Hotel in Minneapolis
December 2, 2010 9:26 AM   Subscribe

Where should I book a hotel in Minneapolis?

I'm coming to Minneapolis on the weekend of December 10 to attend a reading of my play at Dreamland Arts. I am planning on also going to the Minneapolis Institute for the Arts. I won't be renting a car, so I will be relying on public transit and taxi. I am also on a budget, not super-lean, but not extravagant either. Single, female, traveling alone, so safety important. Should I be booking a hotel in downtown Minneapolis or closer to the theatre?
posted by typewriter to Travel & Transportation around Minneapolis, MN (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've stayed here, which is fairly close. It was fine. Nothing too special, but not objectional.
posted by edgeways at 9:42 AM on December 2, 2010

Best answer: I'd definitely suggest Minneapolis rather than trying to get close to this theater; if you stay downtown, you can use the skyway system to get to shopping and restaurants and stuff for the majority of your trip (or walk outside if you are brave). The hotel in edgeways' link is pretty isolated -- not unsafe at all, but it is in a weird little office-park pocket of St. Paul that will be frustrating without a car.
posted by Siobhan at 9:52 AM on December 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

We stayed at the Marquette for a weekend in June. Nice, very reasonable, highly rated on TripAdvisor, AND Basil's Restaurant (which serves a tasty breakfast) was featured in the opening credits of the Mary Tyler Moore show :)

It's very centrally located as well, convenient to just about everything.
posted by Koko at 10:22 AM on December 2, 2010

There are a couple of hotels near the University of MN that might be good for you, at least in terms of location. There's a lot of transit running along University Ave, so you could get to the MIA and get at least within a few blocks of the theater. Downtown Mpls would work pretty well, transit-wise, too.
posted by COBRA! at 11:41 AM on December 2, 2010

I'll agree with Siobhan. Having had many relatives stay at the Bandana Square hotel, it's really not near anything except the St Paul Saints' stadium. I'd check the stuff by the University of Minnesota Minneapolis Campus as a first choice, then downtown Minneapolis as second choice.
posted by kaszeta at 11:58 AM on December 2, 2010

If you find something along the light rail line (which extends from the Mall of America to the downtown area, so there's a lot to look over in terms of housing) you won't have much trouble finding transportation.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:00 PM on December 2, 2010

Best answer: If you're looking for hotels in downtown Minneapolis, look for places that aren't too far from the Hiawatha light rail line. It would give you a direct beeline from the Airport to downtown for way, way less than the cost of a cab.

Various bits of the downtown skyway system may shut down at different times of day or week. If you're at the Marquette, for example, it should be no problem to walk across to Macy's on a midday Saturday, but if you're further out, you might have to walk several cold blocks outdoors before you find a building that's open weekends.

Dreamland is a few blocks north of University Ave in St Paul, where the venerable #16 bus runs. This is the main line between downtown Minneapolis and downtown St Paul, so it runs very frequently. You could check for express bus options, too, those might stop further away closer to Snelling. Bus 16 would also pass by many of the hotel options around the University of Minnesota campus.

MIA is just south of downtown Minneapolis, should be some buses on 3rd Ave S, and many options on Nicollet. Slightly further south on Nicollet are several good places to eat, btw.

I'm not female, so I might not be tuned into the same safety concerns that you might. I'd be comfortable walking six blocks down Hamline (thoroughfare street, but not super busy) after dark and then waiting for a bus on University, it's not super unsafe, but I can understand if someone else wouldn't be. Actually, the distance from there to any hotel might be "further than you think", so that might be a place to take a cab or get a ride to help recoup that time for dinner or relaxation.

The area around MIA should be okay in the daytime, maybe slightly sketchy at night. Nicollet around 26th is busy and well-travelled, but just a block or two off Nicollet, it's darker and full of apartments.

Overall, one of the dirty secrets of the Twin Cities is how ridiculously sprawled we are. There are plenty of inexpensive places to stay that are convenient by car, but our bus transit is still mostly based on where the streetcar lines were placed in the 1890s.
posted by gimonca at 12:06 PM on December 2, 2010

I think I agree with staying downtown. You can take the light rail from the airport to there, and buses from there to your other two destinations should be do-able. It's been so long since I took a cab here, I don't even remember whether they're expensive. Minneapolis does have a Nice Ride bike rental program, but not sure how practical that is for your side trips.

