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Author Topic: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions  (Read 2123 times)

kurumi

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Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« on: December 13, 2016, 11:16:35 AM »

I'm going to have a free half-day in Minneapolis early next year. It will still be winter.

I'm planning to "catch" (take pics) of all the metro interstates, as well as the US routes passing through (with side trips to catch US 63 in Wisconsin and US 8 to the north). Any other picturesque bridges/roads/towns/architecture I should check out?

(Also going to try a butter burger / cheese curd / frozen custard at Culver's, on recommendation from Badger friend)
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Rothman

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2016, 12:55:16 PM »

There a decent number of great bridges across the Mississippi in the area:  The Hennepin Ave, Third Ave and Stone Arch Bridges, just to name a few.

...

Tangent:  When I worked in Duluth, a lot of people considered the boundary between Minneapolis and Saint Paul the river, when it's only about half the actual boundary.
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froggie

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2016, 06:27:19 PM »

Rothman's right.  There are several nice, scenic, and/or historic bridges in the Twin Cities area.  And not just across the Mississippi, either.

Mississippi River crossings:
- US 169 crossing at Anoka
- Lowry Ave crossing
- Hennepin Ave crossing of the west channel (next to downtown Minneapolis)
- Merriam St crossing of the east channel (part of the original 1889 Broadway river crossing)
- 3rd Ave Bridge in Minneapolis
- Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis (a walkable rail-trail, located right next to the northernmost navigable lock on the river)
- I-35W "Saint Anthony Falls" Bridge
- 10th Ave Bridge (right next to the I-35W bridge)
- Bridge #9 (a rail-trail bridge just downstream of the 10th Ave Bridge)
- Washington Ave Bridge (walkable on its upper deck...connects the two halves of the University of Minnesota together)
- Franklin Ave crossing
- Lake St crossing
- Ford Bridge (Ford Pkwy in St. Paul & 46th St in Minneapolis)
- The "High Bridge" (Smith Ave/MN 149 over the river in St. Paul)
- Wabasha Bridge (Wabasha St in St. Paul)
- Robert St Bridge
- Hastings Bridge (US 61)

Minnesota River:
- Old MN 101 bridge at Shakopee (converted into a bike/walk bridge)
- Bloomington Ferry Bridge (US 169)
- Old Bloomington Ferry Bridge site (east of US 169, with a newer bike/walk bridge)
- Old Normandale Bridge (closed to non-rail traffic, a former rail/road combination bridge)
- Cedar Ave Bridge (MN 77)
- Long Meadow Bridge (Old Cedar Ave across Long Meadow Lake, just north of the river and just west of the MN 77 crossing)
- Mendota Bridge (MN 55)

St. Croix River:
- Taylors Falls Bridge (US 8)
- Old Stillwater Bridge
- New Stillwater Bridge (still under construction)
- US 10 crossing at Prescott (drawbridge)
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hobsini2

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2016, 08:01:45 PM »

I went to college at St Thomas on the west side of St Paul. There were several scenic places nearby.
* First, as Froggie pointed out, the Mississippi River bluffs and bridges between I-94 and Ford Pkwy. (side note-Lake St in Minneapolis is Marshall Ave in St Paul.) I used to go to the bluffs every week for meditation. Where Summit Ave meets the river bluffs, walk to the bluffs in the park and you get a great view of the Minneapolis skyline. You can drive along Mississippi River Blvd on the east bank or West River Pkwy on the west bank.
* Summit Ave in St Paul between Cretin Ave by St Thomas and the Basilica near I-35E. Governor's mansion is on this parkway as well as several other well off mansions as well as another older college called Macalester.
* Nicollet Island near Downtown Minneapolis.
* Ft Snelling overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and the Minnesota Rivers off Hwy 55 near the airport.

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triplemultiplex

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2016, 09:04:53 PM »

Minnehaha Falls is pretty cool in the winter.  Such an oddity in the Midwest to have a 50 foot waterfall in in the middle of a big city.
The path to the base can be sketchy in winter, but I think it's worth it.

There are also some cool bridges in and near the park with views of Lock & Dam #1 and a cut-and-cover tunnel triplet for Hiawatha Avenue and the light rail line.

If it's not too cold, check it out.
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froggie

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2016, 09:50:11 PM »

If you're on Facebook, here's what Minnehaha Falls looked like earlier today...
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kdelrio

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #6 on: December 14, 2016, 01:49:38 PM »

Froggie mentions the Mendota Bridge; I highly second that.  Neat long structure, and at a point thereupon you can see both the Mpls and the St Paul skylines.

