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Minneapolis

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(By plane)
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**'''Stadium Village'''
 
**'''Stadium Village'''
 
***The daily dining specials at '''Sally's Saloon''' (712 Washington Avenue Southeast) [http://www.sallyssaloon.com/] help make it a popular afternoon and evening destination among University students. At night, this is ''the'' place on the East Bank to see drunk college kids tripping over each other.
 
***The daily dining specials at '''Sally's Saloon''' (712 Washington Avenue Southeast) [http://www.sallyssaloon.com/] help make it a popular afternoon and evening destination among University students. At night, this is ''the'' place on the East Bank to see drunk college kids tripping over each other.
***'''Stub and Herb's''' Washington Ave SE and Oak St. If you're not up for a perpetual Ladies' Night and preening Greeks, Stub and Herb's has fresh soft pretzels with sweet'n'hot mustard and excellent beer served by friendly staff, helping to make it a local institution. Better than your average college bar, but still best avoided on weekend evenings and game days (especially Gopher's hockey). It's allegedly not what it once was, but as they say, nostalgia ain't what it used to be.  
+
***'''Stub and Herb's''' Washington Ave SE and Oak St. If you're not up for a perpetual Ladies' Night and preening Greeks, Stub and Herb's has fresh soft pretzels with sweet'n'hot mustard and excellent beer served by friendly staff, helping to make it a local institution. Better than your average college bar, but still best avoided on weekend evenings and game days (especially Gopher's hockey). It's allegedly not what it once was, but as they say, nostalgia aren't what it used to be.  
 
***'''Big Ten''' - Right next to Village Wok on Washington Ave SE, [http://www.big10restaurant.com/] Big Ten is a sports bar (lots of TVs for those games!) that is also family-friendly. They have two locations in the Twin Cities (the other one is in Hopkins, with an outlying location in Owatonna). The delicious subs have generous helpings of meat, piles of lettuce, garlic mayonnaise, and the Italian salad dressing.
 
***'''Big Ten''' - Right next to Village Wok on Washington Ave SE, [http://www.big10restaurant.com/] Big Ten is a sports bar (lots of TVs for those games!) that is also family-friendly. They have two locations in the Twin Cities (the other one is in Hopkins, with an outlying location in Owatonna). The delicious subs have generous helpings of meat, piles of lettuce, garlic mayonnaise, and the Italian salad dressing.
  

Revision as of 18:41, 22 April 2009

Minneapolis [45] is part of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-Saint Paul. At approximately 380,000 people, it is the largest city in Minnesota.
Minneapolis Daytime Skyline

Districts

Understand

Minneapolis was destined to be a center of commerce due to its location at the Falls of St. Anthony, which was named by the French explorer Louis Hennepin in 1680. St. Anthony Falls is by far the largest source of water power on the Mississippi River. The falls were harnessed to power lumber mills in the 1840s and later for flour milling. By 1870, Minneapolis on the west bank and St. Anthony on the east bank formed the largest flour producing center in the world. In 1872, Minneapolis absorbed its older neighbor. Most of the old St Anthony township is now known as Northeast Minneapolis. A small part of the old township comprises most of the current suburb of St. Anthony.

The name "Minneapolis", meaning "The City of Lakes" in a mash-up of the Dakota word minne and the Ancient Greek word polis, refers to the city's 22 natural lakes. The local jewels are the "Chain of Lakes": Cedar, Isles, Calhoun, Harriet, Nokomis, each 3-4 miles around. The city's excellent parks department maintains walking and biking paths around the lakes, offering residents a place to exercise or stroll. The Lake Harriet Bandshell is a popular summertime event host often featuring the renowned Minnesota Orchestra. Don't miss a ride on the restored trolley between Lakes Calhoun and Harriet operated by the Minnesota Streetcar Museum.
File:Wikitravel Path Lovers.jpg
Couple enjoying Minneapolis trail system.

The city has done an excellent job fostering developed neighborhoods, each with a distinctive feel. Downtown is the visual anchor featuring the high-rise suites, sporting events (Timberwolves, Vikings, and Twins all play downtown), and nightclub scene. Northeast is the oldest part of the city, showing off its working-class and immigrant roots in great ethnic food, neighborhood bars, and social clubs, and more recently home to an arts and riverfront redevelopment movement. Uptown historically has been one of the city's youth centers featuring funky food, drink, theater, and plenty of tattoos and mohawks, but is orienting more towards yuppies and young families as real estate anywhere near the lakes becomes an ever more prized commodity. Uptown and the Lakes area dissolves into quiet, tucked-away Linden Hills (a one-time bedroom community) to the south and Lyn-Lake, home to many indie stages, music-oriented cafes and boozers, and alternative lifestyles and hangouts of all sorts, to the east. The University of Minnesota's main campus straddles the Mississippi River in the southeast surrounded by the usual college campus environs.

Get in

By plane

Reaching for the sky
In 2009, Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport will experience a number of significant transformations. First, Northwest Airlines - the airport's largest carrier - and Delta Airlines will merge into the world's largest airline, that will keep the Delta name and remain part of SkyTeam. Secondly, Southwest Airlines will begin its first-ever service to the airport, from Chicago Midway. Future plans also call for SkyTeam airlines to use the Lindbergh Terminal and for non-SkyTeam airlines to use the Humphrey Terminal.


  • Minneapolis/Saint Paul International Airport, (IATA: MSP) (ICAO: KMSP), [46]. The airport is divided into the Lindbergh and Humphrey terminals with most flights arriving at the former. Savvy travelers should check to make sure they know which terminal they are arriving at/departing from.

The new light rail train is convenient to get downtown from the airport. Fare is $1.75-$2.25 depending on time of day. The trains are fast and clean. They also serve the Mall of America and parts of South Minneapolis. The light rail station serves both the Lindbergh and Humphrey terminal.

Northwest Airlines, a member of the SkyTeam alliance, maintains its primary hub at MSP and dominates the airport by nearly 90%. Northwest offers non-stop overseas service from MSP to Tokyo-Narita, Amsterdam, and London (Heathrow), among others. Sun Country also calls MSP home, making it easier to find discount fares within the continental United States. Icelandair, the only foreign intercontinental carrier, offers seasonal service to Keflavik with Boeing 757-200s. Air Canada Jazz is the only other foreign carrier, offering service to Toronto.

Airlines serving the Lindbergh Terminal:

  • Air Canada Jazz
  • Alaska Airlines
  • American Airlines
  • Continental Airlines
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Frontier Airlines
  • Northwest Airlines
  • United Airlines
  • US Airways

Airlines serving the Humphrey Terminal:

  • Casino Express
  • Champion Air
  • Icelandair
  • Miami Air International
  • Midwest Airlines
  • Omni Air International
  • Ryan International
  • Southwest Airlines (starting in March 2009)
  • Sun Country Airlines

There are non-stop flights to Minneapolis St Paul International Airport from the following cities (some cities may be seasonal or only offer service certain days of the week): Aberdeen, Acapulco, Albany, Albuquerque, Amsterdam, Anchorage, Appleton, Asheville, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Bangor, Bemidji, Billings, Bismarck, Boise, Boston, Bozeman, Brainerd, Buffalo, Burlington, Calgary, Cancun, Casper, Cedar Rapids, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Columbus, Cozumel, Dallas-Fort Worth, Dayton, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Dubuque, Duluth, Eau Claire, Edmonton, Fairbanks, Fargo, Fayetteville, Flint, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Wayne, Grand Cayman Island, Grand Forks, Grand Rapids, Great Falls, Green Bay, Greensboro, Hancock, Harlingen, Harrisburg, Hartford, Helena, Hibbing, Honolulu, Houston, Idaho Falls, Indianapolis, International Falls, Iron Mountain, Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Jackson, Jacksonville, Jamestown, Kalamazoo, Kalispell, Kansas City, Knoxville, La Crosse, Lansing, Las Vegas, Lincoln, London, Los Angeles, Louisville, Madison, Manchester, Manzanillo, Marquette, Mason City, Mazatlan, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minot, Missoula, Moline, Montego Bay, Montreal, Myrtle Beach, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Orlando, Palm Springs, Paris, Pellston, Peoria, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pierre, Pittsburgh, Portland, Portland, Providence, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Cana, Raleigh Durham, Rapid City, Regina, Reykjavik, Rhinelander, Richmond, Rochester (Minnesota), Rochester (New York), Sacramento, Saginaw, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, San Jose Cabo, San Juan, Santa Ana, Saskatoon, Savannah Hilton Head, Seattle, Sioux City, Sioux Falls, South Bend, Spokane, Springfield, Saint Cloud, St. Louis, St Maarten, Steamboat Springs, Tampa, Thunder Bay, Tokyo, Toronto, Traverse City, Tucson, Tulsa, Vail, Vancouver, Washington, Waterloo, Watertown, Wausau, West Palm Beach, Wichita and Winnipeg [47].

