Published: January, 2018
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Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hell’s Kitchen - Their Bloody Mary bar is unbelievable, you’ve never seen anything like it—it has its own room in the restaurant!
— Katie Runman
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Adult, City
  • Activity level: easy
  • Ideal length of trip: Long weekend, especially in the summer and fall.

to & from

  • Fly into MPS. Delta’s hub is here, though, Sun Country often has cheaper flights!
  • You can either rent a car or Uber the entire time. The airport is about a 15-25 minute drive from downtown (depending on where you are staying and traffic/time of day)

Where to Stay

  • Stay in the North Loop/Warehouse Neighborhood:
  • Hewing Hotel (bonus: rooftop pool & bar)
  • Hotel Ivy (bonus: spa on site)
  • Kimpton Grand Hotel (bonus: complimentary access to Minneapolis Athletic Club)
  • VRBO and AirBNB are always options too. check out these neighborhoods:
  • Warehouse/North Loop: Closer to downtown, has an urban feel. Very close to amazing restaurants and clothing boutique stores. Walkable to the Mississippi River which has great walking and running paths. Inquire about overnight parking options with host.
  • Loring Park: Closer to downtown as well with an urban feel. Lots of great eating spots are near here too. Inquire about overnight parking options with host.
  • Linden Hills: More of a neighborhood feel with young families. Super easy and lovely to walk to Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. Downtown Linden Hills has restaurants, (a favorite, Tilia) coffee shops and one of my favorite children’s book stores, Wild Rumpus, complete with live animals to entertain young shoppers.
  • Uptown: This is where many in their 20s lives. Tons of bars and restaurants. Very close access to Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun. Free, overnight street parking is do-able.

Where to Eat and Drink

There are so many amazing restaurants in Minneapolis! Be sure to make reservations for dinner in advance. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Spoon & Stable (North Loop, dinner) Chef/owner Gavin Kaysen (James Beard award-winning chef) offers a seasonal menu from local farms; cuisine is Midwestern-inspired mixed with French influences. Rustic-chic inside, fun to sit at the bar if you can't get a reservation!
  • Bachelor Farmer (North Loop, dinner) This Scandinavian-influenced cuisine that locally sources ingredients is a great example of how sophisticated the restaurant scene is in Minneapolis. Bach Farmer Food is AMAZING and the Chef is a James Beard semifinalist for best new restaurant in America. Also, don't miss the Marvel Bar for their craft cocktails in an eclectic ultra cool atmosphere.
  • Bar La Grassa (North Loop, dinner) Italian food and a lively bar area to wait before eating. It’s fun to go with a group so you can share plates as it’s impossible to not want to order the entire menu. As a starter, get the soft eggs and lobster bruschetta. Trust me, they are known for this.
  • Butcher & the Boar (Downtown, dinner) Known for their American craft food, bourbon and beer. There’s also a beer garden open year that offers a separate menu—the beer garden is a fun spot to go for happy hour/day drinks.
  • Restaurant Alma (University/Dinkytown, dinner) If you’re a foodie, you don't want to miss it. Three-course prix fixe menu for dinner along with wine pairings.
  • Red Cow (There are several locations: Uptown, North Loop or on 50th. Brunch, lunch or casual dinner). If you’re craving a burger, this is the place to go! They have many options on their menu, I personally love their turkey burger with cilantro-lime aioli, sliced radish, arugula and crushed pistachios. Voted Best by Minneapolis/St Paul magazine!
  • Smack Shack: (North Loop, casual lunch or dinner). It’s mainly seafood and known for their lobster. Personally, I love their fried green tomatoes. If it’s nice out, sit outside. They also have a late night dining menu.
  • Burch Steakhouse (Uptown, brunch or dinner) Great energy and lively atmosphere. You can sit in the bar area or in their restaurant. Start off with one of the dumplings (similar to gnocchi), it won’t disappoint. Their steaks are amazing and I love their cheeseburger and their brunch is one of the best in town!
  • Café & Bar Lurcat (Loring Park, dinner) You can either eat in the café or in the restaurant. This is a cozy spot in the winter.
  • Hell’s Kitchen (Downtown, brunch) – Their Bloody Mary bar is unbelievable, you’ve never seen anything like it—it has it's own room in the restaurant! They also have live music for brunch. Reservations suggested.
  • Zumbro (Linden Hills, brunch)— Try their frittatas, they’re amazing and there’s always a special frittata of the day.

