Travel Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Minneapolis

00:06  28 april  2021
00:06  28 april  2021 Source:   cntraveler.com

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  Where to Eat, Stay, and Play in Minneapolis © Gian Lorenzo Ferretti Photography/Getty

Here’s a list of things for which Minneapolis was known before May 25, 2020: Prince, snow, funny accents, the Mall of America, more snow, missed playoffs, an epic state fair, and—this cannot be emphasized enough—a heckuva lotta snow. But the evening George Floyd died under the knee of Derek Chauvin, that event and the massive racial justice movement that followed became woven into the city’s fabric, too.

Lists, of course, never paint a complete picture. The golly-gee-willikers accents are rare, at least in the city proper. The Mall of America is technically in Bloomington, a different city entirely; ditto the Minnesota State Fair, which takes place in Falcon Heights. Buffalo, New York, gets twice as much snow as Minneapolis, but fewer sub-zero days. And yes, travelers to the Twin Cities will find a place still reeling from the past year but look again and they’ll also see an incredible outpouring of public art, young people united in protest, and thousands of lawn signs rallying for a better future.

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Minneapolis and its sister city of St. Paul are culturally rich but historically fraught. They’re quite diverse, but deeply segregated. They are impossibly complicated metropolises, as anywhere home to more than 4 million people might be. But Minneapolis is also blessed with gorgeous lakes, trails, bike paths, and green spaces, world-class museums, progressive galleries, ambitious restaurants, inspired shops, and some of the Minnesota Nicest™ people you’ll encounter anywhere in America. The more you get to know it, the more questions you have—and every layer you peel back reveals new depth and dimension.

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Getting to and around Minneapolis

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, or MSP, has been considered one of the best airports in North America for years. You’ll understand why when you walk its traveler-friendly terminals. Is that an indoor playground? Yes, it is. Are those free massage chairs? You betcha. The airport’s spacious bathrooms even made into an Instagram video from no less than Gayle King, who is a fan. MSP is a major hub for Delta and low-cost carrier Sun Country Airlines, making it easily accessible from most U.S. cities. Unless you’re attending a convention downtown, you’ll want to rent a car to get around the city—though in spring, summer, and fall, there’s nothing better than tooling along the 50-mile Grand Rounds Scenic Byway and its spectacular Chain of Lakes on two wheels. (Bike-share program Nice Ride Minnesota can help with rentals.)

a large stone building: Minneapolis Institute of Art © YinYang/Getty Minneapolis Institute of Art

What to do in Minneapolis

Travelers who wish to pay their respects to George Floyd can leave flowers or messages of faith and hope at the makeshift memorial at 38th and Chicago, a.k.a. George Floyd Square, and visit the somber “Say Their Names Cemetery” in the grassy vale at 37th and Park. Artists Anna Barber and Connor Wright’s impactful installation features more than 100 headstones—each printed with the name, date, location of death, and the words “Rest in power”—of Black Americans who have died at the hands of police. Afterward, head up to the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum (MAAHM) in North Minneapolis; exhibitions at the petite gallery dissect topics both historic (the horrific century-old lynchings in Duluth, Minnesota) and contemporary (the significance of church hats in the African American community).

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MAAHM is one of many worthwhile museums dotted throughout Minneapolis. With more than 90,000 works spanning six continents and five millenia, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is like the Met of the Midwest and easily takes half a day (or longer) to visit. The Museum of Russian Art is the only cultural institute in North America devoted exclusively to Russian works; check the calendar for folk performances and lectures on the Soviet avant-garde. The American Swedish Institute is partly housed in the turn-of-the-twentieth-century mansion of a Swedish publishing magnate and its shows spotlight Scandinavian photographers, fashion designers, children’s illustrators, and more. It’s also home to FIKA Café, a Nordic-inspired eatery that bakes the most delicious cardamom buns this side of the Atlantic.

For edgier contemporary work, don’t miss the Walker Art Center and its outdoor sculpture garden, home to Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry installation; the Frank Gehry-designed Weisman Art Museum, with its astounding permanent collection of Modernist paintings; and All My Relations Arts, a gallery space devoted to amplifying the voices of American Indian artists.