By car

Interstate Highways 35W and 94 are the main arteries into town. Both will take you to the edges of downtown. I-35W runs north and south (for the most part) and I-94 east and west; both interstates will connect you to the I-494/694 beltway around the metro area. I-394 runs west from downtown to I-494, where it becomes US Hwy 12. Be sure to keep an eye on which lane you're in, as freeway interchanges come up fast, and traffic back-ups will occur at any time, day or night; the morning (7-9AM) and evening (3-7PM) rush hours are predictably congested.

The I-35W bridge which collapsed in August 2007 over the Mississippi River is now rebuilt and open to traffic ahead of schedule.

By train

Amtrak, [48]. Daily service to Midway station, located just off University Avenue near the border between Saint Paul and Minneapolis. The Empire Builder, Amtrak trains 7/27 and 8/28, serves the Twin Cities area, terminating at Chicago and Seattle or Portland (the train splits in Spokane, Washington). This train covers a route similar to the historic "Empire Builder" of the James J. Hill Great Northern Railway.

Taxi is probably your best bet for getting to your final destination from the train station, particularly if you're coming from Chicago or other points east. The train arrives at 10:30PM or later, when the heavily reduced night shift bus schedules have gone into effect. If a wait doesn't worry you the #16 bus runs along University Avenue, a block south of the station, and it will take you to downtown Minneapolis or Saint Paul. Consider fueling up at The Dubliner on University Ave across from the station. It's a great, friendly little pub and the #16 heading into Minneapolis stops on its doorstep.

By bus

Greyhound Bus Lines, [49] and Jefferson Lines [50]. Buses arrive at the Hawthorne Transportation Center, located at 950 Hawthorne Ave (at 10th St, one block west of Hennepin) in downtown Minneapolis. It's just a few minute's taxi ride away from most of the downtown hotels. It's 4-5 blocks away from a few major bus routes and the light rail. Check the web site above for schedule details. The depot is near a homeless shelter, so it's not uncommon to see a few homeless people hanging out nearby. The area is well-patrolled and quite safe.

Megabus, [51]. Low-cost bus company that offers service from Minneapolis to Madison (twice daily), Milwaukee (four times daily), and Chicago (eight times daily); from Chicago, you can connect to buses heading to Normal, St Louis, Columbia, Kansas City, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Champaign, and Memphis. Fares can be as little as $1 each way if ordered far enough in advance. There are two marked stops in Minneapolis. The first stop is in downtown Minneapolis on the west side of 3rd Ave N between Washington Ave and 5th St (note: it's directly under the 4th St Garage). The second stop is near the University of Minnesota on the south side of University Ave next to the University Ave Parking Ramp, across the street from Williams Arena and behind the McNamara Alumni Center.

Get around

The city streets have a grid system that's helpful if you learn it. Minneapolis is divided into quadrants: North, South, Northeast and Southeast. Hennepin Avenue forms the divider between streets labeled N and S near downtown. This division continues through the smaller portion of Minneapolis east of the Mississippi, dividing it into Northeast (NE) and Southeast (SE). Further west of downtown, this division lies along Linden Avenue, just north of the I-394 freeway. In North, Northeast and Southeast Minneapolis, all roads carry N, NE, or SE prefixes on street signs. n South Minneapolis, the north-south avenues are marked S. The east-west streets are marked with W or E, depending if you are west or east of Nicollet Avenue. Even though street signs show these directions before the names, most locals read the addresses with them at the end. Thus "York Avenue South" appears on signs as "S York Ave" and "N 33rd Ave" is pronounced "33rd Avenue North".

Minneapolis is one of few cities to use multi-colored street signs. The colors o indicate the priority of plowing during winter storms. Although plowing has since changed, they still indicate what sort of street. Blue signs indicate major roads which are "Snow Emergency Routes". These are still the first to be plowed. Rust-colored signs indicate roads that run primarily east-west. Light green signs indicate roads primarily north-south. Dark green signs indicate scenic parkways that ring the city and the lakes.

Public Transit

  • Metro Transit, [52].
    • Light rail. Also known as LRT for Light Rail Transit, or Hiawatha Line. Serving downtown Minneapolis, the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis/Saint Paul International, the Mall of America, and points in between. This is the easiest, fastest, and safest bet for first-time visitors. There's a lot to do along the route, and since there only is one route, the odds of getting lost are reduced. The next phase of construction is to connect to downtown Saint Paul via the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus, opening in 2014. Also, a commuter rail line is expected to open by 2009. The commuter rail line will extend to the north metro with stops in Fridley, Coon Rapids, Anoka, Elk River and Big Lake, Minnesota. The Northstar Corridor Line will add capacity to the heavily traveled Highway 10 and I-94 corridors. The Northstar Corridor will help connect the north metro suburbs of the Twin Cities, and may extend to St. Cloud and its suburbs.

Important Buses

Route #Serving...
5Northside, Downtown, Chicago Ave, Midtown Exchange, and Mall of America.
6Uptown/Chain of Lakes, Downtown, Target Center, Dinkytown, U of MN.
10Downtown, Northeast Minneapolis, Central Avenue
16/50 (Limited Stop)Downtown, Metrodome, U of MN, Amtrak Depot, Saint Paul
18Downtown, Nicollet Avenue, Eat Street, Art Institute/MCAD
21/53 (Limited Stop)Uptown/Lakes, Lyn-Lake, Midtown, Saint Paul
  • Bus. Knowing your Route 5 from your Route 55 is considered one mark of a true-blue Twin Citian. The routes and fares are confusing to non-natives. The Metro Transit [53] web site, however, is user-friendly. The Trip Planner lets you provide your beginning and ending points and times, and suggests the best route. You can customize this on walking distances, number of transfers, and the like. As routes are anything but linear, carry a schedule and map for any bus route you are riding; these are available on buses (above you and to your left after you pay) as well as at many city government buildings, libraries, and the like. Bus stops are nearly everywhere throughout the city, but some are served infrequently, and most are not labeled as to which routes serve them at which times. Be aware of the white Metro Transit notices sometimes posted at stops; routes often change due to construction or local events and parades.

Buying a pass via Metro Transit's website in advance of your trip can be smart preparation. It saves money, but more important it keeps from having to worry about exact change. Stored Value cards would be the best choice for most visitors except they are only good for bus travel, not the LRT. 31-Day SuperSaver Passes cover both and are ideal for the extended stay in that they are good for unlimited rides and so you never have to worry about buying another or recharging. However, as of Fall 2006 these begin at $76 for access to all trains and buses (other than commuter express buses between downtown and suburbs) and so are likely overkill for a shorter stay.

An Introduction to Minneapolis via Public Transit

The northern head of the LRT is downtown on Hennepin Avenue and South 5th Street, near the Warehouse District and the Target Center. Along Hennepin next to the LRT station are bus stops for Route 6, connecting Uptown, Downtown, Dinkytown/University of Minnesota. This Route 6/LRT nexus is a good start for first-time visitors, as most hotels (provided you're staying in the city and not some airport/suburban business traveler hovel) are within a few minutes' walk. If you stay at the airport you can get here via the LRT. Other suburban accommodations are likely to be located near express buses, which largely terminate one block over at Hennepin and South 4th Street. Ask your concierge.

Taking the LRT south from downtown, the first stop you might be interested in is The Metrodome. Home to the Minnesota Vikings (football), The Minnesota Twins (baseball), University of Minnesota football and the occasional rock concert, it's a landmark. Alternately known as the Dome, the Homer Dome, and the Humper Dome, among others, it's roof is instantly recognizable.

What's In a Name?
Locals distinguish two sections of the West Bank: Seven Corners and Cedar-Riverside. The two are separated by the University of Minnesota's West Bankcampus. To the north is the collegiate Seven Corners, home to campus-flavored bars and student apartments which bleed into downtown. Cedar-Riverside on the south is a combination of young artists, musicians, and the accompanying scenesters, substances, and subculture. Many locals refer to "their" West Bank as simply The West Bank, and call the other half by its specific name. The two are divided not only by the university but by the sunken freeway, which connects Washington Ave with Interstate 35W and serves as a traffic bypass. Cedar-Riverside sits on the doorstep of some of the city's most neglected and victimized (but not particularly unsafe) ghettos and largely East African immigrant settlements. For more on Minneapolis' sordid history of urban "renewal" and demarcation via freeway building, see Larry Millet's excellent Lost Twin Cities.


Next stop, Cedar/Riverside. If you walk a few blocks east to Cedar Avenue, there's a vibrant, diverse and sometimes dangerous neighborhood known, coincidentally, as Cedar-Riverside or the West Bank. When I say dangerous, I'm not talking about Cabrini Green level crime, but a neighborhood where you should stay in well-lit areas and cab home if you have a few too many or stay a little too late. (Bars are open until 2 a.m.) Before you are frightened away, there's much this neighborhood has to offer that shouldn't be missed. The 400 Bar [54], on the corner of Cedar and Riverside Avenues, is one of the top clubs in town. It used to be where local bands played on pool tables. Now it offers touring acts from all over the country. Locals bitch about the prices but they're about the same as all the music venues in town.

