Minneapolis' Only Two-Story Skyway

Weird Nicollet Tour, Minneapolis

Minneapolis' Only Two-Story Skyway

Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407, United States

Created By: Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District


651 Nicollet Mall

Here’s a test. bring a stranger from another city to downtown Minneapolis, and ask them if they see anything weird. They will most likely point to the ubiquitous bridges of the skyway system and ask, “what are those things?”

For a local, the Minneapolis skyway seems normal. But to other eyes, the system is unique. It’s the largest connected series of second-story “skyways” anywhere in the world, and one of the thing’s that is surely strangest about downtown Minneapolis.

And if you ask most people who live or work in downtown about the skyway today, they would tell you that it was built because of the city’s famous cold winters. But, strangely enough, when the skyways were first concocted by downtown planners in 1956, they had almost nothing to do with the city’s extreme climate. The initial sketches of the skyway bridges showed them exposed to the elements, simply bridges over the streets. Back then, the skyways were designed to help solve congestion and traffic problems, and were simply bridges for the pedestrians to keep the streets clear for vehicle traffic.

Today however, the skyways are climate controlled architecturally unique bridges that allow people in downtown Minneapolis to stroll jacket-free no matter the season. This spot at 6th Street, between Nicollet and Marquette, is the only two-story skyway in the city. It was built 1989 as part of the Gaviidae Common shopping mall project. The odd name is the latin name for “loon”, and the interior of this mall once had a golden post-modern loon fountain that dropped water three stories in a large central atrium.


This point of interest is part of the tour: Weird Nicollet Tour, Minneapolis


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