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Minnehaha Falls Park Area - Recreation and Parks

Last updated: Oct 21, 2014

Minne-ha-ha-lloween Bring the kids to the Falls for a Spooktacular Falls of Fun Halloween Party on Saturday October 25 this year. More on Home page (10/20/14)

 Minnehaha Park & Falls Area

ReturnParks & Rec Index Page
  Minnehaha Falls Park Area
    '13 Concert schedule
    Current weather
    Minnehaha Park Overview
    Minnehaha Pavilion
     - Sea Salt Eatery(closed)
     - Bandstand
      John H. Stevens House
      Longfellow Gardens
      Longfellow House
      Princess Depot
      Pergola Gardens
      Off-Leash Dog Rec Area
      Camp Coldwater Springs
      National Grand Rounds
      Wabun Picnic Area
  Lake Nokomis AreaGo there
    Lake Nokomis Overview
    Nokomis Main Beach
       - Beach status
      Nokomis 50th St Beach
       - Beach status
      Nokomis Community Center
      Naturescape / Wetlands
 Other Parks & RecGo there
   Bossen Park & Fields
   Ed Solomon Park
     Hiawatha Golf Course
   Morris Park & skate park
   Fort Snelling State Park
     Lock and Dam #1
     Mn Valley Wildlife Refuge
Return Parks & Rec Index Page

Minnehaha Park Overview
located at the intersection of Minnehaha Avenue, Minnehaha Parkway and Godfrey Ave,
just east of Highway 55/Hiawatha Avenue. (Click to open new map windowMap)
Park Board's Minnehaha Park page

Minnehaha Falls

Minnehaha Park is 193 acres with a 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs and river overlooks. The Park contains oak, elm, silver maple, basswood, hackberry and cottonwood trees as well as native and prairie woodland wild flowers.

The Park's Pavilion features indoor and outdoor picnic areas, gifts, and the Sea Salt Eatery. (Closed for Season). Rent several styles of bicycles and surreys by the hour. Just east of the Pavillion is the bandstand which features free outdoor concerts of all musical styles, weekly through Labor Day (see the MP concert schedule for the 2013 schedule).   The newly rebuilt Wabun Picnic area located within the park contains 4 outdoor picnic sites and a picnic shelter with cooking & restroom facilities. The John H. Stevens House, the first wood-frame house in Minneapolis built West of the Mississippi, is open during select hours for tours.

In the summer visitors enjoy the abundant activities including concerts, picnics, walking and biking trails to the Mississippi River and of course, viewing the falls. In the fall, walking the lower trails reveals beautifully changing leaves and spectacular views of the river and the Ford lock and dam.

In addition to natural beauty, the park is home to sculpture. A mask of Chief Little Crow is positioned near Minnehaha Falls. The mask commemorates the chief, who was killed in the year following the 1862 Dakota conflict, and is in an area considered to be sacred to American Indians. A life-size bronze sculpture by Jakob Fjelde depicts Hiawatha carrying Minnehaha across the creek--characters from the poem “Song of Hiawatha” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Before Minnehaha was officially a park, it was also a train stop with as many as 39 train trips a day from the Minnehaha Depot. In 1889, the State of Minnesota loaned the City of Minneapolis $100,000 to purchase the park from its private owners. The park was named Minnehaha, which means 'laughing waters', for the falls as they were dubbed in Henry W. Longfellow’s poem.  Minnehaha Falls history.

Bicycling in Minnehaha Park (and in the City of Minneapolis). City bicycle on- and off-street trail map. (1.3 MB PDF download.) This 24x36" map shows city and park trails only. NENA also has free copies of the Hennepin County Bicycling map available at the office. Also, check out Todd Murray's online review of the Minnehaha to Fort Snelling mountain biking trails (International Mountain Bicycling Association website)

Canoing in Minnehaha Creek.  Minnehaha Creek runs 22 miles from the dam at Grays Bay on Lake Minnetonka to Minnehaha Falls and then another 1/2 mile or so below the falls to its confluence with the Mississippi.

Copies of the new Minnehaha Creek Canoe Route and Watershed Map can be obtained by calling the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) office at 952-471-0590.  Or download a smaller version suitable for printing (Acrobat format.pdf).  Current water conditions and flow rate are online here.  If the rate of flow is more than 100cfs, canoeing is possible. has more information on canoeing the Creek here.  Daily canoe and kayak rentals are available from the Park Board at Lake Calhoun or from Ketter Canoeing in Brooklyn Park

Parking information

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Minnehaha Falls Pavilion and Bandshell
4801 Minnehaha Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55417
Phone: 612 230-6400
Fax: 612 230-6500
Hours: 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Pavillion and Sea Salt

The Park's Pavilion features indoor and outdoor picnic areas, gifts, pedal-powered surrey and bicycle rentals, food, ice cream, and beverages. There are several picnic tables and charcoal grilles in the vicinity.  A pay parking lot is located to the North of the Pavillion.

