The “Above the Falls” stretch of the river runs along the east and west banks of the Mississippi River from St. Anthony Falls in downtown Minneapolis upriver to the city limits.
While Minneapolis is broadly known for its park development, this stretch does not follow that traditional narrative. The vast majority of this area has long been developed for industrial and other uses.
However, through the efforts of community groups, organizations such as Friends of the Mississippi River and the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership, and the Minneapolis park board, this area is beginning to be transformed. Eventually, it will be home to a green ribbon of parks, trails and amenities akin to those in other parts of the city.
Although much of the overall area is industrial, there are still many parks and green stretches worth a visit. Several smaller parks comprise the larger Above the Falls Regional Park with more still to come.
- Sheridan Memorial Park, tucked behind the Grain Belt brewery complex in Northeast Minneapolis features a large public art installation and raingarden along the riverfront. The Sheridan Veterans Memorial honors all Minnesota veterans and is centered around a large spherical sculpture of protective shields, created by local artist Robert Smart. A large raingarden, installed and maintained by Above the Falls volunteers, helps to filter runoff pollution that otherwise run into the river. It also provides much-needed pollinator and bird habitat while beautifying the area.
- In North Minneapolis, Ole Olsen park is known for its stunning skyline views and riverfront trails, which connect to nearby river parkways. It is also the site of an innovative pollinator and showy native prairie planting, also maintained by Above the Falls volunteers.
- Edgewater Park is known primarily for its overlook and views, while nearby Gluek Park is popular for weddings. Gluek is home to a picnic shelter and overlooks as well.
Numerous attractions are within walking distance, including Boom Island, St. Anthony Main, Northeast Arts District and an assortment of trails and parkland along the riverfront.