Grand Rounds Scenic Byway

State: Minnesota
Length: 52 miles / 83.7 km
Time to Allow: 3 to 4 hours will give you ample time to experience this Byway.

The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is a little longer than the Edge of Wilderness Byway as it’s 52 miles long and takes about three to four hours to enjoy. Turn the trip into a few days to spend time at each of the sights along the way in this gorgeous area, ready to delight everyone. It’s short enough to bike if you are looking for a great place to spend the summer on your bike. The route also follows a circuitous route that allows you to end where you started.

As it surrounds Minneapolis, let’s start in the center. Fans of art can find the Walker Museum in town with tons of ideas and open spaces to relax in the garden. The sculpture museum is free year-round and houses dozens of works of art. When you are done exploring the art, try out shopping, an active nightlife, and tons of restaurants.

Minneapolis is also the City of Lakes, with 180 parks and over 55 miles of biking and walking trails. With 22 lakes, 12 gardens, and seven golf courses, this is the town to be for outdoor lovers. The town boasts a waterfall and several nature sanctuaries. Make sure to visit Minnehaha Park to see the pristine waterfall. This area weaves around densely wooded areas and the Chain of Lakes. Stop for a bite to eat at the Sea Salt Eatery for a meal outside with a view.

Head downtown to the riverfront home to some of the city’s oldest structures and including the Guthrie Theatre. Along the byway, you will also see the Stone Arch Bridge, St. Anthony Falls, Mill City, Museum, and Gold Medal Park. When you leave the downtown part of the byway and start going downhill toward the Mississippi River’s west bank. Across the way is the Weisman Art Museum making a gorgeous backdrop against the leaves.

Make a point on the byway to check out the Victory Memorial, a tree-lined bike trail, and the largest war memorial in the Twin Cities. Look for over five hundred evenly spaced bronze markers commemorating those who died in World War One. From there, head to the 42nd Street Bridge to enjoy the art district filled with bars, restaurants, and shopping.

If you are coming from Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, or the Dakotas may find this a great way to take a driving trip close to home. Not many cities warrant their own byway, but this city puts a focus on art and nature. With so many lakes, the area makes a spectacular location for fun summer activities like boating and swimming.

Families with children will find this to be a beneficial trip with tons of sights for kids too. Take the family to REM5 for state-of-the-art virtual reality or try out one of several museums, including a Science Museum with tons to learn. The whole family will love taking the Minneapolis Water Taxi for an hour-long boat ride down the Mississippi River.

More Minnesota Byways

You can check out additional Byways in Minnesota by clicking on the list of byways below, or by going to the Minnesota Byways home section. To find even more of scenic byways in the United States, visit our scenic byways map.