Lake Harriet

Lake Harriet: Your Ultimate Guide in 2024

Lake Harriet is a beautiful body of water located in the heart of Minneapolis, Minnesota. This natural landmark is not only a popular destination for locals and tourists alike, but it also holds significant cultural importance. It is also surrounded by a lush park that is home to many native plant and animal species. 

The park offers a perfect setting for picnics, concerts, and other outdoor events. Additionally, Lake Harriet is steeped in history, as it was a significant hub for commerce and transportation during the 19th century.

The park also features several notable landmarks, including the historic bandshell and the Peace Garden.

All of these features make Lake Harriet an important and beloved natural and cultural landmark of Southwest Minneapolis.

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History of Lake Harriet

Lake Harriet is a beautiful park located in the southwest corner of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The park was first established in 1885, and since then, it has become a beloved destination for the community. 

The park encompasses over 335 acres of land, and is home to a variety of recreational activities, including walking and biking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds.

The lake itself is a significant part of the park’s charm. Lake Harriet spans over 335 acres and has a maximum depth of 85 feet. It is a popular destination for boating, fishing, and swimming. 

Many community events, such as concerts and festivals, are held on the shores of the lake throughout the year.

The park has a rich history. It was first established as a streetcar park, where patrons could ride the streetcar out to the park for a day of leisure. 

The Como Harriet Streetcar Line is still in operation under the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. It operates between Lake Harriet and Bde Maka Ska (Lake Calhoun). 

Over the years, the park has undergone several renovations and updates, including the addition of a bandshell, which has become a popular venue for concerts and events. 

The park has also been the site of many historical events, including a speech by President William Howard Taft in 1911.

If you like all things Streetcars, make sure to check out Excelsior and their streetcar museum too!

Lake Harriet Bandshell

Is there a plane at the bottom of Lake Harriet?

It is uncertain whether there is a plane at the bottom of Lake Harriet, as there have been no confirmed reports of such an occurrence. 

However, it is not uncommon for objects to end up in bodies of water due to accidents or intentional disposal. 

It is possible that if a plane did end up in Lake Harriet, it may have sunk to the bottom and remained there. Nevertheless, without any concrete evidence, it remains a mystery.

How long is the walk around Lake Harriet?

Walking around Lake Harriet can take around 2.75 miles or approximately 60-75 minutes, depending on your walking pace and how often you stop to enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

The trail around the lake offers stunning views of the water, trees, and wildlife, making it a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. 

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a more challenging workout, the walk around Lake Harriet is sure to provide an enjoyable experience.

Can you swim in Lake Harriet?

Yes, you can swim in Lake Harriet. It is a popular spot for swimming during the summer months. The lake has a designated swimming area and is monitored by lifeguards. 

Plus, there are many other activities to enjoy around the lake such as fishing, boating, and picnicking. The Lake Harriet Bandshell also hosts numerous events during the summer, making it a great place to spend a day with family and friends.

Sand Castles at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis

Is Lake Harriet and Lake Bde Maka Ska connected?

Yes, Lake Harriet and Lake Bde Maka Ska are connected via Minnehaha Creek, which flows from Lake Minnetonka through several lakes, including Lake Harriet, before reaching Lake Bde Maka Ska. 

This connection allows for recreational activities such as boating and fishing to be enjoyed between the two lakes. In fact, the entire chain of lakes in the Minneapolis area, including Lake Harriet and Lake Bde Maka Ska, is interconnected via various waterways, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Other Things to do at Lake Harriet

Lake Harriet Park offers a wide variety of things to do. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing day on the water, a hike through scenic trails, or a fun-filled family outing, this park has something for everyone. 

Among the many activities available at the park are swimming, fishing, boating, and hiking. Take a dip in the refreshing waters of Lake Harriet, try your hand at catching some fish, or rent a boat and explore the lake. 

If hiking is more your style, you can enjoy a leisurely stroll through the park’s many trails, taking in the beautiful scenery and wildlife along the way. 

With so many options available, Lake Harriet Park is the perfect destination for anyone looking for a fun and exciting day outdoors.

