Welcome to the North. Huddled around the banks of the Mississippi River, on the surface this metropolitan treasure appears as unassuming and modest as the people who inhabit it. However, one look under the hood tells a much different story; revealing a hotbed of culture, arts, business, and entertainment. Consistently in the top of the rankings for one of America’s best big cities, it won’t take a lengthy stay to understand why.
Environment helps shape the population, and a city exposed to all the elements that life has to offer has indeed left its mark on a community that is resilient, robust, and firmly attached to the reality of nature. Yet again, the obstacle proves to be the way; and while few people will admit to looking forward to the cold, it is hard to imagine such a unique city growing from an environment absent of it. It is said that all that is needed to unite humanity is the sharing of an outside challenge. A common stressor, one that makes us forget or at least temporarily forgo our differences. In Minneapolis, this common challenge comes seasonally, helping to put all of one’s usual worries back into the proper perspective.
The diversity does not stop with the seasons, either. Consisting of a unique business ecosystem, with start-ups, small businesses, and more fortune 500 companies than you can shake a stick at, the city is chalked to the brim with a highly skilled and highly educated workforce that likes to play as hard as they work. This zest for life does not go unmet, with the city rising up to meet the demand with a menu of activities that run the gamut. Simply put, there’s something for everyone here.
“They always come back,” according to the running joke in this region. As is a natural part of life, many young people born and raised in this city are eager to assert their independence, spread their wings, and head for the proverbial greener pastures. However, after a short time away, these wings reliably reverse flight and find their way back to this city to take up a permanent nest. I grew up scoffing at this notion, eager to explore other pastures; only to return to this city faster than most.
So enjoy this one of a kind city. Enjoy the parks and lakes, the friendly people, the active lifestyle, and the dining and entertainment. One look under the hood is all it takes, and I’m excited for you to take a peek.
WHERE TO STAY
W Minneapolis-The Foshay
Located in the historic Foshay Tower in downtown Minneapolis, experience Art Deco with a modern twist. Take in the 360 degree view of the city on their 30th floor observation deck before heading downstairs to Manny’s for dinner at the Top 10 American Steakhouse. After dinner, kick back in the speakeasy inspired Prohibition Bar located on the 27th floor for a cocktail or two.
One of the new kids on the block, this converted warehouse offers an incredibly unique style and is located in the heart of Minneapolis’s trendy warehouse district. Head to the rooftop to take in the stunning view of the city poolside or in the nearby cocktail lounge.
WHERE TO DINE
A mainstay on the aptly named “Eat Street,” Icehouse has it all. Whether you want to saddle up to the back bar and enjoy the world class tasting menu, or stay in the main room and enjoy the nightly live music, it won’t take long to see why Icehouse is considered a gem of the city.
Located in the Linden Hills neighborhood along the chain of lakes, drop in to this cozy bistro and enjoy a menu created by the James Beard award winning owner and a wine list that is second to none.
WHAT TO DO
Stone Arch Bridge
Stretching over the Mississippi River from downtown Minneapolis, the Stone Arch Bridge offers breathtaking views of the city and nearby St. Anthony Falls. Cross over to the East bank and walk the cobblestone surfaced street of St. Anthony Main, perhaps stopping to grab a quick drink on the terrace at Aster Cafe or to catch a matinee at the St. Anthony Main Theatre.
Walk the Lakes
Few big cities in the world can boast more public parkland than Minneapolis, and it is no more obvious than the Chain of Lakes. Located just a few miles from the heart of downtown, this series of lakes offers a rare amount of walkable urban shoreline and offers a great opportunity to check the pulse of this active, outdoor loving city.
It’s hard to walk 5 blocks in any direction in Minneapolis and not stumble across a taproom offering amazing beer, music, and food trucks. Sign up for one of the many organized brewery tours, or rent a Nice Ride bike and create your own.
If you find yourself here during the winter months, you can hide from the cold or you can learn to embrace it. Grab your swimsuit and winter hat and join this wide ranging crew of outdoor loving locals for a group workout and icy soak, discovering an edge you never knew you had.