The 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 birds-eye view of St Anthony Falls, once instrumental in powering the milling industry in Minneapolis, or use the mounted binoculars to get a closer look. Kids will love this.
Mill Ruins Park is a fun park to explore. It’s beautiful with a great view of the river.
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. There’s weekly music and 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.
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.
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.
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.
Full of interactive history, Anne brought her kids and found all the best to enjoy together. This is one of the most kid-friendly museum in the Twin Cities.
This park commemorates the first bridge to span across the Mississippi. Aptly named Frank Steele was the engineer behind this piece of 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.
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.