Every city has its secrets. Whether it’s quiet lunch spots, hidden coffee shops, or obscure speakeasies, urban secrets add an element of mystery to many cities. One city, however, has a much quirkier side. Minneapolis is home to many a strange goings-on that will intrigue the curious traveler in you. From out-of-this-world experiences to pleasantly weird art, here’s our rundown of the wacky things you can see and do when you’re in town.

Find Out that Silence Can Be Golden…But Very, Very Strange

Image via Flickr CC – Justin Ladia

Like your peace and quiet? Then you must visit Orfield Laboratories‘ anechoic chamber which is officially ”the quietest place on earth” (The Guinness Book of Records says so). It absorbs 99.99% of sound and the quietness of the room could drive a person to insanity! It’s quite bizarre, but the absence of outside noise even allows you to hear your heartbeat, stomach, and lungs — which can be (understandingly) perplexing for many, and as such, visits are short and supervised.

The room is used for product development and testing. NASA, for example, uses it to test astronauts’ mettle, as they have to be ready to spend time in space, which is an endless anechoic field.

Stop for Some Divine Intervention at the Holiest Junction in the World

Minneapolis is home to one of the holiest corners of the world (another Guinness World Record!). This residential junction of sleepy Northeast Minneapolis is home to four churches. Emanuel Lutheran, Elim Baptist, St. Peter’s Lutheran, and Strong Tower Parish stand one in each corner claiming the crown for being the holiest block in the world.


Need a last-minute flight to Minneapolis? Check out some of these cheap flights to get you there!


Believe in Magic at Demings Height Park

Image via Flickr CC – August Schwerdfeger

Walk through Demings Height Park to the top of Norwegian Hill, which is the highest point in Minneapolis. This, however, is not the reason that the park is said to be magical. Keep your eyes open for a little red elf door — handmade, polished, with freshly oiled hinges — at the base of a very old tree. Locals believe that the little elf who lives here hides shiny trinkets inside the door for children to find. You could surprise him by leaving your own little gift for him!

Search Out the Hidden Beach..and Get a Hug from the Mud Man

Image via Flickr CC – Bryan Kennedy

The Hidden Beach is located on the east of Cedar Lake and gets its name from the winding pathways that lead up to it. It’s popular with Minneapolitans. So if it’s an authentic experience that only the locals know about, then this is right up your alley. Complete with its own mud pit, the beach attracts the city’s most colorful characters — skaters, reggae musicians, and Minneapolis’s very own Mud Man who greets all visitors to the beach.

Ask Yourself: Are These Manhole Covers or Objects of Art?

Image via Flickr CC – J Wynia

If you thought this list couldn’t get any quirkier well, then you must count all of Minneapolis sewer covers. They are a point of artistic pride in the city. Each design celebrates art, history, and wildlife of the locality. 11 local artists have created the various illustrations for this pervasive urban sight. From David Atkinson’s summer grill design to Stuart D. Kippler’s geography marker, the mundane has been converted to unique pieces of art.

Take a Pee(k) at Stanley’s Bar Room

Stanley’s Bar Room is famous for more than its 32 craft beers on tap. The highlight of the bar remains…the urinals in the men’s bathroom. Although over a century old, these art-deco marble monuments are still in complete working order. Taken from the bygone West Hotel in the 1940s, an urban myth prevails that Al Capone himself relieved himself in one of these beauties.

Tie Your Shoe to the University of Minnesota Shoe Tree

Image via Flickr CC – Brian Dunnette

The University of Minnesota Shoe Tree sits south of the bridge on the west bank of the Mississippi River. Sneakers, ice skates, hiking boots, and slippers dangle among the leaves of this local landmark. Some believe that it’s a rite of passage for students to celebrate losing their virginity. Others believe it’s a tradition for graduating seniors to leave their mark. Half a century since the first shoe was tied to it, the Minnesota Shoe Tree continues to guard its mystery.

Are you from Minneapolis? We would love for you to fill us in on any quirky city secrets we might have left out.

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About The Author

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.