An Insider's Guide to the University of Minnesota Twin Cities Campus

The University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, is home to three campuses filled with over 47,000 students. With all this commotion, it is easy for one to feel a little lost, but don’t worry - we got you covered. Here’s an insider’s guide to the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

Visiting, back for class, or just spending the day, the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and surrounding areas are packed with things to do. With three distinct campuses, the amount of possibilities is almost endless! But we've got you covered. From our favorite spots to grab a cup of joe and late night bites to the best places to start the night, you'll walk onto campus with confidence.

Where to Study/Get Coffee

Left to right: Bordertown Cafe, far right image courtesy of @carlyxrose

Whether it’s finals week and you have some serious studying to do, or it’s the weekend and you're catching up with friends – Boba Tea is always a good idea. Mumu Tea and Chatime are both located on the East Bank campus and offer a wide variety of deliciously flavored milk tea and plenty of space with communal tables that are great for studying. When finals roll around, you can expect these places to be packed, so arrive early or bring your eagle eyes in preparation of table hunting.

Get some work in between classes at 7 Corners Coffee Shop on the West Bank, there's plenty of space to spread out and collaborate on those group projects. If you just need a quick pick-me-up there's even a walk up window to order from. You can count on the selection here to taste great; the bakery items are made fresh from beloved local spots and the coffee comes from some of the best roasters and farmers around the world.

Located near the hub of East Bank, Bordertown Coffee is a former-frat-house-turned-cozy-coffee-shop-and-bakery. This is the ideal place to get a quick study (more like cram) session in before a midterm, catch up with friends after class, or schedule an office meeting in the ‘Library Room.’ Be sure to try the daily freshly baked goods, the banana bread is our favorite! If you are looking for somewhere to study in between classes, check out the Graduate. At night, this hotel hosts players from opposing teams, family members of students, visitors and by-passers, but during the day it is quite an aesthetically-pleasing study spot. Swing through the Starbucks that is a few steps away or the Caribou Coffee across the street before settling into the lobby and cracking open your textbooks. 

When these places are crowded, we suggest studying at one of the many hidden gems scattered across campus. On hour seven of studying at Walter Library? Head to their basement and refuel at Wise Owl Café. Insider tip: The Engineering Library is a few steps away and has rooms available for rent for group projects and study sessions. A few minutes walk down Washington, there is a Caribou Coffee in the basement of Moos Tower. 

Wilson Library on West Bank has a Dunn Brothers in its basement, making it a convenient spot for prolonged studying. And we can’t forget about St. Paul campus, which hosts a Java City on the ground level of its student center. There is also Hay Loft Café located on the ground level of the Ben Pomeroy Center. 

Where to Spend Time Outside

A student favorite for outside hangouts is ‘The Mall,’ which is the large grassy area at the center of East Bank campus surrounded by many university buildings including Memorial Union, Northrop Auditorium, Walter Library and various different halls. Scholars Walk also runs smack-dab through the center. Here you will find students tossing footballs, hosting club meetings, and even catching a nap between classes. Looking for a quieter area? The Knoll Park next to Peik Hall on University Avenue is the perfect place to hang your hammock and relax. Another common area to bask in the sun is outside of the McNamara Alumni Center. Grab lunch from one of the countless neighboring restaurants and enjoy a picnic with friends. 

Across the bridge on West Bank, there are plenty of places to sit outside. A few of the popular areas are the Humphrey Garden, which is directly in front of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs along with the West Bank Community Garden right behind the Carlson School of Management. It’s only right that the St. Paul Campus which hosts the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, is full of ideal areas to spend time outside. Like ‘The Mall’ on East Bank, this pastoral campus is home to ‘The Lawn,’ another student favorite located behind the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering and Department of Animal Science buildings. Another popular spot is outside of Magrath Library, where there are plenty of tables and chairs. 

Where to Begin the Night

When the weekend rolls around and it’s time to shake off the week, there are plenty of bars and other cool spots to visit. A well-known bar is Burrito Loco, commonly known as ‘Bloco.’ This spot has fishbowl margaritas and Wednesday trivia, making it the ideal place to spend time with friends. Just a short walk away from many of the University’s arena and stadiums is Surly Brewing aka a beer lover’s paradise. This massive brewery, one of the most popular in the city, has both indoor and outdoor seating featuring bonfires and cornhole, making it the perfect spot to start your night off right.

On West Bank, Acadia, a lively restaurant, craft beer bar, and music venue that’s always a good time. Back across the river and a little further west toward Stone Arch Bridge on Main Street is another student favorite – Jefe Urban Hacienda. You can find this place filled with university students during happy hour. If you are not in the mood for margaritas, Wilde Café is next door offering an array from lattes to wine, sandwiches and pizzas all in a Victorian atmosphere. 

Late Night Eats

Left and right photos courtesy of @_frankandandrea

As the night comes to an end, you may find yourself a bit hungry – no worries, this campus doesn’t sleep. D.P. Dough is a campus favorite located on University Avenue, with calzone options like the Gopher Zone and Mac Daddy zone. They also offer vegetarian and vegan calzones featuring the Herbivorous Butcher’s vegan meats and cheeses. Another popular late-night spot is Frank and Andrea in Dinkytown, where you can have made-from-scratch, ginormous slices of New York Style pizza or perfectly prepared Philly cheesesteaks. We highly recommend the Gopher, but you already knew that. 

If you are not in the mood for pizza, there is a Qdoba one block over. For those who have a sweet tooth, Insomnia Cookies provides a delicious late-night bite of freshly baked cookies, brownies, ice cream, and milk.

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