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Oct 08, 2018
There are some people who compare the Minneapolis Skyline to the skyline from the Wizard of Oz. I won't say if I agree with those who say that, but I will say Minneapolis does have an absolutely wonderful skyline to look at and photograph. Now, I do live here so I may be biased. But man, do I ever love photographing and viewing this skyline that is home for me.
In this blog, I am going to cover Six beautiful places to view and photograph the Minneapolis Skyline from. I know, the title of this blog says five places. In just one paragraph into this thing and I've already decided to give you a bonus. But before I get to those five places, er, six places, I do have one complaint to get off my chest. Despite the places that I will soon be showing you, there are others that I just cannot list here. The reason I can't is because it would be dangerous for anyone to try these spots. Some of my absolute favorite spots to view the Minneapolis Skyline from are while driving on the freeways around town. It's crazy, I would absolutely LOVE to just stop my car, grab my gear, and start taking photos. But there are other cars flying by at 70+ MPH, so that wouldn't be prudent.
Now, on to my list of 5 Scenic Places to View and Photograph the Minneapolis Skyline From.
The first spot that I am going to mention is the Plymouth Ave. Bridge. There are three bridges that cross the Mississippi River as the river flows south towards downtown Minneapolis, the closes of which is the Plymouth Ave. Bridge. The other two are the West Broadway Bridge, and the Lowry Bridge. Each of which also offers wonderful views of the Minneapolis Skyline. The reason I prefer the Plymouth Ave. bridge over those other two is because you have the ability to include a lighthouse in your view and photograph! You can easily get to the Plymouth Ave Bridge from Boom Island Park, on the East side of the bridge, or from a parking lot on the West side of the bridge. I prefer the Boom Island Park as it's a great park with many great views of the Minneapolis Skyline, great walking and biking paths, and plenty of open spaces to enjoy. The fireworks in the photograph are the Aquatennial fireworks. I had never watched the fireworks from this bridge so I really didn't know where they would show up, and they showed up perfectly where I was hoping they would. I highly recommend watching the Minneapolis Aquatennial fireworks and also taking in the views from the Plymouth Ave Bridge.
The second spot is Prospect Park, which is also the home of the Witches Hat water tower. The reason it is called the Witches Hat is that it actually looks like a witches hat. The water tower sits on the highest grounds in the city of Minneapolis and offers a spectacular view of US Bank Stadium and the Minneapolis Skyline. I highly recommend this spot to watch the sunset. In fact, I may have taken a few dates here just to watch the sunset with them. The photo above was shot during the first half of the 2018 NFL Super Bowl. The temperature was well below zero, and the wind was coming directly into my face, so, it was VERY cold working on catching this view. I was hoping they would have some searchlights since it was the Super Bowl, but I'm still very happy with the way the photo turned out.
The third place to view and photograph the Minneapolis Skyline is actually a parking ramp. If you drive your car to the top of the ramp it will cost you a couple of bucks, but the view just may be worth it. You could also walk or take the elevator up as well. This is the view from the top of the 19th Ave Ramp. Before taking this photo, I had never been to this ramp. Seeing the view when I got to the top of it was wonderful. I feel that this is the best view for seeing and getting photos of US Bank Stadium with the Downtown Minneapolis Skyline behind it. You can also see some nice sunsets from this parking ramp as well. The photo you see here was shot shortly after sunset and a beautiful summer evening in Minneapolis.
My fourth spot to view and photograph the downtown skyline in Minneapolis is on a former railroad track that spans the Mississippi River. The bridge is called Northern Pacific Bridge Number 9, and this bridge just may give you the most colorful view of Minneapolis and its skyline. This former railroad bridge is now a pedestrian and bike bridge, and as you can see from the photo above, the view is spectacular. You get the added color from the 35W Bridge that also spans the Mississippi River. This is the bridge that infamously collapsed earlier this century. The new bridge is always lit up in colorful lights, and that color always reflects off of the Mississippi River below it. On holidays and special events, the colors of the 35W bridge will adapt to the holiday. On the night I shot the photo above, the bridge was lit in Red and Blue to honor the home opener of the Minnesota Twins. The only downfall for this bridge is there is nowhere to park nearby, so if you are driving there, you will have a decent walk to get to the bridge. But once you get there, the view is absolutely worth it.
My #5 spot to view and photograph the Minneapolis Skyline is in the St. Anthony Main area of Minneapolis. This area has numerous places that give spectacular views of Minneapolis. My particular favorite spot is right by the Water Power Park. There is a dam on this part of the Mississippi River, so the water is always very calm and reflective here. This area has a movie theater and several nice places to get a bite to eat or enjoy a beverage. There are three parks all right next to each other that are worth exploring, and you can also take a stroll on the iconic Stone Arch Bridge. But as for views and photography, in my mind, you just can't beat the view by the Water Tower Park and its reflective water. It doesn't matter if you are there at dawn, at dusk, or at night, the reflections, the skyline, and the 3rd Ave bridge are wonderful sites to see, as you can tell from the photo above.
As I mentioned above, I have a bonus 6th spot to view and photograph the Minneapolis Skyline from. This bonus spot may be the most iconic of them all. The reason I did not include it in the main part of my list is that it no longer exists. The bridge all of us photographers used to get the view you see above has been demolished as part of a massive reconstruction of the 35W Interstate. When they are finished, the new bridge will be 20-feet lower than the old bridge, and the freeway lanes below it will not have the same twisting, curvy motion to them. And it will be around three more years before the new pedestrian bridge will be finished.
Now it's your turn. Do you have any favorite views of the Minneapolis Skyline that I didn't mention above? If you have any questions about the locations that I mentioned, please feel free to comment below or send me a message.
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