5 Reasons to Visit the Mill City Museum

Mill City Historical Complex in Minneapolis

Checkout some of the iconic sites of Minneapolis located near the Mill City museum.

On a super warm February this past winter we decided to checkout the Mill City museum. As MN Historical Society members we have visited the MN History Museum on a number of occasions, but this was our first stop at this particular site. I didn’t have any previous knowledge of the history of this area and I was amazed at the stories from the past hugging the banks of St. Anthony’s Falls.

Mill City Museum Visit

5 Reasons to Visit the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis

Check out the iconic sites of Minneapolis by visiting the Mill City Museum.

It was so unusual to have such a spectacular day in the midst of February. Looking at these pictures {minus the few glimpses of snow} you’d probably think that we visited this summer. While the bulk of the museum itself makes for a great indoor activity, it’s the walk along the river and over the bridge next to the museum that lends itself best to ideal weather.

St Anthony Falls

1. Great Photo Backdrops 

As a fan of photography and beautiful pictures in general a visit to the Mill City museum has a plethora of stylish backdrop options. I had so much fun having my little fellas pose near some of these interesting walls and brick patterns. This visit was a such a great informal way to capture some great photos of my boys. I could definitely envision coming to this area again to take a bit more formal pictures as well. 

Three Brothers Mill City Museum

Mill City wall

Mill City river area

Mill City backdrop

2. Walk Among the Ruins

Right next to the museum is the St. Anthony Falls area and the Stone Arch Bridge which connects Downtown East part of Minneapolis to Dinkytown. This area is chalk full of history scattered with the remains of it’s milling past along with restored iconic signs from the time period. I love history in it’s raw form, not restored, but rather observable as it as was left. 

Old Technology Meets New

St Anthony Falls area

The remnants of these old mills still lie at the banks of the St. Anthony River allowing visitors to actually walk alongside history. I think I like crumbled history versus restored history because I can use my imagination to build the past. 

Mill City rubble

Mill City area buildings

Mill City building

3. Fun Interactive Exhibits

The Mill City museum has lots of interactive history examples for little kids to explore. This is why we are members of the Minnesota Historical Society. As a boy mom, three times over, stuffy untouchable museums are not ideal. My guys like to play, explore, and test for themselves. So many of the different MN Historical Society sites we’ve visited are designed to engage children in learning. 

There is an entire room dedicated to help children understand the way a river can harness energy. 

Mill City waterworks

train tracks Mill City

Mill City water

For sure the best feature of the museum is the Flour Tower ride through history. Enter a large elevator for a ride through the many levels of history on display. This ride is a very creative way to showcase the stories of the building and up at the top level you can step outside for amazing views of St. Anthony’s Falls area. 

Mill City interactives

4. Beautiful Iconic Minneapolis Sites 

It is hard not to be struck by the beauty of this area. The river, the stone arch bridge, iconic Minnesota milling logos, and large old brick buildings this is a site that everyone should definitely see at some point. I’ve now added it to my list of places to take guests who visit. I was accustomed to seeing images of the Gold Medal Flour sign pop-up across different Minneapolis references, but this was my closest interaction with the sign. And I definitely didn’t realize it was located that the Mill City museum. 

Gold Medal Flour

Gold Medal Flour Mill City

Mill City Museum

Pillsbury view

Mill City views

5. Minnesota History 

If you are a Minnesota resident or even if you are just visiting the area soak up as much local history as you can! Well, that’s my motto anyway:) I’m somewhat ashamed to admit I didn’t really know much of anything about the milling past of Minneapolis. This area had such an important impact on Minneapolis and the entire state of Minnesota. The museum is actually built on the ruins of what was once the world’s largest flour mill. 

Mill City wall

Mill City bridge St Anthony's Falls

Mill City Museum Minnesota

Have you visited the Mill City museum before? Or the St. Anthony’s Falls area? What is your favorite part? 


  1. Looks like you all had a great time~I want to visit there now too!

  2. The ruins are so pretty. I think that area is great especially when they have fireworks along the river there.

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