Uncharted Waters: Minneapolis’s Mini Ferry

We often take for granted that the Mississippi River, one of the world’s most powerful waterways, literally brought the Twin Cities to life as industries began to take shape around it. While you may drive over the river on your way to work or trace its perimeter on a family stroll, have you ever considered being ferried across it?

Cory Parkos, captain and co-owner of Minneapolis Water Taxi, says the watercraft made its initial splash five years ago to encourage Twin Cities residents to take advantage of our proximity to the Mississippi. “Our goal is to get people out on the river to experience the river and Minneapolis,” he shared.

Parkos grew up near the river and wanted to share his love for the water with others. “There are so many people who say, ‘We’ve seen the river all our lives. We drive alongside it, run alongside it.’ But there’s not a large percentage of the population that has actually been out on it,” he said. “The experience is rewarding because it brings back the joy of experiencing my first times.” During the mini voyage, Parkos and fellow captain Greg Hoseth share a bit about the history of the river and the industries it has supported.

“There’s not a large percentage of the population that has actually been out on [the Mississippi River].” Cory Parkos, Minneapolis Water Taxi

A one-hour day cruise for up to six people costs $80; a night cruise costs $100. (Kids and babies each count as one person.) Minneapolis Water Taxi provides life preservers; all you have to bring is your choice of snacks and drinks!

You can choose from a launch boat or a pontoon—both have covers for sun protection or inclement weather. In true Minnesota fashion, boats go out rain or shine! Pickup and drop-off are near Boom Island Park, though the Minneapolis Water Taxi team is working on adding more locations. Operating hours are between 11 am and 9 pm.

If your party is larger than six, reserve both boats and cruise alongside each other or arrange for the crew to pick up six people at a time and take them on a 20- to 30-minute ride, then come back for another round with new guests.

The boats, licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard and in compliance with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Water Patrol laws, are electric so you won’t be distracted by the rumble of the motor; instead, you can focus on the sounds of the river and the rustle of the trees. (The launch is solar powered!) For Parkos, the wildlife really makes the experience special.

“There’s everything from ducks and geese to foxes and beavers and eagles. There’s a blue heron rookery just upstream. It’s quite amazing to see.” Boom Island, 724 Sibley St NE, mplswatertaxi.com


DID Ambassadors are downtown each day. They are the friendly faces providing assistance, offering directions, suggesting things to do and more. Ambassadors also work to keep our streets clean of litter and water plants.

This article originally appeared in the June 2022 issue of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Read more on downtown Minneapolis, 2022 summer-style, sponsored by the mpls downtown council, here.

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