Ten minutes from the University of Minnesota, Excelsior and Grand boasts unbeatable walkability (with an 82 walk score) to some of St. Louis Park’s best upscale dining, shopping, and entertainment. Starbucks, Blackstone Bistro, CVS, Kindercare, and McCoy’s are all on-site. Trader Joe’s, Bass Lake Park, Honey and Rye Bakehouse, and the St. Louis Park Rec Center are only a short stroll away.View Site
Events in Minneapolis are constant. This thriving city may be in the midst of 10,000 lakes, forests, and fields, but it’s not short on things to do.
Here are some top annual events that will light up your entire year in one of the best Midwestern cities.
Songkran Uptown Block Party – Late April
This celebration of the Thai New Year is a fun, day-long block party in Uptown. Drink in Southeast Asian culture, including Thai street food, dancing, music, costumes, contests, and beer/wine.
Festival of Nations – Early May
The Festival of Nations is a vibrant annual event that revels in the world’s diverse cultures and traditions, especially those that immigrants brought to the Minneapolis area.
During this 4-day event, nosh on food from around the globe at the World Café, wander through the International Marketplace and Bazaar, check out fun cultural performances, and explore exhibits and demonstrations that will open up new worlds and cultural perspectives from over 100 different ethnic groups.
Summer in the City and at St. Louis Park
St. Louis Park Parktacular Festival – Mid-June
Join the fun as St. Louis Park holds its annual community festival. Over four days, you’ll enjoy a big parade, block party, and food garden, plus live entertainment, fun for kids, concerts, and the annual Waffle Breakfast. Best of all, most of the excitement is free.
Twin Cities Pride – Late June
The Twin Cities Pride Festival and Parade is a huge yearly event that celebrates the thriving LGBQT+ community in the area. The event will feature 4 music stages, dozens of food vendors, over 400 exhibitor booths, fireworks, a 5K run, a family picnic, and so much more. It will all happen in Loring Park!
Minneapolis Aquatennial – Late July
The Aquatennial is Minneapolis’s annual summer blow-out. Summers are short in the upper Midwest, so residents live it up while they can. Join in for events all over the city, including the annual Torchlight Parade, which starts up as the sun begins to set on the city.
Uptown Art Fair – Early August
The annual Uptown Art Fair is a time-honored event where you can check out work from over 350 artists, creators, and makers. Grab some good food from over 20 top vendors, and don’t forget to settle in for an outdoor concert or a glass of bubbly in the beer and wine gardens.
Fall for Fall in Minneapolis
Minnesota State Fair – Late August/Early September
Lots of folks look forward to the State Fair all year, and for good reason – it’s packed with sights, sounds, eats, and things to do.
Enjoy animal exhibits, carnival rides, midway games, free concerts, competitions, and parades. Don’t forget big-name performances after dusk, crazy fair foods like the “bacon fluffernutter” and “cheesy nacho corn on the cob,” and much more.
Minneapolis Monarch Festival – September, usually the first Saturday after Labor Day
The annual Monarch Festival celebrates the iconic butterfly’s migration from Minnesota to Mexico. This event features music and dance as well as art activities, food, and opportunities to interact and learn about Monarchs. Don’t miss the chance to explore a “Monarch Waystation,” where native plants provide habitat for the butterflies.
Twin Cities Marathon – Early October
This annual collection of races will appeal to every type of runner. Participate in the 5K, 10K, the 10-mile, or the full marathon. Family events, kids’ activities, post-race awards, and eats will be happening at the State Capitol grounds, where the marathon begins and ends.
Winter Fun When It’s Freezing
City of Lakes Loppet – First week of February
This incredible, urban cross-country ski festival will wipe away your winter blues. Along with the big Loppet Challenge (a cross-country ski race), there will be winter activities for everyone. Shop at the Vendor Village, goof off at the Supercarnival, sip on brews at the beer garden, or join the snow sculpture contest.
There will also be a big lobster boil with free tubing and ski rentals, plus a Luminary Party with live music, food, dancing, and fun by the light of winter lanterns – and more.
Minneapolis is known for its excellent shopping. Whether you’re looking for a deal or want to indulge in some luxury, there’s a shop in the city for every taste.
Take a peek at some of the best shopping in town and put a few of these destinations on your list.
Cool Shopping Opportunities in Uptown
Uptown is a hot spot in the city for shopping and dining. Here you’ll find independent shops and boutiques along with high-quality retail chains.
1. Magers & Quinn Booksellers
If you’re headed to Uptown, you have to stop at this neighborhood mainstay. Magers & Quinn sells new and used books, gifts, maps, and more. They regularly host literary events, and they’ve been one of the best bookstores in the state for over 20 years.
