Beautiful Twin City Lakes

April 22, 2023 5:06 pm18 commentsViews: 119

Minnesota is the “land of 10,000 lakes,” and those lakes aren’t just out in the country. Indeed, some of the most beautiful lakes and beaches in Minnesota are right in the middle of Minneapolis and St. Paul. After all, Minneapolis loosely means “city of the waters.” The Dakota word minne means “of the waters” and the Greek word polis means “city.”

twin city lakes

The Twin Cities are know for successfully combining busy urban settings with Minnesota’s natural beauty, especially its lakes. The tranquil waters add a quiet, mellow touch to the busy urban setting and help to give the Twin Cities a bit of a small town feel. Visitors who fly into Minneapolis can look down and see a spectacular aerial view of the Chain of Lakes– Brownie Lake, Cedar Lake, Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun, and Lake Harriet. Other lakes include Nokomis and Hiawatha in Minneapolis and Como and Phalen in St. Paul.

Minnesotans love their lakes. After the long winter months, a visit to the lake feels like a heavenly reward. During the summer, the lakes are encircled constantly by pedestrians, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and lots of happy Minnesota dogs. Sailboats dot the landscape and make everyone forget that they’re in a big city. In the winter, the frozen lakes are perhaps even more beautiful set against the snow-covered trees and city.

If you are visiting Minneapolis and St. Paul, take the time to tour these Midwestern urban gems. All the lakes are beautiful, but these are the ones you don’t want to miss.

Lake Harriet

The largest and arguably the most beautiful lake in Minneapolis, Lake Harriet is a cultural center for Minneapolitans. The surrounding park features an impressive band shell, a rose garden, and a bird sanctuary. The lake is a short walk away from the hip Linden Hills district, filled with coffee shops and adorable restaurants. Visitors to Lake Harriet will not want to miss out on the ride on the old-time streetcar that runs from Harriet to nearby Lake Calhoun. Be sure to look for the “Troll Tree,” a tree with a little door carved into it that supposedly houses a magical fellow named Mr. Little Guy.

Lake Calhoun

Calhoun features the greatest contrast between natural beauty and busy urban life. From the beaches, visitors are treated to a spectacular view of downtown Minneapolis. The lake features a distinctive boathouse and a view of the famous Calhoun Beach Club, a landmark that brings back the feel of Minneapolis days past. Calhoun borders on the hip and busy Uptown district of Minneapolis, and visitors should definitely check out Uptown’s unique stores and restaurants and its eclectic vibe.

Lake of the Isles

This lake, which is largely man-made, is to the north of Lake Calhoun. It is uniquely beautiful with two wooded islands and amazing walking and biking paths. Lake of the Isles is the “rich” lake that borders on the prestigious Kenwood neighborhood. Architecture buffs will be amazed at the stately Lake of the Isles mansions.

Lake Como

Como is St. Paul’s prized body of water. It is surrounded by impressive Como Park. Visitors will enjoy the Como Park Zoo and the scenic and renovated Como Park Pavilion. A must-see stop for visitors is the spectacular Marjorie McNeeley Conservatory, a large and stunning building that houses an array of tropical plants. If you come during the winter, a visit to the Conservatory will warm you to the bone.


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