Minneapolis Downtown Driving Guide
Minneapolis, Minnesota, neighbors Saint Paul in the land of 10,000 lakes. These two cities are typically referred together as the Twin Cities. Minneapolis is the largest city in the state, sitting on the west side of the Mississippi River. Often called the "first city of the West", there are roughly 218 incorporated municipalities within the metropolitan region and 15 lakes within the confines of the city limits.
Over 3.2 million people call the Twin Cities their home. City planners utilize traffic cameras, ramp meters, and high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to mitigate traffic in the area. Additionally, Metro Transit provides bus services.
With millions of people in the area, driving times to and from the suburbs are an important consideration for those planning a move into a new Minneapolis home. Fortunately, the commutes are relatively easy in comparison to other large cities in the United States. The following information provides driving times within and between the Twin Cities' counties and downtown Minneapolis.
Traveling Within Hennepin County
Home to Minneapolis, Hennepin County has a population of over 1.2 million people. The Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP) is located here, along with at least 12 Fortune 500 companies and several other large employers in healthcare, manufacturing, social assistance, and retail trade. There are several cities besides Minneapolis within Hennepin County, and commute times from each of these areas varies slightly.
Many of the major highways, including Highways 62, 100, and 169 as well as Interstate 494, run through or close to the city of Edina. During the workweek, a typical morning commute from Edina to downtown Minneapolis usually takes 20 minutes or less. In the afternoon, the time is cut to approximately 15 minutes. The evening commute from Edina takes about the same amount of time as the morning commute, approximately 20 minutes. On weekends, drivers can expect to spend less time on the morning commute, as it takes only about 15 minutes to reach downtown. Afternoons and evenings during the weekend are a bit more crowded in the downtown area, so drivers should allow for approximately 20 minutes of drive time.
Eden Prairie is located 12 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis on the north bank of the Minnesota River. The commute from Eden Prairie is slightly longer than the commute from Edina. On weekdays, the morning commute takes approximately 30 minutes to get from Eden Prairie to downtown Minneapolis. The afternoon and evening commutes are five minutes longer, but usually do not take drivers over 35 minutes. Commuting to downtown on the weekends will be easier, however. Mornings take about 25 minutes to get to downtown, whereas evening commutes take drivers about 30 minutes.
Home to the popular mega mall, Mall of America, Minneapolis is accessible from Bloomington by both Interstate 35W and Interstate 494. Those flying into and out of the Twin Cities will likely depart from or arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which is also located in this suburb. From the airport, downtown is accessible by car and public transportation. On weekdays, the morning commute into the city from Bloomington takes no more than 30 minutes, whereas in the afternoon, it takes approximately 25 minutes. The evening commute is a little longer, taking approximately 45 minutes.
Traveling Between Minneapolis and Ramsey County
About 550,000 people call Ramsey County home. The county seat and largest city in the county is also the state capitol, St. Paul. Interstates 35 and 94 both travel through Ramsey County, in addition to several U.S. highways and state roads.
Most of St. Paul is located east of the Mississippi River across the water from Minneapolis. Interstate 35E and Interstate 94 crisscross St. Paul. The majority of the city streets and roads are laid out around the curve of the river and follow the local topography. On weekdays, the morning commute from St. Paul to downtown Minneapolis takes about 20 minutes. In the afternoons and evenings, commuters plan to spend about 25 minutes on their drive. During weekends, the commute remains steady throughout the day, at approximately 20 minutes.
Roseville is located directly to the north of St. Paul. The 45th parallel, which is often called the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole, crosses directly through Roseville. The commute from Roseville to downtown Minneapolis takes between 20 and 25 minutes during the weekday, depending on the morning, afternoon, or evening. Weekend commutes between Roseville and downtown Minneapolis take about 20 minutes.
Shoreview is only located 10 miles outside downtown Minneapolis. The major interstates 35 and 694, as well as County Highway 96, are the main thoroughfares into and out of the city. Shoreview features 11 lakes and three public beaches, along with 50 miles of trails and sidewalks. On a typical weekday or weekend, a commute to the downtown area takes approximately 15 to 20 minutes in the morning, between 15 and 25 minutes in the afternoon, and no more than 25 minutes in the morning.
Traveling Between Minneapolis and Anoka County
The smallest of the three counties examined, Anoka County is located north of Minneapolis and is home to over 350,000 residents. Despite its size, it is fourth on the list of most-populous counties in Minnesota.
Blaine is the largest city in Anoka County, located 13 miles from Minneapolis and 20 miles from St. Paul. A weekday commute from Blaine to downtown Minneapolis takes up to 30 minutes in the morning, up to 40 minutes in the afternoon, and up to 35 minutes in the evening. On weekends, it will take between 20 and 35 minutes throughout the day to commute to downtown Minneapolis from Blaine.
St. Francis is situated north of the metropolitan area and has a population of just over 7,000 residents. On weekday and weekend mornings and afternoons, a commute from St. Francis to downtown Minneapolis takes between 40 minutes and an hour. The evening commute can be longer, up to 1 hour and 10 minutes, depending on traffic.
Known as the "Halloween Capital of the World," commutes from Anoka to downtown Minneapolis are anything but scary. Located approximately 21 miles to the north of Minneapolis, the commute into the downtown area is between 25 and 40 minutes on weekday mornings and weekends. In the afternoons, the drive takes up to 45 minutes, and during the evening, the commute is around 40 minutes long.
Getting Around Minneapolis
Overall, commute times to downtown Minneapolis are often less than 40 minutes from the suburbs listed above. Adequate road systems and growing public transportation work together to keep commute times throughout these counties to a minimum. However, it can always be helpful for commuters to plan their drive throughout Minneapolis in advance to arrive at their destinations on time.