Riverfront Tours

Riverfront Tours

Discover the stories and see the places marking the birthplace of Minneapolis and St. Paul along the Mississippi Riverfront, where people plus waterpower made history.

All tours are rain or shine.

Walking tour

Washburn A Mill Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
April 30, May 6, 20 & 28, June 3 & 24, July 22, Sept. 3, 2017
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
$18/$14 MNHS members (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.

Walking tour

Pillsbury A Mill Tour

Departs A-Mill Artist Lofts*, Minneapolis
April 22, May 7, June 10, July 8 & 23, Aug. 26, Sept. 30, 2017
$18/$14 MNHS members (museum admission not included)

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).

Walking tourStairs required

Hennepin Island Hydropower Walking Tour

Departs 125 Main St. SE*, Minneapolis
June 1, 15 & 29, July 13 & 27, Aug. 10 & 24, 2017
10:30 am - Noon
$18/$14 MNHS members (museum admission not included)

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.

Walking tour

Railroad History Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
June 4, July 2 & 30, Aug. 20, Sept. 10, 2017
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
$14/$11 MNHS members (museum admission not included)

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.

Walking tour

Minneapolis Riverfront Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
June 18, July 1, Aug. 6, Sept. 17, 2017
$14/$11 MNHS members (museum admission not included)

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.

Walking tourStairsSnacks

High Bridge Station Walking Tour

Departs Xcel High Bridge Generating Plant, St. Paul
June 10, July 8, Aug. 12, 2017
10:00 am - Noon
$25/$20 MNHS members (museum admission not included)

A street-level tour of Minnesota's capital city highlighting the natural and human forces that shaped it long ago and today. This tour features a exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the Xcel High Bridge Generating Station, a walk along the Mississippi, tracing the city's origins as a shipping hub that is still powered by the river, and a stop for refreshments at the new Red River Kitchen. 

This tour is presented in partnership with Xcel Energy. 

All attendees must sign a waiver before the tour. Tour route includes stairs, open-floor grating and up to 2 miles of walking at a moderate pace on uneven surfaces.Some historic locations on this tour are not wheelchair accessible.

Walking tour

Engineering the Falls Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
June 11, July 9, Aug. 12, Sept. 16, 2017
$14/$11 MNHS members (museum admission not included)

Take 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.

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.

Walking tour

Riverfront Quest Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
June 17, July 15, Aug. 19, 2017
10:30 am - Noon
$7-12/MNHS member discounts (includes museum admission)

Explore the Minneapolis riverfront with a family treasure hunt. Make a quest journal and then solve rhyming riddles, search for hidden boxes and discover the stories of Minneapolis' history along the way.

This tour is designed for ages 6-11.

The 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.

Walking tour

Disasters of the Riverfront Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
June 25, July 16, Aug. 27, Sept. 24, 2017
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
$14/$11 MNHS members (museum admission not included)

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.

Walking tour

Women's Work Walking Tour

Departs Mill City Museum, Minneapolis
Aug. 5, Sept. 2, 2017
10:30 am - Noon
$14/$11 MNHS members (museum admission not included)

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 that 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.