8 Twin Cities Metro Area Destinations Worthy of an Afternoon Bike Ride

 

Minneapolis (and St. Paul, if not by name then by dint of proximity and association) often comes out on top of lists of the most bike-friendly cities in America. Great bike lane and bike path infrastructure, relatively flat terrain, and a general ease of access to necessities by bicycle contribute to routinely high rankings in this regard.

Whether you’re a seasoned city cyclist or just buckling a new helmet for the first time, there’s an undeniable thrill to taking on a longer “errand” on a pleasant summer day. To that end, we’ve compiled a list of suburban spots that you can bike to and from in an afternoon. Pick your destination of choice and head out for a spin! 

Note: Some of these rides require a small portion of street riding to reach our brewery and distillery destinations. While Minnesota law requires drivers to share the road with cyclists, please exercise caution while riding on the street.

Photo by Dan Murphy

Orienting Yourself in the Cities

Before you pedal madly off into the suburbs without a plan, we recommend getting acquainted with the major bicycle arteries in the Twin Cities that may serve—in one way or another—as a starting point for your adventure. 

Midtown Greenway

This 5.5-mile former railroad corridor now sees a steady flow of bicyclists, walkers, runners, and the occasional rollerblader. Cutting through South Minneapolis from the Mississippi River to Bde Maka Ska, it makes crosstown trips a breeze. 

If you’re headed west, Midtown Greenway connects to the chain of lakes. Continue past Bde Maka Ska and you’ll find yourself on the Cedar Lake Regional Trail (unfortunately, this particular trail is under construction until 2021 but there are good detours!) 

To go north off of the Midtown Greenway up to Theodore Wirth Park and Luce Line Regional Trail, take the spiral ramp overpass next to the city demolition-debris yard. From there you can follow a two-mile, well-marked connecting route. Signs stop at the Glenwood Avenue entry to the park, but if you’re headed in from Glenwood, turn north onto Theodore Wirth Parkway and watch for the trailhead. It’s just beyond Highway 55.

Summit Avenue

The St. Paul equivalent of Midtown Greenway (although, unlike its Minneapolis counterpart, cars do share this route) cuts west-east from the Mississippi River to downtown St. Paul. It is used heavily by commuters and recreational cyclists year-round. 

Heading Out to the ‘Burbs

Fridley

This northern suburb on the east bank of the Mississippi is home to Forgotten Star Brewing Co. Starting the ride from Target Field, it’s about 6.1 miles and takes around 30 minutes. Make your way over to ride up the east bank and stop for a beer at 56 Brewing on the way, then continue on up Marshall St. NE and keep going as it turns into East River Rd. 

Robbinsdale

To the northwest, Robbinsdale is home to Pig Ate My Pizza Kitchen + Brewery. If you’re biking there from Loring Park area it’s about a 6.8-mile trek. Connect to Luce Line Regional Trail and then hop on to a segment of Grand Rounds Trail to reach your promised fresh, cold beer in roughly 40 minutes. 

St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, Excelsior

Heading west past Bde Maka Ska, there is a string of delightful bike rides to be taken as you pedal toward the first-ring suburb of St. Louis Park and beyond. 

Assuming a starting point somewhere around Loring Park, if you head out on the Midtown Greenway, catch N. Cedar Lake Regional Trail and hop off in St. Louis Park, Copperwing Distillery is about 5.5 miles away and can be reached in roughly 30 minutes. Continue further along the same trail another mile or so and get off in Hopkins to visit LTD Brewing Co.

Additionally, if you connect with Minnesota River Bluffs Regional Trail, you can get to Boom Island Brewing in Minnetonka for a total ride distance of 10.7 miles (about 55 minutes.) Still not enough of a challenge for some of you? Ride N. Cedar Lake Trail out to Hopkins and then get on the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail which will take you all the way out to Excelsior Brewing Company in about 15.6 miles (around 1 hour, 20 minutes.)

Inver Grove Heights

South past St. Paul, Inver Grove Brewing is a great bike destination in the suburb of Inver Grove Heights. The idea here is to take MN 156/Concordia Blvd E. and keep following it south. A 13.1-mile, 1-hour-15 minute ride in total, this route boasts a potential stop at Wabasha Brewing along the way and begins nearby Tin Whiskers Brewing if you fancy a cool drink to start things off right. 

Keen on the idea of one of our suburb bike destinations but not sure about the particulars? We’ve put together a map with turn-by-turn directions for each route: bit.ly/biketotheburbs