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1 City 5 Ways: Minneapolis

Minneapolis
When hundreds of thousands of football fans start arriving in the Twin Cities later this month for the Super Bowl at U.S. Bank Stadium, they might be surprised at what they find. Not ones to be intimidated by the cold, Minnesotans maintain an active and culturally rich lifestyle even in the dead of winter—whether it’s fat-tire biking, checking out the hottest new restaurants, taking in a show at one of the many theaters or sampling beers from the latest craft brewery. And thanks to some ingenious urban planning, many buildings in downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul are linked by skyways—think Habitrails for humans—allowing an escape from the elements when needed.


HIPSTER

Betty Danger's Country Club        
Betty Danger's Country Club. Photo by Caitlin Abrams.        

Where to Stay: Hotel 340
Old-world charms (wrought iron chandeliers, early 1900s architecture) are fused with modern amenities (free yoga classes, Keurig coffeemakers and complimentary WiFi) at this independent boutique hotel, the first and only in Saint Paul.

Morning: Spyhouse Coffee Roasters
With four Minneapolis locations and a brand-new one in St. Paul, this coffeehouse has become a favorite among locals. Go for the quality drinks (latte art included), stay for the comfy-cozy atmosphere.

Dinner: Betty Danger's Country Club
Plaid- and argyle-clad staff serve tasty Tex-Mex and strong drinks at this “country club for the 99 percent.” Eclectic décor, mini golf and a pink Ferris wheel top off the trippy experience.  

Evening: Minnesota RollerGirls
Catch these fierce women battling it out monthly in St. Paul for a chance at the Golden Skate trophy. Fun fact: It was the first roller derby league in the country to have a professional arena. 

Late Night: Brewery Crawl
Snag ales in cozy quarters at Dangerous Man or Indeed Brewing Co. in Minneapolis or go big with the sprawling Bad Weather or Summit breweries in St. Paul. Surly even offers a full chef-driven food menu.  

 

FOODIE

Spoon and Stable        
Spoon and Stable. Photo by Caitlin Abrams.        

Where to Stay: Alma
A fine-dining spot since 1999, Alma recently expanded to include a café, a three-course prix fixe restaurant and a boutique hotel. The seven chic guestrooms are well-appointed, with faux furs, fresh plants and organic toiletries. 

Morning: Midtown Global Market
Take home Ecuadorian and Native American designs from Llakta or snack on Korean street food from Rabbit Hole at this market, with its 50-plus food stands, artists, beer stalls and merchants celebrating Minneapolis’ cultural diversity. 

Lunch: Matt’s Bar
In 1954, a customer asked for two hamburger patties squeezed together with cheese in the middle, and the Jucy Lucy—a Minnesota classic—was born. Today, this tiny grill serves about 500 of these delicious burgers daily. 

Early Evening: Hmong cooking class
The Twin Cities has the largest urban concentration of Hmong in the U.S., so it’s fitting that chef Yia Vang created his culinary series for those who want to learn how to make pho, bao, ramen and more. 

Late Dinner: Spoon and Stable
Nosh on seasonal dishes such as a lamb tomahawk chop or heirloom pumpkin gnocchi with trumpet mushrooms at this überpopular eatery, helmed by James Beard award-winning chef Gavin Kaysen. 

 

NORDIC EXPLORER

Norseman Cocktail Room        
Norseman Cocktail Room. Photo by Caitlin Abrams.        

Where to Stay: Hewing Hotel
Elements such as colorful wax-dipped antlers, framed axes and Faribault blankets enliven rooms at this North Loop hotel. Enjoy skyline views from the rooftop club and modern Nordic cuisine at Tullibee.

Morning: Sun Street Breads
At this sunny bakery and café, owner and baker Solveig Tofte turns out handcrafted breads and pastries, some informed by her Norwegian heritage. Also on offer: tasty soups and sandwiches. 

Afternoon: American Swedish Institute
Occupying the early 1900s mansion of Swan Turnblad, the institute is a meeting place and museum that celebrates Nordic arts and culture. Save time for lunch at the café, Fika, where the meatballs and lingonberry rice pudding are top-notch. 

Dinner: The Bachelor Farmer
Local is the keyword for this North Loop restaurant that honors Minnesota’s culinary heritage. Menus change daily—think offerings like pan-roasted walleye and pork meatballs—but the popovers with honey butter are a staple. 

Evening: Norseman Cocktail Room
Each cocktail, from the classic old-fashioned to the creative Valhalla—aquavit, lime, chartreuse and bitters—is crafted using the distillery’s house-made spirits. Consider a bottle of the strawberry rhubarb gin to take home.

 

CULTURE VULTURE

First Avenue        
First Avenue.        

Where to Stay: Le Méridien Chambers
Minneapolis More than 200 contemporary works fill the lobby and guestrooms of this art-centric hotel, while keycards feature original designs from well-known artists. Bonus: Guests get free entry to the Walker Art Center. 


Late Morning: Walker Art Center
Browse through the collection of contemporary art, then cross the street to the sculpture garden. After a $10 million revamp, the park’s iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry now shares turf with a giant blue rooster, works by Alexander Calder and other modern sculptures. 

Afternoon: Paisley Park
See where the Purple One lived, worked and played on a tour of his private estate. Choose the Thursday VIP option and you’ll get to tape vocals over part of a Prince song—a recording you can keep for posterity.  

Dinner: The Dakota
Live music performances every night of the week—by artists as varied as Nachito Herrera, Chick Corea and Judy Collins—are paired with a refined menu focused on regional cuisine and sustainably sourced ingredients.  

Late Night: First Avenue
The list of musicians who have played on this storied venue’s stage is a long one: from U2 and Lucinda Williams to Prince, who filmed Purple Rain here. Duck into the attached 7th St Entry for more intimate shows. 

 

STYLE-SEEKER

The Foundry Home Goods        
The Foundry Home Goods in the North Loop. Photo by Caitlin Abrams.        

Where to Stay: W Minneapolis
The Foshay Located in Minneapolis’ historic Foshay Tower, the W is steps from many restaurants, theaters and music venues. Or opt for one of the hotel’s five dining options, including 1920s-inspired cocktail bar Prohibition—27 stories up with stunning views. 

Morning: North Loop
Arguably the Twin Cities’ trendiest ‘hood, the North Loop is dotted with upscale retailers and cafés. Grab breakfast at Moose & Sadie’s before browsing for chic attire at Grethen House or Askov Finlayson or for pretty décor items at The Foundry Home Goods. 

Afternoon: Milkjam Creamery
Lines are out the door year-round thanks to this ice cream joint’s inventive flavors. Try the Oreo and salted peanut butter Ridin’ Duuurty or a cone of the Skol—in honor of the Vikings—with blueberry and mango sherbets.  

Dinner: Martina
One of Minneapolis’ latest additions is a sexy space turning out Argentinian-Italian cuisine. Daring dishes such as fried blowfish tails are balanced with more traditional wood-fired steaks and handmade pastas.  

Late-Night Drinks: Young Joni back bar
A secret bar sits in the alley behind this hip pizzeria. Inside, the space is tricked out with 1970s décor while the cocktail menus are kept in leather photo albums. 

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