Last updated: February 4, 2023
Thing to Do
Visit Upper St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center
Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam provides panoramic views of the Upper St. Anthony Lock and Dam, St. Anthony Falls, and the surrounding mill district. Exhibits at the visitor center provide information about the falls and its place in Minnesota history. Rangers lead short walks from the visitor center out onto the lock walls and describe how the falls changed the course of history of the area and of the nation.
CAUTION: Boaters, kayakers, and canoeists should exercise caution around the dam due to water turbulence and strong currents. There is now a portage around the dam for canoeists and kayakers.
The dream of traveling north of St. Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River was made possible when Congress approved the Upper Minneapolis Harbor Development Project in 1937. This project included the construction of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam that was completed in 1963.
With a lift of 49 feet, the lock at St. Anthony Falls accounts for more than 10% of the total height change of the Mississippi River between the Twin Cities and St. Louis, MO. The Upper St. Anthony Lock and Dam, along with the Lower St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam, allowed navigation to the head of the Mississippi River's 9-foot channel until the upper lock was closed in 2015 to navigation.
The area's historic milling district, using the power of falling water at St. Anthony Falls, first gained prominence with the construction of large-scale lumber milling from logs floated down the Mississippi from central and northern Minnesota pine forests. Flour milling boomed later and numerous mills along this stretch of river changed the way food was produced, marketed, and distributed and changed the way we think about food.
Ranger-led walking tours of the lock and dam are available when the Visitor Center is open. Subjects of the staff-led tours include the lively history of the river, milling, and other topics. These walking tours are free and last approximately thirty (30) minutes. We do not provide tours to groups or schools nor do we take reservations.
NPS passport stamps are available at this location. America The Beautiful, Military, Every Kid Outdoors (4th grade) and Access passes are not available at the St. Anthony Falls Visitor Center. There are numerous possibilities for walks and exploring the area's rich history, besides our guided tours. Talk to a ranger about possibilities or use the links below in Nearby Attractions.
Hours, Directions, and Contact Information
1 Portland Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55401
- GPS: 44.980880, -93.258322
- Admission and tours are free.
- Parking may also be found on the streets in the area and at the Minneapolis fee parking lot just north of the lock on West River Parkway. Ask about parking for those with limited mobility.
- See Operating Hours and Seasons for more information.