Apr 18 2009

Foshay Tower Observation Deck and Museum

Foshay Tower

When I was a little girl who traveled to “the Cities” to visit family, I heard stories of when the Foshay Tower was the tallest building in Minneapolis before the “new” IDS building towered over it.  I remember the yellow ribbon that was tied around it–was it for the hostages in Iran?  Even when going up in the Sears Tower or the Empire State Building or the now-gone World Trade Center, I would wonder what Foshay was like.

Foshay Tower

When I moved to Minnesota, Foshay was still there, but I never got around to finding out how to see it close-up.  Then, it was being renovated into a new hotel.  When the W Hotel finally opened, I tried web searches for tour information, and couldn’t find anything.  I began to wonder if it was even open to the public.

A few weeks ago, the kids and I went to the Minnesota Children’s Museum, and while waiting in line, I saw a brochure for the Foshay Tower.  We managed to work it into our day, and took the train to downtown Minneapolis to see the Foshay.

We entered the hotel, assisted by doormen who pointed us to the welcome desk.  At the desk, we paid our admission ($8 for me, free for the kids) and were given an elevator key that would allow access to the 30th floor of the historic building.

Foshay Tower

On the 30th floor, we were greeted by the museum attendant, who gave us an overview of the small museum that describes the Foshay’s history.  Then we headed up a flight of stairs and onto the observation deck.  Although I’m usually fearful of heights, I felt secure with the solid walls that were tall enough that I didn’t have to worry about anyone going overboard.  The grates the angled overhead provided additional security.

The downside was that the wall was so high that the girls couldn’t see unless I lifted them up.

Foshay Tower

Even though the Foshay isn’t the tallest building in Minneapolis any more, the views were still magnificent.  On one side, we could see the Target Center and new Target Field under construction, and from another had a view that stretched for miles toward the Minnesota River.

Foshay Tower

We circled the observation deck before heading back down to the elevator.  The art-deco building is still magnificent, with many details. I’m glad I finally figured out a way to see the Foshay.

Foshay Tower

Note: As of 1/16/12:

Museum and Observation Deck open Monday-Saturday from 10-7, Sunday from 11-6.  Winter hours subject to weather conditions.

$8 adults, $5 seniors, under 12 free.  Call for group rate.

W Hotel Phone:  612-215-3700

Foshay Museum Phone:  612-215-3783



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15 comments so far

15 Comments to “Foshay Tower Observation Deck and Museum”

  1. Mara on 18 Apr 2009 at 8:01 pm

    I like this post – this is just the kind of thing I like to do too. It’s fun to go up and high with kids – they like seeing cities that way.

    We recently discovered that it’s possible to go up to the top of City Hall in Philadelphia – you get the thrill of riding in a scary old-fashioned elevator and of standing right underneath that huge statue of William Penn. Unfortunately all of my photos from that day were deleted in a computer malfunction.

  2. Carolina on 20 Apr 2009 at 7:56 pm

    What’s cool is that you got to see something that you’ve wanted to see since you were a girl, and share it with your kids.

    Carolina’s last blog post..Today’s Tip: Surviving a Sickation

  3. StephWiestling on 22 Apr 2009 at 11:14 am

    What a great post! I’ve lived 3 miles from downtown for years and had no idea how to do this! Thank you! We’ll definately check it out! (with Daddy, since I’m terrified of heights!!)

    StephWiestling’s last blog post..Seven Questions Parents Should Ask when Choosing a Camp

  4. [...] Foshay Tower Observation Deck and Museum Posted on Saturday, April 18th, 2009 in Buildings and Monuments – Comments: (3) When I was a little girl who traveled to “the Cities” to visit family, I heard stories of when the Foshay Tower was the tallest building in Minneapolis before the “new” IDS building towered over it.  I remember the yellow ribbon that was tied around it–was it for the hostages in Iran?  Even when going up in the Sears Tower or the Empire State Building or the now-gone World Trade Center, I would wonder what Foshay was like. [...]

