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In Minneapolis, there is a park within 10 minutes of more than 90 percent of residents. We don’t know about your own connection with nature, but in most cities, that is a whole lot of green space. And then there’s the fact that Minneapolis’ parks were recently rated among the best-designed, financed and maintained in the nation…making them a destination in and of themselves for any dreamy-eyed tourist entering the city.

If water is your fancy, you’re in luck. With deep blue options for every tribe and type, Minneapolis has more than a dozen lakes within its city limits and many of the local parks gravitate toward these bodies of fresh water. The Chain of Lakes includes more than half of them, as well as adjacent walking paths and boat rentals. Of the more popular lakes, Harriet has a bandshell and boats, Calhoun is the largest, and Powderhorn Lake has made a major comeback in its battle against pollution and is one of the biggest outdoor community hot spots around. In the winter, ice skate rentals at Powderhorn are compliments of the town.

For flora and fauna admirers, we recommend the Lyndale Park Rose Garden and the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden. Lyndale Park is home to 3,000 rose plants covering 100 unique varieties and is the second oldest public rose garden in the United States – as well as being an American Rose test garden. At the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, you and your love can wander woodland trails and explore more than 500 different types of plants and wildflowers. Bonus for bird-watchers: the garden is a bird sanctuary, too.

A park adventure in this city wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Minnehaha Park where visitors can find the 53-foot waterfall that inspired Longfellow’s poem, “The Song of Hiawatha,” while the best view in the area is found just outside city limits at Indian Mounds Park. St. Paul in the foreground, Minneapolis in the distance and the Mississippi River winding between? Picture perfect.

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