When it comes to exploring a city, traveling by car offers only occasional glimpses of local bars and niche hotspots for activities and events. However, going on foot can look deeper into the fabric of a community—and Depot Adventures’ Bar and Walking Tours in the Twin Cities does just that.
“If you do one walking tour in the Twin Cities, this should be the one—[it covers] everything you need to know about the Twin Cities in three hours,” says John O’Sullivan, founder of Depot Adventures. The company offers explorations of the history of the Twin Cities and a bar crawl-esque jaunt. The Complete Walking Tour takes guests on an exploration of either St. Paul and its history as the state’s capital city, or of Minneapolis and its status as Minnesota’s major social and cultural hub. The Minneapolis Bar Tour (also called Booze Makes Minneapolis History Better) offers small groups the chance to explore four local bars in the city, to get to know the bar staff at each, and to sip on drinks over an afternoon.
The Complete Walking Tour focuses on sharing the history of the cities and the state, “from Indigenous history, to how Minnesota got its start, to the future of [the Twin Cities] and why [they are places] we should be watching in the years to come,” O’Sullivan notes. The tour begins in each city at 11 a.m. seven days a week.
During the Minneapolis Bar Tour, guests visit four bars in three hours starting at 3 p.m. daily. The tour will walk from bar to bar and not only taste distinctive beverages, but also get to know the staff that creates them.
“The most knowledgeable people in these cities are bartenders,” O’Sullivan says. Depot Adventures curates the bar schedule for each group to make the experience customized and fun, taking walkers to spots like Cobble Social House, “an amazing cocktail bar where the bartenders will listen … and make up a drink on the spot for you,” he notes. The company also likes to include bars that are owner-operated, like Number 12 Cider in North Loop, where “the owners are usually working … talking about what made them make cider, their story about … winning the blue ribbon at the [Minnesota] State Fair.”
Both sets of tours start at $69 per person, and the bar tour offers an optional premium package at $109 per person that includes four drinks. Group sizes are capped at 12. Private tours are also available and can be catered to various group sizes. The group package rate starts at $500.
“[People attending events] need a way to unwind, and they also want to be able to appreciate the city. [These tours] let people have a casual, fun, and friendly time but also [makes them] feel as if [they have been able to] get under the skin of the city and get beyond just the conference center. … They get a real local [experience],” O’Sullivan says.