When you hear of Minnesota your mind goes straight to parka coats & piles of snow. But in the summertime the Twin Cities are a site to see. Brittany & I recently got the chance to visit Minneapolis for a wedding and we made sure we spent some time discovering the city. We are bringing you 8 places you must visit if you ever find yourself up North near the city of lakes.
Where To Stay
I have a weakness for boutique hotels and when I was planning this trip, this hotel caught my eye. The Hewing Hotel is located in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis. Located inside of a century-old brick & timber warehouse, it has a unique feel & left us awestruck. The hotel is dog friendly & also offers at an extra cost, a rooftop social club with a bar, sauna, & pool open year-round.
The rooms have a ton of reclaimed wood & give off a hipster lodge vibe. We loved every minute of staying there & only wished the trip could have lasted just a smidge longer. Not only were the rooms amazing, but the restaurant/bar the Tullibee was outstanding. We only went for after dinner drinks but they were the best cocktails to grace this planet! Their restaurant specializes in hearty vegetables and shareable fish or meat dishes. But if you come for anything come for a a seat at the bar to watch their mixologists at play.
What To See
Walker Art Center
The Walker Art Center should be at the top of your list! More than 125 years ago, a Minneapolis man added a room onto his house, mounted his favorite paintings on the freshly painted walls, and opened his doors to anyone who wanted to come in. Since then Thomas Barlow Walker’s art gallery has expanded and been a unique venue for modern art. Start off walking around the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and snap selfies with their famous sculptures. Including the most popular work Spoonbridge and Cherry by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
Once you’ve finished strolling through the sculptures in the garden, head inside for a game of mini-golf and a view at some amazing pieces of art in the plethora of galleries. Skyline Mini Golf 2018 is a current exhibition running May 22nd- September 2nd at the Walker Art Center. Tee up on the Walker terraces this summer, with unbelievable views overlooking the Minneapolis skyline. This one-of-a-kind course features 10 unique & original artist-designed holes. $10 for adults and free for ages 6 and under.
In addition to the long-time installations at the Walker Art Center, their galleries host a cutting edge selection of exhibitions by emerging and established artists, groups, and historical retrospectives. Current temporary exhibitions include: Allen Ruppersberg Intellectual Property 1968-2018, Jason Moran, Daniel Buren, The Way Things Go, & I Am You, You Are Too. Today the Walker Art Center ranks among the five most-visited modern/contemporary art museums in the United States and, together with the adjacent Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, attracts more than 700,000 visitors per year.
Brittany & I love old things & popcorn so when we came across the Grandview Theater in St. Paul we decided to catch a flick in a historic setting. The Grandview Theater was built in 1933 & recently had some much needed renovations done this past Spring. The theater has 2 screens and runs new movies. The price for tickets on Tuesdays is $5 and the space is architecturally stunning, make sure to check out the powder room.
Can Can Wonderland
Apparently, we have a thing for mini-golf because we played it twice while in Minnesota. This next spot is HEAVEN and you will not regret visiting this extraordinary spot. Can Can Wonderland is situated in a basement of an old factory that was home to the American Can Company, hence the name. Can Can Wonderland is the first arts-based public benefit corporation in Minnesota. This spot is famous for their mini-golf course created by artists and was a ton of fun getting to play it. Not only is there mini-golf but there is tons of arcade games, alcohol & food, and loads of entertainment. Its fun for the whole family and it sits below a brewery & axe-throwing business, so there’s that too.When you arrive you sign up for mini-golf and they text you when your group is ready to tee off. In the meantime, we grabbed a drink and some quarters and played some vintage arcade games. If the visit wasn’t already going swell, we found out that on Saturdays they have a “Tappy Hour”. You heard that right, join their tap instructor for group lessons in tap dancing! They provide the shoes and the class is held in 20 minute increments for all ages. You can thank us later once you’ve been graced with the holy Can Can!
The last spot you can visit not only in Minneapolis but in Austin & two spots in Denver. Upstairs Circus is a bar-meets-shop-class concept where people can gather together to create unique leather working, woodworking, jewelry making, DIY art & design projects while enjoying craft cocktails, beer, & wine. Upstairs Circus provides supplies, tutorials, & assistance to make something one-of-a-kind. Reserve a spot online in advance and browse through the list of projects available. This isn’t a spot where everyone is there painting the same tree pictures, there are over 25+ projects you can choose from. Work at your own pace, have a drink or three, & create something fun to take home.
Where To Eat
Rise Bagel Co.
We think you should eat more “hole” foods and Minnesota is home to a business that brings us the best bagels in town. Rise Bagel Co. specializes in old-world artisan bagels with a modern twist using organic ingredients. The bagels are made-from-scratch and the end result is pure heaven. I have a love affair with everything bagels and Rise Bagel Co. set the bar pretty high. I ordered their Lox bagel that is made with house cured Gravlox, red onion, cream cheese, capers, & dill. If I could eat bagels for every meal, I probably would if I wasn’t trying to cut carbs. This shop offers all day breakfast, lunch, & killer cold-brewed coffee.
Next stop, lunch in the warehouse district. I usually do a lot of researching into where I am going to eat and this next spot we stumbled upon and our stomachs were so glad we did. Smack Shack was launched originally as a food truck in 2010 known for serving lobster rolls from a downtown Minneapolis parking lot. As the food truck and menu evolved so did the following that pushed the business to open up in the 1029 Bar. In 2011, Guy Fieri showed up to tape a segment on “Diners, Drive-In’s, & Dive’s” and the rest is history. They now own and run out of their own brick and mortar location in the North Loop and continue to gain fans on the reg.
The food is phenomenal and the service is outstanding. If you love fresh seafood & lobster this will be your new favorite place. I had their Lobster BLT Roll & we split their popular Lobster Guacamole. Their craft cocktails aren’t too shabby either. Who knew you could get a taste of the coast up North?! The Smack Shack just opened it’s second location in the MSP International Airport so even if you aren’t visiting and have a layover, GO!
Nolo’s Kitchen & Bar
This last spot we liked so much we went twice! Nolos Kitchen is actually known for having the best burger in the twin cities but Brittany and I went for their pasta and pizza. Located in the North Loop neighborhood, Nolo’s restaurant and bar combines a refined twist on the classic neighborhood tavern. We started off our meal with the Tuna Crudo (avocado, watermelon radish, cucumber, citrus, habanero salsa, ponzu, & mint) and Burrata (heirloom tomatoes, cucumber, basil, jalepeno, & extra virgin olive oil). Both dishes had a little kick of heat and were very refreshing. For our entrees we both opted for pasta because again, we love carbs. The Crab Bucatini (shaved garlic, asparagus, lemon cream) was so creamy and made to perfection. The following evening we opted for one of their woodfired pizza’s. You can’t go wrong with anything off of the menu. The aesthetic of the space and presentation of the dishes were impeccable.
We hope this list contributes to your plans if you are ever in the Northern part of the US. If you think we should visit a town near you, let us know!