Quirky Attraction: The Mary Tyler Moore Statue in Downtown Minneapolis

mary tyler moore statue

Mary Tyler Moore Statue
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota (700 Nicollet Mall)
When to visit: Anytime during daylight hours
Cost: Free
Time needed: 5 minutes
Website: https://minneapolis.org/honoring-mary-tyler-moore/

When I finally locate the Mary Tyler Moore statue in downtown Minneapolis, the one that depicts her tossing a hat into the air as she did on the classic tv show that bore her name, I expect to see at least a few tourists hanging around with their cameras. But I’m the only one.

It’s a busy day downtown, with plenty of foot traffic in Nicollet Mall, yet most people walk by without so much as a glance up at the extremely accurate replica.

Street punks loiter nearby. Oblivious businessmen shuffle past. Busy shoppers don’t even stop to acknowledge the statue.

Doesn’t Mary deserve more respect and attention than this?

Let’s give this celebrated actress more attention by visiting her statue in Minneapolis and sharing the photos on social media. Here’s what you need to know to find the statue!

Visiting the Mary Tyler Moore Statue: Things To Know

Who was Mary Tyler Moore?

Mary was an accomplished tv actor known for several prominent roles, most notably playing Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which aired from 1970 to 1977.

Moore was a six-time Emmy winner, a three-time Golden Globe winner, and an Academy Award nominee. She was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1986.

nicollet mall macys mtm statue minneapolis
The Mary Tyler Moore statue has a prominent place downtown.

Where is the Mary Tyler Moore statue?

It’s at 700 Nicollet Mall. That’s one of the main streets of downtown Minneapolis. It stands right on the corner of Nicollet and South 7th Street.

Is there parking near the Mary Tyler Moore statue?

Not much. This is a very congested area. There’s no street parking at all on Nicollet. Adjacent South 7th Street has some metered spaces, but they are precious and get filled up quickly.

You can find several garages in the area, the closest being Gaviidae Commons Garage one block away at 61 South 6th Street. But it’s quite expensive.

See all of the downtown Minneapolis parking options here. Alternately, the Nicollet Mall METRO station is just a couple blocks away.

Who designed the Mary Tyler Moore statue?

The statue was designed by artist Gwen Gillen. Twenty one sculptors were invited to submit designs, and the one submitted by Gillen was chosen.

Gillen said, “It’s so enjoyable, really, to be portraying a woman. Sculptors are very seldom called upon to depict a woman of prominence. This is all very refreshing.”

Gillen added that the design required some effort to get the right look: “I actually practiced throwing the hat to find out when it left the hand. It comes out between 75 and 80 degrees on the slant. So I’m showing it at just between 78 and 80 degrees, with the hat just touching the fingers of her extended right hand, and the thumb open.”

When was the Mary Tyler Moore statue built?

It was unveiled on May 8, 2002. The statue was actually commissioned by the TV Land cable network, which also helped create a Bewitched statue in Salem, Massachusetts and a Bob Newhart statue in Chicago.

Why is Mary throwing her hat into the air?

That’s what her character, Mary Richards, does in the opening sequence of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The statue re-creates that iconic moment.

Why is the statue in Minneapolis?

Like most sitcoms, the show was filmed in Los Angeles. But the fictional setting in the show was a newsroom in Minneapolis.

Moore traveled to Minneapolis to film the opening credits montage showing scenes from around the city.

Mary, in fact, tosses her hat into the air while standing at that exact intersection where the statue now stands.

How big is the Mary Tyler Moore statue?

It’s life-size, so it should be just as big as a normal human when you stand next to it. Moore was 5 feet, 7 inches tall. The statue is made of bronze.

How long did The Mary Tyler Moore Show air?

The Mary Tyler Moore Show aired on CBS for seven seasons and 168 episodes. It won more than two dozen Emmys, including Best Comedy Series for three consecutive years.

The show was renowned for breaking new ground in television and presenting more sophisticated and realistic storylines than most sitcoms that came before it.

The star-studded cast featured not only Moore but also Betty White, Ed Asner, Valerie Harper, Cloris Leachman, Ted Knight, and Gavin MacLeod.

Is Mary Tyler Moore still alive?

Unfortunately, she passed away in 2017 at the age of 80. She lived long enough to see her statue go up and to know that thousands of folks have stopped by to visit over the years.

Coincidentally, the statue’s designer, Gwen Gillen, passed away just two days after Moore.

mary tyler moore throws hat

Is the Mary Tyler Moore statue still in its original location?

Yes, it’s back in its original home. In 2017, it was removed due to construction in the area. The city said it would be in storage for two years, but the locals were outraged.

Due to the public outcry, they temporarily placed the statue inside the visitor center so that everyone could access it. Once construction was completed, the Mary Tyler Moore statue was put back in place on Nicollet Mall.

Is the statue still in front of Macy’s?

No, the Macy’s that stood behind the Mary statue when I visited went out of business. The building is still there, and it’s now known as The Dayton’s Project, a building of office suites and private apartments.

Visiting Other Mary Tyler Moore Locations in Minneapolis

For serious MTM fans, there are other shooting locations in Minneapolis that you may want to check out as well.

They include:
-2104 Kenwood Parkway – the house used for the exterior of Mary’s apartment
-801 Nicollet Mall – location of the exterior shots of Mary’s tv offices
-80 8th Street South – scenes from the credits of later seasons were filmed here at Crystal Court

Interested in more statues related to tv history? Read about the statue of Fonzie from Happy Days in Milwaukee, and the statue of Andy Griffith in North Carolina.

Mary’s statue is one of the most unique Minneapolis attractions. Don’t forget to check out other sites in the Twin Cities, such as Indian Mounds Park in St. Paul, the famous Mall of America, the Mill City Museum, the Minneapolis Skyway, and the many beaches of the Twin Cities.

And of course, don’t miss the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which features the giant spoon and cherry, and other notable art pieces.

Have you ever seen the Mary Tyler Moore statue in person?