What to Do

  • Grab a coffee and walk around different neighborhoods:
  • In the North loop, wander around and off of Washington Ave N. There are lots of shops and restaurants you can pop into. Some favorites include: D.NOLO (stands for Destination North Loop) a woman’s clothing co-op, Askov Finlayson - (mens) clothing and accessories, outdoorsy, woodsy aesthetic; also houses a Warby Parker boutique, beautiful books and other gift ideas, Martin Patrick3 - nothing better or more chic for menswear — from denim to tuxedos and everything in-between. Also has beautiful housewares and an in-store Filligree Jewlers (high-end vintage Jewelery) and an in-store barbershop, The Foundry - simple, beautiful housewares, bath and body.
  • Walk/Bike the chain of four city lakes, Lake of the Isles has some of the most beautiful homes you’ll see in Minneapolis. Reward yourself after by walking into Uptown and checking out one of the rooftop restaurants & bars-- Stella’s Fish Café is a great choice. In the wintertime, the lakes are frozen and you can go ice skating on Lake of the Isles or even cross country skiing. Pop into Isle Buns & Coffee to warm up, it’s just off lake of the Isles on W 28th. Don't miss their "Puppy Dog Tails" for breakfast.
  • Sunday Morning: Hit the farmer's markets. Mill City and Linden Hills (starts the weekend before Memorial Day thru end of October). Milly City is along the Mississippi River, next to the Mill City Museum, which highlights the history of the flour making in Minneapolis by Pillsbury and General Mills. Mill City Farmers' Market + Mill City Museum makes for a great 1/2 day activity!
  • Run, walk or bike around the Chain of Lakes (Cedar Lake, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles and Lake Harriet). On Lake Calhoun & Lake Harriet, you can rent stand up paddle boards, canoes, etc. Click here for Lake Calhoun and here for Lake Harriet.
  • All throughout Minneapolis, you have access to Nice Ride, a public bike sharing system. Pick up a bike in one location and return it in another.
  • Guthrie Theatre: Minneapolis has incredible theatre. If you love the theatre, don't miss the opportunity to see a first rate performance in a very special setting. Intermission drink/cafe on the cantilevered deck overlooking the Mississippi River and the Stone Arch Bridge is a nice way to complete the experience!
  • Minneapolis Institute of Art- An encyclopedia museum with more than 80,000 works in its collection spanning 3,000 years of history! Also, admission is FREE and the building is beautiful.
  • Walker Art Center (contemporary art) and it's right by the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which is a great way to take in the Minneapolis Skyline.
  • Hit up a Twins Game at Target Field. While you’re there, look for the Red Cow food vendor!

skip it

Skip the Mall of America–it’s too touristy.

Minneapolis, Minnesota - Suggestions from the Oliver Community

  • Cynthia Pillsbury Says

    I have just spent two fun weeks in Minneapolis and wanted to add some new finds that should be on any local or visitors TO DO list.
    SHOP- Mille– (48th & Grand, SW Mpls) – INCREDIBLE collection of colorful caftans, dresses, tops and sandals and while you are there check out The Foundry for things you didn’t even know you needed until you do. Also love Bean + Ro in my hometown, Edina. They even monogrammed a Yeti for me while I shopped. Great selection of gifts.
    EAT- Young Joni- delicious pizza + asian in a very fun atmosphere (they are taking res. up to 3 months in advance, but they do reserve bar and a few tables for walk in)- I felt like I was in Brooklyn or Oakland. Also liked Italian Eatery and wanted to go to Martina in Linden Hills but could not get in!

  • Cynthia Pillsbury Says

    Martina’s in Linden Hills (one of my favorite neighborhoods in Minneapolis) is delicious. They say it’s Argentina-inspired, I am not sure if I agree, but what I do know is that it is DELICIOUS and on a night when the windchill temp was -45 it was PACKED. Clearly the food, design and company make it worth leaving your house in crazy cold temperatures. We loved their specialty cocktails, beet salad, avocado and shrimp appetizers, fish and their yummy gnocchi.

  • Courtney Leary Says

    Catch a professional soccer game (Minnesota United) at Allianz field. The stadium is new and gorgeous, opened in April of 2019, and the soccer and fans the best!
    For a trip back in time, head up North to Maddens on Gull lake for a couple days. The accommodations (and food) are simple but the staff superior and surroundings beautiful– and the abundance of activities, from (incredible) golf to boating to biking to croquet- will keep everyone happy! With multiple restaurants on site, no reason to leave or cook. This is an old time Summer resort.
    Head out to Lake Minnetonka- COV in Wayzata is a great place for lunch or dinner with water views. Lago’s Tacos in Excelsior is family friendly Mexican meets sports bar.

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