My Fulbright Story: Minneapolis

Having toured much of the East and West coast of the U.S., setting foot for the first time in the Midwest definitely took me by surprise. 

If I could describe Minneapolis in one word, it would be peaceful

Granted, I arrived on a Sunday morning where you could walk several hundred meters without seeing another person in sight. 

I learned later from the hotel concierge that the city is extremely quiet on 5 out of 7 days. According to him, most of the action takes place on Fridays and Saturdays. 

Fortunately, I was able to explore the city at the start of June where temperatures were in the mid 20’s Celsius. 

This is in stark contrast to the freezing winter where according to my Uber driver, the ‘wind chill’ can last up to 6 months and where the temperature can go as low as -20 degrees.

At first I thought he meant -20 degrees Celcius and was pleasantly surprised to meet an American using the metric system. As it turns out, he meant -20 degrees Fahrenheit which is about -30 degrees Celcius! (i.e. you know it’s cold when Fahrenheit goes sub-zero!). 

Yet despite the city’s serenity, here’s my top places to visit in Minneapolis.

Mall of America

When you think of Minnesota, you wouldn’t expect that it would be home to the biggest shopping mall in the country, let alone North America.  

For Australians, we have Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne which is the nation’s biggest centre spanning nearly 200,000 square meters

If you thought that was big, Mall of America is more than two times bigger! How, you may ask? 

Well, it just so happens that Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park is situated right in the centre along with Sea Life Aquarium and more than 500 stores!

Even if you’re not much of a shopper, the novelty of just seeing an entire theme park inside a shopping mall is not to be missed!

‘Scarbo’ Wall (also known as the ‘Music Wall’)

As a classically trained pianist, when I first heard that there was a mural painted with music of Ravel’s Scarbo from Gaspard de la nuit, I leapt with excitement!

Even though the music of arguably one of the most difficult pieces in the piano repertoire sat behind a car park, I cannot put into words how much joy this mural brought me. You can hear glimpses of what the wall sounds like here

And in the spirit of pianos, it was also wonderful to spot several artistic pianos scattered throughout the city as part of the Pianos on Parade program that encourages the community to share music with each other – brilliant idea! 


With 22 lakes and the Mississippi River within arm’s reach, there’s plenty of greenery and waterfront views to take in. The Stone Arch Bridge which happens to be the only bridge made of stone along the Mississippi River is also a sight to be seen. 

Foshay Museum and Observation Deck

I always enjoy a bird’s eye view whenever I’m in a new city and the observation deck on top of the infamous Foshay building did not disappoint. Built as an homage to the Washington Monument, the history behind the building and the man who made it all happen was equally riveting. 

What are some other stereotypes of Midwest states? Let me know in the comments below!

This post is not sponsored. All views are my own.

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