Three Runs along the Mississippi River
Minneapolis grew up along the Mississippi river. Once known as the Mill City, the river was the heart and soul of our great metropolis. While it no longer serves the same economic function it once did, it certainly retains it’s value in countless other ways.
For runners, the mighty Mississippi – and connected parkways, bikeways and bridges – provides a variety of running routes. Changing scenery, terrain and fellow outdoor enthusiasts, this unique environment offers whatever you’re looking for. Below are three of my most frequent routes.
For simplicity sake, all of these runs start and end near the Wilde Roast cafe along St. Anthony main. As this is the birthplace of the city, it will also be the birthplace of these runs. This is an easy spot to get too.
3+ Miles – Stone Arch Bridge Loop
Run down historic St. Anthony main and cross the Stone Arch bridge. Continue NW to the steps of the Hennepin bridge (past the post office). Climb the steps (or take the ramp), cross the bridge and decend onto Nicollet Island.
Continuing NW on the island will feel like you’ve stepped back in time. Find the bridge to Boom island, run through the park on then hang a right on 8th ave. Take another right on Marshal/Main, and back to where you began.
This route is short and allows you to see some of the city’s history. There are a few places you can shorten this run (eliminating the Nicollet Island loop for example). Enjoy the majestic view as you cross the Stone Arch Bridge!
6+ Miles – Franklin Street Bridge Loop
Head NW to the Plymouth bridge. Come down West River Parkway through the North Loop and continue past Mill city Museum, Gutherie Theater and under the 35W bridge.
Cross the river at Franklin, and head left on East River Parkway. Get creative and wander through the University of Minnesota until you find University Ave. Check the map for specifics, but there’s a nifty short cut that will get you back to the river just past the 35W bridge.
11+ Miles – Lake Street Bridge Loop
This run will bring you through the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods. The first half of this run is the same as the two above. Past Franklin, you’ll find yourself in two charming bungalow filled neighborhoods. The lush shade trees offer a welcome break as well as the two porta potties and drinking fountains.
Once you cross the river at Lake Street, you’re technically in St. Paul for a bit. If you have time (or need to tack on a few more miles), explore it! You’ll be amazed at the houses that overlook the bluffs.
Adjust these runs to suit your needs. Running the river is tremendously helpful as an out and back with variety. Everyone should get down here at least once a month.