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Am I thrilled to be back on MDK traveling?  “You betcha!”—as they say in Minneapolis/St Paul, the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Let’s go. 

Not just butter

Land of Lakes is a real thing. Arriving by air, you can’t miss the thousands of lakes and big rivers below. We kicked off our visit strolling Lake Harriet, part of the Chain of Lakes that splashes through the cities. All the lakes have walking/running/skating/biking paths around them, playgrounds, seating, helpful signage and lots of greenery.

Public outdoor spaces here are well designed, user friendly—and full of friendly users. Complete strangers might make eye contact and say “Hi” … as if they already know you

Near the bandshell you’ll find the Bread and Pickle Café. Eat like a local and order a Walleye (Minnesota state fish) sandwich and a craft beer. Add a side of cheese curds, and all will be well.  

Mill City

For geographic orientation, local history and urban archeology, we headed downtown to the Mill District. Flour put Minneapolis on the map when the largest grain mill in the world was here on the Mississippi River. Now it’s the dynamic Mill City Museum, which includes a slice of the partially collapsed factory, literally exposing the past. Behind it is the Mill Ruins Park.

A block away, a park ranger invited us to walk on a river lock and thus we were standing ON the Mississippi. We strolled the Stone Arch Bridge, a pedestrian crossing of the river with historical plaques and terrific views. 

Our roundtrip hike earned us cold beers outside Owamni by the Sioux Chef. This stylish restaurant focuses on modern North American Indigenous cuisine. We were fascinated by the menu and the Sioux Chef mission to foster conversation about the colonization of diet. Don’t learn the hard way like we did: reservations need to be made weeks in advance. 

by Architect Jean Nouvel to honor the history of Mill City and featuring a mural portrait of Sir Tyrone Guthrie

While in the neighborhood, admire the Guthrie Theater, with post modernist architecture echoing the historic mill buildings. Snag a couple of tickets, and make it a world class theater night.

Show me the textiles

The American Swedish Institute is housed in a castle-like mansion where you can explore temporary exhibitions as well as fixtures like the Norse Saga Room. Makers, check out their schedule for Nordic Handcraft Workshops

The Twin Cities has the largest Somali immigrant and refugee population in North America, and The Somali Museum of Minnesota is the world’s only museum of Somali culture. Take a guided tour through rooms of traditional artifacts, textiles, and a full-sized nomadic hut.

Nearby is the Midtown Global Market, an indoor market and gathering space helping to launch foodie startups and entrepreneurs. We found arepas, tortas, Pho, organic halal meats, microbrews, clothing, crafts, and the Indigenous Food Lab

Nourished, we headed next to the Textile Center. In the gallery, the annual members show demonstrated that fiber artists work in many, and sometimes unexpected, ways.

I peered longingly a studio of the Weaver’s Guild. A teacher setting for up a sewing class on the techniques of Madeleine Vionnet, showed us how the designer constructed her signature drapey frocks.

Vionnet dress samples from a class in progress

Instant regret I hadn’t looked ahead and reserved myself a seat and a sewing machine! But it was the dye kitchen the turned me most green with envy! Members have elbow room at commercial sinks to dye fiber and fabric. And of course a visit to the gift shop is de rigeur

Wool lover’s paradise

You want sweater weather? Gotcha (wool) covered. Minnesota is as far north as you can go in the US Midwest, with long cold winters. Despite temps well below 0°F, festivals on the frozen lakes with art shanties and fire lanterns draw eager, bundled-up crowds.  

out and about the Tangletown (!) neighborhood of Minneapolis

There’s a big active knitters guild, a spiffing sheep and wool fest called Shepherds Harvest, and at the Minnesota State Fair, the needlecraft competition is serious. The knitting bar is set high.  

In St Paul I popped into The Yarnery. In their peaceful, well-lit store owners Shelly Rae and Scott Rohr stock yarns I usually don’t see elsewhere. Best of all, they stock yarns in. All. The. Colors. I spied Roseline’s Candles there on display too. Roseline’s is a local Black-owned/woman-owned business, with a storefront and studio in the artsy hipster neighborhood of Northeast Minneapolis as well as nearby in St Paul.

When I was ready to sit and knit, we walked across the street to The Gnome, a pub with a wonderful beer garden when the weather cooperates, and plenty of space inside when it doesn’t. 

For more fiber-tourism, a yarn crawl is easily achieved.


In conversations, signage, and memorials, residents of Minneapolis continue to advocate for justice and to remember victims of violence in the city where George Floyd was murdered nearly two years ago.

