Travel

City Guide: Minneapolis

City Guide: Minneapolis

Our next city guide is Minneapolis, Minnesota, one of the happiest and healthiest cities in the U.S. (Have you been?) We enlisted Michelle LeBlanc, the founder of the beautiful boutique Mille, to share her insider tips, as well as few picks from across the water in St. Paul…

City Guide: Minneapolis

Michelle LeBlanc: When my husband informed me that he wanted to move from Austin (where I spent the majority of my childhood and where my parents and grandparents are from) to cold, snowy Minneapolis, let’s just say I was a little less than enthusiastic. Fifteen years later I’m still not a fan of winter, but I can easily wax rhapsodic about all other aspects of life in the twin cities. The peonies blooming in the spring, the summer trips to the craggy shores of Lake Superior, the fall days at the apple orchard. Here’s a small slice of favorites from the place where we’re now raising our two daughters…

City Guide: Minneapolis

St. Genevieve

WHERE TO EAT

For fresh seafood, head to Sea Salt Eatery (open April to October) in Minnehaha Park. The scallop tacos and clam fries are worth the long lines, and the nearby park and playground make it the perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon. (You can even stroll over to the beautiful, 50-foot Minnehana Falls.) We often stop by on rainy weeknights, too, to avoid the crowds; it feels extra cozy then. Spring doesn’t officially start at our house until this place opens.

For a fresh take on Minnesota’s nordic heritage, try Bachelor Farmer in a historic brick-and-timber warehouse, complete with a rooftop farm. We’re crazy about the the toasts (think: fresh cow’s milk cheese, bacon-onion jam and fruit compote) and the relaxed three-course Sunday Suppers. Grab a drink from Marvel Bar, the cocktail lounge tucked underneath the restaurant. The Oliveto is my favorite — it’s made with olive oil (!), lemon, egg whites and Licor 43.

For comfort food, try Revival in Kingfield. Their tender fried chicken and melt-in-your-mouth biscuits have everyone craving chef Thomas Boemer’s southern specialities. Order the light and crispy hush puppies for the table.

For a Parisian bistro vibe, try St. Genevieve in Lynnhurst. It’s such a pretty, warm place to gather with friends. Go for the Marc Herbert rosé, pommes frites and one of their tartines (or open-faced sandwiches), which come with delicious toppings like raclette cheese, pureed peas, smoked salmon, or snails.

City Guide: Minneapolis

Norseman Distillery

Minnetonka+Orchards

Minnetonka Orchards

WHERE TO HANG

See amazing modern art — Chuck Close, Edward Hopper, Yves Klein, you name it — at the Walker Art Center in Lowry Hill East. It’s a relaxed atmosphere, so feel free to bring kids. Also, starting this May, there will be a nine-hole mini-golf course on the rooftop, featuring a giant hot dog, ping-pong paddles and a tricky chicken coop.

The American Swedish Institute in Phillips West is one of my favorite Minnesota landmarks. This turn-of-the-century castle has 33 elaborate rooms, 11 porcelain stoves and ornate woodwork throughout. It’s especially magical during the holidays because it’s decorated to represent the traditions of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland. Stop by their Swedish café Fika afterwards for better-than-your-grandma’s meatballs.

The Norseman Distillery in Northeast Minneapolis uses local ingredients to produce small batches of fine spirits, like vodka, rum and gin. Take a weekend tour and then grab a gimlet in the beautiful cocktail room. They also have the best bathroom wallpaper ever, created from hilarious photos of Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.

The trail system in Minneapolis is awesome for biking. We often get ranked as a top city for cyclists in the U.S. There are 190 Nice Ride bike stations around the twin cities where you can rent a bike and return it to any Nice Ride location, and hit the Chain of Lakes (four of the largest lakes in the city with 13 miles of paved paths along the shoreline) for a breezy ride. I recommend ending up at the Lake Harriet Bandshell where you can grab some truffle corn at Bread & Pickle, listen to free music and let your kids run wild at the playground.

Minnetonka Orchards in nearby Minnetrista is our go-to place for apple picking in the late summer and fall. With apple donuts, a corn maze, baby animals and hay rides, it covers all the bases. We also love summer blueberry picking at Rush River Produce near Stockholm, WI. The setting overlooking Lake Pepin is worth the hour drive alone.

City Guide: Minneapolis

Mille

WHERE TO SHOP

I’d be remiss to not mention my own shop, Mille in Tangletown, where you can find fashion-forward womenswear, beauty and home goods. We specialize in small, emerging labels — often designed by indie-spirited women like my customers, including Rachel Comey, No. 6, Ace + Jig and Kathleen Whitaker We also host markets throughout the year, where we showcase our favorite local jewelry and pottery makers, like Annika Kaplan and Laura Vest Klein.

Retro Wanderlust in Hopkins is brimming with mid-century furniture and vintage finds, from pretty glassware to one-of-a-kind light fixtures. The inventory is always changing, so I find myself checking their Instagram feed daily. The owner Karen is also incredibly helpful when you’re on the hunt for something. When I was looking for a sofa, she ended up finding the most amazing pink velvet one she thought we might like, sent us a picture and had it in the store within an hour for us to pick up.

Wild Rumpus bookstore near Lake Harriet is a kid’s dream. Not only do they have a lovely selection of books, but they also have chinchillas and a cat named Trini Lopez. And fluffy chickens are often cruising the shop!

City Guide: Minneapolis

Covington Inn

WHERE TO STAY

Hotel Ivy in Downtown West is a five-minute drive from the Walker Art Center. It’s contemporary, spacious and, most important, every room has a deep soaking tub.

I’ve yet to stay here, but the Covington Inn is a floating bed-and-breakfast in a restored 1946 towboat. Close to downtown St. Paul, the boat is docked at a pretty spot on the Mississippi River. The deck on top sounds like the ultimate spot to take in the city’s skyline.

Stay tuned for the forthcoming six-room boutique hotel that is currently under construction from James Beard award-winning chef Alex Roberts. It’s being built above his beloved Restaurant Alma. If it’s anything like his other ventures, it’s sure to be a lovely place to visit.

