Welcome to the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board's Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway website.
Information Center: About the Grand Rounds
“Look forward for a century, to the time when the city has a population of a million, and think what will be their wants.

They will have wealth enough to purchase all that money can buy, but all their wealth cannot purchase a lost opportunity, or restore natural features of grandeur and beauty, which would then possess priceless value...”

— Horace Cleveland
Minneapolis Park System Landscape Gardener, 1883


The Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway

Nearly 120 years have passed, yet Horace W. S. Cleveland’s perspective of the challenges our society now faces in conserving its natural and cultural heritage could not have been more in focus.

Led by Cleveland’s vision and that of many others who followed, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s early ‘down payment’ to protect many of the intrinsic resources of Minneapolis by creating The Grand Rounds has returned immeasurable benefits to generations of city residents and millions of city visitors.

Among many other national and international distinctions, that early ‘investment’ in The Grand Rounds today also manifests itself as America’s most important urban scenic byway.

The Grand Rounds — Byway Composition

  • Seven Byway Districts — Distinct segments of The Grand Rounds that exhibit unique landscape characteristics and cultural resources
  • Twenty Byway access areas from interstates and major thoroughfares
  • More than fifty identified Interpretive Sites — Discovery areas where the public will have opportunities to experience interpretation programs and exhibits
  • A dozen lakes and ponds, four golf courses, two waterfalls, natural and planned gardens, creek and river views, and 50.1 miles of hiking, biking, skiing and driving paths.
  • Five Grand Rounds Interpretive and Information Centers
  • New and Refurbished Grand Rounds Information Kiosks
For specific information on recreational activities along the Grand Rounds, explore the district sections on the Grand Rounds Home page.
The Grand Rounds — Historical Milestones

  • Designated as a Minnesota State Scenic Byway (1997) According to the Federal Highway Administration, “Scenic Byways are public roads having special scenic, historic, recreational, cultural, archeological and natural qualities that have been recognized as such through legislation and other official declaration. Scenic byways refer not only to the road, street or highway itself but also to the corridor through which it passes.”
  • Received two federal grants for the development of the Interpretation Program (1997) and a model volunteer and hospitality program (1998)
  • Designated as a ‘National Scenic Byway’ by the Federal Highway Administration (April 1998)
  • Recognized by the Federal Highway Administration as the premier national urban scenic byway (1998)
  • Provided the key link in completing the Great River Road (1998)
  • Longfellow House opened as an Interpretive and Information Center (2000)
  • Grand Rounds "Enchanted Journey" exhibit installed at the Longfellow House Interpretive and Information Center (2002)
  • Collaboration with Hennepin History Museum brought new historical exhibits to the Longfellow House as well as expanded the traveling exhibits for the Byway (2002)
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