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Since we've already noted the Mall of America isn’t even in Minneapolis, hit up the city’s fantastic independent retailers instead. Head to stylish lifestyle boutique Forage Modern Workshop for marbled notebooks and terrazzo incense holders, Hazel & Rose for sustainable fashion and handmade ceramics, The Foundry Home Goods for minimalist utilitarian items like German goat hair laptop brushes and Minnesota-made beeswax pillar candles, Walrus for affordable local art (much of it already framed), and the century-old Ingebretsen’s Nordic Marketplace for lefse rolling pins and cloudberry soap.

Prince fans who pilgrimage to Paisley Park in Chanhassen, a half hour from downtown Minneapolis, can chase their visit with a stop at the 1,137-acre Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in nearby Chaska. A paved three-mile walk traverses wetlands, woods, and prairie, looping through both wildflower and rose gardens. Back in the city, you can take on the Mississippi River by kayak (self-serve rentals are available from the seasonally operated Mississippi River Paddle Share); sail and swim at Lake Nokomis Park; or book yourself an only-in-MN private log-rolling lesson with the Minneapolis Log Rolling Club.

a plate of food on a table: Vegetables get the elevated treatment at Sooki & Mimi © Courtesy Sooki & Mimi/Facebook Vegetables get the elevated treatment at Sooki & Mimi

What to eat in Minneapolis

Of all the foods Minnesota is known for (tater tot hotdish, wild rice soup, lutefisk), none is more famous than the Jucy Lucy. So you might as well make your first stop Matt’s Bar & Grill, a friendly dive that has been serving no-frills burgers stuffed with molten-hot American cheese since the 1950s.

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Once you’ve checked that burger box, you’re free to explore the rest of the Twin Cities’ diverse culinary offerings: steamed Nepalese momos at Himalayan Restaurant, juicy birria tacos at Taqueria Y Birrieria Las Cuatro Milpas, heat-packing papaya salad at the Hmongtown Marketplace food court in St. Paul, and single malt whiskeys at the newly opened Brother Justus distillery.

For a more elevated dining experience, nab reservations at Sooki & Mimi, the newest restaurant from James Beard Award-winning chef Ann Kim (Young Joni, Pizzeria Lola). The five-course prix fixe menu includes an inspired mix of vegetarian and pescatarian options, including a mackerel gravlax tostada and kimchi mandu with chrysanthemum, chayote, and shiitake dashi. Another funky fusion restaurant to light up the Twincy dining scene recently is Sanjusan, an Italian-Japanese eatery from Daniel Del Prado (Colita, Martina) and Shigeyuki Furukawa (Kado No Mise). Under their brilliant watch, cavatelli is spiked with sake and pizza with miso pesto. And for dessert? You can’t top a kooky small-batch ice cream cone from the wildly creative husband-and-wife team behind Bebe Zito. Their craveable flavors include gochujang brownie, Thai tea crunch, and a nostalgic riff on Dunkaroos.

a bedroom with a large bed in a hotel room: Hewing Hotel © Courtesy Hewing Hotel Hewing Hotel

Where to stay in Minneapolis

Minneapolis has no shortage of polished business hotels (this is a big convention town after all), but for a boutique experience with real personality, there’s no beating The Hewing (rooms from $189). Located in a 19th-century brick-and-timber warehouse, the hotel puts an urban spin on a homey Northwoods lodge. (Think decorative antlers and luxurious Serta mattresses draped with cozy Faribault Woolen Mill blankets.) The in-house restaurant, Tullibee, relaunched with a new menu from Chef Nyle Flynn doing his darndest to rep Minnesota with woods- and lake-inspired comfort foods like whole roasted meadow hen and Great Lakes walleye with lentils. The Hewing’s rooftop has a spa pool and sauna and guests can borrow hand-built bicycles for exploring the North Loop neighborhood. The Hewing is also walkable to Chef Gavin Kaysen’s Demi and Spoon and Stable, two of the most celebrated fine dining restaurants in the Midwest, and idyllic Nicollet Island in the Mississippi. Stroll there after dusk to watch the sun set and see the four-story-tall, eight-decade-old Grain Belt Beer sign flicker to life.

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