In honor of the Minnesota State Fair, here’s a quick guide for the 1/2 of the Twin Cities. Recently on my way back from the east coast, I decided to take an extended layover to visit one of my friends in Minneapolis. I’d never seen this city in the summer, only when the snow drifts were higher than my head, and I’d always heard about how beautiful the city of a thousand lakes was when the weather was more amenable.
After landing at MSP, I could see why people might say that. The skies are terrifically blue with lush greenery everywhere and the people are all outside on their bikes, running in the streets. Minneapolis is known as a cultural blender of a city, and it’s great to see city dwellers of all types enjoying their city. Love is all around, no need to waste it…
you’re gonna make it after all…
The area around downtown where the Mary Richards statue lives from the Mary Tyler Moore Show (RIP) was under construction, so I didn’t make it this time to throw a beret in the air, but that’s my small tribute to her.
Anyway, the recently re-opened sculpture park outside of the Walker Museum of Art is the perfect place to enjoy a beautiful day. There are works by Claes Oldenburg and Coojse van Bruggen of the Free Stamp and Shuttlecocks fame you’ve seen on this blog before (Spoonbridge and Cherry), Katarina Fritsch (Hahn/Cock), Robert Indiana (LOVE), Roy Lichtenstein (Salute to Painting), and Deborah Butterfield (Woodrow).
Museum is closed on Monday, don’t ask me how I figured that out. There’s also miniature golf in this park, and it’s a great place for families.
We headed down to First Avenue, the famed Minneapolis music venue featured in Purple Rain. It was a pilgrimage of sorts for me, as the majority of all my favorite acts have played in this legendary club during their careers.
Driving through downtown, there’s a lot of construction happening. I’m guessing they’re trying to finish all of the improvements to the Twin Cities before February, when Super Bowl LII happens in the new US Bank Stadium.
This is an architectural beauty. I remember the metrodome being a huge eyesore of a stadium, but it’s replacement, this glass house of pigskin is instead a sight for sore eyes.
One of the most interesting features of this city is the network of skyways, indoor covered connections between downtown buildings to protect its citizens from the bitter cold winters. There’s a path to the stadium from downtown, which should be very helpful (and very crowded) in February.
Apparently, Minneapolis used to be one of the world’s top producers of flour, and there are the remnants of many of these mills still today in the Mill District. There’s architectural ruins that have been converted to a park, and the other warehouses have been (of course) converted into high end condos as this area has prime real estate on the banks of the Mississippi.
There’s also a Mill City Museum that’s supposed to have cool exhibits and a nice rooftop cafe.
The stone arch pedestrian bridge connects this area with the Marcy-Holmes neighborhood of south Minneapolis. I had a well curated tasting menu at Alma, a fine dining establishment pretty close to the U of M campus. The standout with the middle course of a nuanced seafood coconut broth-infused stew.
To start my morning walk around downtown, I stopped for a crepe and a latte at Penny’s Coffee. This very open instagrammer paradise of a coffee shop is located in the lobby of the 100 Washington office building which lends its echoing, marbled walls to the coolness of the cafe itself. I had a honey latte and a salted honey crepe, which was the perfect breakfast.
I didn’t have much more time, but I was able to wander around a little downtown, to spot a few landmarks while jamming to the Replacements, one of my favorite bands. Minneapolis has a rich musical scene, with bands like the ‘Mats (still waiting to run into Paul Westerberg), Husker Du, Semisonic and obviously, the GOAT, Prince Rogers Nelson hailing from there. Bob Dylan went to the University of Minnesota for a little while and played coffee shops in Dinkytown, which is why they also have a real claim to him here.
I took the Metro from downtown to the Mall of America, as the public transport in this city is very efficient and easy to use.
I know, I know. But I didn’t get to visit the last time I was here, and I feel like it’s just one of those things you need to see once. Plus I was able to pick up some Panda Express before taking the metro straight to the airport (so convenient). I have a weird thing where I eat Panda Express when I’m at malls and airports, so this converged nicely. This PE was probably the nicest one I’ve ever seen. Plus, the line at Shake Shack was too long.
What’s there to say, it’s a very large mall with a Nickelodeon theme park in the center of it, a Sea Life aquarium, and the usual mall stores found in any shopping area across the country. It’s definitely a prime example of American consumerism, so I see how it lives up to its name.
I’ll have to reserve the airport thoughts for another post, because MSP is a really nice airport (can you say food truck area?), but I will say they have bomb desserts at Angel Food, the cherry on top of my layover in Minneapolis.
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