City Guide: Minneapolis

Palm Dome in St. Paul’s Majorie McNeely Conservatory

FINAL TIPS

June through September are by far the prettiest months to visit and can generally be counted on to be snow free! Minnesotans take their summers very seriously and it’s practically illegal to spend time inside. During those warmer months, explore the city by bike with the wind in your hair, or venture to the shores of the Mississippi River and cool off in the mist of Minnehaha Falls. A car rental is also a good idea during your visit, as the city can be spread out and time-consuming to navigate by public transportation.

If you are visiting in the winter, Como Park’s 150-year-old Majorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul has a roomed called the Palm Dome with a 64-foot-tall crystal dome housing more than 150 tropical palm trees. It always feels like a luxurious escape.

Thank you so much for the tour, Michelle! Have you guys been to Minneapolis? What else would you add?

P.S. Where to stay, eat, shop and hang in Nashville.

(Skyline photo from Westwood. First photo of Michelle by Melissa Oholendt for Glitter Guide. Covington Inn photo via their website. Llama photo by The Midwestival. All other pictures by Emily Freitas for Mille. Thanks to Stella Blackmon for editing this series.)

  1. Michelle, thanks for showing off the best of this wonderful city (plus my photo of that darling llamaface!). Let me know if you ever need another tour guide, Joanna!

  2. Bethann says...

    Wow. Great guide. I grew up in MN but left when I was 18 and have been on the W Coast, mainly CA, ever since. I visit family often in Stillwater, MN (suburb to the E of St Paul on the historic St Croix river) but have to say that I don’t really know what is going on there. Thank you for cluing me into how cool the twin cities have become. I need to pass this on to my mom, who has always been pretty hip in her own way. I always say that MN was a great place to grow up, but clearly it’s also a great place to live as an adult. Kudos for creating this guide to the subtle treasures that the Midwest has to offer.

  3. Megan says...

    Minneapolis has become a hub of incredibly cool breweries. You could come here just to do a brewery tour alone! Bauhaus, Indeed, Fulton, Surly, Lake Monster, Harriet Brewing, Lyndale Tap, Excelsior…

  4. Brittany says...

    I would love to help create a Bangor, Maine guide. :D

    • Dani says...

      My sister just moved there a little while ago and I’m planning on visiting sometime this Fall. I would love any recommendations you have!

  5. Emily says...

    No mention of the Mall of America? 😂 As a long time reader & MN native, I’m thrilled you’ve highlighted our great city!!
    The Guthrie theater is an amazing space to catch a show & views of the Stone Arch Bridge & Mississippi River. And not far from there is Izzy’s ice cream, quality ingredients & fun flavors!

  6. I’m from Minnesota and love this article! Minneapolis & St. Paul are such whimsical towns with great local shops like Mille. Love them! Please check out our organic skincare, Ballerina Botanicals, handcrafted with essential oils in southern Minnesota. http://www.etsy.com/shop/ballerinabotanicals

  7. Hi Joanna! Great guide! I would love to help curate a Kansas City, Missouri guide! A great place to visit & very affordable!

  8. Di says...

    The most happiest place I have lived after moving out of my parents’!! Such a vibrant and beautiful space during any season. Endless lakes and pastures-Never have been to a place that is chic and still has it’s rustic charm around. It’s a pity I gotta leave this place soon :/

  9. Carolyn says...

    @impulse_creative are responsible for that beautiful chalk art at the Norseman Distillery ❤️

  10. Lauren E. says...

    Just visited Minnesota for the first time last July and was bowled over by how beautiful it is. Sure, the winters are impossibly long and cold but ooooh those summers… It’s my dream now to own a summer home there.

  11. Ellen says...

    Catch a movie in the beautifully retro Riverview Theater for a few bucks, hike the Eloise Butler Wildflower and Bird Sanctuary near Theo Wirth park (just a few minutes outside of downtown but you feel like you are in the country), Bauhaus Brewery for beer in some seriously eye-catching cans in NE, Sugar Sugar for some nostalgic candy confections, The Strip Club in St. Paul for a good carnivorous dinner, brunch and bowling at the Bryant Lake Bowl, the Turf Club in St. Paul for music and the Clown Lounge downstairs for the kitschy cabin vibe, easy camping in Afton (only 45 minutes away but it’s lovely and scenic and quiet on the St. Croix river)…the list could go on and on!

  12. Mikki says...

    Love this. Although I am biased, being that I have lived in MN my entire life, I think Minneapolis and St. Paul don’t get enough credit for being a fabulous place to live and visit. Lots of little gems here and amazing food. Thanks for doing us justice ;)

  13. Jessica says...

    Just moved back home to NYC after a three year stint in MPLS with my husband. We both find ourselves missing it so much more than we ever thought we would and speak often of possibly moving back. Happy to see a guide filled with some of our old haunts…and there’s so much more to do.

  14. Whiney Nelson says...

    We live in the Twin Cities suburbs and absolutely love it here. My husband was a chef in a few top Twin Cities restaurants for close to 10 years, so we love the food scene here.

    Café Levain – often overlooked, but it’s our go-to date night spot.
    Saint Dinette (St Paul)- Approachable, delicious, amazing atmosphere.
    Brasa Rotisserie- Amazing creole food that’ll keep you coming back.
    Heyday – Adventurous but so very good.
    Roosters BBQ and Deli (St Paul) – Hole in the wall with the BEST fried chicken.
    Black Sheep Pizza – coal fired pizzas with good sides/salads.
    Sea Change – Chef Ryan Cook is a food genius -go for the new menu items.
    Alma – One of the best meals in the city.

    Sweets:
    Rustica Bakery – Our favorite bakery in the city (great coffee too).
    Milk Jam Creamery – adventurous flavors that keep you coming back.
    Heights Bakery – Old time donuts that are exactly what you wanted.
    Aki’s Bread Haus – Get the cardamom bread (if they have any left).

  15. Susanna says...

    New York I love and miss you but Minneapolis has my heart. Northeast in particular! The winters may be tough but because of the winters no one “summers” like Minnesotans. We know how to make the most of the summers season!

  16. Scodina says...

    I love the Twin Cities! My husband and I met there and got married in the conservatory . The University of Minnesota campus is beautiful and the Loring Pasta Bar is one of my favorite spots.