East on Riverside Avenue is the Hard Times Cafe. Hard Times is only closed for two hours every day, from 4am to 6am. The food can vary widely depending on who is on duty. They offer good coffee, (often) loud music, games, etc. The Nomad [55] is a little further south on Cedar Ave. It has a nice outdoor patio for smoking and inside a stage where you can see a variety of local rock or jazz shows. Across the street from The Nomad, is Palmers. Palmers gets a little rough if you don't know how to behave yourself while drinking. Not for the weak of heart or mind. Mind your own business if you go there. Keep heading back south down Cedar Avenue and you'll come to the Triple Rock Social Club [56], one of a number of Twin Cities music venues which seem to have arisen out of someone's dream of parking a bar in their basement rec-room. The bar side has great food with a lot of vegetarian options. The club side has a big stage and fantastic sound system. Check their web site above for listings.

Still further down Cedar Avenue are the Whiskey Junction and The Cabooze. Whiskey Junction is a favorite hang out for bikers, but a good number of those are the suburban type with expensive Harley Davidsons. The crowd and atmosphere at the Cabooze varies widely, depending at least in part on who is doing their best interpretation of blues that night - from all those people who disappeared from campus freshman year to long-haired exurbans with Polaris ballcaps. Both venues offer live music most nights. If you make it to the Cabooze, you're already near the Franklin Avenue Light Rail stop. Get back on and head down to Lake Street.

Lake Street/Midtown has a lot to offer on weekend days in the spring and summer. Namely an outdoor market with lots of good food and locally made goodies. The neighborhood has become a center for Mexican and Central American immigrants, and hence the food of those regions, in Minneapolis. See the Eat section for more information. Worth a stop for sure. You can also catch a 21 bus from here to Uptown (make sure the bus is going west).

The next few stops take you to mostly residential neighborhoods. While there are things to do along them, they're not easily accessible on foot, so we'll skip ahead to 50th Street/Minnehaha Park. The Minnehaha Park station is adjacent to a park and Minnehaha Falls. You can see the 53 foot falls and walk along the creek on its way to the Mississippi River.

The Fort Snelling station is located after the VA Medical Center station. Fort Snelling makes a great day trip. It's the original settlement in Minnesota and an early wilderness outpost.

Next is the Airport and then the Mall of America, the gargantuan monument to advanced capitalism. The MOA is not quite as sparkling as it was on its opening over a decade ago, but it is still the largest mall around and by some accounts the leading tourist destination in the United States. Tour operators from as far away as Japan organize charter flights and hotel bookings for the single purpose of experiencing "The Mall". It offers an indoor amusement park, movies, restaurants and more shopping than is comprehensible. It's a day trip in itself, but not for the thrifty. Food, shopping and the Camp Formerly Known as Snoopy (now The Park at MOA) can burn through your wallet fast. Not for those with poor impulse control. For the tourist in you, check out local kitsch such as the Lake Wobegone Store.

The return trip: by disembarking at the Lake Street Station and catching a #21 Bus going west, or by returning to the LRT headwaters at Hennepin Avenue and catching a #6 Bus bearing south, one can end up at Uptown and the jewel of Minneapolis, the gorgeous Chain of Lakes. If you're here between Memorial Day and Labor Day, rent a canoe [57] at Lake Calhoun (stop at the nearby Lunds grocery on Lake Street for picnic materials) and see four lakes, three enchanting sheltered canals, two islands, and one classic creosote-tastic railroad trestle from a duck's eye view.

The 21 brings you past the Midtown Market and Lyn-Lake on the way, while the 6 takes you through downtown and past the gleaming Loring Park area, featuring the spectacular Basilica of St. Mary [58], the infamous Spoon and Cherry [59], and the shiny metal Rock 'Em-Sock 'Em Robot head that is the new Walker Art Center [60] expansion. Heading north on the 6 will take you across Nicollet Island, another of Minneapolis' abundant urban havens, and through the original Minneapolis/St. Anthony milling district and a touch of the ethnic food and drink haven that is Northeast Minneapolis on the way to Dinkytown and the University of Minnesota (including an old campus district which is on the National Register of Historic Places, as well as some of the top libraries in the world).

- Plan a trip on the light rail and bus or find out about fares online at: [61] or call 612-373-3333

By bike

Since 2000 the Twin Cities have invested heavily in the development of paved bike trails and traffic bike lanes and according to some estimates, have more paved bike lanes than any other metropolitan area in the USA. The Twin Cities also offer a good mix of off-road bike trails; for example one can bike from Chaska to St. Paul using only bike trails, some thirty miles. A variety of maps [62] show the web of on and off-road routes that span the greater metropolitan area. During the winter, major bike trails such as the Midtown Greenway are plowed at the same time as major streets. In some neighborhoods like Downtown, Dinkytown, Uptown, and near the University of Minnesota campus, bikes are seen almost as often as cars.

The Twin Cities also offer a big variety of cycling shops from very race oriented ones (e.g Grand Performance [63] in St. Paul and Flanders Bros [64] in Minneapolis) to more consumer oriented shops (e.g. Penn Cycle [65], Erik's [66], Boehm's [67], etc.)

A very useful cycling shop for visitors and tourists is Calhoun Cycle [68], which offers, among other services, offers bike rental (both regular and tandem bikes).

For additional cycling information in the Twin Cities area please visit the Twin Cities Bicycling Club [69].

Skyway

Although not unique, no discussion of getting around Minneapolis would be complete without discussing the Skyway. Covering most of an approximate 7x7 block region of central downtown, the Skyway is a series of public pedestrian spaces on the 2nd floor of downtown buildings connected by covered bridges between buildings. It is possible to walk through most of downtown and never go outdoors, a real advantage during winter. Additionally, the Skyway allows you to bypass stoplights and quickly move through the city. Beyond the core region, the Skyway reaches about 12 blocks in the north/south direction and 8 blocks east/west. The Skyway is home to multiple restaurants, stores, shops and malls. If visiting downtown Minneapolis during the winter, using a parking deck or staying at a hotel on or very near the Skyway is well worth the investment. Hours vary slightly, but most buildings are open 12-6pm Sunday, 6:30am-9/10pm M-F and 9:30-8pm on Saturday.

See

The museums, natural parks and waterfronts, malls, shopping districts, and dining zones should give you several options no matter what your age.


  • Holidazzle Parade, [1]. This impressive nighttime parade is held downtown Minneapolis several times a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Costumes--which have lights on them--often have themes including: Peter Pan, Wizard of Oz, zoo animals, nursery rhymes, walking light bulbs (a crowd favorite!), Santa Claus and others.

Museums

Theater

Theaters are clustered in Downtown, the West Bank, and Uptown

Do

Minneapolis on the surface seems like a pretty but rather quiet tourist destination. If you properly do your research though, there is plenty to do.

  • As mentioned earlier above, Minneapolis has beautiful lakes and riverfronts that the local residents work hard to keep clean. It is also easy with a car, the proper permits, and necessary equipment to go camping as close as twenty miles east on the St. Croix River, or as far as seven hours north on the Canadian border. And it can be delightfully cheap.
  • Biking. An old freight train railway has been converted into the Midtown Greenway, [70], which cuts through the middle of South Minneapolis beginning on the West Bank and crossing west all the way to the Lake Calhoun area and meeting up with the Kenworth Trail, [71] which in turn connects with the Cedar Lake Trail, [72].

Lakes and Parks

  • Walk, bike, drive, swim or paddle around the chain of lakes running north to south along the western side of Minneapolis proper. Some are connected by lagoons and creeks which eventually spill into the Mississippi River at the famed Minnehaha Falls, inspiration of Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha". These are all part of the Minneapolis Grand Rounds [73], a 40-mile loop around the city begun over a century ago during the nation's first grand movement to toss the "Keep Off the Grass!" signs into the dustbin of history.
    File:Wikitravel Paths.jpg
    Walking path in Minneapolis
  • Only beer in cans are allowed in Minneapolis Parks.
  • Shower soon after swimming to avoid swimmer's itch.
  • Cedar Lake. Cedar Lake has a shady public swimming beach.
  • Lake of the Isles. Lake of the Isles has bird sanctuaries on its (officially off-limits) islands, and a public skating rink (with warming house) are groomed in the winter months. Check the newspaper; you may get lucky and catch a world-class speed-skating competition here. Its shores also feature some of the best climbing trees in the city, particularly for those who carry a short rope ladder in their pack.
  • Lake Calhoun. Lake Calhoun has a large public beach and boat rentals [74] (and lessons), and a snack bar that resembles a real restaurant more every summer.
    File:Calhoun Parkway Steps.jpg
    Stately home along Calhoun Parkway
  • Lake Harriet. Lake Harriet also has boat rentals near its bandshell [75].
  • Lake Nokomis. Lake Nokomis has several beaches including a swimming beach with life guards on duty. It also has public boat access for canoes, kayaks and sail boats. The swimming beach also has public rest rooms and vends food (hot dogs, ice cream, etc.). Several convenience stores and a grocery store are nearby on Cedar Avenue if you need to make a run for that item you forgot on your picnic.
  • Minnehaha Creek. Minnehaha Creek connects Lake Minnetonka in the far west suburbs (a yuppie drinking and jet-skiing nightmare) with the Mississippi river, running through Lake Nokomis and other small lakes along the way. A short tributary connects it to the southeast corner of Lake Harriet.

