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The sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center. (Photograph by Chris Ford)

Hot and Cold in Minneapolis

This October, sustainability experts came together to brainstorm ideas to combat global warming during an international summit held in Minneapolis, Minnesota—a place long famous for its extreme climate. Here are some of the best ways to hurry up and embrace the Midwestern city’s soupy summers and snow-globe-style winters—while we still have seasons.

> Summer:

Bring a picnic to Lake Harriet’s band shell, which hosts concerts—jazz, alt-country, big band, you name it—on most summer days, and movies just after sunset on weekends.

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A family cools down on Lake Harriet. (Photograph by Layne Kennedy / Corbis)

For prime people-watching and oysters on the half shell, head to Sea Salt Eatery in Minneapolis’s 167-acre Minnehaha Park, home to the 53-foot Minnehaha Falls.

In Minneapolis’s sister city of St. Paul, located right across the Mississippi River, you don’t have to be a baseball fan to appreciate the indie-league St. Paul Saints’ new $63 million CHS Field. With views of the city skyline, local food and beer, and occasional appearances by co-owner Bill Murray, the stadium can feel more like a block party than a baseball game.

> Winter:

Lace up a pair of rentals and glide under the metal beams of the Depot Ice Rink, a century-old former train shed and registered national historic landmark. Its walls are made of glass, so skaters can enjoy the snow falling over Minneapolis sans negative-degree windchills.

If you can handle freezing temperatures, the St. Paul Winter Carnival features outdoor events such as a half-marathon, ice sculpture contests, beer tastings, and the nighttime Torchlight Parade.

Escape winter for an afternoon to wander indoors at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, one of the most visited contemporary art museums in the country, which celebrates its 75th birthday in 2015.

This piece, written by Berit Thorkelson, appeared in the October 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine.