Coming from Los Angeles, one of the coolest things about Downtown Minneapolis is the city’s skyway system – something you don’t really find in the Southern California city.
The Minneapolis Skyway system is a network of skyways (which are indoor pedestrian footbridges) that allow people to walk between a number of buildings in Downtown Minneapolis. It attracts an estimated 260,000 visitors each day. The skyways span over an estimated 9 miles and connect buildings across 90 blocks, making it the most extensive skyway system around the world! There are 118 skyways and tunnels in the core of Downtown Minneapolis, and 160 of those in the City of Minneapolis.
I read about the skyways when researching about the city and was so excited to walk between buildings using them. I actually ended up not using them too much because the weather outside was bearable. Instead, I just checked out a few of them and spent a lot of time soaking in the totally new concept to me by looking down at the cars passing by outside and walking back and forth across a few skyways. I also noticed that they are separated from each building with automatic doors, which is convenient because you can effortlessly walk your way through the system without the small hassle of having to push doors open.
When the weather is extremely hot or cold (in the winter, the average high temperature in Minneapolis is 23.7 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average snowfall is 12 inches), or if it’s raining, these indoor footbridges are such a convenient way to get around.
You can get to a number of establishments through the skyway system, including banks, restaurants, shops, offices, and other businesses. And even if you’re trying to get to a destination that ultimately lies outside a building connected to a skyway, using the system is a great way to eliminate time you may otherwise spend walking outside.
When I visited, I also noticed security walking around consistently, making it feel safe.
This was really interesting to me because this isn’t a thing in Los Angeles.
Minneapolis’ skyway system first started in 1962. There are also skyways in Saint Paul, although it’s not as extensive as its sister city’s. More on the history of these skyways can be found here.
The skways are operated privately by the buildings they run between, so their hours of operation vary. However, most do follow the Uniform Skyway hours:
Monday to Friday: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday: Noon to 6 p.m.
You can find more information about hours of operation here.
If you’d like to use the skyways to get around during the evening, it is a little bit of a downside that some close kind of early. But it’s a mode of getting around to keep in mind if you’ll be out during the hours they’re open and when weather conditions are unfavorable 🙂