Walking on air: Exploring Minneapolis´ Skyway system

Minneapolis Swyway - Skyscrapers of Minneapolis, Minnesota

In downtown Minneapolis, the famed Skyway is a world of its own, a thriving ecosystem in the sky. This interlinked series of enclosed, climate-controlled pedestrian tunnels and walkways make getting around the city a breeze—an especially welcome option when Midwest weather turns wintry or when traffic snarls at street level. You’ll find plenty of diversions along the more than eight miles of walkways, which are open 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday (shorter hours on weekends). With direct Skyway access, the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown is your gateway to shops, restaurants, cafes and attractions; many of the city’s top entertainment venues are only a short skywalk away. Just pick up a Skyway map from your Radisson Blu hotel concierge and go!

Minneapolis skyway - modern architecture of glass skyscrapers and reflections in windows with skyway over street© iStock.com/jferrer

Downtown is the epicenter of the city’s vibrant performing arts and sports scenes, and the Skyway brings you to all the action. Target Center, a sprawling multiuse arena, hosts big-name concerts and shows. It's also home to the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx in the summer and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves in the winter. In warmer months, enjoy a baseball game at Target Field, where the MLB’s Minnesota Twins play ball. More of a football fan? You’ll appreciate the newest addition to the Skyway system: U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and site of the 2018 Super Bowl. If you’re looking for a winter activity the whole family will love, don’t miss a twirl around the ice at the historic Depot Rink, a repurposed former train depot (circa 1899) that now houses an ice-skating rink.

For year-round entertainment paired with a dose of local history, head to the city’s Hennepin Theatre District, just off the Skyway—there, two gilded 20s-era theaters have been restored and revived as performance spaces. Once home to a stage with a luminous glass floor, the ornate State Theatre still shines thanks to its 1940s-era neon marquee. In the roaring twenties, the Orpheum Theatre, built in the extravagant Beaux-Arts style, was one of the country’s largest vaudeville palaces, showcasing entertainers like the Marx Brothers and Jack Benny. If you’re a music enthusiast, experience history of a different sort at the iconic “danceteria” First Avenue & 7th St Entry, where much of Prince’s Purple Rain was filmed.

Ready for a bite to eat? Skyway-linked restaurants feature a smorgasbord of cuisines, from Japanese to Italian, along with more than two dozen coffee shops and a number of well-known chains. For a quick meal, grab a piled-high pulled turkey sandwich, à la pulled pork barbecue, from Green + The Grain. Or, choose from full-service dinner options, such as brewpub fare at Rock Bottom or locally sourced New American dishes at Hell’s Kitchen. If you’re looking for a truly memorable meal, head to FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar at the Radisson Blu, where Chef Keven Kvalsten crafts farm-to-table favorites like Lena’s Meatballs, served with lingonberry compote. After your meal, satisfy your sweet tooth with cupcakes, macarons and irresistible carrot-cake sandwich cookies from Cocoa & Fig.

Minneapolis skyways and walkways© iStock.com/LMaru

Also accessible via the Skyway are some 15 downtown buildings along Nicollet Mall, a 12-block commercial district chock-full of shops, restaurants, bars and cafes. Dedicated shoppers can frequent department stores such as Nordstrom Rack and Target, or browse smaller brands such as Brooks Brothers and Banana Republic. The Nicollet Mall area also hosts a farmers’ market during the summer and a holiday market in the winter.

With hotels, restaurants, bars, shops, entertainment, banks, gyms, office buildings–even liquor stores, doctors’ offices, hair salons and more–some say the skyways comprise their own second-floor city. With traffic noise reduced to a hum and the inside temperature a comfortable 68 to 70°F (even when a Midwestern blizzard swirls outside), it’s little wonder that nearly 300,000 people traverse the glass corridors of the downtown Minneapolis Skyway every day. Book your room at the Radisson Blu Minneapolis Downtown and take to the sky to experience the best of the city!

Top image © iStock.com/EunikaSopotnicka

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