Minneapolis' landscape may be naturally flat, but some of the world's greatest architects have left their imprint to form a major city like no other. Preserved historic buildings representing important styles stand alongside sparkling, eco-friendly edifices, creating a unique urban environment worth exploring.
Founded in 1963, this acclaimed performance institution dedicated to the theatrical arts and contemporary playwriting has been housed since 2006 in a contemporary building designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel. A main 1,100-seat auditorium with a distinctive three-sided thrust stage is complemented by two separate, smaller stages, while the exterior features the notable cantilevered Amber Box and Endless Bridge.
818 S. Second St., Minneapolis, MN; guthrietheater.org
Weisman Art Museum
Designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry in his signature abstract style, this gleaming structure has been a highlight of the University of Minnesota campus since 1993. The museum's collection ranges from traditional Korean furniture to American modernist works.
333 E. River Rd., Minneapolis, MN; wam.umn.edu
A visit to Minneapolis would be incomplete without a stroll through its skyway system, the hub of which is the IDS Center. The tallest skyscraper in the city, this 57-story tower designed by influential architect Philip Johnson opened in 1972. Today it incorporates offices, a hotel, dining, shopping and the 23,000-square-foot Crystal Court, an award-winning urban park. The center is seen in the opening of The Mary Tyler Moore Show as well as Prince's Purple Rain.
80 S. Eighth St., Minneapolis, MN; ids-center.com
Minneapolis Central Library
Founded in 1885, the Minneapolis Public Library has occupied three distinct structures, the latest of which is a modernist vision by César Pelli that opened in 2006. Volunteer docents offer free tours of the 353,000-square-foot building, whose highlights include a multistory atrium, enormous green roof and community art exhibits.
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis, MN; hclib.org
Amos B. Coe House
This historic home and adjacent carriage barn dating back to the 1880s are excellent examples of the city's remaining Queen Anne architecture. Located in the Stevens Square neighborhood, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Though it once housed an African-American history museum, it contains private apartments.
1700 S. Third St., Minneapolis, MN; minneapolismn.gov