As far as economical hotels downtown, I think there's a Holiday Inn Express, which is sort of on the fringe of where I'd want to be as a solo woman after dark, and another one near the Greyhound station, again not patently unsafe but not perhaps totally ideal either. The HI Express would be a longer walk from where the light rail will drop you off, maybe 10 blocks. If you can get a decent deal on one of the closer-in hotels (Hilton, Marquette, Radisson), I'd say go for that.
posted by lakeroon at 12:18 PM on December 2, 2010

Best answer: The #11 going south will take you from Nicollet Mall down 3rd Ave to MIA and it should only take 15 minutes or so. The 17 and 18 will take you to 24th and Nicollet and you will have to walk two blocks east and one block south to get to the entrance to MIA. All three of the busses meet up with the light rail and the 17 and 18 are more frequent. I have lived in the MIA neighborhood off and on for about 11 years and the safety can really vary. If I was really concerned, I'd be sure to visit during the day on Sunday. The special exhibits are usually free on Sundays anyway.

There is a Holiday Inn Express on 3rd Ave at 11th Street. You can access the skyway within a block of there at either parking ramp or at the Hilton or Ivy Tower Hotel. You can also take a #11 north from there to meet up with the light rail or the #16 to get to your reading. (on preview, the one lakeroon is talking about. a cab or bus from the light rail would be cheap)
posted by soelo at 12:29 PM on December 2, 2010

If you can swing downtown Minneapolis for a hotel, do - it's the epicenter for public transportation. The MIA is awesome, but the neighborhood around it gets shady on a block-by-block basis, and personally I feel safer taking the bus than I do a cab in this city. I've had good luck with the Hyatt on 6th Street, myself.
posted by medea42 at 12:37 PM on December 2, 2010

December 10. It's not yet Christmas, so you might be able to get a good price at a downtown Minneapolis hotel. I've stayed at the Grand Hotel downtown and gotten a good price, and it's right near the 16 and attached to the Skyway, so you can get to St. Paul quickly, and also around downtown.

There's also the Normandie Inn, which is just outside of downtown and I think has good rates, as well as a pool and a good restaurant.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:06 PM on December 2, 2010

I live somewhat close to the Bandana Square hotel. Without a car (and even with a car), it's more inconvenient than either staying in downtown Minneapolis or near the University of Minnesota campus.

I'd catch a cab to Dreamland myself.
posted by ZeusHumms at 2:20 PM on December 2, 2010

Minneapolis does have a Nice Ride bike rental program, but not sure how practical that is for your side trips.

Nice Ride is closed for the winter. And you wouldn't want to bike in this weather anyway.

I've stayed at the Holiday Inn Metrodome and enjoyed it. It's actually closer to the U of M West Bank than the Metrodome, but they have free shuttles to the Metrodome Light Rail station, which is nice. You'll be close by the 16 bus line that will take you to University and Hamline, and the 2 bus line which will take you to Franklin Ave and Stevens, by the MIA.
posted by ALongDecember at 5:01 PM on December 2, 2010

I don't know what your budget range is, but my two hotel recs are the Graves 601 in Minneapolis ($104 a night) and the Crown Plaza Riverfront in St Paul ($88 a night). They both have cool city views.
posted by TheClonusHorror at 7:01 AM on December 3, 2010

Response by poster: Ooooh, excellent! Thanks all!
posted by typewriter at 12:57 PM on December 4, 2010

Response by poster: Got a good flight/hotel deal at the Marriot downtown. Whee hee! Thanks Twin Cities! Going to try and figure out my schedule and see if there is time for a meet-up. Thanks all!
posted by typewriter at 2:21 PM on December 4, 2010

Response by poster: Wow Minneapolis, you got seriously snowy on me.
posted by typewriter at 1:27 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sorry about the foot and a half of snow, we didn't mean to do that so soon before Xmas.
posted by gimonca at 9:45 PM on December 11, 2010

(And hope things turned out okay, regardless.)
posted by gimonca at 9:45 PM on December 11, 2010

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