  17. Jill says...

    With the largest communities of Somalis, Scandinavians, and Hmong in the US, Minneapolis is a true hidden gem!
    I agree with so many good recommendations from Michelle and other commenters.
    I would add the Wise Acre Eatery as a top brunch spot, Afro Deli for a quick meal, The Rabbit Hole for a bowl of “Rice Rice Baby”, Revival for a cozy dinner, Sebastian Joe’s or Izzy’s for ice cream, and The Stone Barn (technically WI) is a most lovely pizza farm that’s worth the drive.
    Things to do/see: First Avenue venue (RIP Prince) for a show, visit the Mia, walk/bike the Stone Arch Bridge and St. Anthony Main, Electric Fetus to flip through excellent albums, bike the chain of lakes, and shop/coffee/dine in the North Loop.
    There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing!

  18. Annie says...

    Love the Twin Cities. My two favorite restaurants are Red Wagon Pizza and Tilia.

  19. Elisabeth says...

    So excited to see the Twin Cities featured! We moved here four years ago from NH and OH, by way of OR and have loved it. The winters may be long, but Minnesotans are outside all year long! We live a short walk from St. Anthony Park’s main street and love stopping at Muffuletta for Happy Hour or brunch, and grabbing coffee at Finnish Bistro, then walking through the neighborhood.

    • AnneL says...

      Just have to comment – I grew up in St. Anthony Park and second Muffuletta. I’d also plug Micawber’s books which taught me to love independent bookstores.

  20. I cannot wait to go through and read all the suggestions! Always looking for new restaurants to go to & places to check out.

    My husband and I have lived in the Twin Cities for almost 5 years. We’ve had many friends and family come to visit and some of their favorite things to do here are:

    ▶ eat at Mozza Mia (fantastic Italian food – homemade pasta and mozzarella that can’t be beat!)
    ▶ eat at Rusty Taco (great queso dip and specialty tacos, try the “rusty taco” – it’s shredded pork and pineapple, absolutely delicious!)
    ▶ eat at Izzy’s (ice cream, try multiple flavors with their little Izzy – a tiny scoop on top)
    ▶ eat at Cafe Latte (casual place for salads, sandwiches, and soup, along with tons of homemade desserts and of course coffee – gluten free options too!)
    ▶ shop at Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store in Jordan, MN (40 minutes outside the cities – huge variety of candy and soda/pop from all over the world and retro options too, also sell jams, pies, popcorn, etc.)
    ▶ visit the Sculpture Garden to see the iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry
    ▶ walk across the Stone Arch Bridge in downtown Minneapolis (it goes over the Mississippi River)
    ▶ tour the Wabasha Street Caves in St.Paul (learn about local history, ghost and gangster stories, and how the caves were used for everything from a mushroom farm to a speakeasy)

  21. Elizabeth M says...

    Minneapolis native and current resident here! It would be a shame to not catch a play while in MPLS. WE have the most theatres per capita after New York!

  22. SL says...

    Just moved to Kansas City after 8.5 years in St. Paul! Oh how I loved it. SO much to offer with both cities within reach. =) We went to Revival on my birthday in March and it was AMAZING.

  23. Sarah says...

    I’d love to do one of these for you on my town, Asheville, NC! It’s so fantastic.

  24. Minnehaha Falls is one of our favorite spots to go to when we visit our daughter and her family who live near Minneapolis. Eloise Butler nature center is a hidden haven in the city, and we have found several restaurants that grow there own produce nearby, which is not an easy thing to do in their climate. Thanks for such wonderful places to look forward to dine at.

  25. Saint Paul always gets overlooked or barely addressed when I see city guides… The outdoor patio at W. A Frost in Saint Paul and dinner on the patio at La Grolla are magical in the summer. There is also Moscow on the Hill, Nina’s for coffee and The French Meadow for lunch.

    • Totally agree, Jessika! We spend so many summer nights on the patio at Frost–I really think it’s the best outdoor patio in the cities!

    • Sabrina says...

      I agree! I lived in St. Paul for 10 years and I still rave about it. It’s even surprising to other Minnesotans to hear that St. Paul has so many cool little areas and places to check out!

  26. Kristi says...

    The only bad thing about Minneapolis is that Prince is no longer here. Such a great small-big-city. Great craft breweries, a fantastic food scene (you missed Travail!) and very kid-friendly.

    O(+>

  27. sonya says...

    To all the Minneapolins, condolences on the recent, tragic loss of Prince. He was a treasured by the world, but I know his death has been a particularly painful dagger to the heart to the city and it’s inhabitants.

  28. Joanna says...

    I have been in love with Minnie since I visited two years ago!! I could easily be convinced to move here (I’m a New Englander, so I thrive in winter weather). ;-)

    Some things missing from this list. Barbette for brunch (the waffles are amazing), Brasa for the most amazing rotisserie chicken and yuka fries, and the Mill City farmers market (open all year around and overlooking the Stone Arch bridge) for donut holes.

    Enjoy all the biking, and walking around all the lakes!

    • Yes to all of those! The promise of donuts at the farmers market is what really gets me through winter… ;)

    • Elizabeth M says...

      Mmmmmm Brasa!

  29. Natalie says...

    Thank you for featuring the Twin Cities, Jo! I was born here and returned after years of travel with a new appreciation for it. It really is such a special place with everything to offer! I’ve loved reading everyone’s tips and am adding them to my own list of places to go (and, more importantly, to eat) around town. As one of the commenters mentioned, it would be wonderful if you could visit and organize a meet up : ) or if we could somehow all meet up ourselves.

  30. Tamara says...

    We just left the Twin Cities after nearly nine years there. We miss it!

    Definitely, definitely do the chain of likes. On foot, on a run, on bikes.

    I would add:

    The incredible views from the cantilever bridge and the yellow room (Dowling Studio) at the Guthrie Theater.

    Ice-cream from Izzy’s (there’s one in St. Paul and one in Minneapolis). If you go to the St. Paul location and you have young kids, be sure to stop by Choo Choo Bob’s a few doors down for some train table fun.

    Fish and chips from The Anchor in Northeast. The best fish and chips I’ve ever had. Beers at Dangerous Man Brewery afterward.

    Pizza at Pizzeria Lola (do the photo booth, and have the soft serve with olive oil for dessert) in South Minneapolis, or at any of the Punch Pizza locations.

    The burger at 112 Eatery in the North Loop. Anything from 112, really.

    A walk through the beautiful Mia (The Minneapolis Institue of Art).

    Record shopping at the Electric Fetus.

    A walk down Grand Ave. in St. Paul. Stop by the Red Balloon (our favorite children’s bookstore in the Twin Cities), and have dinner at Brasa for delicious rotisserie. Have the crispy yucca!

    Dangerously large, sweet old-fashioned cocktails and comfort food on the deck at Psycho Suzi’s on the river. A kitschy, awesome place.

    So much more, but talking about it all is making me miss Minnesota too much!

  31. Aja says...

    Oh man… if there was a Seattle City Guide in the horizon I would LOVE IT!! Travelling to Seattle in September and having a hard time getting the tips outside the mass posted on Trip Advisor.
    There is nothing like visiting a city when you have tips from people who live there. It is always the best!

  32. M. says...

    I love seeing Minneaplois featured.
    I grew up in St Paul and moved away after college. I dream about moving back for good! Maybe it will happen one day, but for now I visit family and friends 3 times a year. I love the Twin Cities!

  33. fanny says...

    More love for Saint Paul forthcoming.

    Saint Dinette in Lowertown
    Tampopo for Soba
    Homi for real mexican

    Idun and BlackBlu on Selby for lots of gorgeous wares, and many U.S. made.

    Kopplins for the best coffee there is.

  34. I agree that Mille is the bees knees when it comes to shopping. Their online shop is amazing too.

  35. B says...

    Jo, you definitely need to come visit us in MSP!

    I’m a Saint Paul girl and such a huge advocate for Minnesota. I’ve been all over the US and have spent time abroad, and yet never get bored within the walls of my own state. Minnesota does a stellar job with state parks and trails, the lakes are amazing (especially the Mpls chain of lakes!), the North Shore is incredible, there are tons of quaint weekend-away and daytrip destinations, and the weather is good about 70% of the year (and when it isn’t, you strap on skis or skates!).

    In the city, the availability of local food and farmer’s markets are wonderful. There’s a real foodie scene – we finally won a James Beard with the incredible Heartland – but the dives are equally wonderful. Don’t miss the original Blue Door Pub! The New York Times just did a great piece on my neighborhood, highlighting F. Scott Fitzgerald’s haunts. The Commodore is newly revived but you feel like F. Scott and Zelda are at the bar with you. Craft beer and breweries have surged into existence over the past few years (go to Surly, but don’t pass by woman-owned Urban Growler and it’s quirky awesome neighbor Bang!), and many up-and-coming distilleries. Summer is filled with outdoor concerts and events. The arts are done so well – beyond the Orpheum and it’s broadway fare we have the Guthrie, the Walker and the Minneapolis Institute of Art, in addition to many smaller venues. Rent a bike and ride the Grand Rounds, down Summit Avenue (longest stretch of Victorian and revival mansions in the country, if not the world) and you’ll be rewarded with views of the Capitol, Saint Paul Cathedral and James J. Hill House. Then, backtrack to Punch Pizza on Grand Ave and Grand Old Creamery. Public transit here is not great (more so, it’s not convenient), so do rent a car, but the cities aren’t hard to navigate.

  36. em says...

    this is so timely since i might be moving there soon- any tips on good neighborhoods to live in for a grad student married to a professional? or any areas you wouldn’t suggest for safety/lack of walkability? :)

    • B says...

      I grew up in Minneapolis and lived in different areas. Uptown was my favorite area to live (although I haven’t lived there for 5 years, so it might have changed). Fairly inexpensive apartments if you don’t mind living in an older building, amazing parks with lakes and bicycle paths, and it’s a very hip area for restaurants, bars, shopping, health food stores, yoga studios, coffee shops, etc. I lived in an ivy-covered 1920’s brown brick studio and used a bike to get everywhere (and buses when it snowed). It was a dream.

    • Karmen says...

      Linden Hills is a great neighborhood as is Kenwood/East Isles neighborhood.

    • Kelsey says...

      You can go to EdinaRealty.com and browse house listing by area to see “walking scores” and info about the areas! Might help when trying to look where to live. If you’re going to The U of MN for grad school, skip living near campus and instead look in The North Loop (connected to downtown), or NE Mols for a more n’hoody vibe.

    • Mama Micek says...

      Prospect Park, MPLS is an absolute gem! We lived here while I was finishing up some grad work and my husband was in dental school at the UofM. It is less than a mile to the university campus, filled to the brim with grad students and professors, and unlike an community I’ve ever known with regards to the neighborliness, social activism, and concern for the preservation of all that is good in the city! (Also famous for its Witch’s Hat Tower featured in a Bob Dylan song…) Such a special place. I’d also look at the Macalester-Groveland and Highland Park neighborhoods in St. Paul (nice residential communities of beautiful old homes and brownstones and independent shops, restaurants and coffee). Same goes for the Seward and Longfellow neighborhoods in MPLS. There really are many special neighborhoods in the Twin Cities, each with its own flavor, but those are some of my favorites!

    • Anna says...

      I live in East Isles (also known as Kenwood, and some people would also say Uptown). It has a 9 out of 10 on walkability score. I’m 3 blocks from Lake of the Isles, 6 blocks from Lake Calhoun, have a 24 hour grocery store and pharmacy 1/2 a block away, tons of restaurants, a coffee shop on the ground floor of my building, yoga studio a 7 minute walk away, a YWCA 4 blocks away, right on a bus line, and so much more. My boyfriend works from home, and the only time he uses the car is to visit his parents–he’s able to walk to get everything he needs. The area is LOVELY, with the lake, old homes, and greenery abounding.

      Other areas I would recommend are the North Loop (you’re on the edge of downtown, right by the river, and it’s a REALLY up-and-coming area), and East Hennepin (across the river from the North Loop, with the charm of old flour mills converted into apartments, a cobblestone road along the river, outdoor cafes, and easy access to the Farmer’s Market across the Stone Arch Bridge).

      I love Minneapolis!

    • Annelisa says...

      Prospect Park, Linden Hills, Kenwood, Lakes/Isles to name just a few.

      Em, check out the most recent issue of Mpls/St Paul Magazine…it’s all about neighborhoods!

    • em says...

      Thanks so much for all the suggestions, everyone! It is so nice to have ideas from all of you- makes moving not so intimidating. Looking forward to checking out all the city has to offer!

  37. Nancy says...

    I love that Minneapolis is featured! Have lived here all my life and currently live in Saint Paul. I’m surprised no craft breweries were mentioned because we have nearly 100 in our state, and almost 40 in the Twin Cities! There is always a taproom to visit, anytime of year, and most have food trucks parked right outside with amazing food! Indeed Brewing is my favorite in NE Minneapolis (http://www.indeedbrewing.com/) and so many more are within a few miles of it (Dangerous Man Brewing, Fair State Cooperative, Able Brewing, etc.).

  38. Nice work, Michelle, thanks Jo for featuring our beautiful Twin Cities area (and fantastic home state). If you come visit you obviously have a lot of fans waiting to show you around (including this style editor.)

  39. I was born in St. Paul, traveled the country and now we are raising our daughter in NE Minneapolis! MN is a great place to “wind up”, great activities, opportunities and more!

  40. Jules says...

    I love this!! I’m from a suburb of Minneapolis, but have lived in California for the last 7 years. Next year my family moving back to MN! I can’t wait. California is not for me, it’s not where I want to raise my boys. Plus, my whole family is back in MN.

    I would say October is a great time to visit because the leaves in Autumn are beautiful and the brisk weather is wonderful!

  41. KC says...

    Of course I have to add my two cents when it comes to dining out in the Twin Cities (which my husband and I do frequently). I have lived in many large cities in the US, and Minneapolis has the best food scene, hands-down: delicious, unpretentious, and there’s always something affordable even if you go to a “fancier” place.

    Best Steak House. There are loads of fish and veggie options, plus a wood-burning pizza oven in the downstairs dining room: Burch http://www.burchrestaurant.com/

    Best Turkey Burger – they cure it in salt first, so it has the texture of a burger. To die for! Tilia http://www.tiliampls.com/

    Best Wine Bar: Lucia’s (the wine bar side). Numerous visiting friends have remarked how similar to Paris wine bars it is. Plus excellent small plates! http://www.lucias.com/wine-bar

    Best ambiance: 112 Eatery. All the food is excellent, as is the service, but yet still somehow cozy and laid back. Request a booth on the main floor. http://www.112eatery.com/

    Cheapest Best Thing Maybe Ever: $5 plate of Red Wine Spaghetti at Bar La Grassa. It is the best. http://www.barlagrassa.com/

    (also agree w all the restaurant recommendations above – trying to add new ones!)

    • Mama Micek says...

      I could not agree more about the red wine spaghetti at BLG! I seriously dream about it and I cannot believe how inexpensive it is. One of the city’s best-kept secrets, for sure.

    • E says...

      I do think they increased the spaghetti to $7, but still it’s so fantastic!

  42. Tiffany says...

    I have so many to add. I’m from Winnipeg, Canada and travel south to Minneapolis multiple times a year to enjoy this amazing city. Dogwood Coffee is fantastic and the one attached to Forage Modern Workshop allows for some great perusals of wares. Askov Finalyson is a great store beside Bachelor Farmer and they have a Warby Parker for trying on all the glasses. Across the street is Foundry Home Goods with beautiful home wares, towels, dishes, and more. Salsa a la Salsa has great tacos and booze specials (7 coronas for $7?!?! doi!). Bar la Grassa has incredible Italian food and you can get half orders to try a bunch of dishes. Butcher + the Boar is a very meaty, delicious restaurant as well. Brit’s Pub has a roof top bocce ball court.

    • Tatiana says...

      Hi, Tiffany! I am also from Winnipeg and we are planning a trip to Minneapolis very soon. We have two kids (11 and 2 yo) and I was just going to ask if make any stops on your way to MN and which ones you would recommend. Also ( I am not sure if you travel with kids) i wanted to ask if you know any good hotels you’d recommend for families with kids. Thank you very much!

  43. Also! The Red Stag, Spyhouse Northeast, Moose & Sadies, The Aster Café (they have live bands on the weekends at brunch), Birchwood Café in Longfellow and a walk by the Mississippi or a $3 movie at the Riverview theater afterward, PATISSERIE 46 in South Minneapolis (omg best croissants ever omg), Isles Bun & Coffee in Uptown (order “puppy dog tails” – trust me/you’re welcome). If you’re into vegan food, check out the Herbivorous Butcher, which is garnering attention nationwide. There’s also great shopping at Rewind Vintage in Uptown, Lula in St. Paul, the Bibelot (locations in each), Find Furnish, Danish Teak, I Like You (stationery and fun trinkets in Northeast). Sebastian Joe’s for ice cream, definitely. Liquor Lyles, CC Club, or 331 Club for fun dive bars. Stone Arch Bridge to Hennepin bridge for an amazing walk or bike ride. Not to mention all of the breweries: Indeed, Dangerous Man, Fulton, Surly, Bauhaus. Such a wonderful city with friendly people*.

    *It’s my hometown, so I’m biased.

    • I like your NE list, Emily, and thanks for mentioning the Red Stag! For beautiful & amazing Minneapolis designed and made jewelry, visit our neighbor T Lee. She made our wedding rings…

  44. Kathy says...

    Winter can be fun! Skate on Lake of the Isles, nordic ski at night by Luminary Light during the Loppet festival, go nordic skiing at the many parks in the area, winter tubing at Wirth park. Movies at the Riverview theater, which has a 60’s vibe. Also craft beer brewery hopping in NorthEast.

  45. I feel like I won the in-law jackpot by marrying a guy whose folks live in Minneapolis. It’s a spectacular place to visit and we’d be happy to end up there one day! Wild Rumpus is a delight, for sure, and we love taking our boys to the neighborhood splash pool, the science museum, and on walks around the lakes when we visit. My MIL loves the cardamom buns at Fika and it’s on my list of places to visit next time. The city offers some excellent live music, too. Love it!

