Top 7 Bike Trips around the Twin Cities
Minneapolis and St. Paul have some of the best bike paths in the country. This year especially we’ve put our bikes to good use checking out most of the trails around Minneapolis and St. Paul. Along the way, I’ve found great restaurants and other spots to turn the rides into bigger adventures.
Below are my top 7 favorite bike routes. Check them out – there’s still plenty of summer and fall left to hit the trails!
1) Excelsior to Victoria via the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail
(approx. 15 miles round trip)
You can park in one of the free parking lots around Excelsior (we parked in the West Public lot) and then hop on the Lake Minnetonka Regional Trail heading West. The path starts off in a forested area and is relatively flat. It’s a really enjoyable ride but the highlight for me was arriving to Victoria. Before you get into the downtown area of Victoria, turn right (North) on the bike trail just west of Park Drive and bike around the Carver Park Reserve. This area is beautiful and so peaceful!
Before heading back to Minnetonka, you could check out a restaurant in Victoria. School of the Wise is recommended although we haven’t had a chance to try it yet. You could also grab a bite to eat back in Minnetonka at the end of your ride – Lagos Tacos, Coalition and Maynards are all great choices. Excelsior Brewing Company is also an option for a beer and don’t forget an ice cream from Licks Unlimited! Some restaurants are doing takeout only – which is perfect or a picnic overlooking Lake Minnetonka.
2) Wayzata Bay to Minnetrista vía Dakota Rail Trail
(approx. 22 miles round trip)
Wayzata Bay is the perfect starting point for a bike ride with free parking and plenty of restaurants and shops to enjoy after your out-and-back ride. From Wayzata Bay, you’ll ride along the gorgeous Lake Minnetonka before enjoying more shaded tree areas and farm land in Minnetrista. We biked about 11 miles each way although you could continue further into Minnetrista. Back in Wayzata Bay, enjoy a meal at newly opened The Grocer’s Table, happy hour at CoV or perhaps a salad from Crisp & Green. Wayzata Brew Works is a great spot to celebrate a great ride with a brew. Not too far away is Nautical Bowls which would be another great post-bike treat.
3) Cedar Lake Regional Trail to Westwood Hills Nature Center
(approx. 10 miles round trip)
The Cedar Lake trail runs parallel with 394 and is a great way to travel to/from St. Louis Park/Hopkins and downtown. We biked from Cedar Lake to Westwood Hills Nature Center via the relatively flat trail and it was a really peaceful route. We stopped en route to pick up dinner from Ariana Kabob & Gyro Bistro and then had a picnic at the nature center. I’ve driven on 394 thousands of times and never knew this gem nature center was there. Can’t wait to go back and explore more!
4) Theodore Wirth to Medicine Lake via Luce Line Trail
(approx. 12-15 miles round trip)
The Luce Line State trail is actually over 60 miles long but did just a fraction of it from the eastern end at Theodore Wirth Park to Medicine Lake. En route, we saw forests and lakes/ponds. We also biked through some residential/commercial areas. Medicine Lake is particularly gorgeous around sunset. While there is parking available in Theodore Wirth Park, we enjoyed a picnic from Yum! Bakery in St. Louis Park prior so began our bike ride at Cedar Lake which added a few miles to the ~12 miles round trip just the Luce Line trail would be. A Yum! picnic was definitely worth the extra miles plus you could park in the neighborhood around Cedar Lake before starting the ride. Theodore Wirth is another area you could park in to start this ride.
5) Uptown to St. Paul via the Greenway and Summit Ave.
(approx. 25 miles round trip)
I love biking from Minneapolis to St. Paul to enjoy a day trip in the other Twin City. It’s really easy to get there via the Midtown Greenway and Summit Ave. Parking is available around Uptown and the Chain of Lakes for your starting point. The Greenway is a really nice pathway that connects you to the Mississippi River. From there, you’ll cross the river and spend some time on streets (in bike lanes) as you maneuver to Summit Avenue. Summit is a very bike friendly road and makes for great people and house watching. The mansions are gorgeous! Our first stop in St. Paul is usually Cossetta for pizza and pasta. From there, check out the Mississippi River, Rice Park and the shops along Selby Ave. I can recommend a slice of cake from Café Latte! Your bike back may be a little slower 😉
6) Cedar Lake Regional Trail to Downtown Minneapolis
(approx. 12 miles round trip)
The Cedar Lake Trail not only heads west, as noted above, but east to Downtown. Right now, there is some construction as you get closer to downtown but there are detour signs that will navigate you through the Loring Park area. The benefit of the detour route is you’ll pass the Walker Art Center and can enjoy the Sculpture Garden. Once downtown, navigate on street bike lanes to the iconic Stone Arch Bridge. From here, check out a brewery or cidery. We’ve enjoyed cider tasting at Minneapolis Cider Company and Number 12 Cider. There are so many good restaurants you could do takeout and have a picnic by the river. We chose to have tacos from Centro and enjoyed them next door over a brew from Indeed Brewing. For more restaurant/brewery ideas, check out Day One of my Minneapolis guide here.
7) Uptown to Minnehaha Falls via The Greenway and Hiawatha Regional Trail
(approx. 18 miles round trip)
A classic bike route will take you along the Greenway east to the River and then south along on street bike lanes on 55 (Hiawatha Regional Trail) to Minnehaha Falls Regional Park. The Falls are the most iconic in Minneapolis (argue it!) and are the perfect spot for a picnic before exploring. Some of my favorite restaurants nearby you can do takeout at are All Square (read about their excellent mission here) and Sea Salt Eatery (right at the falls).
Am I missing any of your favorite routes? Comment below!