9th and Hennepin and all the donuts have names that sound like prostitutes.
March 23, 2009 10:03 AM   Subscribe

Please suggest things to do in Minneapolis this weekend.

My SO and I are spending the coming weekend (3/27 - 3/29) in Minneapolis. We're looking for suggestions for fun and/or interesting things to do for the weekend. We're already planning on checking out the Walker and/or the MIA. We're in our mid 20's and don't have a huge budget.
We're staying at a downtown hotel, but we do have a car.
Any suggestions welcome. We'll especially need recommendations for good but not-too-expensive bars and restaurants in the downtown area, but also: good live music and shows, unique shops (not the Mall of America, thanks), museums, etc.
Thank you!
posted by mesh gear fox to Travel & Transportation around Minneapolis, MN (16 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: As far as unique shops go, there is a little place called Indigo that we used to go to in college. It deals in tribal and Asian art and is like walking around a museum in which everything is for sale. It's quite a fun place - close-ish to downtown, if I remember right.

Also, I really enjoy the MIA and the sculpture garden near the Walker. I have never made it into the Walker, though, so I can't speak to that. And uptown Minneapolis is kind of fun if you are into the artsy type places. I always make a point to go to Ragstock.
posted by bristolcat at 10:16 AM on March 23, 2009

Best answer: Good Downtown happy hours:
The Local
McCormick & Schmick's looks expensive, but have a great HH

Also check out the Weisman Art Museum at the U of M, a Frank Gehry designed building (and is free). The MiA is also free, Walker charges based on what they have going on.

For good cheap ears, take a stroll down Eat Street (Nicollet Ave, it gets better the further away from Downtown you get); My favorite is Quang. Rainbow is also great, but more expensive, and Azia is eh-ok.

Go to Bryant Lake Bowl, the Nook, The Blue Door in S. Paul.

People may tell you to go to Matt's Bar for a Jucy Lucy..which is fine, but i prefer the blue at the Blue Door or the Paul Molitor at the Nook.

I could go on on, but suggest you use City Pages for most recent goings on.

Have fun!
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

and cheap ears was supposed to be "cheap eats."
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 10:27 AM on March 23, 2009

Best answer: Moto-I, if you like freshly-brewed sake & Japanese bar food. Very tasty, and surprisingly inexpensive. Get the pork steam buns.

+1 for Blue Door. That place rocks. Can get very crowded, however.

Hell's Kitchen has a great brunch/breakfast. Also usually crowded.

Go visit the new Guthrie Theater. Wandering around the building is free, and the views are beautiful. They do offer a guided backstage tour for $10, if you like seeing the behind the scenes stuff.
posted by iwhitney at 10:44 AM on March 23, 2009

Best answer: I don't currently live there, but I did for years on and off, most recently last year. Anyhoo, unfortunately it looks like it will be snowing this coming weekend, so these are mostly indoors-type recs.

Places for live music:

Triple Rock Social Club near the UMN campus is good for live music and hipster-gawking. Also, good bar food. Near the light rail.

First Ave (where Purple Rain was filmed!) and the attached 7th Street Entry have seen better days but First Ave has a cool mural outside with the names of all the high profile bands that have played there. They are downtown.

The Turf Club in St Paul is another institution, grungy as hell but has great music. 20 minute drive from downtown Mpls.

Other good bars:

Psycho Suzi's is a fun motor lodge/polynesian/pizza place in Northeast.

Nye's Polonaise just north of downtown was once rated the best bar in America - old skool, 1940s style old man bar with lots of class.

If you like dive bars and Karaoke, check out U Otter Stop Inn. Warning: it's tiny and grungy but lots of fun if you're into that sort of thing.

Places to Eat:

To be honest, I don't typically eat downtown, but here are some recs that are either downtown or on the Light Rail (which is fast and convenient):

Hell's Kitchen has amazing brunch.

The Town Talk Diner has good food and drinks, and apparently was started by a former chef from French Laundry.

The Lotus Cafe on Nicollet is a hole-in-the-wall place with amazing Vietnamese food. Actually, Nicollet has a bunch of good places, though you will have to drive there.

Pizza Luce is good for late nights.

The Chatterbox is my favorite place to go in Minneapolis. It's a nice, cozy pub with good food, their own beer, and games you can rent!

Have fun!
posted by lunasol at 10:45 AM on March 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mill City Museum is supposed to be fun. I've never been, but it's on my list of things to do.

One of my favorite things to do is walk across the Stone Arch Bridge (right outside the museum), hang a left on the other side of the river, and walk along Saint Anthony Main, then cross back over on the Hennepin Bridge.

Oh, and as long as you're in the vicinity, go up to the top of the Guthrie and check out the view from the Endless Bridge. This is especially cool at night.
posted by anderjen at 10:46 AM on March 23, 2009

Oh, and going off anderjen's rec, walk over the Hennepin Ave Bridge (on your way to Nye's!) and check out the huge Grain Belt Beer Sign that looks like a bottle cap. It's neat.
posted by lunasol at 10:55 AM on March 23, 2009

Best answer: The Guthrie is cool, and as long as you're in the area take a walk across the Stone Arch Bridge.

