North America

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN

This is our guide to the best places to run in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Neighboring Minneapolis and St. Paul, commonly known as the Twin Cities, form a large metropolitan area and are one of the most livable cities in the United States.  The best spots for running center around the lakes, the Mississippi River, and the parks connecting them. Minnesota is informally known as the land of 10,000 lakes and running around a lake is a classic Twin Cities training run. The Twin Cities Marathon is claimed to be “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America”.

Our favorites include  Chain of Lakes run, the Minnehaha Parkway, and the Mississippi River Road. In St. Paul, Lake Como is beautiful and we’ve also mapped out a tour of the Capitol and Summit Avenue. For park-like running, enjoy Fort Snelling State Park and Hyland Lake Park Preserve.

Weather in the Twin Cities can be extreme; summers are hot and humid, and winters can be brutally cold.

  • All Routes
  • Iconic Routes
  • Weather & Climate
  • Where To Stay
  • Stores & Group Runs
  • Events

The Twin Cities has a climate of extremes. Summer temperatures are comparable with other nearby major cities, such as Chicago. Temperatures from May to August are warm to hot with very high humidity. Winter temperatures, in turn, can be very cold and well below Chicago’s averages due to arctic air masses blowing from Canada. Average high temps in January are in the 20s and lows are in the single digits. Wind chill values can be dangerous. You fill have to factor in cold temperatures and icy surface conditions into your running plans. Autumn and spring are the windiest times of the year in Minnesota.

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Stay

The are lots of hotels in downtown Minneapolis, with access to Mississippi River Road. The Northern end of the Chain of Lakes is also within two-mile radius. If staying in St. Paul, the eastern end of Summit Avenue and the State Capitol are just around the corner from downtown, and Lake Como is around 3 miles northwest. Access to Fort Snelling State Park is within close proximity to the Airport hotels and Pike Island loop is at the northern part of the park.

The maps below show concentrations of hotels near major running routes.

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Running stores

Mill City Running. Great running store helps with finding the perfect shoe, apparel, nutrition suggestions and training advice. Established in 2013 by a local running enthusiastic couple. One store with great location near downtown Minneapolis at Hennepin Avenue a few blocks from Stone Arch Bridge. Has free weekly group runs with pancakes afterwards. Calendar

Gear Running Store. Family owned and operated running store with over 30 years heritage. Great customer service and knowledgeable staff. One store, located less than a mile west from Chain of Lakes. Group runs around the Lake Harriet with post-run snacks taking place on Wednesdays at 6.30pm and Saturdays at 9am.

Fleet Feet Minneapolis. Many locals know this also as Marathon Sports, which has served runners of all levels already for decades. Currently operating under the name Fleet Feet Minneapolis, but still having the same great customer service and knowledgeable staff. Located at the southern end of Lake Harriet.

TC Running Company. Two locations in the outskirts of the Twin Cities, at Eden Prairie and Maple Grove. Knowledgeable staff and one of the best running shoe selections in town. Has group runs in Maple Grove.

Community

Twin Cities Running Club. Non-profit, comprehensive running club to improve your running and make new friends. Aimed for runners of all levels and has multiple group runs each week. Membership for individuals $25 per year. Tailored running programs $35-$75 for members, $60-$100 for non-members.

Minneapolis Running. More virtual community but still with very local focus. Offers lots of interesting content on their website, plus a newsletter subscription, live running chats, challenges and meet-ups.

The Twin Cities Marathon. The main running event in the area and promotes itself to be “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America”. The route goes through many of places mentioned above: around three Minneapolis Lakes, alongside the Mississippi River, and finishing along Summit Avenue. First weekend of October.

Great River – Ragnar Relay Series. Part of the popular Ragnar Relay Series established in 2004. Teams of 6 or 12 members competing in a relay. Start at Winone on the banks of Mississippi. Includes both rural and urban running.

Get in Gear. Annual event about to celebrate their 40th anniversary. Offers something for every runner, featuring 2K, 5K, 10K and a half marathon. Takes place in April.

Hot Dash. Taking place in March, featuring 5K and 10 miles. Suitable for beginners and competitive runners alike. Has one of the top post-race beer gardens in the America.