12 Attractions in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Last Updated on February 11, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Eden Prairie is known for its thriving economy, premiere shopping centers, and abundant parks and lakes. Fifteen lakes, 2,930 acres of parkland, and more than 62 miles of multi-use trails provide diverse opportunities for recreation.

The area is home to sought after schools and unique attractions that make it a popular place for families and visitors. This article highlights 12 of the top attractions you’ll find in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Covering museums, nature centers, shopping areas, recreation space, and seasonal offerings, you’ll find inspiration for your next outing.

1.Normandale Japanese Garden

Nestled on the 125-acre Normandale Community College campus, the Normandale Japanese Garden offers a unique outdoor experience. The authentic Japanese stroll garden features winding footpaths, charming bridges, and a tea house amidst pine trees and rock gardens.

Designed in collaboration with the judges from the National Association of Japanese Gardens in 2001, the space recreates key features found in traditional Japanese gardens. Carefully placed stones represent mountains and waterfalls, while trimmed shrubbery takes the form of clouds. Throughout the garden you’ll find native and adapted plants organized to represent the changing seasons.

Visitors delight in strolling the garden while enjoying its calming Zen environment year-round from dawn to dusk. In some areas, the plantings and hardscape blur the boundaries between the garden and nature. Take time to appreciate small details along the way – views may surprise you around every bend. Admission is free, making the Japanese Garden a great budget-friendly destination for garden enthusiasts, photographers, and those seeking serene nature without extensive walking.

Nearby attractions include an arboretum with over 50 tree varieties and the college art gallery featuring works from students and local artists.

2.Nickelodeon Universe

Located inside the Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe offers ideal indoor family entertainment. Billed as the largest indoor theme park in America, it features roller coasters, rides, and attractions based on popular Nickelodeon shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and PAW Patrol.

Thrill seekers flock to ride the SpongeBob SquarePants Rock Bottom Plunge roller coaster which reaches heights of 93 feet and speeds up to 55 miles per hour. Those looking for less intensity enjoy the PAW Patrol Adventure Bay balloon ride hovering above characters below or the Blue’s Skidoo wild wheel spinning kids around in blue tub capsules. Parent-approved rides for younger children include the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shell Shockers bumper cars or the Peppa Pig Balloon Ride slowly lifting passengers in themed balloons.

The two-acre activity center also features an arcade, mini-golf courses, laser tag, rope courses, and party rooms to host birthdays and events. As the venue is inside Mall of America, Nickelodeon Universe visitors can easily take a break to enjoy shopping, dining, and entertainment without needing to travel outdoors in Minnesota weather. One admission ticket grants unlimited access to all Nickelodeon Universe attractions during set operating days/hours.

3.Minnesota Center for Book Arts

Bibliophiles and artists seeking unique experiences will appreciate a visit to Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA). The non-profit arts organization celebrates papermaking, printing, typography, writing, and binding while fostering community around books and art adventures.

MCBA’s Open Studio allows visitors to get hands-on with bookmaking equipment including various professional presses, type cases, and binding supplies. Knowledgeable assistants guide you through setting lead type or composing poems on a Vandercook proof press as you create unique broadsides and prints. Additional opportunities include making paper from cotton, trying letterpress printing, or constructing pamphlets from scratch.

Instructors provide demonstrations as you independently produce book arts during Open Studio sessions lasting two or three hours. While foundational guidance sets you up for success, you’re free to flex your creative spirit making stationery, holiday cards, journals, or imaginative gifts from paper. Open Studio meets Saturdays from 10am to 1pm with just a $10 facility fee and additional charges for special materials.

Beyond Open Studio, Minnesota Center for Book Arts hosts readings, exhibitions, and courses for youth through adults on creative literary arts rotating monthly.

4.Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Nature lovers explore scenic trails meandering by a lake at Hyland Lake Park Reserve managed by Three Rivers Park District. Spanning 739 acres, the park contains hardwood forests, prairie meadows, wetlands, and granite outcrops ideal for bird watching and wildlife spotting.

