snacks and drinks from one of the concessions, and I loved it!

Ticket counter at the Target Field in Minneapolis
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Enjoy Working Out at Skybox in St. Louis Park

As someone who loves to keep things healthy, I always make time to hit the gym, but whenever I'm traveling, it can be a little tough to find a good gym except when you're in the St. Louis Park area.

Thanks to Skybox, which offers classes that would help you physically, mentally, and socially.

It's like you're getting fit, but you're also making friends at the same time if you enroll in one of its classes.

Don't worry, the first class is free just to make sure it fits your needs before you pay for the whole class, which is what I did since I'm traveling.

Also, I suggest that you bring your own workout towel because Skybox might run out of towels during your visit.

Get Your Coffee Fix at Spyhouse Coffee in Minneapolis

Exterior view of the Spyhouse Coffee
edkohler, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Of all things that I need in my life, it's coffee that I'll never want to skip even a day.

That's right.

And I love that Minneapolis has plenty of great coffee shops to choose from, but Spyhouse Coffee piques my interest.

I like that it roasts its own coffee, which is sourced from the world's best coffee productions like Colombia.

But I'm telling you, I didn't come here once, but almost every day during my trip to the county simply because I love the unique flavor of its lattes.

Although I'm not a fan of pastries, I did try its croissants and it was delicious!

Also, be kind enough to bring your own coffee mug or tumbler and enjoy ten percent off your drink, so Spyhouse Coffee doesn't need to produce any more cups for you.

Let's help save this planet together, shall we?

Take Scenic Walks at Palmer Lake Park in Brooklyn Center

I love how the authorities have preserved the beautiful wetlands and woodchip trails at Palmer Lake Park, which is great for nature walks.

The three-mile loop trail offers great opportunities for walking or running, and I like that it's paved, which makes it easier for all ages.

It's also a great place to spot birds and deer.

I was taking scenic, nature walks and spotted two deer and lots of birds perching on treetops—singing to my ears.

It was serenity at Palmer Lake Park.

Discover the Wonders of Saint Anthony Falls in Minneapolis

View of the Saint Anthony Falls
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On the northeast side of downtown Minneapolis sits the historic Saint Anthony Falls, which is the only natural urban waterfall on the Mississippi River.

It's pretty popular, so I made sure to see it before I head back home.

The waterfall supported the milling industry in Minneapolis back in the 1800s.

Take a walk on the bridge to see the historic waterfall up close, which is an easy walk for anyone visiting the area.

View of the bridge over the Saint Anthony Falls
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I was here during the sundown and it was gorgeous, but even when you do it at sunrise, the views are the same!

Don't forget to take photos of the waterfall to document this trip.

I did that too!

Saint Anthony Falls entered the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and got its name from St. Anthony of Padua; the patron saint of Father Louis Hennepin.

Top view of the Saint Anthony Falls during winter
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Spend a Day at Bryant Lake Regional Park in Eden Prairie

And what's not fun about spending an entire day swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, boating, fishing, and relaxing?

Of all the great adventures I did in the county, spending an entire day at Bryant Lake Regional Park was one of my favorites.

This buzzing park offers 170 acres of a beach area, an 18-hole golf course, trails, a dog park, and picnic areas surrounded by stunning rolling hills, grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands.

I spotted some waterfowl here, as well as deer, which add to its amazing nature vibe.

I did miss packing a picnic when I came here, but my friends were able to get some delicious snacks at the nearby concessions.

Bryant Lake Regional Park is perfect for traveling families, couples, and friends!

Take Down Some Pins at New Hope Bowl in Minneapolis

Get the ball rolling, and take some pins down with your loved ones at New Hope Bowl.

Whether or not you're a pro, this bowling alley impresses everyone with its great lanes, which are all updated and well-kept.

I played here for a few rounds with my friends, and we loved every minute of it, especially the scoring system.

While playing, we did try its popular pizza, wings, and friends, which were all delicious with great, inexpensive drinks.

New Hope Bowl also hosts tournaments and special events like birthday parties.

See the Masterpieces at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

Sculpture of a spoon with a cherry at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
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One or two sculptures would be enough for me to see, but more than 40 masterpieces are beyond incredible!

You can find these works of art at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden; an 11-acre featuring over 40 sculptures made by world-renowned artists.

View of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
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One of my top picks is the Spoonbridge and Cherry—a fountain sculpture that was designed by couple Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.

Everything here is amazing, and I highly recommend it, especially if you love sculpture and all things art.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden opened in 1988 and is free to the public.

A couple posing in front of the giant blue rooster at Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Steve Skjold / Shutterstock.com

Hang Out at Big Louie’s Bar and Grill in Minneapolis

After a day of exploring the county, cap your night at Big Louie's Bar and Grill, which beams with life and a laid-back atmosphere.

I found this bar when I was getting around Minneapolis, and I thought it was worth a try, which didn't disappoint.

Its wings were tasty and the specialty cocktails and draft beer were amazing.

When we came on a Friday, it was Karaoke Night, which is everyone's favorite, and so we did that too and had a great time.

There are also TVs at the bar to watch sports if you like it that way.

Also, don't miss out on its Happy Hour to take a few dollars off your bill.

Final Thoughts

If you visit Hennepin County, you're stepping into one of the wonders in the state for its incredible tourist attractions and historic spots.

It's amazing here and I'm also looking forward to visiting this place again.

Make the most of your time at Hennepin County, Minnesota, and experience its magic!

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