The Loring Pasta bar is a pretty cool place in Dinkytown (the U of M college area), go to Al's Breakfast for breakfast. If you're a bike geek, swing by one on one, a bike shop/cafe/gallery.

The City Pages are where it's at as far as goings-on.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:05 AM on March 23, 2009

Hell's Kitchen does lunch and dinner now, too. But they do have an awesome, not-to-be-missed breakfast menu.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:21 AM on March 23, 2009

The U of M has a lot of activities going on all the time on and around campus. They very rarely require much less check that you be a student (night activities being more likely for that, everything after 9pm is pretty much freshman)

click around on the dates for sat and sun.
posted by nzydarkxj at 12:23 PM on March 23, 2009

Best answer: I don't know Minneapolis well, but I spent two weeks there a couple of years ago and recall Minneapolis as a generally fantastic town. craven_morhead already mentioned Al's in Dinkytown - it's great. The Oak St. Cinema was fantastic, and it looks like they're showing A Fistful of Dynamite while you're there (except Saturday, when they're showing My Architect, with the director supposedly in attendance). I really enjoyed both the Walker and the MIA. Also - it may be cold, but an Izzy scoop of Mexican Chocolate is totally worth the trek to St. Paul. I seem to recall a couple of great bars downtown - including Brit's Pub, which has rooftop lawn bowling - but most of the details are now escaping me. Anyway, have fun!
posted by dilettanti at 12:45 PM on March 23, 2009

That Oak Street link is old. Don't go there expecting awesomeness, you will be disappointed.
posted by iwhitney at 2:17 PM on March 23, 2009

I asked (sort of) the same thing about a year ago. I got some solid answers and had a good time, although some of this stuff was time sensitive and won't really be of interest to you. Have fun!
posted by whiskey point at 2:32 PM on March 23, 2009

Best answer: If you're planning on hitting up any of the bars, check out Thrifty Hipster. This website shows most bars in the Cities and is searchable by location, or by happy hour (i.e. Where are there happy hour specials at 8 PM on Thursdays).

A good cheap lunch or dinner would bePunch Pizza. There's a few of them throughout the Cities, but it's delicious authentic Neapolitan pizzas. Yum.

Someone already mentioned City Pages. I'd second checking out the site, which should show most stuff going on over the weekend. It's pretty comprehensive and you should be able to find something fun!

Have a great trip!
posted by JannaK at 4:55 PM on March 23, 2009

Best answer: I had a fun date one morning going to Coffee & Tea Ltd. in the Linden Hills neighborhood for a cup of Kopi Luwak followed by a walk around Lake Harriett. It's $10 a cup, so we split one, but they have other stuff they can brew if you're not feeling as uh...adventurous. Lake Harriett is right near Uptown, where this Saturday the Uptown Theatre is showing Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theatres as the midnight movie.
Within walking distance from the MIA there is a well-known local Mexican/American restaurant called Little Tijuana that has been here since the 60's. I recommend the taco dinner.
Also, a block north of Little T's on Nicollet is a popular coffee shop called Spyhouse. It's usually filled with students from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (which houses a free exhibit).

Ecopolitan is an organic, vegan, and raw food restaurant.

Nthing Hell's Kitchen, though parking can be difficult, and there is often a substantial wait before you are seated. Plan ahead, you'll love it. Huevos Rancheros and Eggs Benedict are phenomenal, and so are their home-made peanut butter, jam, and marmalade (I have all three in my fridge!).

I recommend checking out our local brew pubs. Rock Bottom Brewery is a downtown brewpub which is very close to First Ave., the Pantages, and Pizza Luce. The master brewer for Rock Bottom left though, and started his own local brewery called Surly. It's mighty popular here, so give it a try if you get a chance. They sell it in 4-pack cans for about $10 bucks at the local liquor store. Don't forget that liquor stores here mostly close at 10:00 pm, with some (like Surdyks [great wine & cheese!] in the St. Anthony Main area) closing earlier. All liquor stores are closed on Sundays.

Other local brews include Summit, Grain Belt, and Schell but apart from maybe sampling a Summit, I'd stick to trying some of the in-house brews found in the Brewpubs list on MN Beer. I highly recommend Barley Johns even though it's a little ways out of downtown. They have great food, and exquisite beers. Town Hall is closer, also good. Food not so great.

Bring umbrellas, it's been kind of rainy.
posted by Demogorgon at 7:47 PM on March 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great responses, everyone. You gave us an incredible amount of suggestions from which to plan our weekend. In case you think of anything else, I'll stop back in this thread before I leave. When we get back I'll be sure to let you know what we all did.
posted by mesh gear fox at 7:05 AM on March 24, 2009

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