Staying 6 feet apart, wearing a mask, and social distancing are all common terms in our language these days. But just because we can't go out an explore like normal, it doesn't mean that we can't go out at all. When the days seem to blend together, we always like to get outdoors to try something new, especially in the place we call home: Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota.
Whether you live in the Twin Cities, the state of Minnesota, or further afield and are looking for a fun road trip, there is plenty to do in Minneapolis. We created this list to showcase some ways that you can enjoy the metro area this summer. In a city filled with nature, there is ample room to get outside and explore while still social distancing from others. Minneapolis is home to a wide range of parks, bike trails, lakes, rivers, gardens, outside art, and fantastic patio dining options. There is something for everyone.
Even though Minneapolis (and the rest of the world) has been through a lot the past several months, it's reassuring to see all the good that is starting to take place. We've seen more and more people supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, getting involved with their communities, and supporting BIPOC owned businesses. Even though we all have a long way to go, people in the community have been learning, stepping up, and pressing for change.
Obviously, with everything going on in the world, rules and regulations are constantly evolving, so be sure to check in with your destination before heading out to explore. It's always a good idea to make sure you double check opening times, have the most current rules and regulations, and always remember to wear a mask!

In a metro area with an abundance of lakes and rivers (Minneapolis alone is home to 22 lakes!), there are plenty of places to go for a paddle. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy the water and get out for a paddling adventure:

For a fantastic river paddling adventure, head out onto the mighty Mississippi River. If you don’t have river kayaking experience, join a tour with Paddle Bridge Guide Collective. You’ll paddle right in the heart of Minneapolis along a gentle stretch of the river. We did a tour with them a few years ago and had a great time. If you like to get out on your own and have river paddling experience, another option is to rent a kayak from the Mississippi Paddle Share Program. We had the opportunity to partner with the Paddle Bridge Guide Collective and Meet Minneapolis this summer for a sponsored kayak rental through the Mississippi River Paddle Share, and we are so glad we finally had the chance to enjoy this experience. The paddle share program allows paddlers to rent a kayak from one location and then return it to another spot downriver. When you reserve a kayak, you get a code that opens a locker. Inside the locker, you will find a kayak, paddle, and life jacket. For everyone’s safety, the kayaks are only rented out once per 24-hour period, and all equipment is sanitized between uses.
There are several different routes to pick from, most routes run down the Mississippi River, as well as Pickerel Lake in Saint Paul. The river routes range from 2 miles to 8.5 miles of paddling. We picked the City Plus Route which starts at North Mississippi Regional Park and ends at Boom Island Park. The route is 4 miles of paddling and takes around 1-1.5 hours to complete. We parked at Boom Island Park and then rented electric Nice Ride bikes to zoom the 4.5 miles to our starting point. It was a blast and we loved being able to go out on the river for some peace and quiet.