2. Calhoun Square
This indoor mall is at the center of the Uptown shopping district. It boasts big brands like Timberland and H&M along with local options, like Kitchen Window (a culinary dream) and Calhoun Nail Spa.
3. Perennial Cycle
Perennial Cycle is Uptown’s neighborhood bike shop. They sell, repair, and even rent bikes and lead group rides. If you’re looking for a unique way to explore the area, head here.
This women’s clothing boutique specializes in upscale, premium denim from brands like 7 for All Mankind, Joe’s, Hudson, and more. You’ll also find a selection of upscale dresses, tops, shoes, accessories, and vintage jewelry.
The Best Shopping Near St. Louis Park
Looking for a leisurely weekend browsing for your next favorite find or unique gift? Here are the shops to hit in the St. Louis Park area of Minneapolis.
1. The Shops at Westend
This small, outdoor shopping center features a number of local stores as well as a few retail chains. Stop by Kittsona, Primp, or Evereve for a boutique shopping experience – you’ll find women’s clothing, gifts, home goods and décor, and more.
The Shops at Westend also boast Anthropologie, Lululemon, Creative Kidstuff (an educational toy store), and Black House White Market.
2. Miracle Mile Mall
Head to Miracle Mile to shop at stores you won’t find elsewhere. Stop in at Iverson’s Imports for Swedish and European-made clothing, housewares, and gifts, then go to Droolin’ Moose for some sweet treats, chocolates, and fun merchandise.
Other Miracle Mile mainstays include Schuyler Shoes, Half Price Books, Once Upon a Child, and more.
3. Mama’s Happy Gift Shop
This popular Minneapolis chain is part home decor store, part flea market, and part handcrafted/artisan boutique. Located in the historic, 19th-century Lyndale Creamery building, it’s truly a unique experience to walk through the front doors.
Along with unique finds, the shop is a retailer of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and offers workshops throughout the year that teach furniture painting and refinishing.
4. The Shops at Knollwood
If you’re looking for a shopping experience with brand names you know and trust, The Shops at Knollwood should be your first stop. Here you’ll find tried-and-true chains like Old Navy, DSW, Nordstrom Rack, Ulta, GNC, and Caribou Coffee.
5. Mall of America
If you want a total shopping experience, the Mall of America is a giant mecca for big brands, entertainment, food, and kids’ activities. Four levels of stores and restaurants await you, with all the shops you’d expect plus a few surprising gems.
When you get tired of shopping, sit in one of the many coffee shops or restaurants for a bite or a brew. If your family is along, take a breather and ride a few rides at Nickelodeon Universe, the theme park at the center of the mall.
Shopping in Minneapolis is a fun weekend activity or a great way to blow off steam after a long day at work. There are stores and shops for everyone, so you’re sure to find something that tickles your fancy. Start with this list and shop ‘til you drop.
From sushi to burgers, to oysters, arepas, freshly-churned ice cream, fish and chips, or steak au poivre, Uptown Minneapolis and St. Louis Park have every type of food under the sun.
Whether you want a sit-down meal at a fine dining establishment, or you long for a casual, relaxed night at a friendly pub with lots of fried food, there’s an option for you. Here are our top 9:
1. Origami Restaurant – Uptown
Widely considered one of the best restaurants for fresh fish, Japanese dishes, and sushi in the city, Origami Restaurant has been serving happy customers for over 30 years in Uptown Minneapolis.
Come for the sushi, indulge in the wide sake selection, and stay for the ridiculously fresh flavors.
2. Stella’s Fish Café and Prestige Oyster Bar – Uptown
Hit up Stella’s Fish Café for delicious lobster, oysters, King crab, sushi, swordfish, and more fresh fish, plus – steak, ribs, and pasta dishes with flair. The eatery has three levels of dining space plus a rooftop patio for dinners al fresco. Don’t forget to order a splashy cocktail – Stella’s has lots of good options.
3. La La Homemade Ice Cream – Uptown
La La Homemade Ice Cream is a Minneapolis staple for an old-fashioned soda fountain experience that boasts both modern and traditional flavors. Along with your classic vanilla and chocolate, La La also has mango ginger sorbet, marzipan chip, and raspberry honey ice cream. Don’t forget to try the house-made sodas in flavors as varied as maple, basil, strawberry, and root beer.
4. Cooper Pub & Restaurant – St. Louis Park
If you want heartier food that still has a touch of elegance, Cooper Pub & Restaurant is where it’s at.