Fluid Landscapes
The face of Minneapolis' lakes and creeks has been ever-changing since the Industrial Age began. Each of the chain of lakes has been dredged repeatedly, shifting the shores and in the case of Isles accidentally submerging a long-lost third island. Basset Creek [76] once connected the northwest section of the Grand Rounds—including Wirth Lake and points north and west—with the Mississippi before being diverted and buried to serve as storm drainage. Large stretches of swampy wetlands once made for a makable, if buggy, passage from the north and west suburbs through all of the Lakes to the river. Now this is possible only for those willing to brave manholes, raccoons, and the law in a descent below the city.


    • For those who rent a boat at Lake Calhoun: Calhoun links to Isles via a small pond and stream known as The Lagoon. Bearing west (left) down the shore of Isles will reveal a brick-lined canal with a canopy of trees like something from a Victorian period piece that opens up Cedar Lake to the adventurous paddler. Watch out for windy days, as this is a surprisingly large and exposed lake where the waves can catch a person off guard! On the far northern end of Cedar you'll find a tiny outlet beneath an old railroad trestle that leads to a semi-secluded pond called Brownie Lake. It's relatively quiet but for the sound of I-394 on the other side of the trees, and is often a good place to spot Blue Herons, hawks, and occasionally a Bald Eagle.
    • Sadly, Lake Harriet has no connection with Lake Calhoun, so a complete traversal of the lakes and Minnehaha Creek isn't possible without using your own canoe and portaging over about 3/4 of a mile of hilly bike path. Also, most of Minnehaha Creek isn't exactly navigable except during the height of the spring melt when you may be able to paddle between Harriet and Nokomis if you don't mind find the current in one direction. Normally many stretches of the creek are no more than two inches of water bubbling over a rough, rocky bed, terminating in a 53-foot fall into the Mississippi River just above the Ford Dam. Tempting, but probably a bad idea!
  • Moving away from the lakes, Minneapolis features many other parks with recreational, natural, and historical merit in various degrees. Boom Island Park, just North of Nicollet Island and most easily accessible from the Stone Arch Bridge [77], features nice fishing on side channels and some of the most unique skyline views in the United States, as well as a look at the century-old remains of massive brickworks and water-power tailrace tunnels of the Pillsbury A Mill. The Mill was the last functioning reminder of Minneapolis' boomtown heyday to shut down in 2005, and is slated to become yet another retail/restaurant/condo building lining the redbrick St. Anthony Main.
  • Directly across the river is the Mill Ruins Park and Mill City Museum [78], next to the St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam—the final lock on the journey up the Mississippi. The Mill Ruins was the site of the Washburn A Mill among others, host of an infamous explosion and fire in the 19th century. And the 20th. And the 20th again. Oh, and there were two more in the 19th. Eventually, the burnt shells were given up on and left standing, and much of the canal and tunnel system which provided water power was covered with earth and paved over to form West River Road. The park features excavations of quite a bit of these early stoneworks from an age when very rich men prided themselves on the quality of even the most mundane, invisible, underground works; as well as the outfall of Basset Creek, buried for the last 1.5 miles of its run beneath downtown.
  • Tower Hill Park in Southeast Minneapolis is home to the venerable Witch's Hat [79], the Prospect Park neighborhood's 1914 water tower. It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and offers maybe the best (if not the broadest) view in the city on the one day per year that its observation deck is open.

Learn

  • University of Minnesota, [80].
  • Augsburg College, [81].
  • Minneapolis College of Art and Design, [82].
  • Minneapolis Community and Technical College, [83].
  • Normandale Community College, [84].

Work

Buy

Shopping Districts

Uptown area, centered on Hennepin Avenue and Lake Street, south of Downtown Minneapolis and extending East to the Lake/Lyndale avant-garde theatre district. In this area you'll find all kinds of retailers.

Nicollet Mall is a pedestrian mall right in the heart of downtown. So be prepared to be outside.

Collectibles

  • Robot Love, 2648 Lyndale Ave S (at 27th St), +1 612 871-9393 (), [2]. M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 12PM-6PM. A design store featuring limited edition designer toys, clothing, books, print, and magazines.

Clothes

  • Lava Lounge, 3037 Lyndale Ave S (south of Lake St), +1 612 824-5631, [3]. The clothes are fitted and range from hip hop to techno-industrial wear.
  • Ragstock, 1433 W Lake St (west of Hennepin), +1 612 823-6690, [4]. A local chain of used clothing stores. Clothing is shipped in from thrift stores across the country and sorted through and either torn to rags for commercial use, or pulled aside to be sold in one of the stores. There are stores around the Twin Cities area in addition to the Uptown Minneapolis location listed above.
  • Design Collective, 1311 W 26th St (at Hennepin), +1 612 377-1000, [5]. A local boutique featuring handmade clothing and accessories from local designers.

Bookstores

The Twin Cities are a hotbed of independent presses and bookstores.

  • Uncle Hugo's Science Fiction and Uncle Edgar's Mystery, 2864 Chicago Ave (at Lake St), Uncle Hugo's: +1 612 824-6347, Uncle Edgar's: +1 612 824-9984 (, fax: +1 612 827-6394), [6]. M-F 10AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. Uncle Hugo's dates back to 1974 while Uncle Edgar's dates back to 1980. Originally separate businesses, they have shared the same storefront since 1984. A treasure trove of used and new science fiction, fantasy, and mystery books. It is the oldest SF/fantasy book store in North America, and has a well-earned national reputation for its vast selection. The prices are reasonable and you can get an extra 10% off all purchases by buying a $4 discount card. If you're buying more than $40 worth of books, it pays for itself with the first purchase. It is located in a shady part of town, so it's best to arrive with plenty of daylight left.
  • Big Brain Comics, 1027 Washington Ave S, +1 612 228-4390, [7]. A great comic/underground book store, very neatly and intelligently laid out. Named Best Comic Book Shop by City Pages two years running [8], the only mark against it is the slight air of pretension that casual buyers may encounter.
  • Dreamhaven Books and Comics, 912 W Lake St (between Bryant and Colfax), +1 612 823-6161 (fax: +1 612 823-6062), [9]. M-F 11AM-8PM, Sa 11AM-6PM, Su noon-6PM. New and used science fiction, fantasy, horror, film and art books, comics, an adults-only room. Mail order and in-store readings.
  • College of Comic Book Knowledge, 3151 Hennepin Ave (at 32nd St), +1 612 822-2309, [10]. Shares the building with Nostalgia Zone. Great for newer and more mainstream comics.
  • Nostalgia Zone, 3151 Hennepin Ave (at 32nd St), +1 612 822-2806, [11]. Shares the building with College of Comic Book Knowledge. Best for hard to find old comics and independents. You can also sell comics here, and the dealers are great. The establishment is over 30 years old.
  • Amazon Bookstore, 4755 Chicago Ave (at 48th St), +1 612 821-9630, [12]. Founded in 1970, well before the online book retailer of the same name. Boasts the title of the oldest independent feminist book store in North America. The store is practically a Minneapolis institution.
  • Arise! Bookstore, 2441 Lyndale Ave S, +1 612 871-7110, [13]. Collectively-run all-volunteer radical & progressive bookstore and infoshop in the heart of south Minneapolis.

Record Stores

  • Roadrunner Records, 4304 Nicollet Ave, +1 612 822-0613, [14]. Has a great selection of independent LP's, CD's and DVD's. Known for their international music section. Punk and alt-country genres don't suffer. A great independent record store with lots of local and independently produced product.
  • Extreme Noise Records, 407 W Lake St (at Grand Ave), +1 612 842-0100, [15]. Specializes in all punk and subgenres therein. A cooperative run for over ten years by local punks. Amazing selection of punk 'zines, CD's, LP's and 7-inches. The place in town for finding hard-to-find punk records, trading punk records, finding other punks, seeking out that basement show, etc. Don't let the punk rock moniker scare the less-than punk away. If you want to see what a truly independent local scene can produce and meet some of the most earnest members of said scene, you must check out Extreme Noise.
  • Electric Fetus, 2000 4th Ave S (on the corner of Franklin Ave and 4th Ave, near I-35W), +1 612 870-9300, [16]. Possibly the most complete selection of CD's in town across all genres. Hold on tight to your wallet when you walk in here. If there's an obscure CD you've been looking for, this place is likely to have it. Listening stations are posted throughout the store enticing all who enter to try out some new music. It's the place you would go if you had unlimited resources for buying new music. Be prepared to pay full price, although new releases are frequently on sale. Buy four CD's and get a discount. Tickets for local venues are on sale here too.
  • Treehouse Records, 2557 Lyndale Ave S (northeast corner of 26th and Lyndale), +1 612 872-7400. A somewhat small but cozy record shop. New and used CDs and vinyl. Selection isn't large but leans towards the non-mainstream; you can find stuff here that isn't easily found at other Twin Cites record stores.
  • Cheapo, 1300 W Lake St (at Fremont), +1 612 827-8238, [17]. A huge location in the Uptown area. Specializing in all areas of music as well as DVDs and vinyl records. If you are looking for something that's hard to find, it's a good bet that they will have it. If not, they can order it for you. They also have a large collection of used CDs with huge inventories coming in everyday.

