We’re probably not telling you anything you don’t already know when we tell you that “going to the airport” isn’t exactly on everyone’s bucket list. But just like every destination is different, so is every airport. And just as navigating a new city is challenging in and of itself, so is navigating a new airport. Should I go for Ivar’s chowder or Beecher’s mac ‘n cheese at SeaTac? Do I have time to do yoga at SFO’s Terminal 2? How long will it take to get to ATL’s Concourse E for a cocktail at One Flew South?
If you’re anything like us, then these are probably the types of questions you have that perhaps you don’t get push notifications for. But never fear, because we have answers to your airport questions with our series of guides to America’s airports. Today we bring you the TripIt airport guide to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP).
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is located an equal distance from Minnesota’s two largest cities: just eight miles southeast of Minneapolis and eight miles southwest of St. Paul. It’s the largest airport in the upper Midwest, and one of the top-20 busiest airports in the U.S., serving as a hub for Delta, as well as small airlines like Sun Country and Great Lakes. MSP has two separate terminals, which are separate from one another but accessible by the free Light Rail Transit (LRT). Condor, Icelandair, Southwest, and Sun Country serve Terminal 2, while all other airlines are in the much larger Terminal 1. Metro Transit provides both rail and bus service within the Twin Cities to MSP, while on-airport rental car counters are located inside Terminal 1. Wi-Fi is available throughout the airport free of charge, except for premium, commercial-free Wi-Fi, which is available for a nominal fee.
Though a lesser-known international airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport features some great dining options, many of which are from renowned chefs, such as Andrew Zimmern’s Minnibar, located in Terminal 1, featuring internationally-inspired sandwiches. Many of the restaurants have the local connection, such as Ike’s, an award-winning Minneapolis restaurant with an outpost in Terminal 1, known for their gourmet burgers. Another great choice for burgers is locally-inspired TwinBurger, featuring the Jucy Lucy, a cheese-stuffed burger. Other notable restaurants in Terminal 1 include Mimosa, a French-inspired brasserie, Shoyu for Japanese, Vero for Italian, Charley’s Philly Grill for sandwiches, French Meadow Bakery, Mill City Tavern, and a plethora of franchise restaurants, such as Arby’s and Chili’s Too. Terminal 2 does have food options, but only a few, such as Subway, The Minnesota Wild, and Cocina Del Barrio.
Craft beer lovers rejoice! There may not be another airport that has a better local craft selection than MSP. You can find Surly Brewing Company, a local Minneapolis favorite, as well as many other local craft brews at Mill City Tavern, as well as at several of Terminal 1’s other restaurants mentioned above. Rock Bottom Brewery, also in Terminal 1, actually features beers that they make themselves. Many of the restaurants listed above also have impressive drink menus, such as Minnibar, which features a loaded Bloody Mary, as well as other custom craft cocktails. Ike’s on Summit also has a craft beer emphasis, featuring several beers on draft from local brewery Summit, as well as a long cocktail list that includes several types of martinis. For more of a bar, and less of a restaurant, there’s the small FlyBar in Terminal 1, which has a great wine list and a selection of craft beer and cocktails.
Like the many international airports, MSP has an arts and culture program that features artwork from local artists, live performances, and even a new film screening room. One of the first in the U.S., MSP’s screening room features short films and documentaries. Also unique to MSP is Lucky Lindy's Video Arcade, located in Terminal 1. For a quick massage before your flight, XpresSpa has a couple locations in Terminal 1. While Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is eight miles south of Minneapolis and St. Paul, it’s just a 5- to 10-minute drive to the Mall of America, the largest mall in the U.S., which also features a number of other attractions, including an indoor theme park and aquarium.
Since MSP is a hub for Delta, it has a couple Delta Club locations, both of which are in Terminal 1. Elsewhere, United has a lounge, also in Terminal 1. New to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is Escape Lounge, an independent lounge, with many of the same features and amenities of most airline lounges. Pre-book Escape Lounge and you’ll save $5.
Spencer is a seasoned food, drink, and travel writer who has written for publications from Outside Magazine to Travel + Leisure and Los Angeles Times. When he's not traveling, he's perfecting his favorite cocktails in his home bar. He chronicles his adventures (and cocktails) on his travel site, Whiskey Tango Globetrot.