Visitors hike roughly 15 miles of natural surface trails that wind along Hyland Lake and the Minnesota River Valley. Some routes follow original Native American paths traversing Big Woods forests with 300-400 year old trees. The terrain varies presenting hills, valleys, ridges, and bluffs reaching 50 feet above the river bottom to navigate on foot. Benches allow hikers to pause enjoying lovely vistas of the lake, prairie flowers, or river valley leaves displaying seasonal color changes.

In addition to hiking, guests fish for crappie, bluegill, and bass on Hyland Lake or river channels accessed from the park. Families appreciate the Hyland Woods Disc Golf Course winding through the preserve using baskets instead of holes. Wintertime brings cross-country skiing across 10 kilometers of ski trails groomed with classic and skate lanes.

Hyland Lake Park Reserve connects people to nature with canoe launches, campsites, picnic grounds, and restrooms available. Visitors access the park and main parking lot off Bush Lake Road near the Bloomington Ferry Bridge. The trails, fishing piers, picnic areas, and boat launches open 30 minutes before sunrise until 10pm in warm months and 8pm in winter.

5.Southdale Center

Since opening doors in 1956 as America’s first indoor mall, Southdale Center offers premium shopping in Eden Prairie. The two-story regional center contains over 120 stores anchored by Nordstrom, Macy’s and Life Time Work, an upscale fitness club. Retailers represent leading fashion brands such as Anthropologie, lululemon, Kendra Scott,Everything But Water, and more catering to discerning shoppers.

Dining options range from quick bites like Shake Shack, Starbucks, and California Pizza Kitchen to sit down restaurants like RA Sushi or The Capital Grille. Spa-goers book massages at European Wax Center or clean up at Drybar blow dry salon before events. Southdale Center also hosts community events like fashion shows, health fairs, live music, and seasonal celebrations.

As a climate-controlled indoor mall, Southdale Center appeals to visitors any time of year. Complimentary amenities enhance experiences with soft seating lounges, family rooms for nursing/changing babies, charging stations, and free Wifi. Guest services provide shoppers use of wheelchairs, strollers, gift boxes, incoming package storage, and personal shoppers.

Conveniently located off Interstate 494, Southdale offers over 150 shops in an upscale mall setting 10 miles from downtown Minneapolis. Holiday hours and extended Monday through Saturday hours allow guests to browse luxury goods at their leisure.

6.Centennial Lakes Park

Recognized as one of 150 Great Places in Minnesota by the American Institute of Architects, Centennial Lakes Park delights visitors. The 100-acre green space within a business district provides access to garden areas, ponds, fountains, an observatory, waterfalls, and paved walking paths.

Guests admire lovely formal English flower gardens surrounding Hughes Pavilion which hosts weddings with a picturesque amphitheater backdrop. Stone arch bridges, lily pad ponds, and a cascading waterfall connect additional garden spaces. The Pauline and Walter Bush Iris Garden contains over 100 varieties of irises blooming in vibrant colors during late spring.

For recreation, visitors walk/run on the 1.1 mile loop trail encircling Centennial Lake. The path links with 62 miles of off-road trail in Eden Prairie varying from easy to difficult routes. Bikers ride the carriage trail while anglers try their luck fishing for crappie, bluegill, bass and bullhead on the lake.

When winter months bring snow, the park clears ice rinks on Centennial Lake for casual skating or hockey games. Cross-country ski trails open allowing exploration across scenic natural areas throughout town. The observatory features telescopes and astronomy education from the Minnesota Astronomical Society. Year-round programming like festivals, concerts, art fairs, and races entertain guests at the versatile lakeside park.

7.Paisley Park Museum

Music fans make pilgrimages to Paisley Park Museum, once the secluded recording complex of pop legend Prince. Located at 7801 Audubon Road, the white aluminum building with Prince’s ‘Love Symbol’ outside hosted late-night studio sessions. It also served as Prince’s home in Chanhassen just west of Eden Prairie where he died on April 21, 2016.

