Australia, meet your newest must-visit city.
A hidden gem in America’s Midwest, Minneapolis is an up-and-coming city untarnished by the hordes of tourists that plague other American destinations. A trendy place filled with the friendliest people you’ll ever meet, you’d be left wanting if you don’t add this city to your American travel itinerary.
The most common question I was asked by everyone before I left was, “Why Minneapolis?” and, while a valid question, I couldn’t help but counter with “Why the hell not?” There’s a reason this city was listed in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 US Places to Visit. With a vibrant art scene, a diverse culinary landscape and enough historical significance to cater to even the biggest of history nerds, Minneapolis really does have it all.
So stay with me, as I guide you through the best of the best for this charming Midwestern city.
Hideaway Burger Bar
This cosy little spot on the East Bank of the Mississippi River is more about the journey than the destination. An evening stroll from the Minneapolis city centre will take you up and over the historically-significant (and equally as beautiful) Stone Arch Bridge across the Mississippi, with views of the old flour mill ruins, neon signs and the unique Minneapolis skyline. When you get to this bar, the burgers, beers and live music all add to an atmosphere of warmth and comfort, perfectly suited for those biting Minnesotan winters. Their homemade Bacon Cheeseburger ($13.25) and namesake Hideaway IPA are both must-try’s. After dinner, I recommend walking the bank of the Mississippi or, if conditions don’t permit, catching a film at the quaint and authentic St Anthony Main Theatre.
Hideaway Burger Bar – 219 SE Main St
Spoon and Stable
Head downtown into Minneapolis’ quickly gentrifying warehouse district and, if you’re lucky, you will end up in this trendy French-influenced bar and restaurant. Located in what was once a horse stable, this eatery fuses French cuisine with Midwestern charm in a way uniquely attributable to owner and chef, Gavin Kayson. A truly original experience, we definitely recommend the American Venison ($38) served with red cabbage, roasted onion, salted elderflowers and cranberry. Or, if brunch is more to your fancy, you can’t go past the Duck Confit ($16), with sorghum crêpe, kale, wild mushrooms and sauce mornay. At the end of the day, no matter your taste, this French-American culinary amalgamation of a restaurant will not disappoint.
Spoon and Stable – 211 N 1st St
Butcher and the Boar
Of course, if looking for a true Minnesotan steak and sausage feast, one needn’t go any further than Butcher and the Boar. Opened in 2012, with a simple goal in mind, the restaurant creates a festive and communal dining experience with American craft food, bourbon and beer. Just a short walk from Target Field and the Target Centre, this spot is perfect for a post-game feed (likely to lament another Minnesotan sports team exiting the playoffs in the first round). The chef-Crafted Sausage Sampler ($29) or Butcher’s Platter ($29) match perfectly with their diverse range of bourbons on offer. A great way to warm the soul, so be sure not to leave Butcher and The Boar off your list.
Butcher and the Boar – 1121 Hennepin Ave
Surly Brewing Co.
Ask any Minnesotan where to go for a vibrant and exciting night out, and almost all of them will tell you that you simply have to visit Surly. Located right near the university, Surly is the place to be on any given night in Minneapolis. In operation for the better part of a decade and a half, Surly has become synonymous with Midwestern IPAs and Craft Beer in general. In visiting the brewery itself, one is almost overwhelmed by the sounds and smells, the hustle and bustle of a place with it all happening. From concerts to brewery tours, to building your own pizza, Surly is a Minneapolis destination that can’t be missed – and you can pick up their Furious IPA in almost any Minnesotan bar.
Surly Brewing Co. – 520 Malcolm Ave SE
If you prefer bars to breweries, then the Union Rooftop should be your Minneapolis watering hole. Right in the middle of the city centre, this bar has great food, cocktails, and parties galore. The go-to destination for all the big events (NYE, Halloween, etc), Union Rooftop is a young crowd and guaranteed good time.
Union Rooftop – 731 Hennepin Ave Suite 1
Indeed Brewing Co.
If one brewery simply isn’t enough, then you’re definitely in the right city. Just a hop, skip and jump away is another lively craft brewery – Indeed Brewing Co. Although they aren’t as busy as Surly, Indeed is a brewery that focuses on quality product with that craft-brew twist. From Stout to IPA, all beer lovers will find something here to tickle their fancy.
Indeed Brewing Co. – 711 15th Avenue NE
U.S. Bank Stadium
Whether in season or not, U.S. Bank Stadium (the home of the Minnesota Vikings) is an architectural marvel and one of the most unique stadiums in the world. If you can’t catch a game, be sure to take the guided tour, where you can see the clubs, changing rooms and even walk out onto the pitch. The stadium itself is also an art museum, so be sure to keep an eye out for the 500+ pieces of art that adorn the walls around the ground. The fully-enclosed stadium does a magnificent job of blending the feeling of the indoors and outdoors, and is a visually spectacular treat. Regardless if you’re the biggest football fan or you don’t know the difference between a first down and a touchdown, if you do manage to go to a game, Vikings’ fans are some of the most passionate in the world and it will definitely be a great experience.
U.S. Bank Stadium – 401 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis
Mall of America
Minnesota’s biggest tourist attraction, the Mall of America is an ode to capitalism of the most grandiose proportions. Taking advantage of the lack of clothing tax in the state, retailers from around the world have outlets in, what is, the biggest mall in America. Be sure to leave room in your suitcase if you plan to visit the MoA. Beyond just shopping and dining, the Mall of America has hours of alternate entertainment, from an Escape Room to a fully-fledged amusement park in the centre of the mall; the MoA is an absolute spectacle, to say the least. A truly exciting day out.
Mall of America – 60 E Broadway, Bloomington, MN
Minneapolis Institute of Art and Loring Park
For the more cultured among us, Minneapolis has a vibrant and ever-strengthening art scene. The Minneapolis Institute of Art (which is completely free!) hosts works by the likes of Monet, Vincent van Gogh and Matisse. It’s easy to spend the whole day walking its halls taking in the diverse collection. For a breath of fresh air, nearby the Loring Park and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden hosts many quirky and aesthetically impressive pieces. A unique culture pulses through this city, and there aren’t many better places to feel it than here.
A Luxury Collection Hotel, Hotel Ivy provides guests with unparalleled comfort and opulence. Whether you’re staying in one of their distinctive suites, enjoying the on-site spa, or dining downstairs at one of their two decadently indulgent restaurants, Hotel Ivy is the place to stay. It’s in a premier location and connected to the city’s walkway system, so you needn’t even step into the cold to explore the city.
Hotel Ivy – 201 S 11th St
The Grand Hotel Minneapolis
For those looking for a more traditionally luxurious affair, The Grand Hotel Minneapolis, situated just down the road from U.S. Bank Stadium, should be the first choice. With an impactfully beautiful exterior and a similar interior, the Grand Hotel is a perfect amalgamation of the old and the new. The SIX15 lounge is a chic place to hang out, and the numerous dining options will make your stay in Minneapolis all the better.
The Grand Hotel – 615 2nd Ave S
Feature image: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. Photographed by f11photo. Image via Shutterstock