"Minneapolis Skyline - HDR" by Dustin Gaffke via Flickr Creative Commons

While 40 million annual visitors, Minnesota’s biggest draw is undoubtedly the Mall of America (yay commercialism), but if you’re not looking to drop some dough on the latest fashion, you can support the economy in plenty of other ways. Known as the “City By Nature,” Minneapolis is a wondrous mix of natural attractions and manmade wonders, perfect for a long weekend with the family or friends.

Here are a few great things to do in Minneapolis, no matter what you’re interested in.

"Mill City Museum (In Living Color!)" by A Brand New Minneapolis via Flickr Creative Commons

Get a History Lesson – Mill City Museum, Hennepin History Museum

Located right on the picturesque Mississippi riverfront, the Mill Museum is a cross section of the flour industry, the river, and the city of Minneapolis. There is a hands-on baking lab, observation deck and gallery for learning with a view. When you’re ready for a change of pace, the Hennepin History Museum is one of the Twin Cities' most unique social history museums with exhibits housed in a historic mansion.

"P1020214.jpg" by Bridget Samuels via Flickr Creative Commons

Enjoy the Outdoors – Lake Harriet, Lake of the Isles, Minnehaha Park

The land of 10,000 lakes has no shortage of outdoor playgrounds, but some of the best right are right in downtown Minnesota. For biking and walking, head to Lake Harriet, also known for their summer concert series, while Lake of the Isles is where to go for canoeing in summer and ice-skating in the winter months. The crown jewel though? Minnehaha Park boasts a 53-foot waterfall, limestone bluffs and river overlooks for a perfect day in the park.

"Minneapolis Sculpture Garden" by FaceMePLS via Flickr Creative Commons

Appreciate the Arts – Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

The MIOA is a free, non-profit museum in the heart of downtown, showcasing visual arts around the globe with pieces from ancient artifacts to modern day. To get cultured while enjoying the great outdoors, head to the Walker Art Center Sculpture Garden, with more than 40 works commissioned by local and international artists. The crown jewel is the Spoonbridge and Cherry, a perfect photo opp of your time in Minneapolis.

"The Park at Mall of America" by Robin via Flickr Creative Commons

Entertain the Kids – EMS Exhibit Center, Water Park of America

There is no shortage of things to do with kids in Minnesota and the entertainment complex at Mall of America will make sure of it. Featuring Star Trek the Exhibition, CSI: The Experience, and Barbie’s Dream House, those are just a few of the interactive experiences for the whole family. Also nearby is 70,000 sq. ft. of aquatic fun including the tallest indoor water slide in America, two-dozen thrill rides, arcade games, leisure pools, and hot tubs.