Minnesota’s first skyscraper was built in 1929, and among its highlights – if not the highlight – is an observation deck on the 30th floor that offers a 360-degree view of Minneapolis.
Located in Downtown Minneapolis, the Foshay Tower is a 32-floor, 447-foot building. It was built by business mogul Wilbur Foshay, who modeled the tower after the Washington Monument.
It’s always nice to see cities from up high, and Minneapolis is no exception. If you’re vertically challenged like myself, though, it’s a little hard to take seamless panoramic photos of the view up top because the concrete wall comes up probably about four feet high, and there are a lot of metal bars that come in the way of moving your hands and arms around freely.
Still, it’s an attraction to check out because of its historical significance and because it’s the only space of its kind in the city. And you can still get decent photos and views even if you’re a little shorter.
Admission to the observation deck is $8 for adults and $5 for seniors (65+) and students/teens. Children 12 years old and under get in for free. If you’re a hotel guest, you also get free access.
Also on the 30th floor is a museum with loads of information about the tower in the form of old photographs, newspaper articles, and digital screens where you can listen to narrations about a variety of topics – including the history of the building, history of Wilbur Foshay, and the renovation of the building to the hotel – while watching vintage photographs float across. Perhaps one of the more intriguing exhibits are old brass keys for offices that used to be in the tower.
Until 1972, the Foshay Tower was the tallest building in the Minnesota. It was also a technological pioneer of the era when it was built, boasting the 37 seconds it took to ride the elevator from the bottom floor to the top floor.
Apart from the observation deck and museum, there’s a “speakeasy in the sky” on the 27th and 28th floors called Prohibition Bar. Those two floors were meant to be Wilbur Foshay’s private, full-floor retreat. Among features of the bar are a fireplace, library, seats situated right next to the window for beautiful views of Minneapolis, plush sofa chairs, and black tables and high chairs.
A large part of the historic building is now occupied by a luxury hotel called W Minneapolis – The Foshay. Room rates start at a little over $100/night, which isn’t bad. I’ll probably look into staying there if I’m ever back in the area.