Nestled in the heart of cities is one of my favorite places in the whole wide world- Minnehaha Falls. My grandparents live near Minnehaha Park and I spent many summers strolling down the Minnehaha Parkway for a dilly bar at Dairy Queen and a glimpse of the falls.
Minnehaha Falls is a beautiful waterfall that draws over 85,000 visitors a year, but the park is so much more than just a nice waterfall. Walk below the falls to a quiet swimming area, and follow the rushing Minnehaha Creek to the mouth of the Mississippi River. Wander through the Pergola Garden, admire the Stevens House and Princess Depot. Enjoy a picnic in Wabun Park, and hear a local band at the bandstand. Admire the blooms in the Longfellow gardens and bring your four-legged friend to the dog park.
As many times as I’ve visited the park, it’s always been busy. Even in the dead of winter, Minnesotans flock to this local landmark. That is what makes my last visit to the park special- we had it all to ourselves.
Luke and I both had a week day off of work, and he had volunteered to serve breakfast at a shelter at 5:00 in the morning. Instead of sleeping in, I picked up pastries from one of my favorite French bakeries and met him at the Falls at 7:00 am.
Despite opening at 6:00am, the park was deserted. The occasional runner or dog walker passed by, but we felt like we had the entire park to ourselves. We took advantage of this opportunity and ate our breakfast below the falls, on the walking bridge over the creek. We ate our entire breakfast without interruption, with a perfect, unobstructed view of the falls.
There is something so calming about being outdoors, surrounded by chirping birds and rushing water, under a canopy of green, spotted with dappled sunshine. We love that this oasis is nestled in our state’s largest, busiest city. The paths and trees and waterfalls are just as much part of the city as the skyscrapers downtown. It’s one of the things we love most about this city.
If you’ve never visited the Falls, grab a picnic basket and friend and come see what you’ve been missing. And if you’re an old friend of the park, come back. Even after hundreds of visits, the Falls still take my breath away.