Growing up in Sioux City, to get to the Twin Cities we arrived via US 169, which, back then was paired with US 212 along a portion Flying Cloud Dr through Eden Prairie. 

Froggie also makes note of the old MN 101 bridge, which carried 169 when I was a kid.  Just north of that bridge was where 169 joined Flying Cloud Dr/US 212.
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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2016, 02:56:19 PM »

I wish I could help, but I haven't been to the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area since 1992 (when I was 7 years old).
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dvferyance

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2016, 01:00:36 PM »

I would take a picture of the Minnesota state capitol building.
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froggie

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2016, 08:56:29 AM »

^ Supposedly the largest unsupported dome in the nation...
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Rothman

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2016, 10:03:55 AM »

^ Supposedly the largest unsupported dome in the nation...

Wonder how that's defined.
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J N Winkler

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2016, 11:53:12 AM »

I'd check that the Minnesota state capitol is going to be open--it was closed for renovation when I was thinking about visiting last May.

There is a public trail along the Mississippi River that provides good under-the-deck views of the I-35W St. Anthony Falls Bridge and the 10th Street Bridge.  It has convenient transit access.

With only half a day available, I suspect it will be necessary to pick and choose.  I went up to Taylors Falls one of the days I was in the Twin Cities and that was an all-day trip with roadgeeking on the Wisconsin side, exploration of the Stillwater lift bridge, and dinner in Stillwater.  I took my time, but I would expect a less leisurely tour to take at least half a day.  TH 95 has a speed limit of 55 MPH and is tortuous enough that I see no prospect of it being raised to 60.

In the case of the Twin Cities freeway system, I would prioritize unusual features like the 45 MPH segment of I-35E and the commons segments such as the Crosstown (I-35W/TH 62) and I-35E/I-694.

Edit:  I second the recommendation of Summit Avenue (watch for the potholes, though!).  Stillwater itself is an old river port with lots of original brick buildings and is fun to walk through, though I felt most of the grit had been gentrified out of existence.  There are houses with million-dollar sunset views along the bluffs on the Wisconsin side.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2016, 11:57:45 AM by J N Winkler »
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kdelrio

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2016, 12:06:55 PM »

Ack, I forgot about Ayd Mill Rd!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayd_Mill_Road
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Mdcastle

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2016, 11:35:58 PM »

It really does sound like you're planning to pack several days worth of sightseeing into a half day. So what's most important
Taking pictures of every highway?
Seeing some of the old cool bridges?
Seeing some of the new cool bridges?
Seeing fun non-highway related stuff?

The New Stillwater Bridge would be my top pick due the the shear size of it and the rarity of extradosed structures (only the second one in the country). Viewing spots are from Wisconsin on the Highway 35 overpass (park on the shoulder on either side), the scenic overlook off Lookout Trail. There's also a park off Peller Ave in Oak Park Heights where you can drop your car and then walk along the frontage road up to the Beach Road overpass,  or down closer to the bridge

Other favorites of mine:
The Hastings Bridge (New)
The Holmes Street Bridge (Old)
The Stone Arch Bridge (Old)
The Mendota Bridge (you'll have to spring for a state parks entrance fee, off Post Road, to get the best view from below- Old)
The 3rd Ave Bridge (Old)
The Robert Street Bridge (Old)


The I-35W Mississippi River Bridge was the first use of LED lighting on a US interstate highway, and the original fixtures are still in use.

The 24th Ave pedestrian bridge over I-35W (be a bit careful in this area if it's dark) is where the iconic pictures of the Minneapolis skyline are all taken

There's also the brand new section of MN 610 that just opened last week.

Cool non-highway stuff in the area:
Minnehaha Falls
Downtown Stillwater
The Mall of America
« Last Edit: December 20, 2016, 08:03:55 AM by Mdcastle »
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hobsini2

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2016, 07:23:04 PM »

Ack, I forgot about Ayd Mill Rd!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayd_Mill_Road
Such a pity that it was downgraded from what it was supposed to be.
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froggie

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Re: Seeking Minneapolis roadgeek/scenery suggestions
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2016, 07:27:32 AM »

Not really.  Would've wiped out a lot of real estate getting a freeway connection from it to I-94.
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