Minneapolis is a beautiful city full of interesting history and fun things to do. You probably already know that Minneapolis is known for its cold winters and friendly people, but did you know the L.A. Lakers got their start in Minneapolis? Or that there is a law in the city named after a famous snack? Keep reading to learn all about the Twinkie Law and other fantastic Minneapolis facts.
Historical Facts About Minneapolis
Minneapolis is an old city with a lot of rich history. These historic Minneapolis facts may surprise you!
1. People have lived in the area of Minneapolis for over 12,000 years.
Some of the first known people in the Minneapolis area were Sioux and Ojibwa Native Americans. There is evidence of native people living in the area as far back as 10,000 BCE.
2. Father Louis Hennepin was the first European in Minneapolis.
in 1680, the Franciscan missionary explored Minneapolis and other areas around the Great Lakes. He was the first European to see Saint Anthony falls and is credited for giving the waterfall its name.
3. The first bridge to cross the Mississippi River was built in Minneapolis.
In 1854 the Father Louis Hennepin Bridge was built to make transportation and trading along the river easier. The bridge deteriorated over time and has since been rebuilt. Some of the original parts of the bridge have been preserved in First Bridge Park.
4. The second oldest bridge spanning the Mississippi River is in Minneapolis.
The Stone Arch Bridge was finished in 1883 and is the only natural stone arch bridge spanning the Mississippi River. It was originally used as a railroad bridge and is now used exclusively for pedestrians and bicycles. The oldest bridge spanning the Mississippi that is still standing is Eads Bridge in St. Louis.
5. The first mail-order catalog is from Minneapolis.
Richard W. Sears was the first person to use a mail-order catalog. He used it to sell watches in Minneapolis starting in 1886. The following year he moved the business to Chicago, where he later joined forces with Alvah C. Roebuck to form the Sears Roebuck Company in 1893.
6. In the late 1800’s Minneapolis was the country’s top flour producer.
Much of the wheat grown in the Northwest in the late 1800s and early 1900s was processed into flour in Minneapolis. Flour mills (along with lumber mills) were such a big part of the city that Minneapolis became known as Mill City.
7. Minneapolis is home to the oldest Basilica in the United States.
The Basilica of Saint Mary was completed in 1915. In 1926 Pope Pius XI gave it the rank of minor basilica.
Facts About the Geography of Minneapolis
Here are some interesting Minneapolis facts to help you learn about the geography of the city.
8. Minneapolis is one of the country’s best cities for public parks.
An early resident set a goal to have a park within six blocks of every resident. Today Minneapolis has a whopping 180 Parks.
9. Saint Anthony Falls is the only waterfall on the Mississippi River.
Located near downtown Minneapolis, Saint Anthony Falls is the only true, natural waterfall on the entire Mississippi River.
10. Learn the order of our nation’s presidents on the streets of Minneapolis.
In Northeast Minneapolis, walk East on Broadway, and you will see streets named for our presidents, starting with Washington and going all the way up to Bush.
11. There are a lot of lakes in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis is home to twenty-two lakes, large ponds, wetlands, and lagoons, not to mention the Mississippi River. Water is a big part of the city.
12. The city is 6% water.
The total area of Minneapolis is 58.4 square miles, six percent of which is water.
13. Minneapolis was once two separate cities.
Two separate cities were established in the area we now call Minneapolis. They were Saint Anthony and Minneapolis. in 1872, the two cities merged into one, keeping the name Minneapolis.
14. Minneapolis is the Mississippi River’s northernmost port.
Because of the ease of moving goods over water, the Mississippi River has been used for trading for many years. Minneapolis is as far north as you can go to reach a port on the Mississippi River.
Minneapolis Facts You Never Knew Were True
Some of these Minneapolis Facts sound fake, but they’re all true!
15. The Bundt Pan was invented in Minneapolis.
Mark and Dave Dalquis started Nordic Ware in Minneapolis in 1946. in 1950, Dave Dalquis created and trademarked the Bundt pan. The fluted aluminum pan quickly became a top seller for the company.
16. Honeycrisp Apples were developed in Minneapolis.
We can thank the University of Minnesota for developing this delicious apple variety in 1974.
17. The Twinkie Law is a real thing.
In 1985 Minneapolis City Council candidate George Beiler was indicted by a Grand Jury for bribing elderly voters with Twinkies and other snacks. He lost the election, and the charge was dismissed, but the incident inspired a fair campaign act commonly referred to as The Twinkie Law.
18. There is a theme park inside the Mall of America.
You can ride and play for hours at the fully indoor Nickelodeon Universe located inside the Mall of America.
19. Minnehaha Falls inspired a famous poem.
Song of Hiawatha by the famous American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was inspired by Minnehaha Falls, even though he never actually visited the falls himself.
20. The first recorded use of Holy Cow was by a Minneapolis baseball announcer.
Though he probably didn’t actually invent the phrase, Halsey Hall used the phrase Holy Cow on the radio to comment on a home run during the broadcast of a baseball game, the first time the phrase was ever recorded.
21. Snickers and Milky Way are from Minneapolis.
Frank C. Mars started a candy company in Tacoma, Washington, then moved to Minneapolis in 1920, where he began selling Milky Way and Snickers Bars.
22. The L.A. Lakers used to play in Minneapolis
The Los Angeles Lakers first got their start in Minneapolis in 1947. Their name comes from the Minnesota state motto, the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Even though there aren’t many lakes in Los Angeles, the team kept the name when they moved to L.A. in the 1960s.
Facts You Might Not Have Known About Minneapolis
Here are some more interesting Minneapolis facts you may not have heard before.
23. Minneapolis is the largest city in Minnesota.
With a population of 429,954 according to the 2020 U.S. census, Minneapolis is the largest city in the state.
24. Charles. M. Schulz was born in Minneapolis.
The famous creator of the Peanuts comic strip was born in Minneapolis on November 26, 1922.
25. Minneapolis is one of the most bikeable cities in America.
In 2019 REI named Minneapolis one of the top ten most bikeable cities in America. The next time you’re there, grab a bike and enjoy the city from a different perspective!
26. Pillsbury and General Mills both started in Minneapolis.
The two companies were long-time rivals, with flour mills located right across the street from one another in downtown Minneapolis. General Mills eventually bought Pillsbury in 2000, finally ending the rivalry.
27. The name Minneapolis means the City of Water.
Coming from the Sioux word minne meaning water, and the Greek word polis meaning city, Minneapolis is a very fitting name for a city with so many lakes and rivers.
28. The oldest sketch comedy theater in the country is in Minneapolis.
Called Brave New Workshop, the theater has been making people laugh with live comedy performances since 1958. One of the original writers for Saturday Night Live, Al Franken, even performed there.
29. The Minneapolis Skyway System is the longest in the world.
With over nine miles of pathways connecting buildings over eighty city blocks, the Minneapolis Skyway System is the largest of its kind in the entire world. You can wander to your heart’s content while you stay in climate-controlled safety and comfort all year round.
30. Minneapolis is a great city for art.
At 188,000 square feet, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is the 6th largest art museum in the country. You can also visit other art museums like the Weisman Art Museum and the Walker Art Center to view all kinds of art, from historic to modern.
31. Minneapolis is home to one of the largest sculpture gardens in the country.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is free and open to the public year-round. The garden is a beautiful place to wander where you can find dozens of modern and contemporary art sculptures.
Wrapping Up Fantastic Minneapolis Facts
Did any of these Minneapolis facts surprise you? It’s always fun to learn something new, especially when the facts are so fun and unusual.
Still looking for more fun adventures? Then checkout all the great things to do in the Twin Cities!
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.