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1 City 5 Ways

Bachelor Farmer

Dine at The Bachelor Farmer, then explore the charm of Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood.

Minneapolis is on right now. From the tiny, ambitious Piccolo to the dozens of food trucks that line downtown streets in warm weather, the city’s chefs are taking risks all over the place. What’s more, Minneapolis—lovely in the fall—has been getting props for its arts scene (most notably the cutting-edge Guthrie Theater and Walker Art Center) for years. And then there’s the music: Prince, yes, but also new bands such as Poliça, Now Now and Atmosphere. We haven’t even started on the many parks and waterways. And the ultimate bonus? Another vibrant city right across the river.


ART CONNOISEUR

       
Sea Change photo courtesy of Shea, Inc.        

Where to Stay: Le Méridien Chambers
Ralph Burnet, one of the USA’s greatest collectors of young British artists’ work, fills his hotel with his personal collection. Will there be a Tracey Emin in your bathroom?

Morning: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Minneapolis’ own MIA holds one of the world’s most important Rembrandts and a renowned Van Gogh. Architecture buffs: Be sure to discuss how the new Target wing designed by Michael Graves adds to or detracts from the original McKim, Mead and White design.

Lunch: Sea Change
This restaurant from chef Tim McKee (a James Beard award winner) was designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel. So you can feast on langoustines under Nouvel’s massive photographs of famous playwrights. 

Afternoon: Walker Art Center
The Walker is one of America’s “big five” players in modern and contemporary art. After taking in the works, head out to the sculpture garden and the iconic “Spoonbridge and Cherry” sculpture. 

Dinner: Piccolo
When globe-trotting chefs such as Anthony Bourdain and Hugh Acheson travel to Minneapolis, they go to Piccolo, a teensy south Minneapolis restaurant where a truly original chef, Doug Flicker, makes art you can eat. 


NEW NORDIC

       
An open-faced sandwich at FIKA. Photo by Travis Anderson.        

Where to Stay: Radisson Blu
Minneapolis has a new outpost of Radisson’s new luxury line. With décor that channels “Scandinavian simplicity,” a great location and upscale offerings from FireLake Grill, the hotel is a great downtown base camp. 

Morning: Ingebretsen’s
Started as a meat market in 1921 by Charles Ingebretsen, this store today sells a range of goods from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland—from lefse to linen—that reflect the state’s cultural heritage. Uff da! 

Lunch: FIKA and American Swedish Institute
Located in the 1908 Turnblad Mansion and modern new Nelson Cultural Center, the institute’s fun exhibitions and programs celebrate Sweden and her nordic neighbors. Don’t miss a stop at FIKA for a delicious smörgåsar sandwich.

Afternoon: FinnStyle
A fan of Marimekko and iittala? This store carries the widest selection of Finnish-designed goods in the United States. The airy showroom on the edge of downtown is the perfect place to pick up some modern Nordic design to take home. 

Dinner: The Bachelor Farmer
This stylish restaurant, opened in 2011, serves updated versions of traditional Scandinavian fare. And don’t miss a stop at the buzzy Marvel Bar downstairs for a craft cocktail or two. 


MUSIC LOVER

       
First Avenue photo courtesy of Meet Minneapolis.        

Where to Stay: Loews Minneapolis Hotel
Just a hop and a skip down First Avenue from the iconic music venue (and right across from Target Center), the Loews boasts modern lines, warm guestrooms and the elegant Cosmos restaurant, serving elevated New American cuisine. 

Brunch: Icehouse
Located on the site of the former Icehouse recording studios, this spot serves stellar food and cocktails: For brunch, think brisket hash and a bloody mary with a mini-doughnut and bacon (!). Add live jazz on weekends and you may find yourself parked here for hours. 

Afternoon: Hymie’s
At this vintage record shop on East Lake Street, scoop up an awesome Ramones LP or rare 45—or just spend some time hanging out at one of the listening stations. You might even catch a live performance by a local band. 

Dinner: Loring Pasta Bar
Get your carb on at this Dinkytown institution that features whimsical décor and free live music. Fun fact: When this was Gray’s Campus Drugs, Bob Dylan lived in an apartment upstairs. 

Evening: First Avenue
You’ve perhaps heard of a man named Prince? The artist might be Minneapolis’ favorite export, and he got his start right here (see: movie, Purple Rain). This place still rocks with high-caliber touring bands and DJs. 


CITY CYCLIST

       
Minnehaha Falls photo courtesy of Meet Minneapolis.        

Where to Stay: Aloft Minneapolis
Two-wheel enthusiasts looking for an urban adventure should shack up at this budget boutique hotel downtown. You’ll find a Nice Ride kiosk near the front entrance where you can rent a bright green cruiser through the city’s flagship bike share program.      

Breakfast: Birchwood Cafe
Hop on your bike and pedal south on the path along the Mississippi River. In a few miles, you’ll reach this local favorite, which has the best quiche in town and a funky-indie vibe that’s pure Portlandia (in a good way).   

Lunch: Minnehaha Falls
Three miles south of Birchwood is Minnehaha Park, perched atop a limestone bluff and home to a 53-foot waterfall. Grab lunch and a Surly Furious ale at Sea Salt, the top-notch fish shack near the park’s entrance.    

Afternoon: Mill Ruins Park
From the falls, hook up with West River Parkway and ride back downtown. Or return your bike and take the nearby light-rail Blue Line to Mill Ruins Park—the Twin Cities’ answer to the Parthenon (the ruins are from a 19th-century flour mill).

Dinner: Sanctuary
This adventurous bistro creates killer combos with Asian, Mediterranean, American and French flavors. Think barramundi with cherry moonshine sauce, lemon oil mash potatoes and dark chocolate pesto.


ST. PAULI GIRL (OR BOY)

       
A room at The St. Paul Hotel. Photo by Ted Wentink.        

Where to Stay: The Saint Paul Hotel
It was known as the “million-dollar hotel” when it opened in 1910. Charles Lindbergh used to stay here. St. Paul’s grand dame has maintained her figure.

Breakfast: Mickey’s Diner
An art deco dining car serving hamburgers, malts and pancakes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Embrace the grease. And if you’re with kids, the wonderful Minnesota Children’s Museum is right down the street. 

Afternoon: Common Good Books
Prairie Home Companion host and radio legend Garrison Keillor’s charming and beautifully curated bookstore brings in celebrated authors, from Hillary Clinton to Keillor himself. 

Dinner: Louis at Cossetta’s
In the past year, the fourth generation of the Cossetta family from Calabria, Italy, finished a $15 million renovation of their classic eatery on St. Paul’s West Seventh. Louis is the new rooftop restaurant. 

Evening: Turf Club
When First Avenue’s owners bought this beloved 300-capacity music venue, they added a kitchen and renovated the bathrooms but didn’t dare touch the photo booth that Lady Gaga graced with her presence in 2010. 

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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