  46. Ellen says...

    Favorite Minneapolis restaurant: Tilia, right by Wild Rumpus (the kids’ bookstore mentioned). Fika is great. Also, Pizzeria Lola in southwest Minneapolis has the most awesome wood-fired pizza–try the Forager (best pizza ever) and Lady Zaza (inspired by the owner’s Korean heritage).

  47. Jo says...

    Would love to see more from Michelle. Home Tour? Beauty Uniform? :-)

  48. Kate says...

    Crying! Moved from MPLS two years ago and miss it so much. This is so nostalgic for me, especially Bachelor Farmer and Wild Rumpus. There are just too many cool places where I want to live forever!

  49. Bunny says...

    This guide and all of the comments make me want to visit! I live/love in Birmingham, AL and thinks it’s worthy of a guide :)

  50. I already commented, but I just looked at the website for Mille (which I’ve never been to even thought I would consider myself a huge Minneapolis shopgirl!!) and I cannot believe what great designers you carry! Rachel Comey and Ulla Johnson?! I had no idea I could get them in MPLS without ordering online. I will absolutely be stopping in soon :)

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  51. Daniela says...

    I love this series almost as much as the beauty uniforms!

  52. AmandaMc says...

    How wonderful to see Minneapolis featured here today! I’ve never lived there but several of my dearest friends do, so I’ve made a point to visit at least once a year and I always leave amazed at just how cool the city is (and dream of moving there). What I’ve always appreciated about Minneapolis is just how vibrant it is even in the very bitter cold — which is noteworthy even to someone who grew up in Milwaukee and Chicago! Also, the food scene is just the best and here is where I have to make a plug for Travail — easily the best restaurant I’ve ever been to.

  53. Katrina says...

    I moved to Minnesota 10 years ago for college. The first couple of winters were ROUGH! but the state has grown on me since. :)
    I love The Nook for amazing juicy lucys, Five Watt for delicious coffee, the “chain of lakes” for some summer moped riding and heading up past Duluth to the North Shore for some hiking. I tell all my friends to visit in the summer when the patios and parks are filled with happy (albeit pale) Minnesotans.

  54. HC says...

    I grew up in Minneapolis and couldn’t wait to leave for a bigger city! It lacked diversity and I thought it was “too small minded.” I left after college and loved my life in a big city! I never thought I would go back until my husband ironically got a job in Minneapolis of all places! So we’ve been back for 3 years and after being away for 12 years and seeing how much it has progressed, Minneapolis/St. Paul is a gem! It’s what I call a small big city. There’s definitely a lot more ethnic diversity than when I was growing up, which is a plus in my opinion. However, it took me a really long time to get used to the passive agressive “MN nice” culture, actually I still have a hard time with it. Regardless, I could definitely spend the rest of my days here, except now we are moving to the east coast! All the comments above and places mentioned in this post are great. I also love browsing The Foundry Home Goods store.

  55. Kellie P. says...

    Wow, there are so many readers from Minneapolis! Anybody want to hang out? Hehe

    I live right by Minnetonka Orchard in Excelsior. If you’re out this way, don’t miss the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, a 1,137-acre horticultural garden and arboretum. The tulips are gorge right now!

  56. Laura says...

    Excellent guide! I’m a Twin Cities native born and love nearly everything about the cities. Since getting married, I’ve defected from Mpls to Saint Paul and am having so much fun discovering city secrets all over again.

    My husband and I ALWAYS escape to the Majorie McNeely Conservatory during the winter when we’re feeling the cabin fever kick in. I’d also love to add a visit to Como Dockside (not even a 2 minute drive from the conservatory) for delicious cocktails and southern comfort food. It’s a magical place that’s cozy in the winter (dark wood and wingback chairs) and breezy in the summer with its patio overlooking the lake.

  57. Lauren says...

    Love seeing my hometown of Minneapolis on here! Food: You gotta try Sebastian Joe’s ice cream and Smack Shack for lobster mac in the summer. Also, best chocolate cake is in St Paul at Cafe Latte :) Shop: 50th and France is the best area with all the cutest local boutiques. Do: walk around Lake of the Isles and Lake Harriet to admire the homes and nature!

  58. Aubrey says...

    I was born in St Paul and my dad and his side of the family still live there. The Twin Cities are my jam! Love this.

  59. Lucy says...

    I’m so happy to see Minneapolis featured! This city (and state!) are a gem. And Michelle did a wonderful job of highlighting the special places we have here. As one commenter said, other city guides of Mpls don’t get it quite right. I completely agree with all the restaurants mentioned. Another one of my favorites is 112 Eatery. And the craft beer scene and distilleries are quite fun. Summer is the truly the best time here. We rarely vacation outside of MN from May through September as the lovely summer days are precious. Although I’m trying to embrace the Scandinavian culture/mindset of enjoying the cold winters…still not a big fan though. Mpls/St. Paul are also a popular area for artists and musicians. Come visit, Joanna!

  60. Jo says...

    Nailed it!

  61. LM says...

    A few places to add:

    Tilia-their octopus is amazing!
    Origami-the only restaurant that serves NATTO maki. Be still my Japanese heart.
    The Meritage- OYSTERS!

    Idun-a super cute boutique in St. Paul
    BlackBlue-mainly mens but good selection for the cities in St. Paul

    FindFurnish-mid century modern furniture as well as great vintage clothing!

  62. holagranola says...

    wonderful! and i’m also hoping for a philadelphia city guide ;)

  63. Allison says...

    Yay for the Twin Cities! Born and raised, left for four years of college and couldn’t wait to move back. Not sure if I’ll ever be able to permanently leave again. If you do visit in the colder months, there’s still lots to do, besides the amazing restaurants, shopping, and museums. Try the ice skating rinks in Rice Park or Centennial Lakes, the Como Conservatory as mentioned in the article, or a tour of the extensive skyway system in downtown Minneapolis.

