Minneapolis recommendation

My wife, daughter, and I are going to be in Minneapolis later this month for 3 days/4 nights for my oldest daughter’s wedding and I’d like to fit in a several hour paddling trip (possibly with a biking component), possibly on the Mississippi (but, I don’t know the area, so there may be a MUCH better place). We are staying in Dinkytown. Since Saturday will be taken up with the wedding, and one day the girls are going to want to do general sightseeing/visiting, we really only have Sunday or Monday, but not both. Any suggestions?

People or not?

– Last Updated: Jun-12-14 11:03 AM EST –

I'm sure people more familiar with Minneapolis will chime in but if you don't mind people (people watching there can be entertaining) there is a nice chain of lakes just off downtown: Lake of the Isles, Calhoun, and another which escapes my mind right now. If you're there on a Thursday (I think) Hoigaards sponsors a weekly canoe/kayak race on the chain of lakes.

There are also bicycle paths all around the area that link together. You can look up the Green Way, which is a big walking/bicycle path that cuts through the area. They go around all the lakes as well.

There are numerous other lakes just outside the metro. Lake Nakomis would be another one. The Mississippi would be nice too but I've only ever paddled it on the northern edge of the suburbs so don't know about access closer to downtown.

Have fun.


Minneapolis lakes
All of the larger lakes within Minneapolis are nice enough places to paddle, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, Lake Harriet, and Lake Nokomis. There are bike paths going around or past most of the lakes as well as Minnehaha Creek, and Minnehaha Falls at Minnehaha Park is worth a look.

This map will give you an idea:


If you are looking to ride fast, the bike paths might not be the best bet, especially on a weekend, as you will be sharing them with little kids on bikes with training wheels, and roller bladers. The fast riders typically did quick laps with the auto traffic around Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.

For a different type of canoeing experience I suppose you could go through Lock Number 1 on the Mississippi. I usually went over to the St. Croix River in preference to the Mississippi, but that is probably too far for you to travel if you just have a few hours.

I’m thinking (Wheelfun rentals) biking at Minnehaha and paddling at Lake Calhoun - I’ll just look at the Mississippi.

Yes, rental is smart, because if you use
your own boat, Minnesota will stick you with a 3 year boat registration.

I don’t paddle in Minnesota anymore. But Minnesotans can paddle all they want in Georgia,without getting docked for registration.

If I lived in Minnesota
I’d be smiling every time I paid my registration fee because of the all the paddling opportunities in the state which are supported by the State.

15 miles south, in Iowa on the other hand, we pay the fee but don’t see quite so much done for our paddling enjoyment.


You nailed it Alan
And Iowa’s governor branstad’s veto of $9 million for the REAP program for local recreation and conservation activities, and an additional veto of $11.2 million for water quality and soil conservation programs doesn’t help the situation.

And it’s not because Iowa has a budget problem. Without those (or any other appropriation vetoes) Iowa has a surplus and reserve of $1.4 billion. That’s 20% of what was appropriated by the legislature before any vetoes.

Lakes - MPLS area
Nokomis has canoe rental at the public beach on the west shore. Wheelfun rents canoes on Calhoun Lake and you can paddle all the way to Cedar lake if you choose.

Monday night is Rookie Racer night on the river just below Dinkytown


The city has bike rental in too many places to list. A good Bike route is along the river from Dinkytown to the ford Bridge- Then go back upstream to get back to Dinkytown. Several routes to cross over the river to get back.

Skip the Mississippi
The river is running very high and fast right now. I’d skip it. But then I don’t particularly care for it at lower levels. Much prefer the St. Croix river. You can rent a canoe at Taylors falls, about an hour from Mpls.