One of the most popular places in Minneapolis to walk, run, swim, kayak, paddleboard, picnic, and of course, inline skate, Lake Calhoun has it all: smooth paths, canoe and kayak rentals, lakeside attractions like volleyball courts and beaches, and lots of green space to sun bathe or eat a lazy picnic lunch. No wonder it attracts millions of people annually. But is it a worthy place to skate? Here are some pros and cons.
The flat, paved pathways that encircle Lake Calhoun are perfect for the beginning recreational skater. They connect Lake Calhoun to Cedar Lake, Brownie Lake, Lake of the Isles, and Lake Nokomis, all part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. Depending on your energy level, you can make one or two 3-mile loops around Lake Calhoun, or go even further and explore the surrounding area. Crazy as it sounds, it’s easy to get caught up in the beautiful scenery and bustling crowds and skate twice as far as you had initially planned. Make a day of it and spend some time skating, eating and relaxing.
One of the downsides to skating at Lake Calhoun is its popularity; the sheer number of people walking, jogging, biking and skating on the pathways can make it harder to navigate than a more suburban trail, and you really have to watch out for others and share the path. Not to mention the crowds can be overwhelming if you’re there for a lengthy period of time and frustrating if you want to get in a faster skate. Be prepared to go at a slower pace than say, the Gateway Trail. Parking can also be an issue, and you don't always get the spot you're looking for depending on the time of day.
Random historical trivia
Side note: Did you know Lake Calhoun was named after John Caldwell Calhoun, former Vice President of the United States? And did you know the lake and its surrounding area spreads across 500 acres in the heart of Minneapolis? Read more about these and other historical tidbits (PDF). And while you’re reading, start planning your trip! What better way to enjoy these lovely summer days than with skates, friends and a big picnic lunch at Lake Calhoun? Here's a map and directions.