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Explore Minneapolis

august 2, 2018

If you live in Winnipeg, chances are you've made the trek to Minneapolis a few times for cheap flights, Mall of America, Valley Fair, concerts etc. If you're a non-Winnipegger, let me fill you in. Minneapolis is basically the closest major American city to the Manitoba border so it's a go-to spot for weekend getaways and since we're landlocked and about a 16 hour drive from any other major city, this is a big deal. Because Target and stuff. 

I'm giving you a quick run down of some of my favourite spots from a recent trip because I was unaware of how cool and cute and fun Minneapolis really was until this little adventure! The last time I drove down was when I was a teenager, and I was very eager to hit up Mall of America and specifically Forever 21. So my image of the city was a little skewed. 

This time around, I was fully prepped due to Instagram (of course) and other nice friends who gave me all sorts of amazing recommendations for places to check out. In conclusion, I drank a ton of coffee and ate a lot of really good food and saw some great art. Here are my top spots if you're planning a trip in the near future!

 Mill Ruins Park

Mill Ruins Park

 Mill Ruins Park

Mill Ruins Park

a r t

I went to the two major galleries in Minneapolis and loved both for different reasons. The first was the Minneapolis Institute of Art. It was beautiful and HUGE. Way bigger than I expected. They had an incredibly varied collection, spanning numerous genres and eras and I could have spent hours there. Sadly I didn't realize how large it was and only had time to really take in about half the exhibits. I'd recommend 2-3 hours at a minimum if you're planning a trip! Also there's a really cute brunch spot nearby. More on that later.

The second and slightly more popular gallery (as far as I can tell from Insta...) is the Walker Art Center. There's a really great sculpture garden to explore outside of the gallery and amazing contemporary and modern art to take in once you get inside. Plus the building itself is beautiful. So it's a great experience all around. The main exhibit being featured when I visited was a huge display of the work of Allen Ruppersberg - a conceptual artist who emerged in the 60s. The body of work they had was incredible and I felt completely immersed in his life and work throughout the whole exhibit. It was colourful, engaging, and interesting. Worth a visit. Again, give yourself 2-3 hours.

 Minneapolis Institute of Art

Minneapolis Institute of Art

 Walker Art Centre

Walker Art Centre

 Walker Art Centre Sculpture Garden

Walker Art Centre Sculpture Garden

 Walker Art Centre

Walker Art Centre

f o o d  &  d r i n k

Ok, so there were about 15 restaurants on my list of places to check out and I only made it to a quarter of them, but here are some of my favourites. I wasn't able to take photos in each place due to lighting/being in a new city and losing my edge when it comes to taking uncomfortable iPhone snaps in public places. But let me just give you a brief list of places that I would personally recommend if you're visiting the city! As a side note, basically all of these were recommended to me by friends, so I'm a fraud and I didn't discover them on my own. Ok, there, I said it. 

  • Spyhouse Coffee (Washington Ave.) 
    Beautiful, floor to ceiling windows. Amazing tile work. Delicious lattes. 
  • Penny's Coffee (Washington Ave.)
    More floor to ceiling windows, marble, wood accents, cool neon signs.
  • The Bachelor Farmer
    More cool tile work and great lattes. There's also a "farm to table" style restaurant at the back that I sadly did not get to try this time around.
  • The Copper Hen
    BEST FRENCH TOAST OF ALL TIME. To elaborate: bread pudding french toast. To die for. Also amazing grits. And bottomless mimosas. Please do yourself a favour and go here. Also, this is the spot that's a quick walk from the Minneapolis Institute of Art. So there ya go: one day of your trip planned for you!
  • Bar La Grassa
    Pasta from heaven. Seriously. I had the smoked spaghetti alla chitarra with brown butter and lobster and I still dream about it regularly. Obviously the pasta is made in-house. Obviously the wine pairings are amazing.
  • The Lynhall
    I had the vegan burger. It was on the best sourdough bread ever. Yum. Quick tip: there are lots of cute places to explore on Lyndale Ave. right near this cute spot, so give yourself some extra time to explore.
 Spyhouse Coffee

Spyhouse Coffee

 Penny's Coffee

Penny's Coffee

 The Foundry Home Goods

The Foundry Home Goods

 The Lynhall

The Lynhall

 The Copper Hen

The Copper Hen

 Bar La Grassa

Bar La Grassa

 Russell + Hazel

Russell + Hazel

s h o p

This is where I have a few less suggestions, since I ran out of time to get to everywhere on my list. Also, one of the things I noticed about Minneapolis is that things are pretty spread out. A lot of the shops I wanted to visit were on opposite ends of the city so I just didn't have time! The two I've listed below were both great.

  • The Foundry Home Goods
    Lots of cute housewares, very photogenic. I went for the photos, let's be real.
  • Russell + Hazel
    Candles, stationary, makeup that you can't get in Canada. They've got it all. 

Here's a quick list of places I went to and loved (and didn't take photos) but are definitely worth checking out!

  • Milkjam Creamery 
  • Hi-Lo Diner
  • Rise Bagel Co.
  • Minnesota Nice Cream

I hope this gives you a few places to add to your list the next time you head across the border! Also if you know of even cooler/better spots let me know! I'm planning on heading back soon now that I know it's such a great weekend-road-trip gem!