Click for Sea Salt WebsiteIn the Pavilion is the Sea Salt Eatery (closed for Winter), voted "Best Seafood Restaurant" by City Pages. SeaSalt is known for it's informal, outdoor seating and fresh seafood.  Enjoy a clam po'boy or oysters on the half-shell and an ice cold Summit on the deck. Sea Salt hours are Sunday & Monday, 11-7pm; Tuesday through Saturday, 11am - 9pm. Open April through October 19.  612-721-8990    

The Pavilion's bandstand (left, bottom) features free summer concerts many nights a week. 2012 Schedule web page,

Bicycles and surreys are available May-September for hourly rental at the pavillion through Wheel Fun Rentals. Click here for more information on hours, rates, and inventory at the Minnehaha Falls location or call (612) 729-2660.


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4801 Minnehaha Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55417
Phone: 612 722-2220 Fax: 612 230-6500
Open Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays, May through Labor Day, 1 -- 5 pm

Stevens House

While the Godfrey House on the former St. Anthony (or east bank) side of the River is the oldest frame house in Minneapolis, the Stevens House, built in 1850 near St. Anthony Falls, has the distinction of being the first wood frame dwelling built west of the Mississippi. It was in this house that the name ''Minneapolis'' was suggested and the government structure for Hennepin Country established. The house has been relocated twice since 1850. In 1896, over 10,000 school children helped pull the Stevens House from St. Anthony Falls to Minnehaha Park. In 1982, children once again helped move the house to its current location. Now restored, it is open during summer hours for docent-led tours and by appointment.

Admission is $3 for adults, $1 for children 12 – 18 and free to members.

In addition to its regular summer hours, special tours may be booked year-round by calling (612) 722-2220. . Official website

John H. Stevens Day: Our big season opening event, featuring vintage games and toys, music, refreshments, and more! Explore our display of photos and artifacts from early Minneapolis. A great introduction to the history of our fine City! Monday, May 25 (Memorial Day) 12 noon to 4 p.m. Free Admission!

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Minnehaha Parkway at Minnehaha Creek and Highway 55.
612 370-4969 Fax: 612 334-1243 (Longfellow House)
Open to the public until 10 pm. Free parking atop the land bridge.

Longfellow House

Renovation of the Longfellow Gardens section of Minnehaha Park, begun in the fall of 2003, is now complete. A variety of perennials and annuals are featured in a paisley-shaped garden area—the design and selection of flowers an homage to the Longfellow Gardens of the early 20th Century. Although the trees are young, the area provides a picturesque backdrop to weddings and special events.

The formal garden features a sundial and a pergola and sits atop of the Highway 55 land bridge (tunnel). Nearer the creek, native shrubs, flowers, and grasses stabilize the shoreline and provides wildlife-friendly habitat. The steep incline to the creek has become a gentle slope planted with the prairie flowers and grasses of an oak savanna, an increasingly rare plant community native to Minnesota. Walking paths wind among the gardens and traverse the site, providing a pedestrian connection to the falls area of the park.

First named by its owner, showman-entrepreneur R.F. “Fish” Jones, Longfellow Gardens was part amusement park and zoo, and part formal gardens. Jones was reputed to be a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow devotee, and he named the park after the poet who memorialized Minnehaha Falls in his famous poem, “The Song of Hiawatha.”

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4800 Minnehaha Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55417
Phone: 612 370-4969 Fax: 612 334-1243
Hours: 10am - 4:30pm, Monday through Friday

Longfellow House

The Longfellow House built in 1906 for Robert F. (Fish) Jones is a 2/3 scale replica of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The house has served a wide range of functions including a zoo, a library and a haunted house. The house currently holds Park Board district offices and some interpretive information for the Minneapolis Park System and the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway.

You can visit the Longfellow House for a tour of this historical site and to receive maps and information about the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway.


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4801 Minnehaha Ave S. Minneapolis, MN 55417
(1/4 mile south of the Pavillion on Minnehaha Ave.)
Phone: 612 230-6400  Fax: 612 230-6500
Open Sundays, 2 to 6 PM through Labor Day, including July 4.

