Start right in Bloomington, with a visit to Bloomington Center for the Arts. Here you’ll find two galleries to explore, both of which showcase the work of professional local and regional artists in a variety of media, styles and genres. The larger of the two, the Inez Greenberg Gallery, hosts group shows, while the Atrium Gallery features smaller exhibits, often by solo artists. For lunch grab a bite to eat on the patios or indoors at the happening Lucky’s 13 Pub or Cowboy Jack’s, or try Ciao Bella for a little more upscale ambiance, either indoors or on their intimate patio. If time permits and you are able to plan ahead, schedule a few hours of pampering at Snips Spa Salon—arguably the best in Bloomington for facials, massages and manis/pedis, in addition to its full range of hair styling services—located about two miles down the road from the Center for the Arts due west on 98th Street. Come experience the Midwest’s newest luxury destination. Once you’ve had your fill of artwork and lunch, head back to your hotel and get ready for a night of entertainment. Take the short drive to Chanhassen for dinner and a show at the theatre that shares the town’s name, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. This is the largest dinner theater in the nation, as well as one of the most consistently accomplished. Across its stages you’ll see shows ranging from high-energy takes on Broadway musicals to classics, plus a comedy cabaret every Friday and Saturday night and a regularly scheduled concert series. After the show, walk across the street to Axel’s for a cocktail before returning to your hotel for the night.
You’ll spend today in Minneapolis, but you have three options for what to do, depending on your tastes and what area of the city you want to be in. If you’re here with kids, take them to the Minneapolis Institute of Art and introduce them to artists like Monet, Matisse, van Gogh, Rembrandt and Degas, whose works hang on the museum’s walls. Once you’ve had a chance to explore then 83,000-piece collection (or as much as is humanly possible), grab a bite to eat in the museum at Agra Culture Kitchen & Press. Then, walk over to the connected Children’s Theatre Company and enjoy a family-friendly production of adapted literature or storybook or a theater-commissioned play. Modern and contemporary art lovers will want their first stop to be Walker Art Center, the Upper Midwest’s first public art gallery. Here you’ll find a more than 11,000-piece collection that focuses on media, performing and visual arts, plus you’ll be able to walk over to the adjacent 11-acre Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and see one of the Twin Cities’ most iconic landmarks, the Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture. Your next stop will be Hennepin Avenue, for dinner at one of downtown’s bustling restaurants like CRAVE, Union, Seven or Fogo de Chão. If it’s nice out, make the 20-minute walk there to take in more of downtown on your way. After dinner, catch a Broadway show, concert or comedian on stage at the Orpheum, Pantages, or State theaters, all also found on Hennepin Avenue. For a look into the past, head to Mill City Museum, located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Built into the ruins of a mill that was once the world’s largest flour producer, here you’ll learn about the intertwined histories of the flour industry, Mississippi River and city of Minneapolis. When you get hungry, walk down the street to Spoonriver for a healthy bite to eat, or enjoy seafood at Sea Change, located at your next stop, the Guthrie Theater. Take in a show here on one of the three stages, and don’t leave without taking in the view from the cantilevered Endless Bridge.
Today you’ll venture to downtown St. Paul. Families will want to head directly to Minnesota Children’s Museum, where young ones are encouraged to crawl, climb and scamper through the interactive exhibits, while others will want to make their way to the Science Museum of Minnesota to let their curious minds run wild and explore topics like paleontology, physical science, technology, the human body and peoples and cultures of the Mississippi River. For a casual bite after, Cossetta’s is a short walk away. There you can dine cafeteria-style on great Italian food before indulging in pastries and gelato from the restaurant’s pasticceria. If you want something a bit more upscale, Pazzaluna also offers great Italian dishes, but in a more formal setting. Post-meal, take a stroll through Rice Park, making sure to notice the statues of Peanuts characters and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Then, partake in a local classic with a showing of A Prairie Home Companion at the Fitzgerald Theater, or venture to the Ordway Theater, where anything from a Broadway show to world dance or music might be on stage.