The organization Know Peace sponsors public arts projects like Mural No. 5

On the site, many of the city’s murals are listed with their addresses for visitors to take a self-guided tour.

Travel with the Littles

A display at Heartfelt makers shop

Como Park Zoo offers a lovely garden stroll to see the animals, and a carousel. The conservatory is stunning, too. And visit the Linden Hills neighborhood to pop in at The Wild Rumpus, a kids bookstore with live animals, and Heartfelt a charming makers shop for all ages. 

A  MUST pick

SpoonBridge and Cherry by Coosje van Bruggen, Claes Oldenburg. Pro-Tip: on a hot day sit downwind of the water misting out of the handle!

There’s one place that, for me, is a must-visit: Walker Art Center Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. Beautiful in every season, free, open till midnight, and spectacularly sited. Bonus is the pedestrian bridge to Loring Park. We always traverse it to enjoy the light and structure and poetry running through it. Metaphor? No! Literally poetry along the beams. 


About A Knitter’s Weekend: Each piece in our series A Knitter’s Weekend is written by a knitter with local knowledge and a personal point of view. If you have additional places or information you’d like to share, we’d love to hear it—please leave a comment. And if you have plans to visit the Twin Cities, be sure to save this article in your MDK account.

All photos © Gale Zucker

About The Author

With a degree in photojournalism from the University of Minnesota, Gale Zucker has made a career of capturing the humanity and humor in the people and places that are her subjects.


  • Wish I was in MSP for Shepherd’s Harvest last weekend. It is a delightful event, lots to see, not too big. You hit the highlights of my favorites.

  • What a great article! The Twin Cities is a knitters paradise with many yarn stores to stroll through. And if you want to plan a vacation go to the Minnesota Knitting Guild website and look for Yarnover, their annual educational program. They invite The Who’s Who if instructors so no one is ever disappointed and their Marketplace is overflowing with local yarn. Plan your next visit in September 2023, you won’t be disappointed.

    • I was just in Minneapolis to teach for YarnOver, but never left the hotel! Clearly I need to go back, spend an extra day (at least!) and explore.

  • Thank you! Loved your article. And that last picture was wonderful!

  • A local approves of all your picks! Well done.

    • Thank you! I will confess l’m Minnesotan adjacent: married to a native and went to the U .

      • My sister settled in Minneapolis decades ago and it became one of my favorite destinations. The article describes many of the most fun and interesting attractions. It mentions cultural diversity without acknowledging the poverty of many immigrants. It mentions George Floyd without acknowledging a police culture that keeps stealing the lives of our brown and black sons. Those things have pushed Mpls off my list of favorites because there seems to be blindness to the plight of POC.

        • I took DJ’s vinyl listening advice and bought tickets to hear Adia Victoria live. Powerful voice. Powerful lyrics. I suggest listening to South Gotta Change. And it is not just the South.

  • Oh no!! While there is admittedly more to do than could possibly be covered in a short trip, fiber loving people must visit StevenBe!!!

    • Yes! The store that started me on knitting!

    • I absolutely agree!!

  • This is a great article to bookmark even for those of us who live in the Twin Cities! Thanks for the great staycation ideas–there are a few places in your roundup that I haven’t visited yet.

  • YES! As someone who grew up in the Twin Cities, I agree that it has many, many lovely places filled with fiber craft, amazing food, and natural beauty, but if you come to this area, don’t miss out on a visit to Northfield, MN, just a short drive south of the Twin Cities. Cows, Colleges, and Contentment. My favorite LYS, Northfield Yarn, stocks an amazing array of yarns, including many locally produced, and it’s right next to a fabulous independent bookstore. In the Fall, come for the Farm Tour to visit working farms that raise alpaca, heritage breed sheep, goats, Highland “Coos,” bison, and yaks. You’ll need a lot of time to take in all that the Twin Cities and environs have to offer … or … hey … just keep coming back!

    • Yes, another vote for a visit to Northfield! Whenever I visit my Ole daughter, I check in at both Northfield Yarn and Content, the fabulous independent bookseller right next door. To make your field trip even more fabulous, take a detour to the Faribault Woolen Mills and tour one of our country’s only remaining woolen mills, manufacturing blankets and durable woolen goods domestically. Your pocketbook will be lighter by the time you make it through their shop, but you will not regret it!

    • I second this! I LOVE Northfield Yarn! One of the best parts of my daughter attending Carleton!

