Last updated on September 12th, 2019
Did you know the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has just gone through a major renovation? It’s been closed for almost two years! They just reopened this spring with some brand new pieces to check out. The garden includes 7.5 acres of different art, including the most icon piece the Spoonbridge and Cherry. When I heard I would visit the garden on my tour I took with the Roseville Visitors Association this summer, I was ecstatic.
What’s the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden All About?
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is one of a few different sculpture gardens in Minnesota that is free for visitors to attend. Located on the edge of downtown, it’s an oasis of modern art that draws in locals and outsiders with big pieces like the famous Spoon Bridge and Cherry. The gardens are located just outside the Walker Art Center, which is another great destination for creatives alike. Here are some of the things to look out for when you go..
What to Look For:
Hahn/Cock by Katharina Fritsch. It’s hard to miss. It’s quirky and is so unnatural but fun at the same time. It’s 25ft tall and a popular selfie spot. It’s a great addition to the garden.
The Black Vessel for a Satin, by Theaster Gates. This brings you right into a mid-evil time. The brick walls were custom made using leftover materials from brick making. Don’t forget to look inside!
The Spoonbridge and Cherry is by far the most popular attraction and the most iconic in the gardens. On hot days, the Spoonbridge and Cherry turn itself into a misting fountain. Those walking on the west side will be cooled off in the mist. Either that of freaked out wondering what’s going on.
Two-way Mirror Punched Steel Hedge Labyrinth by Dan Grahm. This unique piece of glass will allow you to see both your reflection and through it. My husband and I played around a little with it to give a composite of both our faces. It turned out creepy in my opinion, but it was fun to try.
Selections from The Living Series, by Jenny Holzer. To the unsuspecting park visitor, there a nice set of benches lining the entrance to the gardens. But as soon as you look close, you’ll find there are a series of different ‘truisms’ and little quotes about life.
What most people don’t realize is that the sculptures extend past the garden area. There is an additional garden right beside the Walker Art Center. That is where the Wurtele Upper Garden, located.
What happened to the trees?
The remodel involved more than just replacing some art pieces. It also required the need to rebuild some of the below-grade drainage and infrastructure issues. This meant that they had to remove a lot of the trees that were adorning the park. They were as much a part of the sculpture garden as the artwork was. To Minnesota residents, it is heartbreaking to see. The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden has planted 360 new trees in its place. It may take 10 years or more for them to mature, but hopefully, it will draw in the crowds as the old ones did. Like with anything the change was sad. But it was needed.
Other Things to Know
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is completely free. You can wander up to visit as many times as you like. This makes it a favorite for a lot of people in the city as well as families and those visiting from out of town.
The Gardens are located off of Highway 94 on the West Side of Minneapolis. The official intersection is from Hennepin Ave S and Lyndale. Because of its proximity to the highway, I recommend following Google Maps official route to get you there the easiest.
Parking is located in the two adjacent lots by the Walker Art Center for a small fee. It is hard to miss. Street parking is also available.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is open year-round from 6 am – midnight.
Tips For the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden
Download the Self-Guided tour before you leave. It’s great for adults and kids alike to create a more interactive experience.
Bring a sketchpad and get inspired by the artwork. The gardens are a perfect place to relax and enjoy some of these great works of art.
Consider going on a Thursday evening around 4pm. After your visit, the Walker Art Center, located right next door, has free admission for the public from 5-9pm, thanks to Target. The Walker Art Center has a large collection of modern art.
Bring a snack and some water. There is no street food nearby unless a truck happens to be in the area.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden Cost is always one of the free things to do in MPLS, making it one of the best features of the city. It’s also part of a great collection of over 28 Free Museums in the Twin Cities.
Get there early. Around lunchtime on a beautiful day, the gardens become very popular with people clamoring to get the perfect selfie with their sculptures. Avoid the craziness and arrive early.
Other Things to do nearby
Take the pedestrian bridge over to Loring Park. The park is used for all kinds of different events. During the summer months, it has some great fountains, including and splash pad.
Nicolette Mall is an outdoor shopping area in the heart of Down Town. The mall, is all part of a street starting at…. And ending the Minneapolis Central Library. Some of the best things to look out for is the Mary Tyler Moor Statute located on 7th Street and the Gaviidae Commons, made famous in the original Might Ducks Movie.
St. Paul Capitol
The St. Paul Capitol offers free tours daily and is a wealth of fine art and classic architecture. Outside during the summer, you can also explore the gardens, making it a full day’s adventures.
Franconia Sculpture Garden
Not exactly nearby, but it’s another free Sculpture Park in MN. Located near Taylors Falls, this Park uses recycled materials and other fun materials to create an ever-changing rotation of artwork the whole family will love.
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden is in a weird area, surrounded by apartments, sports fields, and a highway. There is only really one option for food, and that’s the Esker Grove Restaurant in the Walker Art Center. They serve American style food and Cocktails. Any other food options, and you’ll have to get in your car and head somewhere else.
If you only have an Hour
The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden should only take you about an hour to get through unless you want to do sketches or are trying to set up elaborate photography picture, you don’t need much more time.
I hope you take the time to get out to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. I always have a great time whenever I go to the gardens. With the cooler weather creeping up on us, it’s a perfect time! Check out my list of the Top Things to See in the Twin Cities here.