Eat

Minneapolis is renowned for its restaurants, ethnic or American. It could take weeks to sample just a part of what it has to offer.

  • Don't miss Nicollet Avenue's Eat Street centered around East 27th Street for a variety of ethnic fare. Azia, the Caterpillar Lounge and Anemoni Sushi & Oyster Bar (2550 Nicollet Avenue), are upscale Asian restaurants complete with lounges. Other highly recommended restaurants are Quang Restaurant (2719 Nicollet Avenue) and Jasmine Deli (8 East 26th Street) for Vietnamese, Yummy and Seafood Palace (2523 Nicollet Avenue) for Chinese, and the so-called Black Forest Inn (1 East 26th Street) for German cuisine. Little Tijuana (17 East 26th Street) is a nice stop for alluring punk/goth waitresses and Mexican plates. The Vietnamese restaurants are incredibly cheap ($5-$10 per person) and have received consistently exuberant reviews since their openings (Quang was even positively reviewed in the New York Times). The latter four are standard $8-$20 dollars per person except during lunch.
  • The Dinkytown and Stadium Village areas near the University of Minnesota have great offerings.
    • Dinkytown
      • The Dinkytowner [85] (412 1/2 14th Avenue Southeast) is a feature, with great breakfast and diner-ish food and free pool in the evenings. There are local music acts (mostly hip-hop) almost every night of the week, with the cover usually around $5.
      • The Steak Knife [86] (1327 4th Street Southeast), features gyros—stuffed with french fries like they do in Greece—and baklava mixed in with excellent burgers and hot sandwiches and hoagies.
      • Loring Pasta Bar (327 14th Avenue Southeast) is an outpost of a former Loring Park legend. It is comfy, cozy, and features an excellent bar (plus beautiful marble and stone bathrooms), but it's better for wine dates than dinner. Food is nothing special and quite expensive. Salsa on Saturday nights is a must. Bring your dancing shoes and a few bucks for the cover.
      • Shuang Cheng (1320 4th Street Southeast) is a perennially popular Chinese restuarant. Often raved about in reviews due to its dishes' abundances of vegetables and unique offerings (such as Walleye with Black Beans Sauce), it also offers standard fare. Entrees are around $7-$12.
    • Stadium Village
      • The daily dining specials at Sally's Saloon (712 Washington Avenue Southeast) [87] help make it a popular afternoon and evening destination among University students. At night, this is the place on the East Bank to see drunk college kids tripping over each other.
      • Stub and Herb's Washington Ave SE and Oak St. If you're not up for a perpetual Ladies' Night and preening Greeks, Stub and Herb's has fresh soft pretzels with sweet'n'hot mustard and excellent beer served by friendly staff, helping to make it a local institution. Better than your average college bar, but still best avoided on weekend evenings and game days (especially Gopher's hockey). It's allegedly not what it once was, but as they say, nostalgia aren't what it used to be.
      • Big Ten - Right next to Village Wok on Washington Ave SE, [88] Big Ten is a sports bar (lots of TVs for those games!) that is also family-friendly. They have two locations in the Twin Cities (the other one is in Hopkins, with an outlying location in Owatonna). The delicious subs have generous helpings of meat, piles of lettuce, garlic mayonnaise, and the Italian salad dressing.
  • The Midtown Global Market [89] on 920 East Lake Street opened recently in what used to be a large Sears store, and is now home to a variety of cafes and restaurants from all around the world. Favorites like Holy Land Deli and Bakery, Andy's Garage in Saint Paul, and several restaurants in Mercado Central have opened satellite locations here.
  • Northeast
    • Saint Anthony Main
      • The Saint Anthony Main district is the oldest part of Minneapolis. Recently a fairly run-down neighborhood, it is currently undergoing a phase of urban renewal, as are all areas on both sides of the river throughout downtown. Immediately along the river are a few restaurants, notably Pracna (117 Main Street Southeast). The food is moderately expensive and is of moderate quality, though the restaurant does offer a stunning view of downtown and an outdoor patio.
      • A block away, Nye's Polonaise (112 East Hennepin Avenue) is a popular restaurant/bar. The restaurant is mainy heavy Polish comfort food, and the bar offers strong drinks. The main draw however is the polka lounge (21+), which in combination with copious amounts of alcohol promises a lovely time.
      • Continuing on the Eastern European cuisine, Kramarczuk's (215 East Hennepin Avenue) is a combined European-style deli with attached sausage counter/cheese shop. The deli offers delicious and traditional Polish and Ukrainian foods.
      • Pizza Nea (306 East Hennepin Avenue) is a charming and small space that produces excellent Italian-style thin-crust pizzas. It also has a good wine list and a small selection of choice beers. Pizzas run around $11-$16.
    • Central Avenue
      • Chiapas Restaurant (2416 Central Avenue Northeast) is a family-owned Mexican restaurant near the corner of Central and Lowry Avenue Northeast. The food is cheap and delicious, with excellent Enchiladas Mole.
      • Diamond's Coffee Shoppe (1816 Central Avenue Northeast), located in a former warehouse, has good coffee and moderately priced deli-style food. The grilled cheese and tuna melt are especially delicious, however the place doesn't take credit cards, so bring cash.
    • Northeast Arts District
      • The Modern Cafe (337 13th Avenue Northeast) is an airy 60's-style diner with excellent comfort food and a decently sized beer/wine selection. The pot roast itself is worth the trip, however the hours are at times erratic and phoning ahead is not a bad idea.
    • For more see Northeast

African

Unique among most American cities is it's highly established African population, primarily from Ethiopia, Somalia, and West Africa. The respective communities each have left their mark on Minneapolis cuisine, with cuisines uncommon in most major Metro areas.


  • Blue Nile Restaurant, 2027 E Franklin Ave Minneapolis, MN 55404, (612) 338-3000‎, [18]. 4pm - 10 pm, Sunday through Thursday, 4pm - 11pm, Friday & Saturday. rather popular,Blue Nile is self-identified as "Pan-African Cuisine", though easily 90% of the fare on the menu is of Ethiopian origin, with sambusas, curries, and bread dishes. It should be noted that it is in a rough neighborhood, especially around night. $10-20.
  • Tam-Tam's African Restaurant (African), 605 Cedar Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55454, (612) 339-0854, [19]. 11am--10pm. Authentic African food, relatively inexpensive, and gigantic portions (like most other african restaurants in Minneapolis) for under $20. very friendly service. Worth trying for something new and unusual. 10-15.

Areas For Dining

Bakeries and Bistros

  • French Meadow Bakery, 2610 Lyndale Ave S, +1 612 870-4740 (fax: +1 612 870-0907), [20]. Owner and founder of this excellent bakery and cafe, Lynn Gordon, has a passion for fabulous yeast free breads, and has been an artisan baker since before that term began to be applied to high-quality individual bakers. Virtually everything on the menu is delicious and original, and save room for the desserts and fairtrade coffee. $4-$20, depending on the time of day. Cheapest in the morning. On weekends arrive early to avoid the brunch rush.
  • Isles Bun and Coffee Company, 1424 W 28th St, +1 612 870-4466. A classic city bakery and coffee shop. Very limited seating inside, but with sidewalk tables and two blocks to Lake of the Isles it hardly matters. Bakers work in full view in a sunken work area behind the counter, putting out some of the best rolls, buns, and other delectables in the city. Check out the cinnammon roll and their savory breakfast items.

Chinese

  • See Dinkytown, Eat Street, and Stadium Village.

Diners

  • Sunny Side Up, 2704 Lyndale Ave S. A local favorite with ever-changing specials. Classic greasy American(/English) breakfasts complemented by some vegetarian and Mexican-influenced dishes. Their "Benedict" specials are almost always excellent, even if they stretch the bounds of the normal understanding of eggs benedict.
  • The Wienery, 414 Cedar Ave (at Riverside), +1 612 746-4509. Small, family owned diner that serves basic fare. It's where the punks, aging hippies and various harmless riff-raff go for breakfast or a lunch of fries, burgers, brats or hot dogs slathered with your choice of toppings. They also carry veggie dogs for the vegetarian in you. The fries are shredded right in front of you and come out oh so crisp!