This pub has Irish staples like corned beef and cabbage, fish and chips, and steak & mushroom pie. They also offer some decidedly updated fare, like the bison burger, their Nicoise salad, or the salad with roasted beets and watermelon radishes. It’s all served up in a unique, turn-of-the-century atmosphere with an impressive antique bar at the center.
5. Barbette – Uptown
This French bistro brings to mind an authentic Parisian brasserie – a casual eatery where you’ll feel just as comfortable sipping on espresso solo as you will dining with friends and family.
Plus, in all their cuisine, the restaurant uses sustainable ingredients wherever possible. Risotto, steak au poivre, croque madame, and more are all menu stars.
6. Lake & Irving Restaurant & Bar – Uptown
For updated American fare and lots of brews, Lake & Irving is the right place to go. This gastropub offers staples with twists, like burgers on sourdough buns, “KFC” (Korean fried cauliflower), and St. Louis ribs with a hoisin glaze.
7. Mill Valley Kitchen – St. Louis Park
Mill Valley Kitchen is the ticket for fresh fare inspired by Northern California.
Yes, there’s lots of avocado on the menu, but you’ll also find plenty of local, sustainably sourced ingredients in delicious combinations, like the miso glazed seabass with ginger-shitake quinoa, the swordfish tacos with pineapple salsa, or the pork chop with chipotle glaze and sweet potato/Brussel slaw. Come back for brunch, lunch, or dessert after you’ve sampled the dinner menu.
8. Hola Arepa – Uptown
At Hola Arepa, what started as a food truck endeavor soon blossomed into a full-service restaurant. Of course, their specialty is arepas – cornmeal cakes filled with meat, cheese, and veggies – but they also offer a mix of Latin cuisine. Chow down on plantain tostadas, beef picadillo molotes (made with fried masa and filled with spicy beef), and empanadas, for starters.
Come to watch a game and enjoy updated bar snacks like beer pretzels with cheddar fondue beer mustard or zucchini fries with honey horseradish aioli. Or, have a brick oven pizza, chicken pot pie, mac & cheese, or a loaded sandwich.
As you can see, it’s incredibly easy to fill up on good food when you’re in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. It’s time to pull up a seat at your next favorite restaurant in Minnesota and dive in.
Minneapolis nightlife does not disappoint.
Nights out in the metro can mean hanging out at the nearest dive bar with your circle of friends, going out on a blind date at a trendy pinball bar, or indulging in fancy cocktails at an upscale club.
Whatever “a night out” means to you, here are the hottest nightlife options in Minneapolis:
Troubadour Wine Bar
This small, upscale bar in Uptown is both cozy and elegant – perfect for a date night out. Sip on great wines while you nibble on charcuterie, wine pairings, small plates, and appetizers. Live music rounds out the atmosphere every evening.
This historic theater, one of the oldest in the Twin Cities, originally opened in 1916. After major renovations, it reopened as an independent, art house theater with a bar upstairs. Grab a drink before the show and take your cocktail, beer, or wine with you to enjoy during the movie. Visit to see a flick you’d never find in commercial movie theaters.
If you’re looking for a perfect place for happy hour, try Chino Latino, a mainstay in Uptown Minneapolis. This restaurant has a menu stuffed with global street food fare, cocktails, tap beer, and wine.
Ready to feel like a kid again? Hit the old-school arcade bar, Up-Down Minneapolis, for a fun night of drinks, pinball, Pac-Man, skee-ball and other classic games in a chic, industrial setting. Don’t forget to order a slice of pizza.
See a show or a concert at First Avenue, a historic venue for music-making since 1970. The likes of B.B. King, Iggy & the Stooges, The Kinks, U2, and The Ramones all played here in the early days. Of course, don’t forget Prince, who regularly graced the First Avenue stage during the ‘80s.
Marvel Bar is a hip, speakeasy-style joint with a secret entrance, just like 1920s bars during Prohibition. It’s worth scouting this bar for the unique cocktail menu and the fun atmosphere. Start your search in the Warehouse District on 2nd Avenue.
Icehouse is a large, two-story venue that serves elevated soups, salads, snacks, appetizers, and desserts in a hip atmosphere. Come for live music during happy hour, or pop in late for some high-end comfort food and a cocktail from the extensive menu.
TILT Pinball Bar
Tilt offers a fun atmosphere when your regular-old bar won’t cut it. Play on a huge selection of pinball machines and nosh on specialty hot dogs, local craft beers, nachos, chips and smoked onion dip, or an array of sandwiches and salads. Stop by during happy hour for $2 off all tap beer and hot dogs.
