Go Minneapolis Signature Experiences, a new program aimed at group travelers, features a variety of hands-on and behind-the-scenes offerings, from kayaking on the Mississippi River to backstage tours at the Guthrie Theater.
Behind-the-scenes…hands-on…interactive. Those are the buzz adjectives that add zip to a tour itinerary—special ingredients that make it stand out from the rest.
For cities that have seen the light, experiential tourism is emerging as a key factor in marketing their destination. For group travelers, it’s all about an enriching experience they’ll remember long after the trip, something they could not have done as individuals.
To strengthen its group product, Meet Minneapolis Convention & Visitors Association recently unveiled Go Minneapolis Signature Experiences, a collection of memory-making tours, performances, demonstrations and other experiences perfect for groups. The activities range from artsy to culinary to physically exhilarating.
Casey Kluver, group sales manager of Meet Minneapolis, said, “I am always asked by tour operators ‘what’s new?’ in Minneapolis. Well, we have been working for the last year on developing new experiences for groups. Today we have 18 new group products that are either hands-on, behind-the-scenes, or one-of-kind experiences that didn’t exist before in Minneapolis. Groups are looking for experiences that are deeper and engaging, not just show and tell. The experiences we have developed do just that and the reaction so far has been very positive.”
In the Outdoor Adventure category, “Above the Falls: Working the Channel” lets groups (maximum 40) gain a new perspective of the city and learn about its history during a 2.5-hour, Mississippi River kayaking trip above St. Anthony Falls to the Broadway Bridge. Cost is $50 a person.
Or how about a 90-minute insider’s tour ($19 a person) through Midtown Global Market, a lively collection of ethnic shops and eateries housed in a former Sears distribution building. At this melting pot of cultures, you’ll meet merchants working to achieve the American dream while sampling foods from Latin America, Africa and the Middle East. Add-ons (extra cost) include a gift bag, cooking demonstration, salsa dancing or drum lessons and Market Money in $5 denominations to use at any vendor.
Mall of America in Bloomington offers a culinary session with lifestyle expert Ross Sveback ($20), a behind-the-scenes visit at Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium ($5) and a scavenger hunt using iPads to track answers and take pictures along the way ($16.95, or $12.95 with meal purchase at Dick’s Last Resort).
If you’ve ever dreamed about being on stage, Minneapolis’ famed Guthrie Theater offers the class “Actors’ Secrets for Powerful Presence” ($30), or if you’re up for it, consider “The Art of Stage Combat,” an on-your-feet experience ($30) that teaches the techniques of choreography for a convincing slap, punch and choke. Just for laughs, enroll in an improve comedy class at Brave New Workshop ($40). Or unleash your creativity by making a take-home masterpiece in “Crash Course in Contemporary Art” at the Walker Art Center ($20) or FOCI Center for Glass ($85), a new glassblowing studio in an old industrial building. At the American Swedish Institute, you go behind the scenes to view its collections and then make a Swedish craft.
For more information on Go Minneapolis Signature Experiences, contact Casey Kluver, group sales manager of Meet Minneapolis, firstname.lastname@example.org. Or visit Minneapolis.org/group-experiences.