Minneapolis Tours

Discover the history that makes the Twin Cities unique with a walking tour from MNHS.

Minneapolis Tours

All tours are rain or shine.

Washburn A Mill Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Sat & Sun, Apr 21 & 29, May 5, 19 & 27, Jun 10, Jul 22, Sep 16 & 30, 2018
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
$18/MNHS members save 20%, includes museum admission

Take an in-depth look at the historic Washburn A Mill complex and the award-winning Mill City Museum. A guide will take visitors into the building's many nooks and crannies, highlighting the lives of the men and women who worked there, how the building functioned during its peak flour milling years, and the many changes to the building over time.

This is the only opportunity for a guided tour through the entire museum building and the only chance to see some of its nonpublic spaces.

The tour includes no more than 1 mile of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.

Pillsbury A Mill Tour

Departs A-Mill Artist Lofts*, Minneapolis
Sat & Sun, Apr 14 & 22, May 6, Jun 2 & 23, Jul 8 & 28, Aug 19, Sep 15, 2018
$18/MNHS members save 20%

Discover the story of the National Historic Landmark Pillsbury A Mill, the largest flour mill in the world for many years, which recently reopened as the A-Mill Artist Lofts. A Mill City Museum guide will lead a tour of the former milling complex, including the rooftop deck and the basement waterpower facilities.

Visitors will explore parts of the largest and best-preserved waterpower system in Minneapolis (with views straight down a 50-foot drop shaft), discover how the building functioned during the flour milling era, and learn about the new hydroelectric plant that helps to power the complex.

The tour includes about 1.5 miles of moderately-paced walking indoors and outdoors with some uneven surfaces. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.

* Meet at the gray door on Third Avenue SE at Main Street (around the corner from the A-Mill Artist Loft main entrance at 315 Main Street SE).

Railroad History Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Sun, Jun 3, Jul 1 & 29, Aug 12, Sep 9, 2018
1:00 pm - 2:45 pm
$14/MNHS members save 20%

Beginning with the arrival of Minnesota's first rail line in 1862, Minneapolis boomed in population and flour milling, lumber production, and warehousing took off. Take a guided tour of railroad landmarks, including the Stone Arch Bridge, Milwaukee Road Depot, and the Minneapolis Eastern Railway engine house and trestle. Along the way, find clues to the vanishing railroad landscape and learn about the future of Twin Cities rail.

The tour includes about 1.5 miles of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.

Engineering the Falls Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Sat, Jun 9, Jul 7, Aug 18, Sep 8, 2018
10:30 am - Noon
$14/MNHS members save 20%

Join a walking tour of St. Anthony Falls led by costumed History Player William de la Barre, the Austrian engineer who spent half a century developing Minneapolis flour milling and waterpower. Visit the Minneapolis riverfront, the west side milling district and the Stone Arch Bridge and hear about the many ways the falls have changed over the years.

William de la Barre, an Austrian engineer, arrived in Minneapolis in 1878 and was hired by C.C. Washburn to oversee reconstruction of the Washburn A Mill after its 1878 explosion. De la Barre was soon involved in the management of waterpower companies at St. Anthony Falls, and spent a 50-year career engineering the falls to maximize the power available to Minneapolis millers.

This tour includes about 1.5 miles of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.

Riverfront Quest Family Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Sat, Jun 16, Jul 14, Aug 11, 2018
10:30 am - Noon
$10-14/MNHS members save 20%, museum admission included

Explore the Minneapolis riverfront with a family treasure hunt. Make a quest journal from 10:30-11 am and then solve rhyming riddles, search for hidden boxes and discover the stories of Minneapolis' history along the way from 11 am to noon. The tour is designed for ages 6-11, and children must be accompanied by an adult.

The 60-minute tour includes no more than one mile of moderately paced walking on uneven terrain. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.

Minneapolis Riverfront Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Sat & Sun, Jun 17, Aug 5, Sep 2 & 22, 2018
$14/MNHS members save 20%

Take a guided walking tour of the Minneapolis riverfront and learn about its dramatic past and bright future. Visit the historic district at St. Anthony Falls, once the milling center of the world and now a growing cultural, recreational and residential neighborhood. Stop along the Stone Arch Bridge for spectacular views of the falls, view historic buildings surrounding the riverfront and downtown Minneapolis, and learn about the many people who have worked and lived in the area over the years.

Plus, explore the ongoing riverfront renaissance through the historic preservation of Mill Ruins Park, Mill City Museum, Milwaukee Road Depot, historic loft condominiums, and new developments, including the Guthrie Theater, MacPhail Center for Music, and riverfront housing.

This tour includes about 1.5 miles of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.