  5. Foshay Tower in Minneapolis, MN on 22 Jun 2009 at 5:01 am

    [...] you’re a fan of tall buildings, don’t miss the Foshay Tower.  Although no longer the tallest in Minneapolis, it is still elegant and an icon in downtown [...]

  6. Joe on 25 Aug 2009 at 2:17 pm

    $8 bucks?? That’s $32 bucks for my family of four to spend a few minutes looking at the view. Ridiculous.

    No wonder I never see anyone on the observation deck anymore. BOO Foshay!

  7. jim on 05 Sep 2010 at 4:55 pm

    dont be so cheap joe. can you really put a price on family memories

  8. Joy on 03 Oct 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Did you know you can get two free admissions with a Museum Adventure Pass which is available at any Hennepin County Public Library? There is no reason to be cheap!

    Kids 12 and under are free to visit the Foshay Observation Deck and then the parents can get in free with the Adventure Pass. You can make a fun day of it by taking the train in, visiting the Foshay, grabbing a bite to eat and then hitting another spot like one of the free summer concerts at Peavy Plaza, the display on the Eighth Floor of Macy’s, or the Farmer’s Market on Thursday’s.

    There’s so much to do for so little $$ in the cities if you take the time to look.

  9. minnemom on 03 Oct 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Joy, thanks for the information about the Foshay Tower now being included in the Museum Adventure Pass. I’ve written about the Adventure Pass program before, but hadn’t looked at the list of museums recently. Foshay is a great addition to the program!


  10. richard on 26 May 2011 at 10:55 pm

    today, 26 may, 2011, I decided to make a calendar with views of the Fohay Tower – I had this idea many years ago – in 1974 – now to visit the building again and re-discover those views

  11. [...] humans come to teeter and totter, to swing and slide. It’s a geography—a verbal top-of-the-Foshay—where we suddenly see for miles though still sitting in a coffee shop talking with an old friend. [...]

  12. [...] Foshay Tower, Minneapolis. Once the tallest building in Minneapolis, and still the highest observation deck in town, the Foshay’s outdoor viewing area offers a beautiful view of the Twin Cities.  The high walls and fence along the edge helped me to feel somewhat secure as I got my birds-eye view of Minnesota from 447 feet up. [...]

  13. LRege on 01 Dec 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Public libraries in MN have free Museum passes. Foshay Tower included. Here is the link for Hennepin County.


  14. cheri on 30 Dec 2011 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks so much for this article – I too grew up in Minneapolis – I too remember the yellow ribbon (although I forgot until you brought it up). I was in the lobby of the W today and just the lobby is so beautiful and the elevator doors – and that is free! I’m planning on going to the observation deck next time I go downtown!

  15. [...] Originally Posted by TechZombie Thanks for the info everyone. I should say my picture goals are more skyline/buildings/urban street life/people/etc. I live in Green Bay…I can shoot trees and water all day long LOL….buildings however..not so much. We are probably looking at Oct 2/3 as that is my birthday. But if we can go on the weekend and shave $75 off the hotel perhaps that route will work. Curious if a Viking home game would impact that? still showing the 3 1/2 star hotel in the DT Mpls zone for $74 on Oct 2nd & 3rd. For the following 3 night weekend, that rate drops to $69 for the 3 1/2 and there is a Viking home game that Sunday. You can get a 4 1/2 that same weekend for $111/night. Keep in mind with Hot Wire you could end up with a single King bed although I'm sure they would provide a crib or roll-away at your request. With Priceline you are likely to get an even better rate tho October is a bit too far out to get a good feel at this point. For your photog opportunities be sure to check out the Foshay Tower outdoor observation deck which still offers up the only "high rise" accessible view in downtown. Pretty interesting back-story on the developer and history of the Foshay Tower as well. Foshay Tower Observation Tower and Museum in Minneapolis | Travels with Children by minnemom [...]

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