Stone Arch Bridge is a beautiful and historical destination for many locals. Besides walking across the bridge, I wondered, what is there to do in the area? It took an out-of-stater–my friend Melody from GRKids — to help me appreciate all the different things to do. We found all kinds of things! A plethora of parks that converged on this scenic spot, for one. And history. Lots of history.
1) Stroll across the Stone Arch Bridge
As the most obvious thing to do, you won’t be disappointed as you cross the Mississippi on foot where trains used to roll. You may see a musician or two. You also get a wonderful bird-eye view of St Anthony Falls, or use the mounted binoculars to get a closer look. Kids will love this. FREE.
2) Discover Mill Ruins Park
Mill Ruins Park is a fun park to explore. It’s beautiful with a great view of the river. FREE.
3) Mill City Farmers Market
The farmer’s market is full of goods, music, and food trucks. This is our favorite market to hit up in the Minneapolis-St Paul area because of the easy walk to so many family attractions, plus kids can join the Power of Produce (P.O.P.) Club. Weekly music, along with rotating family entertainment. FREE admission, Saturdays, 8am-1pm.
4) Unofficial Stone Arch Sandbox
“This is the best sandbox EVER!” My kids found an unintentional sandbox under one of the arches as we walked the Heritage Trail. It’s by the Lock and Dam. Bring some sand toys. You won’t be disappointed. FREE.
5) St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam Tour
Don’t miss this! The National Park Service opens the visitor’s center for fun family tours during the summer months. Walk over the lock, learn about the dam and the river and enjoy the view. However, please keep in mind that it’s not child-proof at all. Keep your children firmly in your grasp the whole time. FREE, Tours at 11 am & 3pm when the visitor’s center is open – please call ahead.
6) Gold Medal Park
As one of the temporary display areas for the Walker Sculpture Garden, Gold Medal Park is fun to explore. Run up the spiral path to the top of the hill. Peer through the big letters. Touch art. FREE.
7) Izzy’s Ice Cream
The ice cream lover’s dream ice cream shop. You pay for a cone of one flavor, but get an Izzy scoop at the top. It’s a little pricey for ice cream, but made-in-scoop-shop frozen goodness is what we’ve got here. Located on 2nd street in Minneapolis across the street from Gold Medal Park.
9) First Bridge Park
This park commemorates the first bridge to span across the Mississippi. Aptly named Frank Steele was the engineer behind this history. Unfortunately, the bridge deteriorated, but the park is worth a visit. Decorated with fun bronze sculptures adorning the wall in the park, you can enjoy the walking/bike path and fishing. FREE.
10) Check out the view from the Endless Bridge in the Guthrie
One of the most unique views of the Mississippi River is from the Endless Bridge. The public is welcome to enjoy a self-guided iPod audio tour when the building is open generally from 8 am- 8 pm. FREE.