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Top 10 Famous Buildings in Minneapolis

Minneapolis is a major city in the U.S. state of Minnesota in the upper midwestern region of the United States.

It has over 420,000 inhabitants but is part of a metropolitan area that is home to over 3.6 million people. It has a rich history and a very diverse architectural landscape.

Originally home to the Dakota People, the first settlement was established along the banks of the Mississippi River, not too far from Saint Anthony Falls.

Minneapolis grew in importance because of the nearby river and the timber and flour milling industries. This population boom in the 19th century resulted in many fascinating landmarks being constructed.

Today, the city offers both historic buildings and modern towers that dominate the skyline of the city. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the most famous buildings in Minneapolis.

1. Stone Arch Bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge is a famous bridge in the heart of Minneapolis. It’s situated just downstream of Saint Anthony Falls and was constructed in the late 19th century to connect trains to the nearby Union Depot. The importance of this bridge proved to be tremendous for the city’s growth.

The bridge was part of the Great Northern Railway which connected the nearby city of Saint Paul to Seattle in the U.S. state of Washington. It features 21 stone arches and one iron truss arch that was constructed at a later time to allow ships to pass.

Official website: Stone Arch Bridge

Stone Arch Bridge Minneapolis Architecture
The Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis / Chris Yunker / Wiki Commons

2. Minneapolis Institute of Art

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is the most popular museum of art in Minneapolis. It houses an incredible collection of fine art that spans over 20,000 years and that was produced on 6 different continents. The collection of paintings at the museum is reason enough to take a visit.

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The museum has a history that dates back to the foundation of the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts in 1883. The permanent collection moved to a new building in 1915, a structure that is considered to be one of the prime examples of Beaux-Arts architecture in the country.

Official website: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art paintings
Minneapolis Institute of Art / McGhiever / Wiki Commons

3. Basilica of Saint Mary

The Basilica of Saint Mary is the main Roman Catholic church in downtown Minneapolis. This famous church is situated on Hennepin Avenue, a major street in the city, and takes up an entire block between 16th and 17th Streets. It’s a minor basilica and it was the first in the United States to earn this title.

The original church in Minneapolis was completed in the early 1870s and replaced by this amazing structure between 1907 and 1914. The church is noted for being inspired by the Baroque architecture of the 17th century. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975

Official website: Basilica of Saint Mary

Basilica of Saint Mary Minneapolis
Basilica of Saint Mary / McGhiever / Wiki Commons

4. Minneapolis City Hall

Minneapolis City Hall is officially known as the Minneapolis City Hall and Hennepin County Courthouse or “Municipal Building” and is another famous historic structure in the city. It was constructed between 1888 and 1909 and has been used as a government office building ever since. This is a purpose it still serves today.

It’s a prime example of the Richardsonian Romanesque, an architectural style that was named after its founder, American architect Henry Hobson Richardson (1838-1886). As the name of the style implies, it borrows most elements of medieval Romanesque architecture.

Official website: Minneapolis City hall

Minneapolis City Hall
Minneapolis City Hall / McGhiever / Wiki Commons

5. Hennepin County Government Center

Hennepin County Government Center is a building in Minneapolis that houses the offices of the Hennepin County government. These were originally housed in the Minneapolis City hall but they moved here following the construction of this remarkable skyscraper between 1973 and 1977.

The building features 24 floors and stands 123 meters (403 feet) tall which qualifies it to be classified as a skyscraper. The building takes on the shape of a stylized “H” when looked at from a certain angle. This means it was designed in such a way to resemble the logo of Hennepin County.

Official website: Hennepin

Hennepin County Government Center
Hennepin County Government Center / McGhiever / Wiki Commons

6. IDS Center

The IDS Center is a massive office tower located in Downtown West in central Minneapolis. This amazing skyscraper stands 241 meters (1792 feet) tall which makes it the tallest building in both Minneapolis and the entire state of Minnesota.

The building has dominated the Minneapolis skyline for multiple decades because it was completed between 1969 and 1972. It’s a popular tourist attraction in the city as well because it features a shopping mall at its base called the “Crystal Court.”

Official website: IDS Center

Minneapolis Skyline
The Minneapolis Skyline with the IDS Center (left) / Bohao Zhao / Wiki Commons

7. Walker Art Center

The Walker Art Center is a contemporary art venue located in the Lowry Hill neighborhood just southwest of downtown Minneapolis. It’s one of the most popular modern art venues in the United States. Its permanent collection features over 13,000 objects and it’s visited by over 700,000 people every year.

The museum started as an art gallery that housed the collection of a rich local industrialist named Thomas Barlow Walker. It was eventually turned into a permanent art museum in 1927. The current building dates back to 1971 and it was thoroughly expanded in the year 2005.

Official website: Walker Art

Walker Art Center
Walker Art Center / McGhiever / Wiki Commons

8. Capella Tower

The Capella Tower is another fascinating office skyscraper that dominated the Minneapolis skyline. The building was completed in the early 1990s and has gone by several different names, including “First Bank Place,” “US Bancorp Place,” and “225 South Sixth.”

This tower stands 236 meters (775 feet) tall and features an amazing 139,354 square meters (almost 1.5 million square feet) of office space. The current name of the building is derived from Capella University, an online company that had been a long-time occupant of the building.

Official website: Capella Tower

Capella Tower Minneapolis buildings
The Capella Tower / DeltaMSP / Wiki Commons

9. Lumber Exchange Building

The Lumber Exchange Building is one of the most fascinating buildings in Minneapolis. It was completed in the year 1885 and was the first skyscraper in the city. It qualified as a skyscraper back then although it only features 12 floors and a height of 45.15 meters (148 feet).

It’s another building that was designed in the Richardsonian Romanesque architectural style. Another interesting fact about this structure is that it’s the oldest building featuring more than 12 floors outside of New York City. Yes, building skyscrapers was still in its infancy when this edifice was completed.

Official website: Lumber Exchange Building

Lumber Exchange Building
The Lumber Exchange Building / Lbboh / Wiki Commons

10. Weisman Art Museum

The Weisman Art Museum is officially known as the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum and is another art museum that is housed in one of the most fascinating buildings in Minneapolis. It a founded as the University gallery in 1934 and moved to its current location in 1993.

This location is the campus of the University of Minnesota. It was named in honor of art collector and philanthropist Frederick R. Weisman (1912-1994). The building was designed by Canadian-born American architect Frank Gehry, a man who also designed the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Dancing House in Prague.

Official website: Weisman Art Museum

Weisman Art Museum
The amazing Weisman Art Museum / McGhiever / Wiki Commons