Park Tavern is a neighborhood institution in St. Louis Park. It’s also a fun destination whether you’re going out with friends or want to spend some time with family. Bowling, arcade games, and billiards are on offer, along with a full menu and happy hour selections.
Besides being the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota is also home to sprawling forests, fields, hills, trails, and rivers. This makes it a perfect playground for any outdoor enthusiast.
In and around Minneapolis, you’ll find plenty to do to stay active and breathe in that fresh air.
Here are some of the most awesome outdoor activities to try.
1. Find Adventure at the Chain of Lakes
Minnesotans love their lake life, and it’s no wonder: a literal “Chain of Lakes” crosses Minneapolis, including Lake of the Isles, Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Brownie Lake, and Cedar Lake. These interconnected bodies of water are surrounded by parkland, trails, boating docks, gardens, dog parks, and more, and are connected via land by the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway.
Around the lakes, you’ll also find ice skating rinks, tennis courts, volleyball courts, fishing areas, picnic areas, and more. Or, rent a kayak and see where the water takes you. Most areas are pet-friendly, so bring the family dog and enjoy a day by the lakes.
2. Bring Your Pooch to Lyndale Farmstead Dog Park
Just south of Uptown, you’ll find Lyndale Farmstead Park and Lyndale Park Gardens. This area is perfect for a stroll on a sunny day, as you’ll find scenic views, themed gardens, and even a dog park where you can let your pet off-leash to play.
3. Bird Watch at Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary
Directly adjacent to Lyndale Park Gardens is Thomas Sadler Roberts Bird Sanctuary. This peaceful, lush area is a shady place where migratory birds often nest and feed. The landscape includes woodlands and wetlands, which you can explore via trails and boardwalks. Don’t forget to pick up a guidebook at the Visitor’s Shelter before your excursion.
4. Explore Mill Ruins Park
Scenic walking, cycling, or hammocking await at beautiful Mill Ruins Park in downtown Minneapolis. The park was built around several abandoned flour mills, which once relied on the surrounding Saint Anthony Falls for water power.
Pedestrian paths wind through wonderful examples of 19th-century architecture. Eventually, they’ll lead you to the grand Stone Arch Bridge that crosses the Mississippi River.
5. Experience Bryant Square Park near Uptown Minneapolis
For a true city park experience, visit Bryant Square Park in Calhoun, near Uptown. It features an amphitheater that regularly hosts outdoor summer concerts as well as playgrounds, a wading pool, and athletic fields. In the winter, skate on the ice rink or join in a game of ice hockey.
6. Visit Westwood Hills Nature Center near St. Louis Park
Westwood Hills Nature Center is the perfect spot to visit if you love being in the outdoors year-round. The center has miles of trails, woodland, prairie, marshes, and indoor/outdoor exhibits, including a honeybee exhibit. Hike or canoe in spring, fall, or summer, and snowshoe in the winter.
7. Bring the Family and Pets to Dakota Park
Need a quiet place in nature to bring the dog or the kids? Take them to Dakota Park, a scenic, 20-acre spot tucked into the city. Let your pets run free in the dog park, take a stroll along paved paths, and let the kids play on the playground.
There’s a reason why Minneapolis parks have been ranked number one in the nation over and over. Get outside, breathe in the fresh air, and find out what’s so great about the Minnesota landscape.
Culture is alive and well in the Twin Cities. If you’re looking for art, history, and museums, you don’t have to look very hard.
Minneapolis’s array of institutions are seemingly around every corner. Visit one of these amazing places and discover some of Minnesota’s most incredible collections that dive into its past and its artistic heart.
1. The Bakken Museum – Uptown/Linden Hills
If you want to learn about the science of electricity, The Bakken Museum is where you should go. Explore exhibits featuring the discovery of electricity, static electricity, and the electricity in our own bodies.
Additional exhibits include an immersive “Frankenstein’s Laboratory” experience and “Flora + Fauna,” an exploration of scientific plant and animal illustration.
2. The Museum of Russian Art – South Minneapolis
Discover Russian art and themed exhibitions at the Museum of Russian Art, a small but impactful institution. The collections are displayed in a former congregational church that was built in the 1920s, which adds to the mystical atmosphere of the museum’s event spaces and galleries.
3. Minnesota Streetcar Museum – Southwest Minneapolis/Linden Hills
Take a ride into the past when you visit the Minnesota Streetcar Museum. The museum’s collection includes eight historic, operational streetcars. The Excelsior Line will take you throughout the Excelsior neighborhood, while the Como-Harriet Line will transport you through Minneapolis at the Linden Hills station and Lake Calhoun platform.