French

  • Cafe Barbette, 1600 W Lake St (at Irving), +1 612 827-5710, [21]. $15-$30.
  • Cafe Lurcat, 1624 Harmon Place, +1 612 486-5500. Highly recommended. Chic establishment with French/Fusion offerings. $18-$40.
  • Cafe Vin, 5555 Xerxes Ave S (at 56th St), +1 612 922-0100. Pane's sister French restaurant - blocks from Pane - it features a Mediterranean/French menu. Again, tons of charm, great food and wine.
File:Sonny's Benches.jpg
Sonny's Ice Cream on Lyndale Avenue in South Minneapolis

Fusion or Modern American

  • Restaurant Alma, 528 University Ave SE, +1 612 379-4909. Amazing food which can best be described as a combination between French, Fusion, and small-town Minnesotan. They use almost exclusively organic ingredients. $30-$60 per person for a three-course meal with wine. Cheaper, but not by much, at lunch.
  • Taxxi: An American Bistro, 1300 Nicollet Mall, +1 612 370-1234. A great new chef has revitalized the Bistro in the Hyatt. Serving high end American and International fare at reasonable prices, Taxxi is best known for its special buffets during the holidays and Mother's Day. But the daily menu, which features soup, sauces, and steak, is worth the visit. $30-$75 per person for a three-course meal with wine.

Indian

  • India House, 1400 Nicollet Ave, +1 612 813-0000, [22].
  • Gandhi Mahal, 3009 27th Ave S (at Lake), +1 612 729-5222 (, fax: +1 612 729-5953), [23]. Northern Indian food, vegetarian friendly. Buffet available during lunch hours.
  • Moti Mahal, 3025 E Franklin Ave, +1 612 343-2222. Very authentic and simplistic North India food. They seem to have fewer customers and the owner is very friendly.
  • Namaste Cafe, 2512 Hennepin Ave, +1 612 827-2496, [24]. Located in swanky Uptown, this is a duplex converted to a restaurant and gift shop (the restaurant next door is actually called Duplex). It is somewhat difficult to locate even though it is right on Hennepin Ave which runs through the middle of Uptown. The owners are Nepali and the food is very similar to Indian cuisine. The cooking is very homey and the prices are quite reasonable for such a prime location. Lunch will cost around $8. Try one of their amazing chai teas. They grind their own spices and mix up one heck of a good cup. There are 7 or 8 varieties. Voted best Chai Tea by City Pages.
  • Nala Pak (formerly Udupi), 4920 Central Ave NE, Columbia Heights, +1 763 574-1113, [25]. Just barely across the border from NE Minneapolis is Nala Pak, the first strictly vegetarian Indian restaurant in the Twin Cities. They do things with beans and eggplant that should be illegal.
  • Surabhi Indian Cuisine, 517 W 98th St, Bloomington, +1 952 746-3663, [26]. A south suburban favorite. $8-$20.

Italian

  • D'Amico's Cucina, 100 N 6th St, +1 612 338-2401. One of the area's most expensive restaurants, serves amazing Italian cuisine with international and fusion touches. Expect to spend over $60 for two people. Absolutely gastronomical. Call for sure for reservations and directions. It is a little hidden.
  • Pane Vino Dolce, 819 W 50th St, +1 612 825-3201. Considered one of the best and authentic Italian restaurants in town. There's no sign, but you'll find a hand written menu taped in the window each day. There are only about 15 tables - small, romantic, and plenty of charm.
  • Broder's Pasta Bar, 5000 Penn Ave S, +1 612 925-9202, [90]. Broder's is "Pasta cooked the way it was meant to be." The menu features around 20 different past dishes, a mix of new and old favorites. Reasonably small, often crowded, but surprisingly conversational.

Japanese

Japanese cuisine is highly competitive. Prepare to spend more at the first two establishments for sushi, which runs $5-$8 at both places per serving. The best showings are probably:

  • Nami, 251 1st Ave N, +1 612 333-1999. Located in the Warehouse District nearby 1st Ave, which runs parallel to Hennepin. Lunch specials, decor, and very modern, relaxing atmosphere. $10 per person plus tip at lunchtime, and $20 per person in the evening
  • Origami, 30 N 1st St, +1 612 333-8430. Best known for their sushi. Located in the Warehouse District nearby 1st Ave, which runs parallel to Hennepin. $10 per person plus tip at lunchtime, and $20 per person in the evening. Generally a posh, overly-sedate crowd and indifferent service.
  • Koyi, 122 N 4th St, +1 612 375-9811. Located in the Warehouse District across the street from Pizza Luce and next to the Thai restaurant, Sawadee. Their 5-7pm happy hour features about a dozen different types of rolls for less than $4.00 each. Good service.
  • Fuji-Ya, 600 W Lake St. +1 612 871-4055 A Lyn-Lake (Lyndale and Lake intersection) favorite.
  • Kikugawa, 43 Main Street SE, +1 612 378-3006. A laid-back favorite with floor and faux-floor (dugout booth) seating, Kikugawa is the place to get excellent sushi without paying twice as much as necessary and enduring a silly, hoity-toity atmosphere for what amounts to sitting around noshing on finger food.

Mexican

In recent years, Minneapolis has developed a core community of Mexican-born residents. As a result, several good, authentic Mexican restaurants have cropped up.

  • Taco Morelos, 14 W 26th St, 612 870-0053. Near the corner of Nicollet Avenue and 26th St in the "Eat Street" area. What was once a cheap, authentic, storefront restaurant, has become a mid-price, authentic restaurant/bar with at least three locations in the Twin Cities area. The original location on on 26th St. is now called a "Tex Mex Grill", but don't let that fool you. For around $10 you can still get a fantastic burrito or one of the best plates of huevos rancheros in town.
  • Mercado Central, Corner of Lake Street and Bloomington Avenue. Meant to mimic a Mexican outdoor market but all indoors (probably because of the prodigious winters). You can buy tamales to go and there's a "food court" comprised totally of Mexican and Salvadoran owned restaurants.
  • Pepito's. A mainstay of South Minneapolis with two locations.
    • 4624 Nicollet Ave, 612 825-6311. The deli-style fast food version is located on the corner of Nicollet and 46th. Try the fish tacos, they're fantastic. No alcohol, but fast service and fantastic food for those on the go.
    • 4820 Chicago Ave, 612 822-2104. The sit-down restaurant version is located on the corner of 48th and Chicago Ave. There's a full bar, a kid-friendly menu and good food at reasonable prices. If you're traveling with a toddler and want decent food in a family-friendly restaurant, Pepitos has a good kid's menu with items for $4.95 each and the food comes fast. So you and yours can eat before your two year-old throws the entire bowl of chips at the adjoining booth.

Middle Eastern

  • Holy Land Deli and Bakery, 2513 Central Ave NE, 612 781-2627, and a satellite location at the Midtown Global Market, 920 E Lake St, Suite 145, [91]. Middle Eastern and Mediterranean/Greek cuisine. The gyros are some of the best in the United States, and the chicken curry gyros are very original and tasty. It's hard to go wrong with their menu, which is especially friendly towards vegetarians. The lunch/dinner buffet also is good and cheap, but call to make sure that the gyro meats will be served with it. $6-$10 dollars per person. It also sports a full-sized market. The bread, hummus, imports, and other specialties are wonderful, but call ahead to make sure that you get fresh produce on a delivery day.
  • Crescent Moon Bakery, 2339 Central Ave NE, 612 782-0169. They are known for their savory and spicy Afghani pizza with its special sauce - one of the most underrated and unique pies in town (if not the best). What most miss due to the pull of the pizza is their equally incredible gyro meat, expertly seasoned and lightly charred for a nice texture. They also serve kabob platters. Prices run as low as $5 for a gyro and $12 for the huge Afghani pizza (could easily feed 3 normal appetites), and as high as $25-30 for one of the massive platters.

Thai

  • True Thai, 2627 E Franklin Ave, 612 375-9942. True Thai and Chiang Mai Thai consistently rank as the best in the Twin Cities, with their own strong points. The Chili-Tamarind, Rama Spinach Curry, and Pad Thai are amazing at this establishment. $9-$17 dollars per person for an entree and drink.
  • Chiang Mai Thai, 3001 Hennepin Ave S, 612 827-1606. In Uptown, Chiang Mai Thai has a romantic and authentic ambiance and large servings. Try the Thai Basil or Ginger Stir Fry. Entrees are $9-$18. Chiang Mai tends to be richer than True Thai, for example: favoring coconut milk vs. broth in its curries, and concentrating on the peanut and spice in the Pad Thai whereas True Thai adds many extra vegetables for a bit less "cohesive" flavor. Both are excellent, the only question is what a person is in the mood for!
  • Thanh Do, 3005 Utah Avenue S, 952 935-5005. Although a trek from the city itself (in St. Louis Park) the Basil Pod Thai is the best in the area. Get it take-out, though, as the service and atmosphere is lacking.

Vietnamese

Vegetarian

  • Hard Times Cafe, 1821 Riverside Ave, 612 341-9261. Located on Riverside a few steps east of Cedar on the West Bank. Open 22 hours a day every day, 6:00am-4:00am. The best people watching, cheapest vegan food, and most endearingly diy decor in the city, but don't expect a friendly staff.
  • Seward Cafe, 2129 E Franklin Ave, 612 332-1011. Located a few blocks east of the Franklin Ave light-rail station in the Seward neighborhood. Open for breakfast and lunch only.
  • Ecopolitan, 2409 Lyndale Ave S, 612 874-7336, [92]. Raw vegan food. Very tasty, innovative and energizing.

Pizza

Sometimes you roll into town and you just want a good slice of pizza. Minneapolis has a few offerings.

