Travel from Raleigh to Minneapolis without breaking the bank

Photo: iStockPhoto

You don't necessarily have to go far, far away to have a memorable vacation: there are plenty of U.S. cities worth exploring. And according to Conde Nast Traveler, Minneapolis, Minnesota is one of the 18 best places to visit in 2018.

Fortunately, there are plenty of relatively inexpensive flights between Raleigh and Minneapolis in the next few months, at least according to travel siteSkyscanner.

Here's a list of flights, hotels, restaurants and local attractions in Minneapolis to get you excited about your next urban excursion.

(Hoodline offers data-driven analysis of local happenings and trends across cities. Links included in the articles may earn Hoodline a commission on clicks and transactions. Prices and availability are subject to change.)

Flights




Currently, the cheapest flights between Raleigh and Minneapolis are if you leave on August 15 and return back from Minnesota on August 18. Frontier Airlines has roundtrip, nonstop tickets for just over $112.

Frontier also has tickets at that price point later in September, specifically if you fly out of Raleigh on September 22 and return from Minneapolis on September 26.

Hotels



Photo: The Westin Minneapolis




If you're looking for an inexpensive place to stay, consider Aloft Minneapolis (900 Washington Ave. S). The hotel has a 5-star rating on Skyscanner, and rooms are currently available for $89/night. The 155-unit hotel includes a restaurant, a cafe and an indoor pool.

Another 5-start option is the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis (1300 Nicollet Mall). Rooms are currently set at $99/night. Located in the heart of Minneapolis, it's close to the Minneapolis Convention Center, Basilica of Saint Mary and Target Center.

A pricier alternative is The Westin Minneapolis (88 South 6th St.), which has rooms for $129/night. The 214-room hotel has a swimming pool, a health club and a restaurant.

Restaurants



Pork Belly Eggs Benedict. | Photo: Ashley C./Yelp




Minneapolis has plenty of topnotch dining options. If you're looking for a local favorite, head to Barbette (1600 West Lake St.). Here's what Skyscanner has to say about the French eatery:

"Named Best French Restaurant, populist vote' by Mpls St. Paul Magazine, Barbette has also received best of's' from local press for its late night dining, desserts, wine list, date spot, music, and, of course, those french fries that accompany the steak frites. Chef Kevin Kathman uses local and organic ingredients as often as possible, presenting beautiful food in a casual, eclectic, bistro atmosphere. Says Star Tribune reviewer Rick Nelson: "I reveled in a meal that tasted far more expensive than the final tab suggested..."

Another popular dining destination is Jax Cafe (1928 University Ave. NE). The landmark restaurant serves steaks and seafood in an elegant, old-school setting that includes a garden patio and a family-friendly feel.

If you're looking for a solid place to grab some ice cream, plan to visit Sebastian Joe's Ice Cream Cafe (1007 W Franklin Ave.). "Neighborhood favorite" flavors include raspberry chocolate chip, salty caramel and chocolate, and it makes its own waffle cones. The parlor also sells homemade ice cream sandwiches, ice cream pies and something called Joe's Brrr Bars.

Attractions



Lake Calhoun. | Photo: iStockPhoto




Although there's plenty to do while in the city of Minneapolis, one of the best things about visiting Minnesota is exploring its many lakes.

First up is Lake Calhoun, where Minneapolis comes to play, whether it be volleyball and sunbathing in the summer or ice fishing in its frozen winters. Three miles of paved paths circle the lake, creating a beautiful setting for afternoon strolls, skating or biking. Kayakers and windsurfers take to the water in the warm months, and the lake offers three swimming beaches as well. The crowd is young and the vibrancy is high, making Lake Calhoun a fun attraction for both locals and visitors alike.

Then, there's Lake Harriet. Whether you prefer walking, skating or cycling, Lake Harriet supplies you with miles of trails in varying degrees of difficulty to truly enjoy the forest. After your walk, you can visit the Bread and Pickle restaurant for locally grown cuisine in a zero waste environment. Of course, even if the only thing you choose to do is sunbathe with the occasional swim to the floating dock, you are sure to remember your visit to Lake Harriet.

Lastly, spend a day out in the sun at the Lake of the Isles. Formerly a stagnant marsh, the area's property values went up tremendously after the city dredged the swamp in the 1880s. After that, some of the city's finest homes were built around it. Whether you want to lie out in the sun and get a tan, go fishing or canoeing, have a picnic or read a book under a giant shade tree, you can do it all those things and more at the Lake of the Isles.
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