4. The Minneapolis Institute of Art – Whittier/Stevens Square
If you want to see thousands of years of art history on display in stunning fashion, visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art. This sprawling institution features everything from Egyptian mummies to decorative arts from the 17th century, to Japanese wooden sculptures from the 13th century, to modern art – and everything in-between.
5. Hennepin History Museum – Whittier
If the history of the Minneapolis area and Hennepin County interest you, visit the Hennepin History Museum. You’ll see a revolving array of exhibits exploring the early settlement of Minnesota as well as notable figures in local history.
Right now, check out “From Underwear to Outerwear,” which showcases historic clothing from the museum’s collection, including diverse pieces like society gowns, buffalo robes, and opera capes.
6. American Swedish Institute – Midtown Phillips
This museum and cultural center celebrates Minnesota’s ties to Sweden and Scandinavia. It includes Turnblad Mansion, which was owned by the publisher of the largest Swedish newspaper in America, Swan Turnblad. Explore the grand house, then visit the cultural center to see Swedish art, history, and more. Eat at Fika, the Nordic café, then visit the museum store for Swedish goods.
7. Walker Art Center – Downtown West/Stevens Square
More than just a gallery, the Walker Art Center is also a contemporary venue for dance, music, film, and theater. Once you get your fill of modern art, visit the famous Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, then sit down for a relaxing meal at the on-site bistro, Esker Grove.
8. The Pavek Museum – St. Louis Park
To see something truly unique, visit the Pavek Museum. It has an incredible collection of antique and vintage radios, televisions, and broadcasting equipment that pay homage to the history of communications devices and media broadcasting of the past.
Families will find much to love in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The Twin Cities are brimming with things to do, see, and enjoy for adults and kids alike.
Check out these recommended destinations, then add them to your itinerary for guaranteed fun.
Roller Garden in St. Louis Park
For a fun throwback for the adults and an awesome time for the kids, strap on some roller-skates at Roller Garden. The complex has been in the St. Louis Park area for over 75 years and is still rolling. Skate to lights and music, play some games, and enjoy the snack bar with your entire group.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory
One family activity that always brings the fun is going to the zoo. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is Minneapolis’s menagerie of wonder, and it’s just a jaunt away from Excelsior and Grand.
Explore the lush and elaborate gardens, including tropical gardens, a sunken garden, and water gardens. Visit your favorite animal exhibits, from polar bears to wolves, from zebras and tigers to sloths, puffins, sea lions, and more. Don’t forget to ride the historic carousel and visit the Como Town amusement park.
Mall of America
For a shopping experience like no other, your destination should be the Mall of America. This mega-mall has four stories of shops and restaurants, plus a movie theater, aquarium, and theme park – all in one incredible spot.
Your kids will love checking out the rides at Nickelodeon Universe, building a masterpiece at LEGO World, playing Moose Mountain Adventure Golf, and more. Meanwhile, you’ll love the huge selection of stores for the ultimate shop-til-you-drop day.
If your family loves being active (or if you have rambunctious kids who love to climb and play), take them to Vertical Endeavors, the ultimate climbing experience near Uptown Minneapolis.
This indoor facility features climbing walls that scale up to 58 feet tall, with three bouldering areas and up to 150 possible routes to the top. Sign your family up for lessons or test your skills on routes that range from easy to expert.
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden near Uptown Minneapolis
Right in the heart of the city is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a free extension of the Walker Art Center. The garden spans 11 acres and features beautiful parkland crowned by stunning, unique, and interesting sculptures from modern artists.
One you won’t want to miss is Spoonbridge and Cherry, a mammoth sculpture that’s become an iconic image associated with the city.
Baseball Games and More at Target Field
Baseball fans need not look any further than Target Field for an afternoon or evening of fun. Watch the home team, the Minnesota Twins, play other Major League teams at this stadium, which was recently built in 2010.
Concerts are also regularly held here. Opt to tour the stadium before a game to see behind the scenes, including the press box, the dugout, the clubhouse, and more.
Families with kids will find no shortage of things to do in Minneapolis. Take some time to explore what the city has to offer, then find yourself enjoying family time more than ever.
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Hide the luggage, put away the “I Heart Minneapolis” shirt, and check out this expert’s guide to Minneapolis to blend in perfectly with the locals. Whether you are looking for various cool places to visit in Minneapolis, want to nosh on some world-class cuisine, or just check out the local festivals, we can help you find exactly what you are looking for during your stay in the Twin Cities...Read More
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