  • Punch Pizza has a few locations around the Twin Cities and one of them know a true northern italian pizza when they see it, will be more than happy to discover this little gem. Punch is one of the few restaurants that actually has certification from the official Napoli pizza organization. Pizza Luce is the crowd favorite but Punch is the critic's. Evidently it is Meryl Streep's as well. In Minneapolis:
    • West of Lake Calhoun: 3226 W Lake St, 612 929-0006.
    • Old Saint Anthony: 210 E Hennepin Ave, 612 623-8114.
  • Pizza Lucé [93] has three locations in Minneapolis:
    • Downtown: 119 N 4th St, +1 612 333-7359. Open Su-Th 11AM-2:30AM, F-Sa 11AM-3:30AM.
    • Uptown: 3200 Lyndale Ave S, +1 612 827-5978. Open daily 11AM-2:30AM.
    • Seward: 2200 E Franklin Ave, 612 332-2535. Open daily 11AM-2:30AM.
    • St. Paul: 1183 Selby Ave, "+1 651" 288-0186. Open daily 11AM-2:30AM.
Go to the downtown location if you can on the corner of 5th St. and 2nd Ave N. Easily the best pizza in town. Full bar, punk rock staff. You can get pizza by the slice or sit down and order a whole pie. Open until 3 a.m. The Uptown location is on the corner of 32nd and Lyndale Ave. S. The pizza is still fantastic, but the service is not as good. The Seward location on the corner of 22nd and Franklin Ave has mixed results. Pizza is still good there, but not as good as the other two locations. The new Selby location in St. Paul location offers a less hectic experience(no hour long waits after last call) not too far from Minneapolis or many of the private colleges in St. Paul, it also has a larger variety of alcoholic drinks than the others.
  • Davanni's, [94] Multiple locations throughout the Twin Cities metro area. In Minneapolis:
    • West Bank/Seward: 25th Ave and Riverside Avenues +1 612 332-5551
    • Uptown: 1414 W. Lake St. (near the corner of Lake and Hennepin) +1 612 822-3111
    • Downtown: 1242 Hennepin Ave. (12th St. and Hennepin Ave.) +1 612 338-0000
Is probably the only place in town where one can get authentic, Chicago-style pizza. Beer on tap. Good hoagies too.
  • Jakeeno's, 3601 Chicago Ave, +1 612 825-6827 - Jakeeno's offers good pizza and other pasta dishes. Try the potato and rosemary pizza. Located on the corner of 36th and Chicago. Not a horrible neighborhood, but not the best either. Jakeeno's is clean, friendly and family-run however. Worth the trip. Wine and beer served.
  • Fat Lorenzo's, 5600 Cedar Ave, +1 612 822-2040 - Good service, good pizza. "Fat" is in the name of the place--plan accordingly. A good first stop or last stop on your way to or from the airport. Beer and wine.
  • Galactic Pizza, 2917 Lyndale Ave S (a few steps north of Lake), +1 612 824-9100 [95] - Uptown's newest pizza joint. The decor is kitschy. Their stand out feature is not only a little car run 100% by electric power but the delivery driver dons a funky costume while driving said vehicle. If you order the Second Harvest pizza (which is excellent) the business donates a dollar to the Second Harvest Food Bank (for every one ordered).
  • See also Crescent Moon Bakery in the Middle Eastern section above.

Unique to Minneapolis

Minneapolis has many restaurants that are long established.

  • Gluek's Restaurant and Bar is a 4th generation brewery and restaurant. The food and the beer are good, but it is the history of this restaurant that sets it apart. Gluek's has been brewing beer since 1857 and there has been a bar on this site since 1902, except during Prohibition. The original building burned in 1989, but was rebuilt and reopened in 1990. Gluek's is located at 16 N 6th Street, just a block NW of Hennepin Ave.[96]
  • Murray's Restaurant and Cocktail opened in 1946 and could be considered to be the best white tablecloth restaurant in Minneapolis, with prices to match. If on a budget, consider eating during lunch when you can enjoy the atmosphere without worrying about breaking the bank. Or go all out and get the 4 pound golden butter knife steak at $100+ and share it with the entire family. Murray's is a third generation restaurant unique to Minneapolis and is located at 24 S 6th Street, a half block SE of Hennepin Ave.

Drink

Music

Minneapolis has one of the most vibrant and independent music scenes in the country. The city is probably most famous for its purple pop wonder, Prince, but also boasts bands such as Soul Asylum, The Replacements, The Jayhawks, and Polara just to name a few. Several clubs in town play host to shows by local bands and your chances of finding a good one are better than average.

  • Downtown has several music offerings including:
    • First Avenue [97] Famous as setting for the film Purple Rain and the silver stars that cover the outside of the building. It has two parts, the Entry, an essential visit for punk fans 21+ and the Mainroom which shows bigger bands and is often all ages.
    • The Fine Line Music Cafe [98] 18+ a wide variety of music genres.
    • Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant [99] Upscale jazz club on Nicollet Mall
    • Shout House Dueling Pianos"" [100] Rock-n-Roll, Sing-A-Long Dueling Pianos on Hennepin Ave
    • Bunker's Music Bar and Grill [101]
    • Club 3 Degrees [102] is a modern, Christian-oriented upmarket club featuring Contemporary Christian Music, both DJs and live bands, coffee and soft drinks but no alcohol
  • West Bank and Uptown also have a number of good places:
    • Triple Rock, [103] The place to be seen for local hipsters, often all ages
    • The Cabooze, [104] Famed biker bar that also attracts a fair amount of non-bikers.
    • Terminal Bar, [105]. 21+
    • Hexagon Bar. 21+
    • The 400 Bar, [106]. 21+ lots of local music
    • Lee's Liquor Lounge, [107].
    • Varsity Theater, [108] 18+ elegantly decorated
    • Famous Dave's' BBQ and Blues Club, [109] Live local and national blues music many nights, see their music club calendar here: [110].
    • Dulono's Pizza and Pasta, [111] Features live bluegrass and folk music on Friday and Saturday nights, see the upcoming schedule here: [112]
    • Uptown Bar and Cafe, [113].

Alcohol

The nightlife in general can be vibrant in several areas. The Warehouse District is great for clubbers, Dinkytown is good for college partygoers, Uptown is good for those with a bit more money, and The Mall of America has several spots for the middle aged and sports fans. Minneapolis is not the 24 hour city that New York is, but bars close at 2AM - so that is still plenty of time, especially if you find a party to go to afterwards (it is best to be accompanied by friends and to know someone either through a reliable acquaintance, friend, or client who knows your host's social status).

Minneapolis certainly accommodates those seeking a good drink, a tendency which certainly compliments the alcohol culture endemic to the Upper Midwest. There are over a dozen Irish, German, or British pubs, such as The Local, Black Forest Inn, Brit's Pub, Gastoff's, O'Donovan's or Kieran's. Local dining, clubs, pubs, and bars in general compete for the best Happy Hour specials. It's a good idea to pick up a City Pages or to do an internet search to find the best deals.

Most liquor stores in Minneapolis (and the metropolitan area as a whole) close at 10PM, although some will close at 8PM on weekdays. You can save more money by purchasing your own supply. Be sure to check out the yellow pages for liquor stores which specialize in wines or beers. Also, remember that liquor stores in Minneapolis and across Minnesota are closed on Sundays as mandated by state law.

  • Surdyk's, 303 E Hennepin Ave (at University), +1 612 379-3232, [27]. M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-10PM. Just across the river from downtown, this liquor store has a decent wine selection and a few international specialties like sake and plum wine.
  • France 44 Wines & Spirits, 4351 France Ave S (at 44th St), +1 612 925-3252, [28]. M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-10PM. This southwest Minneapolis shop used to be a converted gas station but went through a miraculous renovation a couple of years ago. Be sure to check out the walk-in beer cooler, as well as the accessories and fine spirits collection in the basement. A very competent deli [29] shares an entrance.
  • Sorella Wine & Spirits, 1010 Washington Ave S, +1 612 339-4040, [30]. M-Th 9AM-9PM, F-Sa 9AM-10PM. An amazing wine and top shelf liquor store run by the wine-shop folks from the now bull-dozed Liquor Depot. The selection here is fairly impressive and comprehensive, especially for such a new venture. If you're at all into wine, be prepared to spend a large amount of time with the laid back staff who have an encyclopedic knowledge of grapes and vineyards.
  • Zipp's Liquors, 2618 E Franklin Ave (at 27th Ave), +1 612 333-8686, [31]. M-Sa 9AM-10PM. This Seward neighborhood liquor store, close to Cedar-Riverside, often has good prices on kegs of beer and stocks a wide selection of wines.
  • Haskell's, 81 S 9th St (between Nicollet and Marquette), +1 612 333-2434, [32]. M-Th 9AM-8PM, F 9AM-10PM, Sa 9AM-8PM. A wine specialist (along with beer and liquor) with locations throughout the Twin Cities. Notably, the location listed here convenient to many downtown hotels.
  • Chicago-Lake Liquors, 825 E Lake St (at Chicago), +1 612 825-4401, [33]. Near the newly-remodeled Midtown Exchange Building, along with the Sheraton Hotel in that complex. Known to have a better-than-average selection of tequilas, owing to the large Mexican population in the surrounding area.

