May 25, 2012 by Melissa
A few weeks ago we decided to head to the Stone Arch Bridge over the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis. It was early on a Sunday morning, we were in the mood for an adventure from our bucket list, and we’ve always wanted to explore the area around the bridge. If you don’t know anything about this bridge, it was built by James J. Hill (you should really tour his house in St. Paul-also kid friendly) in 1883 to provide for quicker movement across the river of people and products. It has 23 arches and is made of Minnesota granite and limestone. It’s beautiful, if I do say so myself, and the views it provides of downtown Minneapolis, St. Anthony Falls, Hennepin Island Park, the newer Mill Ruins Park, the new Guthrie Theater, and of the river itself are really outstanding.
We parked on a side street (for free) near the east side of the bridge. As it was a Sunday morning and a bit cloudy, it was quiet and serene, with just a few runners, bikers, and other families with small children. Those really are some of the only people up at that hour on a Sunday morning. We could hear the falls, the birds, and the ducks and really felt unhindered in taking our time to see all we could see.
My favorite part of the walk was actually something I hadn’t heard of until this visit-the Mill Ruins. These are ruins from the heyday of 19th century flour mills powered by St. Anthony Falls. The park is the result of archaeological excavations of the area. It really is fascinating to look at what the riverfront used to look like and the ruins are beautiful to see.
So if you’re in the mood for a walk with some grand views, I can’t recommend this stroll over Stone Arch Bridge enough. Bring your camara and binoculars, pack some snacks and take it all in.