  64. Court says...

    Ahhhh, seeing my hometown on my favorite blog is too good to be true! Adding a few more favorite places to eat…

    Punch Neapolitan Pizza, you will feel like you went to Italy instead of Minnesota!
    The Nook in St. Paul for a Jucy Lucy! Best burger in the Cities!
    On a nice day, just take a stroll or rent a bike and cruise around the beautiful lakes. So, so lovely.

  65. Amanda U. says...

    Yay! I live in Minneapolis and had never heard of those orchards. Thanks for sharing – I love it here! (And, as a transplant from Florida, I love the winter!)

  66. St. Paul is my hometown! Thanks for choosing to feature that neck of the woods! I loved Michelle’s suggestions.

  67. Love, love, love this post! Being a MN native and living in St Paul, this was more spot on then many of the articles that have been published about our state and the Twin Cities area. So many articles want to tie us to this kitchy northern stereotype, and I love how she has truly captured our love for the arts, great restaurants, activities, shopping and true appreciation for the outdoors. Thanks from this MN girl for posting, you made my heart smile!

  68. Elena Pizano says...

    So happy to see this! I’m celebrating my 30th birthday in Minneapolis next month. I will definitely be going to several of these places. Thank you for all of the great tips!

  69. Sam says...

    I have lived in the Twin Cities for the past 9 years. My husband and I stayed at the Covington Inn this winter for our 5 year wedding anniversary. The room had a roaring fireplace and it was so cozy.
    Sea Salt is the place to be once it gets warm and the crawfish po’boy is incredible. Brasa and Punch Pizza are my favorite local chains.
    As for shopping, Golden Rule Collective in Excelsior carries local art and jewelry and beautifully curated brands like Baggu, and the Northrup King Building is filled with artist studios that are open to the public several times per year (including next weekend as part of the largest art crawl in the country – Art-A-Whirl).
    Summit Avenue in St. Paul showcases miles of well preserved Victorians. I’ve been ogling these mansions for 9 years and it does not get old.
    Okay I’ll stop with the recommendations now. Love MSP :)

  70. Casey says...

    Loved this! Love the cities:) I could add a million more things to your already fantastic list – everything about Minneapolis/St. Paul is FANTASTIC!

  71. Carol Wayne says...

    My son and his wife lived in Minneapolis for 8 years and we loved visiting them there….the bike trails are awesome…it was such fun to ride all the way to the Mississippi River and back…Please eat at Punch’s Pizza…and St Paul is lovely too with Common Good Bookstore…the Nookie Burger and the Fitzgerald Theater….and there is a lovely shop called Moss by Lake Calhoun that has lovely organic fiber clothing…and go stand up paddle boarding on Lake Calhoun!!

  72. Laura says...

    Makes me want to visit! Maybe next June.

  73. Yay, Minneapolis! I went to college in St. Paul and my husband grew up in a small town just outside of the city so we are both very familiar with the Twin Cities and although we chose to settle down in a small town, we love to go there whenever there’s a good band playing or the craving for Thai food is too much to bear. :)

    We love to use the Nice Ride bike system (https://www.niceridemn.org) to bike around downtown. Last time we went all the way from Birchwood Cafe (SO yummy and there is a bike dock right out front) to Minnehaha Falls to Nico’s Taco and Tequila Bar (super fresh and authentic!) to downtown/the stone bridge/Gold Medal Hill, past the University and back to the cafe. It was an all-day ride with a stop at Lake Harriet for a swim, to eat the tacos and to have an ice-cream cone at Izzy’s but it didn’t cost us anything because we kept “checking in” at the Bike banks. So fun! Great city.

  74. Jamie says...

    Ah! I love this! I spent most of my childhood summer in Minneapolis and always wax on about it whenever the city’s mentioned. It’s definitely a secret gem (nobody seems to realize how cool/beautiful it really is).

  75. I’d love to see a Los Angeles city guide!

    Laura

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awesome!! it’s in the works!

  76. Madeline says...

    Ahhhh Minneapolis! I watched an episode of the price is right the other day and one of the prizes was a trip to Minneapolis. The only activity they featured was going to the Mall of America. It’s so good to see real Minneapolis things on here!

    We just moved here in October and this ex-southern girl is absolutely LOVING it. As someone else mentioned, the craft beer here is definitely can’t miss and I would add Broder’s Pasta Bar and Lola for pizza. Our favorite thing to do is get a coffee from one of the great coffee shops (Bull Run and Five Watt are my favorites) and strolling around one of the lakes. We also went to the Arboretum in the October to see all the beautiful autumn colors and it was breath taking.

    • DJ says...

      I’m a Southern girl in Minneapolis LOVING it, too!

  77. Marie Pocock says...

    Ah! I’ve live in Minnesota my whole life and absolutely LOVE it here (including the winters!). I’m so excited you posted this. There were even a few places listed I have yet to try so I can’t wait to check those out. My husband is from a beautiful village in the UK , has lived around the US (and is a pilot who sees the other cities) and also says Minneapolis is by far his favorite place in the world (I like to think its because I’m here;) but its by far my most favorite place in the world too). I hope everyone gets a chance to visit – (+ def. get out of downtown and go see the lakes!) xo

  78. Yes! Love seeing my city featured. I’d also recommend the stellar stretch of restaurants between 34th and 38th on Nicollet Ave: Ramen Kazama, Pat’s Tap, Hola Arepa, Butter, Five Watt, Kyatchi, Nighthawks and Blackbird. And just a few blocks west at Grand and 38th you’ll find Digs, a great little gift shop with an incredible fabric and yarn selection, and Victor’s 1959 Cafe. If you’re looking for beer and tacos (who isn’t?), head to Midtown Global Market and check out East Lake Brewery and Taco Cat.

  79. C. says...

    Aw, Minneapolis! I grew up in beautiful South Minneapolis and still really miss it, even though I’ve since moved to the East Coast. Too many other amazing spots to mention, but just want to second the recommendation for Wild Rumpus – my sister-in-law has worked there for years and it’s a magical place (there’s even a tiny door inside the front door for little ones to use and a spooky mini-haunted house for scary books).

    (Okay, one last food recommendation: for delicious burgers, fries, and malts, hop over the town line to Edina to the 80-year-old Convention Grill, a wonderful and family-friendly diner.)