Coffee/Tea

When you are a stranger, sometimes it's hard to find a good cup of coffee besides the ubiquitous Starbucks. Luckily, Minneapolis' independent spirit has yielded good cups of coffee in so many places, one can hardly throw a rock without it landing in a latte.

  • Caribou [114] is second to Starbucks in number and of similar feel and quality in the drinks. The shots are 1.5 oz compared to Starbucks 1.0 ounce.
  • Dunn Bros [115] is third in chains for number of locations. The coffee here is fresh (ground daily in the shop) but somewhat stronger than most places in town. Their fantastic brewed coffee is a little more impressive than the espresso, but their shots are at least a mighty 3.0 oz. Dunn Bros also excels at offering free WiFi access and (often) free Internet terminals.
  • Other independent shops abound in various neighborhoods with the coffee shops per block reaching critical mass in the Uptown and Dinkytown neighborhoods. Never fear, wherever you end up, you can be assured a coffee shop is within a few blocks. Particularly in South Minneapolis.
  • Wilde Roast Cafe [116] has possibly the best atmosphere of any coffeeshop in town. Its nouveau-Victorian decor - complete with a giant portrait of Oscar Wilde - make for a great relaxation or date destination. It also houses Query, a gay/lesbian-aimed bookstore with a nice selection. The drinks and expertly crafted desserts are of high-quality, but a tad pricey. If you want to show off the wallet, truly relax in the austere surroundings, or if you're looking for a more queer-friendly destination, try it!
  • Tillie's Bean [117] winner of the Golden Cup award, features fresh made sandwiches and pastries. Free wi-fi and live music on Friday and Saturday nights. They are located just 1 1/2 blocks from the 38th Street Light Rail Station making it easy to access without a car.
  • The Bean Scene [118] This is the Northside's coffee shop. With two locations on West Broadway (at Penn and at Emerson), the Bean Scene is a unique experience of coffee, fantastic baked goods, local art and a welcoming atmosphere. The Bean Scene is a winner of the Golden Cup award and will expand into a full service restaurant at it Penn location in early 2008.

Sleep

There is a good variety of hotels. Most of them are clustered in downtown, or near the University of Minnesota. Avoid straying too far away from town without a car. In downtown, the Doubletree hotel is a great value. There is a good Radisson, Marriott, and many Holiday Inns around the area.

The University of Minnesota Radisson is a good place to stay during times when sports and school are quiet. Refer to the Qwest Dex yellow pages for more "Ma & Pa" lodgings or for special luxury suites.

Budget

  • Minneapolis International Hostel, 2400 Stevens Ave (two blocks east of Nicollet), +1 612 522-5000, [34]. This is the most well-established backpackers' hostel in the Twin Cities. Quick walking distance to the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Eat Street. A 15 minute walk or short bus ride to Downtown, and a short bus ride to Uptown. They now require a credit card number to be on file for every party staying with them and don't let guests check in before 1 pm or after 10. Beds start at $27.90 per night.
  • Minneapolis EcoHostel, 2409 Lyndale Ave S, +1 612 584-4350, [35]. In the Ecopolitan building. Building houses the Ecopolitan Restaurant, which only serves organic raw vegan fare. Hostel patrons are instructed to abide by certain principles (e.g. don't bring any non-vegan food into the hostel). Quick and easy access to Uptown and Downtown by bus, bike, or even foot. Rates unknown, call for details.
  • The Guest House Hostel, 3619 Snelling Ave, +1 612 242-0928. Calls itself a "safe, Christian-based hostel," according to some hostel websites. The hostel is located a few blocks away from the 38th Street light-rail station, providing quick access to Downtown, the University area, the airport, and the Mall of America. There isn't much to do in the hostel's surrounding neighborhood, although it isn't too far away from the Mississippi River or Minnehaha Park. Beds start at $40 per night/$45 weekend rate..

Mid-range

  • Doubletree Guest Suites Minneapolis, 1101 LaSalle Ave, +1 612 332-6800, [36]. Located a few blocks from the Minneapolis Convention Center, and just one block from Nicollet Mall.
  • Holiday Inn Metrodome, 1500 Washington Ave S, +1 800 448-3663, [37]. Hotel just outside of Downtown Minneapolis that puts all of the area's most recognizable attractions within easy reach, from the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome and the convention center to the University of Minnesota and the Mall of America.

Splurge

  • Chambers Hotel, 901 Hennepin Ave, +1 612 767-6900, [38].
  • Crowne Plaza Northstar, 618 2nd Ave S, +1 612 338-2288 (fax: +1 612 673-1157), [39]. In the financial and retail district of downtown, near shopping, dining, culture, and entertainment. Conveniently connected to the climate controlled skyway system, linking guests to the Minneapolis Convention Center, Target Center, Orchestra Hall, Nicollet Mall, HHH Metrodome, various corporate offices, shopping, dining, and entertainment venues. Near the Light Rail Transit system, connecting to both the Minneapolis/St Paul Airport and the Mall of America.
  • Graves 601, 601 1st Ave N, +1 866 523-1100, [40].
  • Hilton Minneapolis, 1001 Marquette Ave, +1 612 376-1000, [41].
  • Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, 1300 Nicollet Mall, +1 612 370-1234 (fax: +1 612 370-1463), [42]. Rooms start at $189 per night, but discounts can be had. The Hyatt is also home to two high quality dining experiences: Oceanaire and Taxxi.
  • Radisson Plaza Hotel Minneapolis, 35 S 7th St (between Hennepin and Nicollet), +1 800 333-3333, [43]. Built on the site of the original Hotel Radisson (which opened in 1909), Radisson Plaza Minneapolis has an important historical significance for Minneapolis, and continues to be a thriving hotel. Featuring the outstanding FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar (try the "purple rain" martini at the bar, and the... well, really just about anything from the kitchen), underground parking, skyway access, and affordable packages. Found a room here for as low as $99 on off-weekends. During the week they tend to be higher ($179 seems like a decent average), but this place is worth it. They also have an online rate guarantee, so if you can find it cheaper on expedia or whatnot, they'll match it and give you a discount. Good room, great staff.
  • Westin Minneapolis, 88 S 6th St (at Marquette), +1 612 333-4006, [44]. Recently built into the historic Farmers & Mechanics Bank in downtown Minneapolis. The wine cellar is built into the former bank's vault. Appropriately, the bar/restaurant is called BANK.

Contact

Minneapolis along with the airport, the suburbs of Richfield and St. Anthony, and the entire University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus is located in the 612 area code. From 612, it is not necessary to dial a 1 before the area code when calling numbers in the 651 (Saint Paul and east suburbs), 763 (northwest suburbs), or 952 (southwest suburbs) area codes.

The Minneapolis Public Library [119] has computer workstations with internet access at all of their locations. You can access the internet for free for up to one hour within a 6-hour block of time. As an out-of-town visitor without a Minneapolis library card, you will need to obtain a Temporary Internet Access Card from a librarian; proper photo identification is necessary to obtain one.

Stay safe

As with any major American city, keep your eyes open and your wits about you. Crime is relatively low in most parts of Minneapolis that you're likely to visit, but it does exist. Be wary of the Near North, Camden, and Phillips communities [120], particularly at night. Violent crimes can occur and unfortunately have occurred in all parts of the City. As in all cities these crimes receive a disproportionate amount of attention from local media. These tragic events, however, are typically not random so it probably will not impact your visit. You are more likely to be a victim of crimes of opportunity. So when traveling do not leave any items that can be quickly converted to cash in plain view in cars, unattended at restaurants and other public areas. These crimes can and do occur in all areas, especially where you would have your guard down. So, when you take in our great park system or travel to the unique urban shopping destinations ensure that all valuables remain with you or are secured out-of-view in your vehicle. Very important note, if you are going to secure your valuables in a vehicle, make sure you store them prior to arriving at you destination. Thieves are experts at watching people store valuables in the trunk and then when they leave the thief will strike.

Get out

There are several day trip destinations near the city.

  • Mall of America and The Park At MoA in nearby Bloomington.
  • Valley Fair is an amusement park that's within an hour's drive in nearby Shakopee.
  • Minnesota Zoo is in nearby Apple Valley.
  • Lutsen has what may be the best skiing in the state.
  • Lake Mille Lacs offers good fishing, boat rentals and fishing guides.
  • New Ulm is famous for its German beer, German festivals, and amateur baseball tradition.
  • Stillwater is a beautiful, historic town about an hour away that has the highest number of celebrity sightings per capita in the state.
  • State Parks. The state has many well-kept state parks for those who like to camp and fish.
  • Duluth is 155 miles north on I-35, and is great for an over night trip. On your trip up, make sure to stop by Tobies in Hinckley for the world's most mediocre caramel rolls. Hinckley is a small town located almost exactly at the halfway point between the Twin Cities and Duluth.


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