In honor of our very belated start of spring here in Minnesota, here are the gardens I most love to visit around the cities in the spring and summer.
Lake Harriet Rose Garden, Minneapolis
Right on the banks of Lake Harriet in Minneapolis and intersected by the poetically named Roseway Road, the Lyndale Park Rose Garden and next-door neighbor Peace Garden are a beautifully landscaped urban escape—and a perfect place to take pictures.
Centennial Lakes Park, Edina
Head west to the opulent suburb of Edina and its many, many parks. Centennial Lakes is a great hang-out spot because in addition to its pretty views over the small lake and its scattered gardens and walking paths, there are activities like mini golf, paddle boating, bocce ball, and plenty of restaurants within walking distance. It’s also a favorite location for prom photos in the spring, so be prepared.
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chanhassen
This 1215-acre span of land in the more remote western suburbs is home to not only a massive, award-winning botanical garden of sorts—its 5000 types of plants are split into sections like the Japanese garden, rose garden, and the three-mile drive—but also to the University of Minnesota’s Horticulture Research Center, which blessed the world with the Honeycrisp apple in the ’60s. The Arboretum has a different theme each year, and artists make large sculptures (like giant bugs, treehouses, or glass flowers) that are scattered throughout the fountains and gardens.
Arneson Acres, Edina
My favorite park, also in Edina, looks like a fairytale and has a really cute gazebo as well as a museum/house where you can host grad parties. Behind the line of trees that fences the edges of the garden is a wilder field dotted with pine trees and hedges. The museum looks out over the field from the top of the perfect sledding hill.
Noerenberg Memorial Gardens, Wayzata
The final of the westward gardens, the peaceful Noerenberg has some interesting structural features like columns, a trellis tunnel, and a Japanese gazebo overlooking the lake.
Como Park Conservatory, St. Paul
On the eastern side of the metro area in Minnesota’s beautiful and historical capital, St. Paul, Como is a free zoo with an attached park and greenhouse. The warm, sunny enclosed space is perfect for visiting even in the depths of winter.
I love parks and gardens, and I was lucky to grow up in a city that has so many of them. What are your favorite green spaces in your hometown?
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