    • JF says...

      Convention Grill is my favorite, favorite, favorite. Hot Fudge Malt!;)

  80. corrie says...

    Pleasantly surprised to see The Covington Inn listed, it’s a little known gem. If you go, make sure to reserve the “penthouse suite”- it includes the top deck as your own private deck.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      whoa, no way! so awesome.

    • Bee says...

      My husband and I rented the penthouse suite (Captain’s Room) a few years ago too and loved sunning ourselves on the rooftop patio all by ourselves for the afternoon. We took a taxi across the river into downtown for a great dinner that night then returned to watch the sunset & the stars come alive against the beautiful backdrop of downtown St. Paul and all the boats traveling up and down the river. Morning coffee never tasted so good up on that deck! Come aboard mate! ;)

  81. Ashley says...

    I’ve lived in Minneapolis all of my life. I will say that we have an excellent craft beer scene. For the beer nerd, I would highly recommend checking out Indeed, Fulton, and Fair State. There’s also an excellent distillery in Northeast Minneapolis called Tattersall. Their space is really beautiful and every cocktail I’ve had there (and I’ve had many) has been top notch. If you happen to find yourself in Minneapolis on the first Thursday of the month, there are a bunch of buildings in Northeast Minneapolis that are full of artist studios that you can check out and buy art. I could go on… I love this city.

  82. You can’t not go to Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge, a great tiki bar with a riverfront patio.

  83. Ah!!! It made me so happy to see this! I went to college in downtown Mpls and lived there a total of 6 years. I still consider it home, even though now I’ve lived in LA for the same amount of time. We do talk about moving back there all the time. Michelle is right- it would be blasphemous to spend any part of the summer indoors. You get such a short amount of it, you have to soak it in! One of the best feelings is when it’s starting to get warmer and all of a sudden the city comes alive. You think, where did all these people come from?! It’s amazing. I miss that reverence for beautiful weather.

    I don’t have anything really awesome to add here other than my little heart is so happy seeing my city on your page. Although I will add that Red Stag Supper Club, Brasa, Birchwood Cafe, and Wise Acre all all amazing restaurants. And Magers & Quinn is one of the best used bookstores I’ve ever been in- perfectly curated, and gorgeous! Not one of those old, musty, and crowded ones.

  84. Kelcey says...

    My boyfriend’s parents moved to Minnesota in 2007, and they LOVE it. When we first went to visit, I was blown away by how beautiful it is. They live about 40 minutes outside of Minneapolis, and their neighborhood is a web of amazing bike paths and small lakes. That first visit was in September, and it was a blistering 96 degrees and SMOGGY in LA, and I was blown away by how GREEN everything was. I don’t know how this California girl would fair in the midst of a Minnesota winter, but I’d definitely consider moving!

  85. Cooper says...

    I live there! (right across the street from the soon-to-be opened Hotel / Cafe Alma! I’m always peeking into the papered windows hoping to catch glimpses of progress :) Wonderful recommendations from Michelle! I’d also like to add a couple ideas:

    1) The Walker is fantastic, but so is the Minneapolis Institute of Art – it’s always FREE and has a much larger and more diverse collection, from period rooms to the largest piece of carved jade outside of China to beautiful furniture collections to contemporary art.

    2) The Guthrie Theater is world-renowned, and it’s worthwhile to catch a show if you can. Rush tickets are (almost) always available (sales start 30 minutes before showtime, but people sometimes line up earlier) for the spontaneous and budget-minded, or ask about their 30-below program if you fall into that age demographic (under 30). Even if you don’t want to see a show, the views of the Mississippi from the theater’s “endless bridge” are gorgeous, and the building is (almost) always open to the public. There’s also a great restaurant (Sea Change) adjoining the theater.

    3) Just across the river from the Guthrie via the beautiful Stone Arch (pedestrian) Bridge is the Saint Anthony Main neighborhood, with several great (and affordable) restaurants with huge patios – Wilde Roast (Oscar Wilde-themed) and Aster are my favorites. There’s also a great movie theater that frequently shows foreign films alongside current blockbusters (and shows are only $5 on Tuesdays :)

    4) Kids and adults may also like the Science Museum (in St. Paul), especially the cool Omnitheater, or the nearby Children’s Museum (I’ve never been), or Como Zoo (by the conservatory and also always free). If you’re into zoos, I actually like the free Como Zoo (polar bears! snow leopards! Sparky the sea lion show!) better than the spendier Minnesota Zoo, though both have their perks.

    I hope you enjoy your visit!

    • Di says...

      love these suggestions! I called St.Paul home for a few years (Go Mac!) and these really resonate. Many happy weekend afternoons spent in St. Anthony Main.

  86. if you’d ever like to include an Omaha, Nebraska city guide, i’d love to contribute! <3

  87. Emily says...

    So fun to see “my city” being featured! You have to see the city lakes, our pride and joy! Other fun shopping areas are Uptown, 50th and France, and Grand Ave in St. Paul. Go see a show at the Guthrie, and walk around the Guthrie building and see the fantastic view of the river. Farmers markets are fun in the summer, because as this author mentioned, we take advantage of the warm months! Also, if you get a chance to “head north” and visit a cabin, it is idyllic. You can head to the Brainerd, Hayward, Leech Lake area. Come visit us in MN!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      the twin cities sound so, so amazing.

  88. This is my city!!! I’m dying that you’re featuring little ole Minneapolis on Cup of Jo! My family lives in the heart of Minneapolis and absolutely love it! These recommendations are wonderful, Alma is easily the best restaurant in town, but I also am in love with 4 Bells (and they have a rooftop now, what could be better?) Also Tilla is a wonderful spot, their fish sandwich is to die for! I would also recommend Martin Patrick for mens shopping and D. NOLO for women, they are both wonderful! Thanks for the feature from a fellow Minneapolis resident!

    xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  89. When I lived in St. Paul (which is far cooler than Mpls!!!), I LOVED biking all day on the weekends. So many trails. Gorgeous. Clean. Polite (good bike traffic manners).
    Great food, too.
    Winter, however, is a major drawback.