  • Wow! What a fabulous destination! Not lost on me, a resident of some 55 years! We do have a wonderful cross section of cultures, and yarn shops galore. It is a knitters paradise, to be sure! Thank you for showcasing our wonderful community!

  • How timely! Costume Society of America will be there end of month!

  • Thank you for this wonderful look at my beloved Minneapolis! I have lived here all my life, and it’s great to see it showcased through your eyes!!!!! Loved it!!!! Fabulous photos! Also, second the shout out to StevenBe!!!!!

  • What about Yarnover?

    • I linked to the Minnesota Knitting Guild so Yarnover and all the other wonderful programming is revealed 🙂

  • What a wonderful Monday morning surprise. An article on my state and all it amazing attributes and a favorite yarn shop! Minneapolis/St. Paul are pretty fun twin cities.

  • What a great sampling of Twin Cities life! As a resident, although I always have more to add, you chose well. It’s a really fun place to be a knitter! If anyone is coming through town, drop a comment and we’ll get you connected with whatever your heart desires – food, music, yarny goodness.

  • Gale, you knocked this out of the park. Great article from an amazing photographer.

    • Thanks Cori! I could have easily made this twice as long and not run out of ideas (or yarn shops).

    • Thank for such a fabulous view of “the Cities” as we call it here in MN. I live in Minneapolis and was ecstatic to find this article highlighting some of the best we have to offer. I’ve been going to Wild Rumpus my whole life (my grandparents used to live right around the corner), and I love walking around Lake Harriet. If you are by Lake Harriet don’t forget to have a trolley ride, they are a fun activity in the summer!

  • Totally transportive and FUN! Thanks for the virtual trip.

  • Great piece, Gale! Such a reminder of summer here!

  • Everything you’ve shown us looks wonderful. Just one more question: where’s the spot where Mary Richards tossed her hat into the air? 😉

    • There’s a statue of her tossing her hat on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.

      It’s always fun to see tourists stop by. I’m not a tourist and I keep thinking I need to toss one of my handknit tams next to it and have someone take a pic!

      • That’s exactly what I have in mind: a tossing-the-hat pic in homage to Mary!

  • Gale, great job capturing many of my favorite places and things, in my very favorite Cities! As a member of the MN Knitters’ Guild, I’m amazed that some wise person long ago snagged the domain.

    The State Fair is mere months away, and the knitters are planning their entries…

  • My favorite knitting haute is Darn Knit (Anyway) in Stillwater! At a time during Covid when shops were struggling and closing, Darn Knit was making bigger plans!! They cut a hole to the shop next door which had always been a restraunt and turned it into a Makers Lounge. So all of us have a wonderful yarn shop to satisfy our fiber addiction and now we can relax and start our next project!
    Check it out!

  • A post about the twin cities and no mention of Purple Yoda himself? There are tours of Prince’s studio year round, and after all that sight seeing, there is great music to keep you busy all night!

  • All that AND Louise Erdrich’s bookstore!

    • A real gem and not to be missed!

  • You missed a gem, The Minnesota Textile Center on University Avenue. There is always a great hanging in the gallery and a cute little gift shop. If you are really lucky you get to chat with the director Karl who will make you laugh with his zaney sense of humor.

    • Hi Mary, I didn’t miss it! It ‘s in the middle of the piece it -and photos too (I agree truly truly is a gem!)

  • Hi there,

    The weaving studio at the Textile Center is actually another great organization, the Weavers Guild of Minnesota. Here is our website:
    We sell yarn that knitters and crocheters use and have a not so secret stash of donated yarn that folks can snatch treasures from.

  • What a great article! I love that you stopped by my favorite LYS The Yarnery! I learned to knit here in 2012 and have been so disappointed when I travel. We are so blessed in the Twin Cities to have so many quality local yarn shops and a vibrant fiber arts community.

  • I just got home from being at both Yarnover AND Shepherd’s Harvest. Both were great fun. My next trip will be to the Fall Fiber Fest in Cambridge, MN this October. Another great event!

  • The Twin Cities has always been my favorite place for both short and longer getaways. There truly is something for everyone, no matter the time of year or weather! As a family of makers and nature lovers, I also encourage people to check out the Raptor Center and Minneapolis Art Institute (which always has wonderful fiber arts on display too) for affordable and accessible stops.

  • Amazing article! I live in the Twin Cities and I’m not familiar with all these places. Adventure time!

  • Great wrap up of the Twin Cities, loved my time there. If you’re looking for an East Coast destination, Newport and the neighborhoods around it are a knitter’s paradise, especially in the Summer when the bay is hopping.

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