The mysterious elf door

The legend of Mr. Little Guy, the elf door at Lake Harriet, is a charming tale that has captured the hearts of visitors to the park. 

According to the legend, Mr. Little Guy is a mischievous elf who lives in a tiny door located in a tree near the Lake Harriet Bandshell on the south side of the lake.

Visitors can leave notes for Mr. Little Guy and are encouraged to check back later to see if he has left a reply. This whimsical and interactive attraction is just one of the many reasons why Lake Harriet is such a special place.

Elf Door at Lake Harriet

Must-Visit Areas and Attractions near Lake Harriet

When exploring the area around Lake Harriet, there are several must-visit attractions that you won’t want to miss. 

The Bandshell is a popular spot for concerts and events, featuring a beautiful outdoor amphitheater overlooking the lake. 

The Rose Garden is another stunning attraction, boasting over 3,000 roses in a variety of colors and fragrances. It’s the perfect place to take a stroll and admire the beauty of nature. 

The Bird Sanctuary is a peaceful and serene area that is home to a wide variety of bird species. It’s a great spot for birdwatching and observing wildlife in their natural habitat. 

The Bakken Museum is a great stop. This museum is in a historical home, and filled with all things innovation and electricity!

Each of these attractions holds significant value for both visitors and locals alike, providing a glimpse into the natural beauty and cultural offerings of the area.

Bakken Museum

What Events and Activities happen near Lake Harriet?

Lake Harriet is a popular recreational area located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Throughout the year, the lake and its surrounding park area host a variety of events and activities for locals and visitors to enjoy. Here are a few examples of the types of events and activities that take place at Lake Harriet each year:

Music and Movies in the Park

During the summer months, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board hosts a series of free outdoor concerts and movies at Lake Harriet’s bandshell. These events are held on select nights throughout the summer, and are a great way to enjoy live music and movies in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Art fairs

Lake Harriet is also home to a number of art fairs throughout the year, including the annual Lake Harriet Winter Kite Festival in January, the Art Shanty Project in lake January early February.

Sporting events

The lake and its surrounding park area are also popular spots for recreational activities such as running, biking, and fishing. Wheels of fun has rentals for you to get on the water!

Community events

In addition to the above events, there are also a variety of community events that take place at Lake Harriet throughout the year, such as the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s annual Arbor Day Celebration in April, and the Lake Harriet Rose Garden Tour in June.

Overall, Lake Harriet is a vibrant and active community gathering place, with events and activities to suit a wide range of interests throughout the year.

Aquatennial Milk Carton Races

Insider Tips for Visitors to Lake Harriet

Here are a few insider tips for visiting Lake Harriet:

  1. Parking: Parking can be challenging at Lake Harriet, especially during peak times. One insider tip is to park in the neighborhoods surrounding the lake, as there are many free parking spots available. Just be sure to check for any parking restrictions or time limits before leaving your car.
  2. Dining: There are several great dining options nearby, including Bread & Pickle, which offers a variety of sandwiches, salads, and snacks, as well as craft beer and wine. Another popular spot is Harriet Brasserie, which serves American-style cuisine with a French twist. For a quick coffee or snack, stop by the Peace Coffee Shop, which offers organic, fair-trade coffee and other treats.
  3. Walking and biking: Lake Harriet has a beautiful walking and biking trail that circles the lake, and is a great way to get some exercise and enjoy the scenery. Insider tip: for a quieter experience, try walking or biking around the lake early in the morning or in the evening when the crowds are thinner.
  4. Events: As mentioned earlier, Lake Harriet hosts a variety of events throughout the year. Insider tip: be sure to check the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board website for upcoming events and activities, and plan your visit accordingly.

Overall, Lake Harriet is a beautiful and popular spot in Minneapolis, with something to offer for everyone. With a few insider tips and a bit of planning, visitors can have a great time enjoying the lake and its surroundings.

Start Planning your next adventure

Lake Harriet is a picturesque and lively destination that offers a variety of activities and events throughout the year. 

Whether you’re looking for a scenic walk or bike ride, a concert or movie in the park, or a community event to attend, Lake Harriet is the place. 

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