Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis

Visiting the Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota in 2024

The Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota is a historic landmark that has stood the test of time. This iconic endless bridge is a must-see attraction for anyone in the Twin Cities or even the state.

The bridge spans across the Mississippi River and connects the downtown area of Minneapolis to the historic Mill District. Its unique architecture and rich history make it a popular destination.

It is one of the oldest surviving bridges in the state and was converted for the railroad to use for only pedestrians.

In addition to its historical significance and architectural beauty, the Stone Arch Bridge offers a range of attractions for visitors. The bridge is a popular spot for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it empty. Plus provides stunning views of the Minneapolis skyline.

The bridge is also home to several annual events, including the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, which features live music, art exhibits, and food vendors.

The historic Stone Arch Bridge is set to close come this spring. Repair work is expected to last from spring 2024 through spring of 2026. They plan on closing half the bridge at a time to still allow for visitors.

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History of the Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota

The Stone Arch Bridge was built in 1883 and was originally used as a railroad bridge. It was designed by James J. Hill, a railroad magnate who played a significant role in the development of the American Northwest.

The bridge was constructed with local granite and limestone, which gives it a distinctive look that sets it apart from other bridges in the area.

Stone Archway at the Stone Arch Bridge

Construction and Design of the Stone Arch Bridge

The Stone Arch Bridge is a marvel of engineering and architecture. Its design includes 23 arches, each spanning 58 feet, and it is made up of 8,000 tons of stone.

The bridge is 2,100 feet long and stands 65 feet above the river. Its unique architecture and historical significance have earned it a place on the National Register of Historic Places.

The role of the bridge in the milling industry and transportation in the region is significant. Originally built for the Great Northern Railway to cross the Mississippi River. It is considered a National Historic Engineering Landmark.

The bridge has played a vital role in the development of the milling industry and transportation sector in the region.

Over time, the bridge has undergone several changes to keep up with the changing needs of the community. Despite these changes, the bridge remains relevant today and continues to serve as an important transportation route in the region.

The Stone Arch Bridge is an iconic landmark in Minnesota’s history. It has been a witness to the state’s growth and development over the years.

The bridge has played a crucial role in connecting communities and fostering economic growth in the region. It has also been a symbol of the state’s engineering prowess and architectural achievements.

Stone Arch Bridge History

Things to Do and See Near the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis

If you’re planning on visiting the area, there are several attractions to check out. Two of the most recommended places are the Mill City Museum and St Anthony Falls Heritage Trail.

Mill City Museum

The Mill City Museum is a historic museum located in the heart of Minneapolis. It showcases the history of Minneapolis, the Mississippi River, and the flour industry that was once a significant part of the local economy. You’ll find it on the west bank of the river.

The museum is full of interactive exhibits and an elevator ride up to the top with a stop overlooking the skyline. It’s worth visiting just for the view. Plus you’ll get to find out why the mill exploded.

Mill City Musuem Courtyard
Photo courtesy Minnesota Historical Society

St Anthony Falls

Saint Anthony Falls is a natural landmark in the area and is also known for its historical significance. It was once the site of several flour mills that helped make Minneapolis the flour milling capital of the world.

Today, it’s a beautiful spot to take a stroll along the pedestrian walkway. The walk across the bridge feels endless. The riverfront views make an adventure for walkers and bicyclists and take in the scenic views of the Mississippi River.

The best view of St Anthony Falls is on the bridge. You’ll also get the chance to see St Anthony’s Fall Lock and Dam. More on that later.

Mill Ruins Park

Mill Ruins Park in downtown Minneapolis is a fascinating experience that offers a glimpse into the city’s history. The park is built on the ruins of a once-thriving flour mill industry and features interactive exhibits that showcase the technology and innovation that powered the industry.

Visitors can explore the park’s walking paths, enjoy the stunning views of the Mississippi River, and learn about the city’s past through guided tours and interpretive exhibits.

The park is located at the end of the bridge, up along the bank of the river. You’ll get a great opportunity to see the trusses that hold up the bridge.

Mill City Museum

Can you walk across the Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota?

Yes, you can walk on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. In fact, it’s heavily used for walkers, joggers, and cyclists. Plus it provides stunning views of the Minneapolis skyline and a great view of the river.

How long does it take to walk across Stone Arch Bridge?

It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to walk across the Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota.

Where do you park to walk the Stone Arch Bridge?

There are several parking options available near the Stone Arch Bridge. One option is the parking lot located at the Mill City Museum, which is adjacent to the bridge.

There is also street parking available in the surrounding area, but it can be limited during peak times. It’s recommended to arrive early or consider taking public transportation if possible.

Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota

Tips for Making the Most of Your Visit to the Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota

The best time to visit the Stone Arch Bridge in Minnesota is during the summer months, between June and August when the weather is warmer and there are various outdoor events and festivals taking place.

If you prefer a quieter experience, the bridge is also beautiful during the fall season, when the leaves change color, or in the winter when there is snow on the ground. Just be sure to bundle up!

See the Lock and Dam

I highly recommend visiting in the summer if you are interested in seeing the Upper Lock and Dam too. They offer free tours run by the National Park Service.

There are 29 locks and dams on the entire length of the Mississippi River. These structures were built to manage the river’s water levels and facilitate navigation for commercial and recreational vessels.

The lock and dam system helps to maintain a consistent water depth for safe navigation, as well as providing a way for boats to navigate around obstacles such as rapids and waterfalls.

The system plays an important part of the infrastructure of the Mississippi River, supporting industries such as shipping, fishing, and recreation.

This particular Lock and Dam has been closed, to help protect the Asian carp from getting upstream. But you can still witness it and get a tour.

You’ll find this located near the west end of the bridge.

Upper Lock and Dam

Where to photograph the Stone Arch Bridge?

If you want to get a good picture of the bridge there are a couple of great locations.

The West River Parkway on the west side of the bridge – this spot offers a nice view of the bridge and the downtown Minneapolis skyline in the background.

The Stone Arch Bridge itself – you can capture stunning photos of the Mississippi River and the surrounding area from the bridge itself.

Father Hennepin Bluff Park – located just across the river from the Stone Arch Bridge, this park offers a unique angle to photograph the bridge and the city skyline.

The Mill City Museum – This museum is located next to the bridge and offers a great view of the bridge and the surrounding area from its observation deck.

Stone Arch Bridge at night

What are you waiting for?

The Stone Arch Bridge is a true MN treasure. Its unique architecture, rich history, and stunning views make it a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the state.

Whether you’re a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or just looking for a beautiful spot to take a walk, this iconic bridge is well worth a visit.

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