What is it about a city that excites you? Is the nightlife, the food scene or the outdoor activities? What about the chilled-out coffee shops or music venues that help you get your groove on? As a Minneapolis local, I can easily say that each of these are aspects of the city that I love. Especially if it means being able to be close to all of them (and a large variety) at any given moment.
As someone that enjoys travelling, whether its near or far – I love finding new spots both in my backyard and far away. Whether that’s the cute coffee shop around the corner, the luxurious boutique hotel for the perfect stay-cation or the new rooftop restaurant that has everyone raving – Minneapolis is packed full of exciting elements that are constantly being added or changed.
FOR THE FOODIE TRAVELER
I’ll be the first to admit that no matter where I’m travelling to, I book my accommodation based on its proximity to restaurants I’d love to try. For example, maybe the same neighborhood as or a short distance away from. That way, I know that I won’t have an excuse not to go. Sounds perfect, right? Oh, and you won’t have to worry about the Uber ride home afterwards, because those tend to add up quickly.
Minneapolis’ food scene is one of my favourites – and that goes for all the cities I’ve ever been to. I would say that it’s easily in the top three, primarily because of the large diversity of cuisines that are offered and the number of small restaurants that seem to keep popping up every single day. It makes me salivate just to think about it.
For those of you that love a good curry, I highly recommend taking a trip over to Ginger Hop in downtown. It’s just barely into north east Minneapolis – a super vibrant area of the city – and it’s nearby to some after-dinner drink spots and fantastic music venues for those of you looking for later night entertainment. I love the green curry from this menu – let me tell you, it’s lovely if you enjoy a bit of spicy food every now and again.
As any travel guide will tell you, there’s so many things to see (and eat) in this city. But in this case, it’s not just a saying – it’s true. Another beautiful spot to grab dinner and drinks whilst enjoying a spectacular view of the city and a sunset to match is the Union Rooftop. It’s a little more on the pricey side – but worth every penny. As someone that tends to prefer more of a vegetarian diet – they’ve got great options and a cheeseboard that is to die for. Not to mention, it’s incredibly well-presented too.
If a coffee shop with light bites is more your speed, it’s well worth the time to check out either the Copper Hen Cakery and Kitchen or Spyhouse Coffee. The Copper Hen is a beautiful cakery and kitchen, that you can visit for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a quick coffee and cake stop. It’s one of those places that exudes coziness and sometimes it seems as though you could sit there and talk for hours. Spyhouse is more the place for a lighter bite and a killer cup of coffee. Most well-known for their lavender lattes, they’ve got little pastries and something on the menu for pretty much anyone.
MINNEAPOLIS’ BOOZY BRILLIANCE
I read an article the other day that named one of the must-see things in Minneapolis to be the incredible brewery scene that exists here. Highly willing to vouch for this statement, I’ll give you three of my must-visit options for booze-lovers that like a bit of variety.
Surly Brewing Company makes the top of the list because of not only its stronghold on the local community as a strong favourite, but because the food served at the brewery is next-level good. I’m a big fan of cheeseboards, I often get one whenever it’s on the menu, and Surly’s does not disappoint. I mean, house-made crackers, hand-selected artisan cheeses and candied nuts to boot? Count me in. For the brisket lovers, they have a great option – and for those of you looking for casual eats and a good beer menu, their outdoor food truck and beer stall is the place to be.
Tattersall Distillery is next up on the list. If you’re looking for a more intimate setting and killer cocktails, this is the place to go to. You don’t need reservations, just an open mind and an idea of your favourite flavor palette. Tattersall prides itself on its unique cocktails, my personal favourite being the classic Gin and Tonic with a twist. With this cocktail, they make a signature cardamom tonic that you can only get at their distillery – and let me tell you, it’s next level good. They do not serve food inside their distillery, however, if you find yourself in need of a bit of snack, they have an amazing line-up of food trucks that allow you to bring food in whilst you have your drinks. Another thing I enjoy about this distillery is that they sell their spirits right at the bar – so if you love what you’re drinking, you could even take some home to enjoy.
Last on the list is a cidery in north east Minneapolis. Sociable Cider Werks is such a cool environment – with a rustic modern feel, it’s almost as though you’ve turned one of their cans into a room. They’ve got many options to try, including those from their signature line as well as seasonal brews. I’ve only ever had one that I wasn’t so keen on – the primary reason being I’d already found my favourite and tried it the sip before. My personal favourite cider from Sociable is either the Freewheeler or one of their mead ciders. I never would have thought to seek out something like that – but now that I’ve tried it, it’s something I’m always on the lookout for. You can enjoy a drink, order light bites or play with the cute little pups that are allowed in with their owners – which, in my opinion, a cute pup on a night out makes it that much better.
