Minneapolis is an incredible city and from what everyone tells me, I came at the right time of year. Turns out, it tends to get a little cold up here in the winter. So, how does the city combat the scourge that is snow, ice and wind? Well, as I recently learned, by building the Minneapolis Skyway System—a climate-controlled walkway that links sixty-nine full city blocks. That’s more than 11 miles of walkway!
In all honesty, the existence of the walkway didn’t even register until someone at Campbell Mithun told me about it. I guess I just don’t look up enough. But once I started to explore the various paths and halls, I have to admit that it's a pretty ingenious idea. Not only does it connect nearly every building in the downtown area, but each hall also offers a variety of shops, eateries, stores and outlets. It’s like a whole other world in there. You can go from Campbell Mithun Tower to the Target Center to the Wells Fargo Center to the Minneapolis Convention Center and never have to step foot outside.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I find that pretty incredible. Of course, since learning of the skyway, I’ve come to find it’s not the only one in the world. Cities like Montreal and Toronto also have them, while Houston's resides underground. But to me, it’s impressive nonetheless and I think more cities should consider investing in a similar system (ahem... Cleveland).
That’s not the only interesting thing I learned about Minneapolis either. I discovered the Minnesota Fringe Festival, an annual performing arts festival that began in 2008. Each year, they host between 150 and 180 shows over the course of two weeks, while drawing in an audience of around 50,000. While this year’s event began before my arrival, I did learn of it in time to catch two great shows.
The first was a comedy show called, “Captain Do-Good Saves the Future From Wal-Mart,” while the other was, “Top Gun: The Musical.” Both were highly entertaining and it’s clear that this is one event everyone should check out if they’re in town for it. In my opinion, more cities would benefit from an art-focused festival such as this, if they only give it a chance to shine.