Historic Main Street Walking Tour

Departs A-Mill Artist Lofts, Minneapolis
Sat, Jun 23, Jul 28, Sep 15, 2018
10:30 am - Noon
$14/MNHS members save 20%

Stroll through Minneapolis' oldest neighborhood on a guided tour and learn about the rich diversity of the 1850s town of St. Anthony and the immense changes along Main Street throughout the years. Founded in 1848, a few years before Minneapolis, St. Anthony has been a crossroads for many diverse peoples, including Dakota, Ojibwe, Yankees, German and Irish immigrants, métis, free blacks, and Southern tourists accompanied by enslaved people.

Tour landmarks include the 1855 Upton Block, 1858 Martin and Morrison Building, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, the Pillsbury A Mill, and the Chalybeate Mineral Springs.

This tour begins and ends at the gray door on Third Avenue SE at Main Street (around the corner from the A-Mill Artist Lofts' main entrance at 315 Main Street SE). It includes about one mile of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces.

Disasters of the Riverfront Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Sun, Jun 24, Jul 15, Aug 26, Sep 23, 2018
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
$14/MNHS members save 20%

Take a guided walking tour of the St. Anthony Falls milling district and learn about some of the most tragic disasters in Minnesota history. Hear the stories of fires, floods, explosions, collapses and other natural and human-created calamities.

Visitors will learn about the Eastman Tunnel Collapse in 1869, the Great Conflagration of 1893, bridge collapses in 1859 and 2007, numerous fires, and massive landscape changes that shaped the Twin Cities.

This tour includes about 1.5 miles of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.

Hennepin Island Hydropower Walking Tour

Departs 125 Main St. SE*, Minneapolis
Thu, Jun 28, Jul 12 & 26, Aug 9 & 23, 2018
10:30 am - Noon
$18/MNHS members save 20%

Explore the history of waterpower at St. Anthony Falls, including rare access to Xcel Energy's Hennepin Island Hydroelectric Plant. During the early 20th century, more than two dozen mills and hydroelectric plants used the water power from St. Anthony Falls, today just one is left.

A Mill City Museum guide will lead participants to Hennepin Island and Father Hennepin Bluffs Park, including special access to the power plant. Along the way, participants will learn about the historic uses of waterpower at the falls for flour milling, sawmilling and hydroelectricity, the role of hydroelectricity in Xcel Energy's green energy and energy efficiency initiatives, and the future of waterpower on the Minneapolis riverfront.

All attendees must sign a waiver before the tour. This tour includes about 1.5 miles of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces, as well as climbing up an down several flights of stairs. Some historic locations on this tour are not wheelchair accessible.

* Meet at the green awning between Pracna and Aster Cafe.

West Bank Walking Tour

Departs Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis
Sat, Jun 30, Jul 21, Aug 25, 2018
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
$18/MNHS members save 20%

For over 150 years the West Bank neighborhood has been a haven for immigrants from all over the world and home to a thriving arts scene, including the famous folk and blues scene of the 1960s. In the 1960s and 1970s, the neighborhood became home for college students, artists, and citizens who successfully resisted urban renewal plans that threatened to destroy the character of the neighborhood. The legacies of welcoming newcomers and supporting the arts continue today. The tour will visit some iconic watering holes and tour participants will hear from neighborhood insiders.

This tour includes 1.5 miles of moderately-paced walking on uneven terrain. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility. Some historic locations on this tour offer limited accessibility.

Cedar-Riverside Walking Tour

Departs KFAI Radio, Minneapolis
Sat, Jul 28, 2018
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
$14/MNHS members save 20%

The Cedar-Riverside neighborhood is the epicenter of Minnesota's Somali community. Join a Somali American guide to get an insider's view of "Little Mogadishu," as the locals call it, and learn how the Somali community has shaped the character of this vibrant neighborhood. Explore important community venues, including the Cedar-Riverside Towers, a neighborhood mosque, and the Brian Coyle Center. Visit a Somali shopping mall and grocery store, then take a break at a restaurant to enjoy delicious Somali food.

The tour involves up to two miles of walking at a moderate pace on uneven terrain in a city environment.

This program is made possible by the Legacy Amendment's Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund through the vote of Minnesotans on Nov. 4, 2008.

Women's Work Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Sat, Aug 4, Sep 1, 2018
10:30 am - Noon
$14/MNHS members save 20%

Join a costumed interpreter portraying labor writer Eva Valesh for a walking tour that highlights working conditions along the Minneapolis riverfront in the late 1880s. The guide will discuss jobs that were available to women in the late 19th and early 20th century, key events in women's labor history in Minneapolis, and the factories that Valesh exposed, including the North Star Woolen Mill, which still stands two blocks from Mill City Museum.

This tour includes about 1.5 miles of moderately paced walking on uneven surfaces. Please call ahead to make arrangements for guests with limited mobility.