THE HISTORIC HOTEL SCENE
Have you ever taken a weekend to explore the city that’s right in your backyard? Maybe you’re in town for a wedding and are looking for a beautiful place to stay that’s not part of a massive chain? One thing that is incredibly unique about Minneapolis is its historic downtown. The milling district is one of the most popular attractions, now home to a museum and some of the most beautiful lofts in the city. The north loop is another spot that keeps the rustic, historic feel of the city but isn’t afraid to modernize.
One of my favourite hotels in downtown Minneapolis is the Hewing Hotel. Known for it’s rustic, modern feel – it’s a beautiful building with the history to match. When the building originated, it was a tractor factory, then became a school and three years ago, became the Hewing. It’s kept the historic factor with some of the old doors from the original tractor factory and has become well-known for its interior decorating. People are even visiting stores saying they want Hewing-esque décor.
Being a boutique hotel, they have a decent amount of rooms – but my personal favourite aspect is the rooftop. The rooftop has one of the best postcard views of the city and is fully equipped with a hot tub and pool area just outside from indoor seating. It’s the perfect place to grab a gin cocktail, watch the sunset and enjoy time with your partner or your friends. Even if you’re not coming to stay, The Hewing is home to a fantastic restaurant, the Tullibee, and even has a summer concert series. They’ve got bands queued up for the summer after opening with a strong start this past weekend. Best part yet, the concerts are FREE! If you’re in town and are looking for great drinks and fun entertainment, the Hewing is well-worth checking out.
SHOPPING IS MY CARDIO
Yep, guilty. I love shopping. Not always the buying piece, but I’m always down for a good window shop to find pieces that entrance me and give some serious inspiration. Being a larger city, Minneapolis has some fantastic shopping options pretty much wherever you are. Uptown Minneapolis is home to trendy little boutiques like Pharmacie or Proper on Lyndale, downtown is home to some bigger stores like Banana Republic or Saks and the North Loop is full of luxe boutiques at both high and low price points. A few favourites are Grethen House for the designer fashion lovers and Statement Boutique for the classic and trendy shoppers.
If you want all kinds of shopping, all in one go – take the light rail out to the Mall of America. The blue line will take you straight there – it’s one of the easiest ways to get around without ever having to hire a car. The Mall of America is home to over 200+ stores, multiple food courts and restaurants as well as an indoor amusement park. It really is a sight to see. If you want to shop ‘till you drop, this is the place to go.
Another mall nearby to the Mall of America are the Eagan Outlets. There isn’t a direct train line here but is a very short Uber ride away. Shops like Nike, Armani, White House Black Market and Cole Haan all make their home here, with prices much lower than your traditional in-season offers. For when you need to relax, there is a large food court in the center with a Starbucks nearby when you need a post-shopping pick me up.
FOR THE ARTISTICALLY INCLINED
Minneapolis is home to many museums and theatres – many of which rivalling those in massive cities such as Chicago or New York. They make for a great daytime excursion or a date night, especially if you’re looking for a unique experience that’s different each time you go.
The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, or MIA for short, is my hands-down favourite museum in the city. My family have been members for quite a while and I’ve always loved to head over for an hour or two just to see something new. They house two special exhibits every year, with some of my favourites being Power and Beauty in China’s Last Dynasty, Science and Sociability in 1700’s England, and Italian Style: Fashion Since 1945.
There is also quite a large off-Broadway theatre district, with upcoming shows like Dear Evan Hanson, RENT and Phantom of the Opera. The State Theatre is the one I’ve most frequented. I love the lavish decorating and the building itself is extremely unique.
BALL PLAYERS, SPORTS LOVERS AND GAME-CENTRIC FANS
Minneapolis is quite lucky in that there are so many options for sports-lovers. For example, we have multiple professional teams – the Timberwolves, Vikings and Twins to name a few – as well as minor league and collegiate level sports. Personally, I’m a baseball girl. I love going to the Twins games in the summer, or the Saint Paul Saints games if you have a lower ticket budget. Both are outdoor stadiums and the games are always fun.
The US Bank stadium also made the list of must-see attractions whilst in Minneapolis. Recently built, it features a glass wall with a picturesque view of the city and there isn’t a single bad seat when you come to cheer on the purple and gold. Grab a beer and a bratwurst and you’re all set to go.
Also recently renovated was the Target Center, home to the Timberwolves and the Lynx. It’s not only home to two professional basketball teams but is also right in the heart of the music scene being a hop, skip and a jump away from First Ave and a highly sought-after restaurant scene.
Minneapolis is such a unique city – it’s projected to grow a lot within the coming years, so I can tell you quite honestly that you should check back on this guide every so often for an update, as new places are popping up all the time. I’d highly recommend a visit, odds are, you may just find a place you won’t be able to live without.
Until next, xoxo.
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