Lake Harriet, Minnesota, USA

Welcome to the ultimate guide to Lake Harriet — things to do, where to stay, fun facts, history, stats and more. Let’s dive in!

Topics we cover in this article:

Looking for Lake Harriet cabins or other accommodations? Save time and use this interactive map to find, compare and book at the best rates. Or explore our comprehensive list of favorite travel partners.

All About Lake Harriet

Part of the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, Lake Harriet is located in the southwest part of Minneapolis. This 353-acre lake, which has a maximum depth of 25 feet, is a very popular recreation spot for local Minnesotans. It has two beaches (North and Southeast), biking and walking trails, sailing, and is part of the trail and parkway system that connects to Lake Calhoun to the north. Situated in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metro Region, Lake Harriet is surrounded by parkland and scenic roads.

Lake Harriet was named for Harriet Lovejoy who came to the area in 1819 with her husband Colonel Henry Leavenworth who fought in the War of 1812. He also has the distinction of having had Fort Leavenworth in Kansas named after him as well as Leavenworth Penitentiary. The lake and surrounding land were owned by Colonel William S. King who donated it to the City of Minneapolis in 1885.

Lake Harriet is located on the Grand Rounds Scenic Byway, which connects with Lake Calhoun to the north and with the Minnehaha Creek trail system to the southeast. The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway is a series of parks in Minneapolis that wind through the city and includes paths for cars, pedestrians, and bikes. Created in the 1930’s as part of the Civilian Conservation Corps projects, it is about 50 miles long and includes seven districts. Lake Harriet connects to the Minnehaha district and is part of the Chain of Lakes district. Designated as a National Scenic Byway in 1998, the Grand Rounds are considered one of the most significant examples of an urban byway in the country.

Lake Harriet, which is known for its 2.99 miles of bike trails and 2.75 miles of walking and running trails, is also popular for water activities and summer concerts at the famed Bandshell. This concert pavilion was first built in 1888 and then rebuilt several times over the years due to destruction by fire and wind. The current Bandshell was completed in 1985 and hosts numerous concerts throughout the summer months. Other parks in the area include Lyndale Park and the Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary. Adjacent to the bird sanctuary and part of the Lyndale Park Gardens is the Peace (Rock) Garden. Other Gardens include the Rose Garden, Annual/Perennial Garden, and Perennial Trail Garden.

Amenities at Lake Harriet include a boat dock, parking, restrooms, playgrounds, drinking fountains, two fishing docks, picnic area, and tennis courts. When fishing the lake, expect to catch black crappie, bluegill, golden shiner, green sunfish, hybrid sunfish, largemouth bass, muskellunge, northern pike, pumpkinseed sunfish, walleye, white sucker, yellow bullhead, and yellow perch. Refer to the Fish Consumption Guidelines on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website below.

Lake Harriet is also home to some of the area’s most palatial homes. The Lake Harriet Trolley travels from the lake’s northwest corner. The west side of the lake is part of the historic Como-Harriet Streetcar Line that runs from Lake Harriet to Lake Calhoun. Hop aboard for an old-fashioned ride on a streetcar through some of the prettiest neighborhoods of Minneapolis.

As one of the largest lakes of the Chain of Lakes, Lake Harriet is a known as a sailing lake with plenty of room to let out the sails and glide along on a relaxing afternoon. There are limited vacation rentals in the neighborhoods around Lake Harriet if you want to stay for longer than an afternoon. Whether you want to get away for the day or for the month, Lake Harriet offers plenty of outdoor activities in an area known for its natural beauty.

Things to Do at Lake Harriet

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Tennis
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Playground

Fish Species Found at Lake Harriet

  • Bass
  • Black Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Crappie
  • Largemouth Bass
  • Muskellunge
  • Northern Pike
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Pumpkinseed
  • Sucker
  • Sunfish
  • Walleye
  • Yellow Bullhead
  • Yellow Perch
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Find Places to Stay at Lake Harriet

If you’re considering a Lake Harriet lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.

Recommended Sites to Book a Lake Harriet Vacation

If you want to take a deeper dive to find waterfront lake cabins, cottages, condos, hotels or resorts, check out our favorite Lake Harriet lodging partners.

  • VRBO – Use VRBO to find the perfect lake rental home, condo, cabin, cottage or other vacation property.
  • Booking.com – One of the world’s leading digital travel companies, Booking.com connects travelers to everything from cozy B&Bs to luxury resorts.
  • Expedia – Expedia is a popular online travel agency with more than 140,000 lodging properties worldwide.
  • Hotels.com – With more than 325,000 hotels in 19,000-plus locations, Hotels.com is an industry leader in online accommodations.
  • TripAdvisor – Read traveler reviews and compare prices on hotels, vacation rentals and more at TripAdvisor.
  • Trivago – Trivago helps travelers compare deals for hotels and other accommodations from a variety of booking sites.
  • KAYAK – KAYAK scours hundreds of other travel websites at once to find the best deals on hotels and other travel-related services.
  • RVshare –RVshare connects travelers interested in renting a motorhome with owners who have RVs to rent.
  • CampSpot – Campspot offers premier RV resorts, family campgrounds, cabins and glamping options across North America.
ALL TRAVEL RESOURCES

Note: These are affiliate links so we may earn a small commission if you book through them. While there is no extra cost to you, it helps provide resources to keep our site running (thank you)! You can read our full disclosure policy here.

Lake Harriet Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 344 acres

Shoreline Length: 3 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 850 feet

Average Depth: 9 feet

Maximum Depth: 25 feet

Water Volume: 10,134 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 3.4 years

Drainage Area: 2 sq. miles

Trophic State: Mesotrophic

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