The Minneapolis Minute
July 7, 2021 4:58 AM   Subscribe

I'll be in the Nicollet Mall area of Minneapolis for a few days on a business trip. I hope to have one or two evenings and possibly a small chunk of afternoon at my disposal. Where should I go?

I've been to MN before but not this twin. Pretty bummed about the trip for a few different reasons but it is not optional, so it would be great to have something fun to look forward to. I like live music, seeing art, books, walking around cool places, trying new food (vegetarian) and cocktails (definitely not looking for a loud or pickup-y bar scene, though.) Note: I won't have a car but happy to walk. All suggestions appreciated!
posted by prewar lemonade to Travel & Transportation around Minneapolis, MN (12 answers total)
Response by poster: I forgot to add: also would welcome tips on getting to and from the airport. And now that I think of it, places to get quick and not too expensive breakfasts and lunches in the area!
posted by prewar lemonade at 5:08 AM on July 7, 2021

Best answer: Getting to/from the airport is amazingly easy. The Light Rail goes to the airport and you can take that directly to Nicollet Mall.
posted by signondiego at 5:18 AM on July 7, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Minnehaha Falls is a small, amazing waterfall and there’s a convenient light rail stop right at the park.
posted by mundo at 5:59 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A lot of the places I would normally send you are temporarily closed bc of COVID but the Hewing Hotel rooftop should still be operational and is a must-go for cocktails. Bryant-Lake Bowl and Barbette are reopened, if you can get to Uptown. (It's suuuuper easy to do, there are two or three buses that go pretty much directly between Nicollet and Lake St in Uptown.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 6:21 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If it's pleasant outside, the complex of parks around the Stone Arch Bridge and Gold Medal Park down by the river are extremely nice places to hang out; easily walkable from the Nicollet Mall area, and with some decent restaurants clustered around the Guthrie Theater (which normally has a really cool open-to-the-public bar inside, but I'm not sure what the status of that is right now given covid).
posted by COBRA! at 7:29 AM on July 7, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: There's a ton of good vegetarian (and vegan) food in the Twin Cities. If you go down Nicollet Avenue from downtown, you'll find an entire corridor of food. We have a really good food scene here, including a ton of great Vietnamese places. Jasmine Deli does amazing vegetarian sandwiches, and lots of places will do you up a solid curry with tofu or mock duck and vegetables, I seriously cannot say enough good things about the Vietnamese food here - it's not to be missed. There's also Pizza Luce if you just want a solid pie, Bombay Palace and Dancing Ganesh for Indian food, Crisp & Green for salads. Breakfast in downtown is a little tricky, but downtown has good access to buses so you can get to the Bryant Lake Bowl, as mentioned, or Modern Times up on Chicago Avenue.
posted by bile and syntax at 8:26 AM on July 7, 2021

Best answer: If you go to Minnehaha Falls (which is lovely!), you can also eat at Sea Salt, which is a casual, mostly outdoor seafood place located in the surrounding park. It's delicious!
posted by leftover_scrabble_rack at 9:34 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mesob is an authentic Ethiopian restaurant and serves delicious vegetarian food. It's located a very short walk from a light rail station.

Afro Deli has a few locations throughout the Twin Cities and they also serve tasty vegetarian food. I particularly enjoy the sambusas at both of these restaurants. Sambusas are fried, triangular pastries and are similar to Indian samosas.
posted by mundo at 10:47 AM on July 7, 2021

Best answer: I love our local art museums. Both the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the Walker Art Center are reasonable close to downtown and easy if you care to bus. I used to walk that routinely, but it would be a few miles of walking. Right now, they are only open Thursday-Sunday.

Reverie a great neighborhood vegan spot that's outside of downtown. They are currently not doing table service/indoor dining, but if the weather is nice, you can get your food from the takeout window and enjoy their well shaded patio space. Herbivorous Butcher is also only doing curbside right now, but is worth a mention.

My favorite bookstore you can currently browse in is Magers & Quinn.

(Note: I adore Sea Salt, recommended above, but it has few vegetarian options, but has beer and ice cream)
posted by advicepig at 11:14 AM on July 7, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If you want to experience the downtown skyway lunch scene, Green & the Grain has the best fancy salads, and Sushi Takatsu has the best under-the-radar lunch deals. I’m not sure how many food trucks are out during this pandemic summer, but they usually line up down 2nd Ave and 6th Street by US Bank Plaza (World Street Kitchen’s truck is my favorite).

There are two new-ish food halls in the North Loop, but again, not sure what is open: I’ve been to Graze pre-pandemic (an easy walk from the Target Field stadium light rail stop), the other is North Loop Galley. Lunch/dinner options look good over there, and the North Loop is an interesting place to wander around.

Downtown isn’t great for quick/easy breakfast options. If you want really cheap, there’s always the Target on the Nicollet Mall at 9th Street, otherwise coffee shops might be your best options.

The coolest recent development downtown is the revitalization of Water Works at Mill Ruins Park down by the Stone Arch Bridge. I’m not sure when it opens, but Owamni is a much-anticipated indigenous food restaurant in the visitors center. Otherwise, you can walk across the bridge to St Anthony Main and hang out there (Cafe Aster has the best riverside patio, and Surdyks has the best sandwich/picnic supply shop).
posted by Maarika at 12:34 PM on July 7, 2021

Response by poster: Thanks so much, everyone. I'm excited to have some cool stuff to look forward to now!
posted by prewar lemonade at 8:11 AM on July 8, 2021

Response by poster: Quick follow up: great as they sounded, I didn't get to take advantage of the food or cocktail recs (although I did have a vegetarian pastrami that may have been sourced from Herbivorous Butcher. Delish.)

I did get to visit the sculpture garden, which was a delight, Minehaha Falls, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art (well, most of a floor - it is a big building and stuffed with wonders!)

Thanks so much to everyone for your tips. I relished exploring the city and would gladly visit again!
posted by prewar lemonade at 11:09 AM on July 19, 2021 [5 favorites]

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