Today Paisley Park offers an exclusive look into Prince’s creative life as a museum/memorial. Guests tour the protected landmark seeing his recording studio, editing rooms, sound stages, home spaces, and archive vaults. Exhibits include flamboyant custom-made performance outfits with jacket sleeves embellished by his unique glyph-like symbol or lyrics paying homage to beloved Minnesota cities. Photos, awards display cases, motorcycles, and artifacts showcase his immense talent and decades-long career.

The on-site gift shop sells Prince memorabilia like books, albums, apparel/accessories and signature purple merchandise. Fans relish the Graceland-esque environment with a Minneapolis flavor only locals might fully appreciate. While the self-guided walking tour is impactful for music lovers, Paisley Park also hosts celebrations like all-night dance parties on Prince’s birthday.

General admission tickets must be purchased online in advance by date/time due to limited capacity inside for the optimal visitor experience. Fans may upgrade to a VIP tour guided by staff who worked closely with Prince learning insider stories about his innovative life.

8.FlyOver America

FlyOver America utilizes state-of-the-art technology to give visitors the sensation of flying over iconic U.S. landmarks. Located inside Mall of America, the Ernst & Young attraction contains a spherical screen larger than an IMAX theater with up to 8K resolution for crisp visuals.

Guests are seated rows deep on a platform that moves and tilts in sync with curved overhead video projections zooming over America. Special effects like wind, mist, scents, and audio make you feel immersed in the virtual flight reaching your destination city. Expertly choreographed visuals will make your stomach drop as you appear to dive over cliffs or soar at heights like an eagle.

The ride takes spectators over the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Mt. Rushmore, New Orleans, New York City, and more with perspectives only accessible by plane. While experiencing FlyOver America just once is rewarding, fans return to see scenes change with the seasons. Repeat rides catch autumn leaves in Vermont, winter snow capping the Rocky Mountains, or spring flowers blooming in Napa Valley vineyards.

FlyOver America appeals to all ages with its multi-sensory experience giving everyone wings to explore America’s beauty like never before. The average ride lasts about 20 minutes with comfortable seating rows to share the excitement with family or friends.

9.Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Across 1,200 acres, Minnesota Landscape Arboretum allows visitors to enjoy cultivated gardens, model landscapes, and natural areas. Located just 5 miles from Eden Prairie in Chaska, the sprawling site seeks to build a society of people who cherish plants in well-designed spaces thriving in healthy environments.

Guests delight in seeing bold flower trials, formal manicured gardens, architectural green spaces, and restored natural habitats. The arboretum contains over 1,700 plant varieties – some rare or endangered – coexisting across distinct zones like the three-acre showy trial garden or tranquil Gale Woods Farm showcasing sustainable agriculture. Blooming lilacs, irises, dahlias, and peonies mesmerize visitors strolling planned pathways and arching arbors during warm seasons. Fiery autumn foliage creates picture-perfect moments for family photo sessions and boudoirs for romantic walks any time of day.

Many Eden Prairie residents become members to access winter holiday light shows or enjoy benefits like early admittance, program discounts, and year-round visits. However, public visitors also explore themed seasonal exhibits like sculpture installations, bonsai displays, or wildflower shows on any date simply purchasing single entry tickets. Consider packing a lunch to picnic amidst the natural beauty.

10.Endeavors Rock Climbing & Gym

Adventurous types test their physical prowess climbing, exercising, competing, and playing at Vertical Endeavors. The premier indoor rock climbing and fitness center contains climbing terrain accommodating beginners to elite athletes. Climbers scale over 39,000 square feet of vertical walls built with textured panels, bumps, and ledges replicating authentic mountainsides. Routes range from gently overhanging slabs to radically steep inverted climbs up to 44 feet high on 160 climbing lines.

