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Visiting Minneapolis

Minneapolis flies under the radar, but dig a little and you'll find some impressive facts about this Midwest hub (aside from its famous mall). There's a great music scene, cool museums and theaters, and thousands of lakes at your doorstep.

Icelandair offers cheap flights to Minneapolis from Europe and the UK for Scandinavian heritage, lakeside fun, mall raids, and Prince pilgrimages (now that's a mixed bag).

Before you sample Minneapolis' burgers, live music and mega-mall, how about checking out Reykjavík's unique shopping and music culture? When you book flights to Minneapolis with Icelandair you have the opportunity to add a Stopover in Iceland at no additional airfare.

A tale of two cities

Minnesota's Twin Cities combine old and new in a unique way. On one bank of the Mississippi River stands Minneapolis, thoroughly modern and bustling. On the other, St Paul is smaller and quieter, with stronger ties to the past.

There are some remarkable art museums to fill sightseeing hours - the Weisman Art Museum lives inside an incredibly striking, Gehry-designed building. More cherry-on-top photo opportunities can be found at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. 

The University of Minnesota's campus in town is one of the USA's largest, with some 50,000 students. It keeps city life vibrant - the nightlife and live music scene is rocking.

This is, after all, the hometown of Prince. Paisley Park, Prince's estate and recording studio on the outskirts of town, is opening up to visitors.

New creativity, old favorites

The Twin Cities (Minneapolis and St Paul) have been getting some love recently for their fresh, creative dining scene. There's a strong focus on local, seasonal, farm-to-table produce being put to good use.

But you can go old-school, too: Minneapolis' signature dish is the 'Jucy Lucy' - a burger with melted cheese stuffed inside the patties. The best place to try it is Matt's Bar, a retro diner from 1954 that claims to have invented the burger (even former president Obama has stopped by to sample it).

A stretch of Nicollet Avenue in the Whittier neighborhood has come to be known as 'Eat Street' - trawl here at dinnertime and you won't be sorry. Also tasty turf: North Loop and the northeast. Great international fare can be savored at Midtown Global Market.

The call of the mall

The jewel in Minneapolis' shopping crown is the Mall of America, the largest collection of shops under one roof in the USA.

It's in suburban Bloomington, about 10 miles south of downtown Minneapolis, and it's more than just a mall: there's an amusement park (including roller coasters), a Lego Imagination Center, a large aquarium, and a wedding chapel. Plus movie theaters, 50 restaurants, and mini-golf.

For those looking a retail fix, let your heart soar with this statistic: there are 520 stores.

If that sounds a bit too big, wander some downtown city neighborhoods for boutiques, bars and galleries - the Northeast arts district and Uptown are perfect for this. Across the river, Grand Avenue in St Paul is stroll-worthy.

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