Princess Depot Museum

This small Victorian depot, built in 1875 as one of three stops on Minnesota's first railroad, was later named the "Princess" by railroad crews charmed by it's size and style. The depot was a historically busy stop, handling as many as 39 round trips per day and connecting with a major streetcar route, drawing passengers from downtown Minneapolis, Fort Snelling and downtown St. Paul. During the 1900's, the depot served as a staging point for soldiers and supplies destined for World Wars I and II. In 1963, the Milwaukee Road decommissioned the Princess and transferred title to the Minnesota Historical Society a year later. The Minnesota Transportation Museum has assisted in the restoration of the building and currently operates the depot as a museum. Admission is free.

Minnesota Historical Society Minnehaha Depot page

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4801 Minnehaha Ave S., Minneapolis, MN 55417
Phone: 612 230-6400, Fax: 612 230-6500
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m

Pergola Gardens

The Minnehaha Falls Pergola Garden is located on Minnehaha Avenue across from the Princess Depot and overlooks the Glenn below. Installed in 1995, this perennial garden features native wildflowers and grasses that border the new pergola overlook at the falls. View the blooms and the butterflies they attract from June through September. The gardens are handicapped accessible.

Getting there: Transit: MTC bus routes 27 and 55, along with the LRT will bring you to Minnehaha Falls Park. Parking: Since 2003, a limited amount of metered parking will be available in our Regional Parking Lots. All non-metered parking stalls within the Regional Parking Lots will require a Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Patron Parking Pass. Parking on the streets will continue to be free.


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Minnehaha Off-Leash Dog Recreation Area
5399 S. Minnehaha Park Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55417
Phone: 612 230-6400  Fax: 612 230-6500
Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

This very large dog park is on south end of Minnehaha Park and adjoins the Mississippi River and woodlands with open fields. Marked trails within the park lead to the off-leash area. Enter the dog park by turning east at 54th Street and Hiawatha Ave (Hwy 55). Entrance to dog park is accessed by walking down a marked path. There is a parking lot just south of 54th Street.

In order to use the Off-Leash Recreation Areas, pet owners must first obtain a permit.


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The Longfellow House Interpretive and Information Center serves as an orientation area and trail head to the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Whether you are looking for information on walking paths or bike trails, historical perspectives, bird guides, maps or directions, the staff at the Longfellow Interpretive and Information Center can assist you.

Grand Rounds, Minnehaha District

As part of the 50 mile Grand Rounds scenic byway, the Minnehaha byway comprises 12.6 miles of Parkway, canoeing and hiking trails. Experience how recreation, history and nature blend together to create the Minnehaha District.

Website for Grand Rounds Minnehaha District

  • Picnic and explore the Minnehaha Falls
  • Wind your way along Minnehaha Creek on foot, bike, or by canoe
  • Watch the spring flowers as they emerge and bloom along the parkway
  • Play golf at the Hiawatha Golf Course

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Wabun Park and Picnic Area
4820 46th Ave S. Minneapolis, MN 55406 (map)
Phone: 612 230-6400   Fax: 612 230-6500
Picnic/Park Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Park Board's Wabun page

Wabun picnic shelter

Located in Minnehaha Park, Wabun Park features beautiful scenic view of the Mississippi River from high on the bluffs and overlooking the Ford Lock and Dam. Up until the 1950's, Wabun Park was an overnight car-camping area with several small cabins and a tenting area.

Today, Wabun offers four picnic shelters, a wading pool, restroom building, parking lots, a disc golf course, volleyball court, and a bike/pedestrian trail.

The wading pool features a waterfall and spray structure that looks like the rock of the river bluffs; benches surround the tree-shaded pool. The restroom building includes changing rooms and family rest rooms.

The four reservable picnic shelters are equipped with grills, lights, and electricity. The two large shelters each seat 230 people, and the two smaller shelters each seat 604. There are also open picnic areas with tables and grills, playground and equipment. Pay lot parking.

Reservation information.

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Return Return to Parks & Recreation Index Page
Minnehaha Park
& Falls Area
Minnehaha Falls Park Overview,  Minnehaha PavilionJohn H. Stevens HouseLongfellow GardensLongfellow HousePrincess DepotPergola GardensOff-Leash Dog Rec AreaCamp Coldwater SpringsNational Grand RoundsWabun Picnic Area
Lake Nokomis
Lake Nokomis OverviewNokomis Main BeachNokomis 50th St BeachNokomis Community CenterNaturescape / Wetlands
Other Nokomis Area Recreation & Parks Bossen Park & Fields,  Ed Solomon ParkHiawatha Golf CourseKeewaydin ParkMorris Park & skate park,  Bicycling,  Fort Snelling State Park,  Lock and Dam #1 (Ford Dam),  Mn Valley National Wildlife Refuge

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