Top 12 Places for Art in Minneapolis | Meet Minneapolis (2023)

You can sight-see a world of art, right here in the city. Discover how art speaks to you through the curations of 12 different Minneapolis art galleries and museums. Here are our top picks.

1. Walker Art Center

If you’re into the new and sometimes unconventional, we give the ultimate thumbs up to the Walker Art Center. You’ll be impressed by its national reputation in collections and exhibits of paintings, sculpture, films, performance, and new media. Walk the multi-level galleries and discover local artists, as well as special Native American artist exhibits. Stop at the Walker gift shop for unique jewelry, art toys, and more. Take a break at the new Cardamom restaurant overlooking the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, with menu and bar options highlighting flavors from North Africa, southern Europe, and the Middle East. Discoveries await you outdoors as well—the Walker is home to summertime mini golf with rooftop views of the downtown skyline and the aforementioned sculpture garden is known for the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry and other Instagrammable outdoor art (open year round and always free). Don't forget to check out the free Saturday family art programs each month!

2. Minneapolis Institute of Art

If you’re game to travel the globe in a day, go no further than the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the leading museum in fine and decorative art from six continents. MIA is always free (really!) and with a global collection of 90,000 artworks that span more than 5,000 years of world history, you can spend all day perusing art galleries devoted to cultures of Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Works in the collection include decorative and textile arts, sculpture, paintings, drawings, photography, and more. Set aside time for monthly Sunday Family Days where kiddos create their own masterpieces and explore the world through art. Before you leave, be sure to stop at the café for a few treats.

3. American Swedish Institute

Searching for a Nordic vibe beyond Swedish meatballs and ABBA rock music? Then come to the place where everything Swedish is always in vogue. At the American Swedish Institute, you can immerse yourself in the world of Swedish culture—customs, traditions, history, art, and food. You’ll be intrigued by Nordic heritage exhibits, art gallery collections, the Wallenberg peace library, and tour the Turnblad Castle for a taste of Minneapolis's golden age of architecture. Check out the renowned gift shop and discover your Nordic style in jewelry, crafts, and home decor. If you're getting hungry, your taste buds will love FIKA, the onsite cafe featuring New Nordic cuisine dining, espresso, and pastries.

4. Museum of Russian Art

Curious by the mystique of Russian culture? Check out the Museum of Russian Art. Situated in a Spanish Mission-style former church in South Minneapolis, you’ll be captivated by stories told through collections of paintings, historical photography, and prints dating from Muscovite and Russian Empire times to the former Soviet Union to modern post-Soviet Russia. Even if what you know of Russian culture is limited to borscht or vodka, you’ll be awed by the beauty and history of the extensive collections of lacquer, porcelain, textiles, nesting dolls, and holiday ornaments. Bring home the beauty of Russian craft with a little something from the artfully curated Tmora gift shop.

Note: The Museum of Russian Art stands with the people of Ukraine and urges Russia to cease hostilities immediately and withdraw.

5. Weisman Art Museum

When you want to see modern art, just head to the University of Minnesota's glimmering stainless steel and brick building overlooking the Mississippi River. There you'll find the free Weisman Art Museum, a teaching museum at UMN and a leader in the world of modern art, integrating the perspectives of local culture and history. You can’t miss the unique exterior facade of curved metal structures by world renowned architect Frank Gehry. Browse more than 24,000 artworks including American modern, ceramics, Mimbres pottery, and traditional Korean furniture.

6. Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery

If you’re in search of a place where art stirs the soul through inspiring life stories, get to know the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery. Fairly new to the museum scene, you’ll discover a leading arts center and gallery highlighting African American history and poignant stories of life in Minnesota. This compact museum features early African American artists such as George Bonga, alongside contemporary artists. On Saturdays bring the kids to Storytime for songs and puppetry.

7. Mill City Museum

Go to where it all began. At the Mill City Museum you’ll see how Minneapolis became the epicenter of the world of flour mills on the mighty Mississippi River in 1880s Minneapolis. Built within Mill Ruins Park, you’ll be awed by the museum’s remaining walls of historic flour mills and the story of how Minneapolis emerged as the powerhouse flour milling capital of the world, through the 1930s. Walk to flagship Washburn “A” Flour Mill (later General Mills) that connected farmers and their wheat crops to the booming flour production mills, which used the river and waterfalls to power mill turbines. Make sure you check the museum schedule for exclusive history programs, exhibits, and tours. And don't leave without catching a glimpse of the cityscape views and browsing the gift shop.

8. All My Relations Arts (Mitakuye Oyasin - Dakota translation)

Do you see art as a spiritual journey? Take a memorable one through the arts of Indigenous people at All My Relations Gallery—a leading center of Native art, history, and cultural stories of the original people of Mni Sota Makoce. You’ll be inspired by retrospective and contemporary exhibits—paintings, prints, photography, and sculpture—that feature Native American historic art as well as contemporary fine art. The “Mini Art Wall” displays local and emerging native artists. And don't miss stopping in the Pow Wow Grounds coffee shop for a treat. The All My Relations Gallery is located in Minneapolis’ American Indian Cultural Corridor.

9. Dreamsong Gallery

Founded by filmmaker Rebecca Heidenberg and writer Gregory J. Smith, this artistic compound in Northeast Minneapolis Art District opened in 2021 showcases contemporary art from Minnesotan and Midwestern artists. The gallery focuses on works that critically addresses structural inequities and collaborates with artists on exclusive events, artworks, and exhibitions. Art is in the building's bones: the space that houses this inventive multidisciplinary arts venue and gallery was once home to Walker Art Center Director Olga Viso.

10. Gamut Gallery

From paintings, photography, and sculpture to new media, live music, and performances, Gamut Gallery is the Twin Cities art space with something for everyone! Located in downtown Minneapolis for 10+ years, the gallery hosts rotating contemporary exhibitions that run the “gamut” of art and accessibility. Stop by any time during free hours of operation Wednesdays through Saturdays or grab presale admission for their next ticketed exhibition.

11. Northrup King Building

Northrup King Building is the largest art complex in Minnesota, with more than 350 artists and small businesses who are working, showing, and selling their wares in this 1917 former seed company complex. First Thursdays and Open Saturdays, as well as annual events like Art-a-Whirl and Art Attack! give plenty of opportunity to browse and shop 19 mediums from jewelry to mosaics and digital to graphic arts. Part of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District, you'll find other art centers like Casket Arts Building and the California Building nearby.

12. WALRUS

This place is not a traditional art gallery because you can actually buy the art that's hanging on these walls. Located in the Camden North Minneapolis neighborhood, WALRUS is an artist-led consignment shop where you can search through one-of-a-kind pieces created by local artists, limited edition prints, vintage finds and more. They make art buying and selling accessible for both shopper and the artist.

A Guide to Summer Art Fairs and Festivals in Minneapolis Here's your chance to see and discover the artistic side of Minneapolis and its neighborhoods. Read More
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