Minneapolis Institute of Arts
It's usually Walker Art Center that we hold up to coastal types to prove that the Cities aren't flyover country—or at least that we're the cultural kings of flyover country. But we think any intelligent guest would be at least as impressed by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, another world-class art museum that's also a little more accessible, housed in a beautiful building where the marble surroundings can equal the art, and free (though certain special exhibits require admission). The MIA has been bringing culture to the prairie since 1915, and since 1975 it's played a great role in fostering talent close to home, with the peer-juried Minnesota Artists Exhibition Program. (An upcoming local show will feature large-scale drawings of medieval structures by Mary Griep and minimalist sculptural work by Jantje Visscher.) While the MIA is going on a Scandinavian bender this summer, it's the museum's permanent collection that you can get to know and love: ancient Greek busts, Native American beadwork, Chinese jade sculpture and a superlative wall-hanging collection, paintings by Van Gogh and Degas, photographs by Lange and Avedon. Unlike your out-of-town guests, this stuff is there for you 52 weeks a year.