Visitors comfortably attempt climbs while anchored to auto belay devices that automatically take in/let out safety lines if you fall. Private lessons allow both kids and adults to learn proper climbing techniques, footwork, and belaying from certified instructors. Seasoned climbers push personal limits testing strength, flexibility, and strategy conquering the boulder wall or lead routes without ropes temporarily attached by clips on quickdraws.

The premier gym also offers over 11,000 square feet dedicated to cardio, weights, personal training, yoga, cycling classes, and sports conditioning for full body workouts. An on-site pro shop sells top climbing brands like La Sportiva shoes, Organic pads, Petzl helmets to help maximize vertical training. Day passes allow drop-in access to “climb life” while multi-visit memberships keep enthusiasts returning frequently progressing skills.

11.Eden Prairie Center

Eden Prairie Center provides over 60 convenient shops, a food hall, and lively community events all under one roof. The indoor mall built in 1996 attracts shoppers from across the southwest metro seeking leading fashion and beauty brands. Department store Dillard’s joins retailers like Anthropologie, Buckle, Chico’s, Victoria’s Secret, White House Black Market, and others offering chic styles. Salon suites, skincare clinics, chiropractors, dentists, and a walk-in health clinic meet additional lifestyle needs in one place.

Visitors hungry from retail therapy satisfy cravings at The Food Hall’s unique eateries like Benedict’s, Delicious Sisters Bakery, or Smashburger built around communal high-top seating. Full-service restaurants cover casual dining at Buca di Beppo, fast Greek eats at Gyro World, or tropical drinks beside the fire pit at Paradise Landing.

Beyond everyday shopping/dining, Eden Prairie Center lights up for annual tree lightings, visits from Santa, or hosts community events like craft fairs, blood drives, job fairs, and live local music. Convenient covered parking, electric car charging stations, nursing rooms, family restrooms with baby changing stations, wheelchairs, strollers, and gift cards add to welcoming mall amenities.

12.Cherry Berry Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt Bar

Satisfying sweet tooths of all ages, Cherry Berry offers fresh frozen yogurt and sorbet through an exciting self-serve model. The brightly colored shop contains a help-yourself wall showcasing 16 flavors that rotate with the seasons using dairy from local Minnesota farmers.

Visitors grab cups then fill them sampling favor classics like cake batter and cookies & cream or fruitier options as flavors change weekly. Toppings bars allow customizing froyo creations with healthy fresh fruit or decadent candies and sweets to each person’s taste.

Cherry Berry’s pay-by-ounce pricing structure makes it easy to try multiple flavors without breaking the bank. Mixing flavors and toppings encourages adventures finding new combinations like tart raspberry sorbet with cheesecake bites or creamy banana yogurt with hot fudge. Frozen yogurt provides a lighter alternative to ice cream allowing kids and adults to indulge health-conscious sweet cravings through entirely customizable treats.

The Eden Prairie location makes Cherry Berry a perfect pit stop after playing at nearby Round Lake Park beach, disc golfing at Riley Lake Park, or finishing youth sports games. Visitors take cooled off treats to outdoor benches or grab spoons to eat inside the bright, modern shop. Beyond frozen yogurt, Cherry Berry also serves coffee drinks, Italian sodas, and fruit smoothies.

Conclusion

Eden Prairie offers diverse attractions and activities for singles, couples, families, and seniors any season of the year. Artistic indoor spaces like Minnesota Center for Book Arts bring hands-on printmaking while Nickelodeon Universe theme park delivers rides and arcade thrills.

Nature areas like Hyland Lake Park Reserve connect people to regional forests and waterways perfect for regional tourism. Locals shop designer brands at Southdale Center mall or smaller stores in Eden Prairie Center conveniently located off highways and public transit lines.

Holiday displays like Minnesota Landscape Aboretum light shows or Cherry Berry’s ever-changing frozen yogurt flavors encourage revisiting favorites in new ways. With this guide covering museums, shops, recreation, gardens, and insider attractions – residents and visitors uncover the best this west Minneapolis suburb has to offer all year long.

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